October Writing Challenge: Scare me!

Subject: Scary Halloween, please
Setting: Halloween
Time Period: Whenever you’d like
Length: Let’s keep it short
Restrictions: none
Due: October… since that’s when Halloween takes place…

Dear Writers:

It’s that time again… where pumpkin lattes, pumpkin beers, costumes and horror movies on TV seem to take over our lives. As if they wasn’t scary enough, it seems some stores already have their Christmas displays out. But before we starting jumping on the Christmas train, let’s try to enjoy Halloween first.

Last month our writing challenge was “Scary, but without the blood and gore,” so this month should be about scaring the daylights out of us. Let’s be as dark and gruesome as we want while keeping it tasteful.

Scare me!

So set aside those Pumpkin Lattes and let’s get to writing.


September Challenge: Scary Without the Violence; Pete’s Promise

Subject: Scary Without the Violence
Setting: Anywhere that isn’t covered in bodies and blood
Time Period: Whenever you’d like
Length: Let’s keep it short
Restrictions: no blood, no guts, no horrifically disturbing images
Due: September

Pete’s Promise

Pete sat on his couch watching the football game on TV. He reached over sticking his hand into a half-eaten bag of chips, plucking them into his mouth as pieces fell onto the white T-shirt he wore. He yelled his frustrations to the TV when his team made a fumble, as if the couch or anyone actually at the game could hear him. Pete had money riding on this and had considered it a sure thing. However, as the game played on he came to terms that he would likely never see his hundred dollars again.

He sighed heavily and reached over to grab the bottle of beer on this table and took a drink hoping it would help numb the pain of his loss. He noticed long dog hair stuck to the wet bottom of the bottle and batted it away with his hand. The hair reminded him of his promise he made to himself this year, and he hung his head in contemplation. Last year had been a massacre and he couldn’t bear dealing with that again. The images quickly flashed back to his mind almost making him drop his bottle. “No!” he cried, throwing the beer bottle across the room. “Never again!”

His heart raced as he fumed at himself, desperately trying to clear the images from his head. He looked over at the chains on the wall next to his chair hoping it would be enough to hold the beast. He looked outside seeing the day light of late of afternoon. There was still time. Today was Halloween and he knew the neighborhood children wouldn’t be around until early evening. Pete took a deep breath trying to calm is nerves. He focused back on the TV as the game drew to a close. Although his team had no chance to recover, the money he was about to lose no longer had any meaning to him.

The several beers he had drank, the bag of chips he ate and the lack of excitement of the game caused him to become drowsy and he soon slept. Pete abruptly woke with a sharp pain in his abdomen. What! He looked up at the TV that was showing a Cop drama. Where’d the game go?  He frantically looked outside to see the darkened sky and the full moon rising in the distance. No, no, it can’t be time already!  

His doorbell rang and he could hear the voices of the children laughing and talking. panic stricken, he rushed to the wall doubled over in pain. His teeth clenched and sweet rolled down his face. He struggled to place his hands in the cuffs attached to the chain and could just barely shut it as he fell to the floor convulsing.  He looked up trying to place his other hand in the cuff but his body shook uncontrollably. No… He lay on the floor desperately trying to fight the transformation.

The cool evening in the small town was filled with the sounds of laughter from the children dressed in their costumes running from house to house. The night was hushed by screams of horror and anguish … and then howling.



September Challenge: Hallo-wait, we’re doing this already?

Yep, we’re doing this already to get in the mood for the halliest of hallowdays.  The challenge here might be harder for me than it is for you, but write a scary story without grotesque or horrific imagery.  Another way of thinking of it would be “scary without the blood”.  Good luck to both of us.

Subject: Scary Without the Violence
Setting: Anywhere that isn’t covered in bodies and blood
Time Period: Whenever you’d like
Length: Let’s keep it short
Restrictions: no blood, no guts, no horrifically disturbing images
Due: September

June/July Challenge: The Choice

So this isn’t completely suspenseful, but it is in its own way.  It’s a new blending of suspense and depressing.  It’s deprenseful.  As for my incredible lateness, I don’t have any excuses; I’ve just been lazy.  I’d like to get back to one a month though, so I’ll post a challenge for September after I post this story.

The sunlight shone down hard on the green grass at the Johnson family’s quiet suburban home.  The lawn had been mowed just a few days ago and everything looked pristine.  The Kool-aid Man looked at grass with a wistful smile on his face.  He appreciated the colors of the world much more than he had just days before.  The way the sky went from light to dark blue, the leaves changing from green to all sorts of different shades; this was his world and all he wanted to do was to drink it in.

He felt the cool autumn breeze blow around his pitcher and send a rush through his glass.  The hairline fractures even felt renewed, as though they could somehow heal themselves.  The birds chirped their messages to each other and in the distance he heard squirrels trying to accompany the birds with their chittering.  He smiled, closed his eyes, and let his mind drift back.

For the first few moments, The Kool-aid Man felt like he was back in his prime.  He was gleefully smashing down walls as though they were paper thin.  Children everywhere were excited to see him and parents were mortified at the damage he would cause.  It didn’t matter to him though, all that mattered was getting those kids their drinks.  He felt like a god.  He could go anywhere and knock down any wall.

Then his memories drifted back to the moment that still haunted him.  That time three weeks back when he smashed down a wall with his usual gusto, but walked away with a slight leak.  He had seen small leaks before, and they were usually nothing a trip to the doctor couldn’t handle, but this time it felt different.  The leak felt larger.

“Mr. Man,” Doctor Chihuly said with a slight hint of sadness in his voice, “there is no other way to say this to you; if you keep smashing walls, you will most likely die.  You have to stop right now.”  The Kool-aid Man sat there for a moment in the heavy silence, then he realized he was leaking again.  This time it was Berry Blast and the leak was coming from his eyes.

The memories snapped him back into reality as a single drop of Wild Cherry rolled down his five-foot tall face.

This is it, Kool, he thought to himself, what are you going to do?  You’ve got enough money to retire.  You could settle down and take it easy.  Hawaiian Punch hasn’t been doing much these days, you could hang out with him more.

But what would it matter?  My life has always about breaking down the barriers between children and refreshments.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted.  Besides, the doc did say there was a chance I could keep doing this for years with just this small leak.  I knew my line of work was risky when I started doing it, but that didn’t stop me back then.

The breeze blew over his body again.  Thirty to forty percent chance, he thought, thirty to forty.  What does that really mean?  What does that honestly mean in the grand scheme of “will I live or die?”

The Kool-aid Man heard noises on the other side of the wall.  Timothy Johnson shouted, “Wow!  It changes colors in water!”  Time to decide, big guy.  What are you gonna do?

June/July Challenge – Grusom Twosome

Subject: Suspenseful Cliffhanger
Setting: Make it exciting!
Time Period: Dare to try anything
Length: Let’s keep it short…
Restrictions: You know no boundaries!
Due: June/July

This is a salute to Quark Newsom, a creation of Stephen Hancock.

Quark Grusom in The Mastermind in the Evil Tower.

It was midnight when Quark Grusom reached the ominous dark tower. He knew the evil masked fiend known as Grantonian, the mastermind behind the sinister plot to take over the city, was inside. A poisonous gas was set to be released on the City of Indiapapi at morning’s first light giving him only hours to act. His other concern was that his faithful sidekick, Stella had been taken captive just the day before. Quark knew he had to save Stella and defeat Grantonian this night … or everyone would perish.

Quark looked up at the tower with narrow eyes as he cliched his hands into fists. “He will pay,” Quark said under his breath.

He reached into the lime-green backpack on his back and pulled out his lime-green grappling hook. He carefully eyed over the area and then aimed the gun toward the tower. With the pull of the trigger the hook shot up into the air and over a ledge. Quark tested the connection by pulling on it. With a smirk of satisfaction, he climbed up the side of the tower.

The sound of moving rock caught his attention. He looked up to see large pieces of the rock wall falling toward him no doubt caused by the hook and rope. Quark swung from side to side as the stones flew by. Rocks scraped his shoulders and back as he swayed trying to protect his head.

Reaching the top, he tried to pull himself over the ledge. A large portion of the wall gave way causing Quark to lose his grip. He started to fall. He quickly reached out taking a hold of the rope once again. In doing so, he slammed into the side of the tower. As he hit the rock wall his shoulder rang out in pain.  His grip loosened sending him sliding down the tower. His mind raced, his body ached… he could’t allow himself to fail. The safety of the City hung in the balance. And Stella… he needed to save Stella!

Throwing his doubts and pain aside, he grabbed the rope with both hands as it tore into his skin. Slowly, he lifted himself up the rope and over the ledge. He cast aside his rope and look at his rare hands. His anger began to build, his eyes narrowed once more. He opened the large door in front of him with determination. He had a job to do, and that was to save everyone tonight!

Inside the large room, the masked Grantonian worked on a giant machine with several of his minions. He looked up. “Quark,” he spoke, seemingly anticipating his arrival. “You are just in time to witness this City’s destruction,” he said with an evil laugh that rang in Quark’s ears.

“No!” a voice called out from the side of the room. “Don’t let him do it.”

Quark looked over to see Stella in her lime-green outfit tied to a large chair. “Don’t worry Stella, I’ll stop him.”

Stella flashed him her soft eyes and smiled.

Quark focused back on the masked madman. “This ends now!”

“Get him!” Grantonian yelled out to his minions.

Quark reached behind to take out his bamboo shinai sword. While it would not kill his opponents, it would certainly leave a bruise. As the five minions rushed Quark, he danced around them like a cat, striking at them with this lime-green shinai. Soon, all five minions lay on the floor moaning in pain.

“What now, Grantonian?” Quark said with his Trademark smile.

The masked Grantonian frantically looked around the room. As Quark approached him he spoke, “you will not attack me.”

Quake stopped directly in front of the madman. “Oh yes I will.”

Grantonian said, “Oh no you won’t.”

“And why not?” Quake asked as he readied his shinai for an overhead strike.

“You  will not attack me …” Grantonian started to speak as he reached up taking a hold of his mask. “For I am your brother!” he said taking the mask off to reveal his all too familiar face.

“No! Tony! What have you become?” Quark cried out, falling to his knees dropping the shinai.

TO BE CONTINUED… Tune in next time…

June/July Challenge – Summer Suspense

Subject: Suspenseful Cliffhanger
Setting: Make it exciting!
Time Period: Dare to try anything
Length: Let’s keep it short…
Restrictions: You know no boundaries!
Due: June/July

Imagine if you will, readers yearning for a good suspenseful cliffhanger for the summer months of June and July. Their only interest is to be captivated by the thoughts of what was going to happen next. However, the mind that will create this suspense is your own… Let’s give the readers what they want!

Create a short story with characters where a reader could care about and where the story ends with a cliffhanger. Picture in your mind the Batman series of the 1960’s. At the end of your story you can imagine that the phrase will follow, “What will happen to Batman and Robin? Will they escape their watery prison or will they be turned into chopped liver. Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!”  Of course you can write, “to be continued.”

Can’t think of a story? Don’t be afraid to use your “call a friend” power.

Holly AT&T, Batman!



April/May Writing Challenge – The Real Monster

Subject: Add Some Humor
Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Restrictions: None
Due: Next Month

So I got a little dark in writing my comedy.  Let’s make a new niche genre and call it “dark fourth wall comedy”, shall we?  If you’ve never read the book this story is based on, then either your parents never loved you or you never loved your children.

Grover let out a deep sigh.  He had made it to the end of the book and all he could find was himself, the words “The End”, and the reader.  It felt like he had spent an eternity worrying about the monster, but nothing had come to pass.  He was thinking inwardly to himself about the long nap he would take after the light would fade and thinking outwardly about how embarrassed he was.

As these thoughts passed through his head, he heard the terrifying cries of “Again! Again!”  Before he could even react, Grover felt a heavy rush of wind and found himself walking casually down Sesame Street, passing by a sign that read “The Monster at the End of This Book”.  A line below the title read “starring lovable, furry old Grover”.  “That’s Me!” he exclaimed, looking outward.  It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and here he was, taking a walk with his best friend, the reader.  He wanted nothing more in the entire world.

Grover felt a small wind rush past and for a moment he felt as though his consciousness was split in two.  Like there was two of him existing at once.  It didn’t make sense to him though.  There’s only one lovable, furry old Grover and that’s him.  The feeling passed after a second.  He tried to recall what it felt like, but he couldn’t. All he could remember was how happy he was, walking past this brick wall with a sign on it, here with his best friend, the reader. 

There was some text at the top that read “The Monster at the End of This Book” as well as a lot of much smaller text that didn’t seem particularly important to him.  Grover kept walking by the words.  He told his friend, “This is a very dull page.  I wonder what is on the next page?”

Grover suddenly felt that feeling again.  Like he was a copy of himself and the original at the same time.  He also felt shocked and completely calm all at once.  He tried to wrestle with his emotions and after the feeling of a dual existence passed, he came to a horrible realization.

“WHAT DID THAT SAY?” Grover shouted to his friend, “On the first page, what did that say?  Did that say there will be a monster at the end of this book?”  Grover heard his friend reply “yeeeess” with an elongated “e” sound that almost seemed to be teasing him.  Why would his friend be that way with him though?  Wasn’t his friend always looking out for him?  Then the realization of what his friend said sank in.  “IT DID?” he shouted, “Oh, I am so scared of monsters!!!”

Grover felt that odd wind again and the feeling of duality pass through his entire being.  Somehow, he knew he was walking, yet he felt as though he was cowering on the floor.  The feeling passed yet again and he realized he had been on the floor of the book the entire time.

Grover shushed his friend as loudly as he could, emitting a noxious cloud of green smoke from his mouth as he did.  He wanted to apologize, but he didn’t have time for that.  He had to save himself and his friend.

“Listen,” Grover implored, “I have an idea.  If you do not turn any pages, we will never get to the end of this book.  And that is good, because there is a MONSTER at the end of this book.”  Grover thought for a second, then decided to add “So please do not turn the page.”

The duality came back once again.  Grover was cowering on the floor, begging for silence and screaming right at his friend all at once.  Once it passed, all he could do was to shout “YOU TURNED ANOTHER PAGE!!!”  He felt betrayed and horrified at the same time.  His friend was turning against him and disobeying his pleas for help.  How could it get any worse?

Grover’s duality happened faster this time and he found himself discovering exactly how it could get worse.  He had worked hard to tie ropes to the edges of the page to keep the reader from turning the it, but something about the ropes bothered him; it was the colors.

All he could see out of one eye was a bright shade of green and nothing else.  The other eye seemed to be fine, but from it he could see that some of his ropes had been erratically colored green.  Lines across his fur had been colored as well.  The waxy look to the color made him assume it was some sort of crayon.  Had the reader done this to him at some point?  He couldn’t remember.  As far back as his memory would go, this was the first time he had ever gone through this book with his friend, so it didn’t seem likely.

Grover had just started to explain to the reader why he had to tie all of the ropes when he felt the duality and rush of wind yet again.  Suddenly, his ropes were broken and stars, lightning bolts, and dark clouds were spewing from his mouth.

He screamed at his “friend” and demanded that they stop turning pages.  But somewhere deep inside he knew his “friend” wouldn’t listen.  Grover’s heart filled with dread as he accepted the inevitable betrayal. 

The next wind left him feeling more confused than he had ever felt before.  This time it wasn’t the duality that bothered him, it was the situation itself.  Grover had set up planks of wood and a table to saw them on, but he was building a brick wall instead.  He even found himself telling the reader (he refused to think of the reader as a “friend” at this point) that he was nailing the pages together.  If he was nailing the pages, then why was he building a wall?  The dichotomy perplexed him.  It was as if several events in his life were missing, but he just couldn’t figure out what.

The next rush of wind hurt Grover in ways he couldn’t have possibly prepared for.  He had gone from building a wall while talking about nailing pages to being buried alive under the rubble of his careful construction.  The pain was excruciating.  He mustered what strength he had to ask the reader “Do you know that you are very strong?” 

Just then he heard the reader exclaim “I turn page! Not you, mommy!” Grover knew this wouldn’t end well.  From under the pile of rubble, Grover could see the very fabric of reality being torn apart.  This was more than just the edges of his world being cartoonishly ripped and tattered, this was destruction on a level that introduced a frightening new dimension to his flat sense of reality.  He felt the world around him coming apart.  A loud shredding sound deafened his ears and shook the bricks he was piled under.  Without any time to react, Grover felt two of his fingertips being ripped off and whisked away onto another plane of existence, never to be seen again.

It was less than a second later that he felt even worse.  He was still buried under the rubble and missing his fingertips, but he also felt those same mauled fingers buried deep into the left edge of his own face.  He was buried and yet also standing up, pleading with the reader at the same time he was lying in a heap with almost no energy to move or speak.  He no longer felt himself commenting on the reader’s strength, instead all he could do was beg from the one side of his face, like a meek little puppy that’s been scolded.  “PLEASE do not turn the page,” he begged from under the destruction and while standing and sweating profusely at the same time, “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

The wind came once again and Grover welcomed it.  Whatever monster awaited him had to be better than the monster he was currently facing.  His whole existence was a jagged mess of pain and pleading and he was powerless to make it any better.  His betrayer had total control over him, like a puppet master forcing a puppet to do sick and painful things.  All Grover could do was wait and see what horrors would be unleashed upon him by the monster at the end of the book and hope that his end would come quickly.  But as the wind continued to sweep over him, he got a small sense that everything would be alright.

When it passed, Grover felt true elation.  He had made it to the end of the book and all he could find was himself, the words “The End”, and the reader.  His kind, helpful friend, the reader.  Grover was so glad to have such a good friend with him at the end of his story.  He had never trusted anyone more in his entire life.