Category Archives: Short Story Contest

On a Cold Winter Night

Bang! Sarah slammed the screen door and stomped into the snow covered backyard.

“Stupid new house! Why did we have to move anyway? I finally had friends, but now I’m all alone again.” Sarah walked beside a semi-frozen pond and muttered foul words under her breath. A cold winter breeze blew her brown hair into her green eyes, causing her to shiver. She reached into her sweater pocket and pulled out a pair of wrinkled gloves.

Suddenly, Sarah stopped and raised her voice to a fake falsetto.

“Sarah, honey! Put on your hat. Put on your gloves. Wear a sweater, you wouldn’t want to catch cold!” The impression of her mother was almost perfect. Not paying attention, she walked deeper and deeper into the woods behind her house, still grumbling complaints.

Becoming aware of the darkening sky and dropping temperature, Sarah looked around. To her horror in every direction were trees. Trees and snow. Sarah was lost. Her breath gasping and her heart beating out of her chest, Sarah began to run.

It was snowing harder now. The wind was lashing at the trees, howling through their branches, and snow drifts were forming very quickly. The sound was deafening, blocking out all other noise. Including the river.

Sarah slipped down the bank of the river and into the raging rapids. Water was burning down her throat and up her nose. She could feel the icy water ripping at her hair and clothes, desperately trying to grab onto her to pull her down deeper so she would never resurface. Sarah’s vision started to dim and go blurry at the edges. She closed her eyes as the last of the oxygen was depleted from her lungs and went limp.

Just then, a hand reached into the frigid water and grabbed ahold of Sarah’s arm. The stranger heaved her out of the water and onto the shore. Shocked at the change in her surroundings, Sarah’s waterlogged mind halted any possible theories as to what had happened. With a great gasp her body finally filled with air again and she could see her savior.

“My name is Tyler, and this is my dog Kip.” A boy about her age looked down at her with a pity written on his face. His hair fell in wisps across his forehead, the colour almost blending in with the falling snow. His fluffy black dog instantly preoccupied himself with licking Sarah’s face as she tried, and failed, to get to her feet. Shivering intensely, she attempted to unzip her already ice flaked sweater with numb fingers.

“You look cold. How can I help you?” Inquired Tyler worriedly. Sarah shrugged and shakily stood up to follow Tyler and Kip to a tall oak tree. Looking up at the tree, Sarah was filled with doubt. How was she going to climb the tree, especially in her current state? Sarah looked over to the blonde boy and opened her mouth to speak but was instantly cut off. “I don’t know how to climb trees.” He replied. Kip let out a bark as if to speed Sarah along. With a heavy sigh, she moved her freezing limbs and started to climb.

Shaking from the cold and fear, Sarah hoisted herself on to a branch. A flash of color, barely noticeable resting on top of the highest branch. She wasn’t tall enough. If Sarah had been thinking straight, she wouldn’t have stood up. If she had been paying attention, she would have heard the branch start to crack. If Sarah had any sense at all, she wouldn’t have touched the item on the branch. It’s a shame to say that Sarah grabbed on to the item before dropping it, revolted at the sight.

She let out a bloodcurdling scream. A clump of hair, almost as white as snow floated towards the ground in an almost peaceful manner. Snap! Crack! The branch Sarah was standing on fell to the ground with a great thump, and Sarah plunged toward the frozen earth.

Nothing moved. The wind stopped blowing and the trees stopped shaking. Even the very snow froze midair to view Sarah’s last moment. She wasn’t cold or shivering. She was warm. As she lay on the ground, soft like a pillow, she wondered why no one was helping her. Kip and Tyler had disappeared.

“Maybe if I close my eyes for a minute…..”

The search party circled the woods for weeks before they found Sarah’s body. She had frozen to death. She looked as though she was sleeping. The hair on her head fanned out on the snow and her eyes closed. Sarah even had a hint of a smile on her face as though she was having a pleasant dream. She wasn’t alone, though. A boy around her age with hair like freshly fallen snow was seemingly asleep with his big black dog. He had gone missing months before after running away from home.

Some people say Sarah never was alone on that night. The rumors say she travelled with a boy and his fluffy black dog, although no one knows for sure. Sometimes, on cold winter nights, when the wind blows fiercely whilst the snow softly falls you can hear the distant bark of a dog. Only after this, under a big oak tree can you hear the laughter of two children, because Sarah isn’t alone anymore.

The Unexpected Visitor

9/13/1941

“Argh!”

A guttural moan escaped Elizabeth Mayor’s throat as she accidentally dropped her leather suitcase painfully on her foot. Unfortunately, the damage was concealed by her designer Oxford shoes, so further examination would have to wait until she reached her inherited house. Rose Mayor, her grandmother, had recently passed, leaving the keys to her vineyard in twenty-three year old Elizabeth’s hands.

“Darling, you will only be there alone for a mere week. You will survive,” Her father had told her, ushering her onto the train. Crucial matters involving his multi-million dollar estate resulted in a lavish schedule, so he couldn’t travel to his deceased mothers vineyard until one week’s time.

Elizabeth opened the lofty steel gate, and gingerly started up the driveway as a result of her injury, post an exaggerated sigh. Every step sent a jolt of pain through her foot, carrying up her leg like electricity. Via her distressed state, Elizabeth ceased to recognize the beauty in the far-reaching driveway which introduced the grand farmhouse framed by hectares of awe-inspiring vineyards.

After a painstakingly long combination of unladylike limping and Elizabeth muttering improper words under her breath that would put sailor to shame, she reached her destination. White siding and muted silver stone covered the dwelling, with pine green shutters. Victorian style peaks sprouted from the matching scalloped shingles on the roof. Elegant French doors flow from the porch to the massive entryway. Marble floor cascaded down the two conjoined ‘L’ shaped staircases, opposite the front entrance. As Elizabeth strode through the door, she let her sore foot slip her mind for a split second, to ingest the charming residence. Sapphire eyes skimmed the striking room, over the blooming flowers in a divine china vase, to the sizeable fireplace between the stairs and the vibrant floral wallpaper, before returning to her former haste. Lamely treading up the left staircase, she located the powder room to tend to her injury.

Elizabeth froze. She had barely stepped into the bathroom when there was a knocking on the door. Who would be out here? Located deep in the sticks, the vineyard wasn’t a place in which you received unexpected visitors, or any visitors for that matter. Her father would never leave strings untied at home, so it was definitely not him.

Elizabeth was pulled out of her contemplations when the knocking started again. She warily tiptoed to the base of the stairs and began descending , grasping the railing for stability . She racked her brain but couldn’t think of any person that would be knocking at her door. There was a third set of knocking, or rather pounding, at the door, then a low grumbling noise that was barely audible over the screaming of the wind from the rapidly approaching storm. Then silence. Elizabeth slowly returned to the bathroom, then slowly shut the door behind her. She flinched when the door latched, it seemed to echo through the entire house. When she was completely sure the visitor had left, she turned to examine herself in the mirror . Disgusted, she quickly spun around. Sweating profusely, her chocolate brown hair had rebelled against the heaps of pins holding her prestigious updo . Her eyes were the worst though. She had never seen someone so terrified in her entire life.

It’s okay it’s okay, it was nothing, she thought, it was nothing you’re overreacting, calm down, it’s okay it’s okay. But no matter how much she tried to reassure herself, she couldn’t stop her heart from pounding in her chest. Taking a hard step towards the door and she was suddenly reminded of the pain in her foot. Her knees buckled, forcing her to sit down on the frigid bathroom tiles. The drawer was messy and in need of replenishment, but she was still able to locate a small roll of gauze for her foot.

In kitchen, Elizabeth attempted to eat, but fostered a lack of an appetite. Oil lamp in hand, she wandered to the master bedroom and drifted to the rhythmic pelting of rain on the house.

Elizabeth was standing in the main room, right in front of the door. Something started knocking, three sets with short pauses in between, just like yesterday. There was a low, inhuman chanting outside. Let me in. Let me in. Despite her internal protests, Elizabeth’s hand reached out and opened the door. Standing before her was a dark, amorphous figure that wavered around the edges. It had no face, no front – she couldn’t even identify what shape it was. It just was. An extension of it oozed towards her – then there was nothing.

When Elizabeth woke she was addled and breathing heavily. Her heart was beating so fast her chest ached. She wiped her face and swung her legs over the edge of her bed and glanced up at the grandfather clock . It was four am. Sighing, she rolled back under the blankets. She stared at the ceiling awhile before falling asleep to the lullaby of the rain.

The next morning Elizabeth all thoughts cycled back to the dream. Maybe I imagined it. Yes, she must have imagined it. It was all in my head. But, when the clock stroke five pm, the knocking filled the silence and any iota of hope Elizabeth had that she had imagined yesterday’s encounter was demolished.

At three p.m. the next day Elizabeth was pacing around the kitchen. Blood replaced by fear, Elizabeth sobbed into her hands, refrained from noticing it was five, and fell to the ground in fear. And then the knocking started.

Darrell knocked on the door the third time this week, impatiently tapping his foot. No answer. The only reason he was still coming was the generous payment that Elizabeth’s father had provided. Probably embarrassed her daddy got her a babysitter. I don’t have time for this. With a hideous snort, Darrell turned on his heel and began his journey back home, hoping his wife made steak for dinner.

Towards the Bay

Hi.  I am Christopher Martin and I’m here to tell you my story of the bay.

“What’s so important you ask?”  Well, for starters, the Bay is the most important thing in my life.  It’s the closest hill to the Bay River and everyday after school or on weekend mornings, I spend my time there with Kelsey Owens.  She is the love of my life and pride and joy.  Without her, I would be lost.  She had no education, but was the smartest and prettiest girl I knew.

Nobody knew much about her except that her parents died eight years ago in the spring from high flowing water in the Bay River.  Everyday she relived watching her parents floating dead in the water.

I am the most popular teenager in my high school, I suppose from my looks and talent for playing sports.  All the girls in my class flirt and flatter me, but I never buy into it.  The only girl that has never done this is Kelsey.  After her parents passed, she never loved anything or anyone again.  Except for me.  And this Saturday, I would express my true feelings to her and propose.

Saturday came upon me so fast that I had no idea what to say.  I was in my room listening to the radio when the news came on.  There was a suicide at the Bay River.  I dropped to the floor, my mind weak, blank and panicked.  I thought, “It can’t be Kelsey!”  She would never do that.  I must check.  It’s not her, it’s not her.  I grabbed my bicycle and pedaled till my legs went numb.

When I got there, I saw Kelsey laying face down on the stones of the river.  My knees fell flat down on the dirt.  I put my hands on my face and my eyes welled up with tears.  As I wiped them away, I got up and I ran like a madman to her body.  Burying her was the hardest thing I could ever do.  I noticed a letter poking out of the stones.

I opened it slowly, afraid of what was in there.  She wrote me about her dreams and thoughts for the future, about us together and building a house on the hill where we both could liver together forever.  I vowed to myself I would build a house for her and live there for the rest of my life, remembering that she would be the only girl I would ever love.  Before I tucked the letter away, I felt something at the bottom of the envelope.  I grabbed it and stared at it.  It was the ring she got me for our wedding.  I thought about it for the longest time, feeling I had all the time in the world.

I wore it day and night until I could see her once again.  I heard a voice speak to me.  I looked up above and noticed the light shining down.   The angel said, “Her body may be gone, but her spirit lives forever. “  I knew from then on she was in a  better place.