This year’s Flash Fiction Contest entries were judged on a tough set of criteria. First, all contest submissions had to be written as a mystery, suspense, or horror story. Then, authors had to capture the judges’ attention with an interesting main character and captivating plot. It was also requisite for teens to incorporate the phrase “It came from the library.” The most difficult challenge, though, was demonstrating their creative mojo in 250 words or less.
Today we are proud to announce our third place winner: Julien Blower for his story, “The Overdue Book.” He will receive a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble as his award.
The Overdue Book by Julien Blower
Nine o’clock at night, and I was just leaving a friend’s house. The party hadn’t exactly been a let-down, but I sure wasn’t cheerful as I shuffled away in the cold. I couldn’t get home fast enough, so naturally, when some raggedy man stumbled out in front of me on the sidewalk and grabbed me by the shoulders, my first thought was “run.”
But something about his eyes rooted me to the spot. They were dull and glazed, like a person’s eyes when they’re pretending to listen to you, but really they’re not paying attention at all. Only I could tell that something was off. There was something in the distance that he was focused on; something horrid that he couldn’t quite make out. His mouth slowly opened, and he muttered in a grave voice, “It came from the library.”
The man then collapsed on the ground in front of me. Panicking, I pulled out my cell phone and started to dial 9-1-1 when the screen went black. My only thought now was to run, but I couldn’t bring myself to move. You know how everyone laughs at horror movie characters because they always just stand there looking terrified as they’re about to get killed? Well, that’s exactly what happened.
Suddenly there was a rustle from behind me like pages turning in a book, and I felt something wrap around my ankles, slowly tightening until I couldn’t feel my feet. Then everything went black.
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