ABC Writing Contest





The ABC Writing Contest has been temporarily put on hold while the Big Idea Contest for the $5 house, facilitated by The Writers' Group is underway. Join the $5 House Facebook page & stay up to date on recent developments.

February 2010 winners:


Our first place winner is from Rina Gonzalez:


Rina A González was born in Havana, Cuba and migrated to the US in 1956.  She calls home the beautiful city of Orlando Florida, where she is dedicated to helping those who seek her guidance.

          Because of her dedication to change, Rina has developed classes and seminars with the emphasis on growth and through them, she imparts on her students the ways by which have a better life.

          The following are some of the names of her most recent classes and seminars:

·                    Awakening the Goddess Within

·                    The 12 Universal Laws

·                    Reclaiming your Sexuality

·                    Work Manual inspired by her book, The Contract of the Soul; available in Spanish and English.


          Rina knows that;

“What you don’t own, owns you”

          These are the books that Rina is working on and plans to publish and release in 2010:


          Destiny ~ Chronicles of a Legacy

          Provocative and Serene ~ Poems Collection


          El Contrato de las Almas

          Destino ~ Crónicas de un Legado

          Provocativa y Serena ~ Colección de Poesías

Yantra of the Divine Feminine


Awakening the Goddess Within

By Rina Gonzalez 

          A woman is a symbol of greatness, for she possesses the fragrance of exquisite tenderness, encompassing the whole of humanity. Yes! Every woman is capable of being graceful, beautiful, courageous, powerful and famous, and sometimes we can even be infamous.

          Adored by those who know her, admired by those who seek her, and needed by those she loves. A woman embodies ‘Mother Nature’s wisdom, elegance and poise, yet her powers are limited because she lacks knowing who she is or how to use her wisdom effectively.

          When she finds herself in the middle of a difficult situation, a woman can stand her ground by stating her case. Seldom is a woman at a loss for words nor does she have a problem letting others know exactly what’s on our mind. Except when this is done excessively, then her power is lost and instead of gaining momentum or credibility with those she wants to influence, she ends up wasting precious energy.

          A woman is love personified and as such she has Mother Nature’s wisdom sketched in her soul. A woman loves passionately and when she is loved in return she expresses it in a variety of ways. A woman can be patient and tolerant as well as the one to impose the rules. Above all a woman possesses the power to listen to her own inner voice and act upon what she knows is right.

          A woman is a devoted friend who speaks her truth and empowers those she comes in contact with. Whatever her age, whatever title she holds, every woman possess the secret of ‘The Divine Feminine’ within her womb. As the giver of life, her job is to guide and care for the young.  And while her job is fulfilling, it is never done.  Part of a woman’s job is to impart her wisdom in those she cares for.  Each woman knows the importance of the soul that is within and what is best for those she loves.

          These are just some of the characteristics of being a woman and knowing them so well was what motivated me to create this seminar. Until we occupy our rightful place in society, harmony cannot exist. Let us come together and learn to use our wisdom and power effectively so that together we can bring harmony into our world.

2nd place comes from Philippe Zigiloli:


By Philippe Ziglioli

I often wonder, when

out of bereavement

muscles itch and twitch

in bed and breath redoubles,

if Ariadne really joined

Dionysus in assumption

or, led by cosmic loneliness,

she self-immolated

on Zeus’ throne when vacant,

for the Pantheon to vision

how forlorn she’d been in Naxos.

This and other fables

lull me down sleep’s tunnel

till I in sombreness pass out.



3rd place comes from Gina Kincade:


My Name is Gina Kincade of Ontario, Canada
By day, I am a mother to two young, rambunctious boys who keep me on my toes and one incredibly intelligent male teen.

My nights are filled with the paranormal erotic characters within my book series and the thrilling intimate relationships they have yet to explore or cuddling up with one of the incredible books generated by any number of my awesome fellow authors and friends.

I am an author of erotic short stories and erotic paranormal books. I love spending my spare time using the extreme imagination that I am blessed with to create a story you can "crawl" into.

I've always had a major fascination with wolves, werewolves, witches and vampires...almost anything paranormal really.

Working on a series of paranormal erotic books and erotic short stories. i have several erotic short stories currently published online at a number of erotic story sites including my own “new” forum
Available to anyone who wishes to try their hand at erotic literature, and those who enjoy reading it.

Always seem to have more on the go then I can handle but I wouldn’t change a moment of it!

I am pleased to display my short story "Eternity" on the Writers Group, as a first place winner of the "horror" category. I welcome anyone interested in my work to contact me on Facebook.


by Gina Kincade   Copyright ©2009


Razor sharp teeth flashed in the moonlight as he bent quickly and plunged deep into her neck. He flinched as blood sprayed from the artery he had struck. He drank deeply, savouring the taste of her coppery blood and held her tighter against his chest to lessen her movements lest it cause the wound to open deeper. Her quiet whimpering cut him to the core but he still continued. He hated this.

Lady Gina woke in the moonlight slowly, feeling somewhat drowsy as she lay on the cool moss bed thinking about her new husband, about her new life…where it would go from here. Touching her neck she could feel nothing remaining but the indent of his bite, she was already embracing and healing fast.

He had just taken her…willingly on her part, perhaps not so much on his. Her long time lover had fought this day for so long. He had never wanted it to be like this for her…but she had. She needed this new life…she needed him.

Woelf had warned her about the hunger, the insatiable need to feed, and the way it would feel to never see the light of day again without cover…she just didn’t care. Lady Gina knew she wanted this more then anything. To finally belong…to have a family…to be free to be who she wanted to be…but most of all, to be with him completely, without his fear of going to far and hurting her.

Oh yes, the others Elders would complain, they were expecting another to be his wife. It had all been arranged…but that would have meant losing him…forever. 

There would be a precious few however, who would welcome her with open arms. Talia, Bella Dawn and Yzhbella had asked for her many times before, to have her join them, but Woelf had denied the request. As an Elder in the clan, even a relatively new one, they had to respect his wishes or risk the punishment. Only he had the power to make the choice and bring her into his world, the life of the undead.

Where had he gone? To love her so completely…bring her to the brink of death and then pull back, just in time. To have finally made her one with him and then leave her here…alone?

Hardly noticing the droplets of blood splattered to the left of where she had lain, Lady Gina jumped to her feet, her anger at him increasing swiftly…her blood to almost at a boil in seconds. She walked to the edge of the precipice they had found, and jumped, slicing through the air, downward. Lady Gina had a wicked temper, which she kept a tight reign on, but somehow he always managed to make her lose control of herself, one way or the other.

As she landed in the pool below, the temperature of the water reduced her anger, but minimally. Surfacing she looked around her, at the foliage so thick it blocked this pool from the sight of passers-by on the road just the other side of the trees. It was the perfect location to find food, shelter, create a home and it was close to the coven as well.
Her sweet, caring, sexy as hell, lord of the darkness had promised her a “real home”, something she had never truly had before.

Finally, as she looked around the cave-like enclosure, she saw him, sitting on his haunches in the corner of the falls, fangs dripping blood down his chest. He had needed to feed on one he could pull every last drop from, take until they lay lifeless in his grip, to the death. This was the life she knew she would now be a part of with him. The life she wanted so damn badly.

The blood did not bother her before and it certainly didn’t now. In fact, as she swam towards him, it drew her in. It’s scent…strong bloody smell, slightly tangy, mixed with the fresh clean water of the warm pool and the falls, made it even more of an assault to her senses.
She was hungry herself, but no human food would satisfy her cravings again. She needed the blood, fresh blood, of a human.

Still feeling the slight anger at his leaving her alone, she hoisted herself from the water without a sound. He had not noticed her yet as he continued to drain the life from the wanderer in the woods. 

Slowly, so as not to startle him, she slithered up behind him, watching his body tense as he realized her presence. With a deep growl she ran a long fingernail down his back, watching as his own blood began to seep from the wound.

“You do not share the first meal with your new wife after our joining? Is it not common courtesy to do so!?” Her anger was evident when she spoke.
Woelf turned to look at her, the apology clear in his eyes as he met hers.
“I am sorry my love, you were sleeping and I did not wish to disturb you.”

With only a flicker of life left in the body he drank from, her lover moved out of the way and offered the final kill to his new bride. Her anger at him instantly melted away, once again to be replaced by sweet intense longing…the usual reaction when he was near.

Lady Gina looked at the near lifeless body for only an intake of breath and then lunged, plunging her sharp, new fangs into the last remaining pulse of the human’s neck…suckling deeply, like a babe long starved for his mother. 

She had now become a full blood vampire, a creature of the night....Dark Lady Gina, as she was now to be known, was reborn into this new life. The life she had wanted for as long as she had known his wife, his lady of the night...



For the January 2010 contest we had a score of entries. 

1st Place comes from the nonficiton category.

Chuck Scott

I started life as an Army Brat in 1943 in Atlanta, Georgia.  While I was growing up I attended 16 different schools and lived in Germany at three different times for a total of seven years.  I was in Germany in 1961 when the Berlin Wall went up.

 After graduating from high school in Junction City, Kansas, I joined the US Air Force and worked for four years as a weather observer.  My last year in the service was in South Korea.  I was there in 1968 when the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea.

I have a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in social sciences, a master’s degree in counseling from Emporia (Kansas) State University, and a master’s degree in education administration from Kansas State University.

My entire professional career of 33 years was spent working for Kansas technical colleges, approximately half of it as an administrator.  I retired in 2002 and have devoted a considerable amount of time to writing essays, short stories and my memoirs.  This labor of love has been far more gratifying and personally rewarding than anything I ever did during my career, although I have drawn an enormous amount of material from those experiences. 

I believe that writing is the best hobby a person can have.  It stimulates the mind, requires thoughtful research, presents an artistic challenge, and, hopefully, touches the lives of others in a meaningful way.


The Performer

Do you know who you are?  As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”  In the drama of life we all assume a role and become proficient thespians.

Who were you at various times of your life and who are you now?  If you could visit yourself when over the years you stood at different signposts contemplating the direction in which you should next travel, how would you compare the person you were to the person you have become?  And who will you be tomorrow?  How will your character evolve?

I have often looked at my past from a distance, detached from the person I am at the moment, and pondered these thoughts.  Sometimes I saw myself as a stranger, a person with whom I am vaguely acquainted but not with whom I am intimate.  I have also been my worst critic, in retrospect judging my performances vis-à-vis the accouterments of a flawed character hobbled by the inadequacies of a novice and mediocre playwright.  I seemed to have suffered interminably by reciting prose from the sophomoric material I thrust upon myself.

As I refined my skills I learned to enhance and expand the story by creating complex characters and constructing dialogue replete with despondency and elation, failure and triumph, setbacks 

and progress, all the while moving inexorably to the denouement.  The hero was I.  The villain was I.  Sometimes wearied by the obdurate demands of the director, I sought respite and even sympathy.  My eyes wandered to the exits.  But there was no intermission.

Years of rehearsal have made me a more accomplished actor on the stage of life.  I am comfortable with the script because I write it thoughtfully.  I am now the feted protagonist, acting out my part with infallible accuracy and avoiding the miscues of a clumsy neophyte.  The question that remains is whether I shall be the author of the final act, the final scene.  My mind experiments with the plot daily.  Certainly, someone in the audience will write the epilogue.  The reviews will be as transient as my life, becoming brown and brittle as they age, and my words, unlike those of the Bard, will evaporate as quickly as the clouds that brought yesterday’s passing showers.  



2nd Place is we felt would best be described as sci-fi as the POV character uses a tool (technology) to see into another dimension.

Ryan Robert Hallett

My name is Ryan Robert Hallett and I submitted Upon Reflection for the January writing contest.  Here's a little background information:

I am a 31-year-old musician and amateur writer residing in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am a graduate of the University of Ottawa undergraduate psychology program. In addition to writing and music I am interested in photography and have been trying, somewhat successfully, to teach myself Russian. 

I have previously won two honourable mentions for another story entitled "The Man From Between the Seconds", but this is my first win.  My goals as a writer are ill-defined.  Of course I would love to publish a string of great novels and eventually become a millionaire while simultaneously enlightening the masses, but in the meantime I'm satisfied writing my stories and essays for my own pleasure... and now yours!  I would also like to one day land an editing job and have just recently begun to make my way down that long and winding road.  

Thank you for your interest in my story.


Upon Reflection

by Ryan Robert Hallett



     Drip, drip.


     From the depths, a whisper.

     Then another and another, until they blend into a rising murmur. Whisper, murmur, whisper…

     Uh oh.  He knew it was coming, but he never knew when. It was like a damned horror movie in this place.  He was on the edge of his seat, but maintained his resolve.

     Whisper, murmur, gurgle…



     “God damn it!”

     As he dropped the razor and grabbed for his neck to stop the drop of blood before it hit his new undershirt, Trevor uttered a rising murmur of his own.  He was losing it.  The plumbing in this place was ruining him psychologically and now physically as well.  Cheryl would one day find him on the bathroom floor, covered in shards from a broken mirror, sobbing and spouting gibberish, while the pipes tormented him with a maniacal litany of gurgles and burps.    

     Picking up the blade and rinsing it off, he looked back into the mirror.  He would swear that grey strand wasn’t there a moment ago.  His age was starting to show, just a little, in the form of a lengthening, thickening layer of fuzz on the back of his neck.  If this kept up he’d be sporting a full horse’s mane in no time – a mare’s mullet.  If he didn’t accidentally give himself a Colombian necktie, that was. 

    For his next feat, he would require the hand-mirror.  After trying a few different mirror/ body alignments, he settled on one where he looked into the small mirror with his back to the larger one along the wall.  He could see the back of his neck well enough to shave it.  In fact, he could see about four or five of the backs of his neck if he shifted the angle just so.   It was quite a trip.  If he swiveled just out of the picture and strained his eyes until they bulged, he could see another couple of frames, nearly bringing the total to seven.  One for each year of his life he would ruin if he dropped the mirror he was holding.  He bent over to wipe the shaving cream off the handle of the razor, and in so doing noticed a movement in the mirror out of the corner of his eye.  He stood up quickly, looking around and into the many reflections, but there was nothing there. Things were often like this in the middle of the night.

     Trevor finished the neck job, sloppily, and decided to leave the rest of his face for later.  He had the mid-night creeps.  He was sure that if he had the guts to backtrack and go peek in the bathroom sink, he’d see his newly liberated neck hairs straightening where they lay.  Lacking the guts to go check, he climbed in with his unconscious fiancée, pulled the covers over his head, and fell fast asleep.


    The next morning, Trevor awoke fresh as a daisy.   Cheryl had long gone to work.  The horse tranquilizers she took to get to sleep most nights pushed her off the wrong side of the bed in the morning.  He thought he could still see the indent in her pillow from where she slept unmoving most of the night, and hear the faint echo of her shouting something about hair in the sink.  He once told her she should get the doctor to lighten the dose but she insisted it was the only way she could sleep. 

     To tell the truth he didn’t much like this new city.  Nor the apartment with its gurgling pipes.  He felt the walls closing in, and he suspected she did too, since he was always in trouble for something.  She thought he was thoughtless, but he wasn’t thoughtless enough to not notice her always telling him about it.  “I’m thoughtless, not deaf,” he would love to said.  But that was married life, apparently. His destiny.   He and Cheryl had just moved here from the suburbs so that he might increase his career prospects and she could begin articling at a law firm and start to pay off her student loans.  And together they could start their new life. Already the apartment seemed smaller, every noise louder, and every day a little less sunny than the last.  If it inspired her to get out more, it made him withdrawn.  Pondering this, he stared vacantly into the chasm that was the calendar on his nightstand. He fixed his eyes and beheld the thirty-one day void.  He would have to do something about that.  But right now he needed some coffee.

     After awkwardly setting up the espresso maker his mother-in-law-to-be had given them as a house-warming gift, he decided to finish the previous night’s shave.  A smooth face and a strong cup of Italian coffee might motivate him to head out and look for a job. In the bathroom, coffee in hand sharpening his senses, he beheld his morning self.

     “Hey, handsome.”


     “Not now…” mumbled Trevor, opening the drawer to get the hand mirror so he could check if he missed a strand or two in his delirium the night before.  “Whaaat?”  No mirror.  Cheryl’s compact must have been too compact.  “Women,” he commented, preening.

     “What the hell am I supposed to do now?  Who’s going to hire a guy who can’t even shave his neck properly?  I look like a goat.”  He made an angry goat face into the mirror and left the bathroom to see what he could find.  They were like teenagers.  They had moved in nearly a month ago and still half of their things were in bags and boxes, unpacked.

     “Mirror, mirror…” He picked through drawers and rifled through closets, but to no avail.  Finally he found, wedged between the dresser and the wall, an unframed rectangular mirror. It was a little hard to hold in one hand, but it offered more coverage than the hand mirror, and he would only need it for a minute. 

     “Bad goat hairs,” he scolded, snipping.  “Baaa-a-a-ad goat hairs.”  Clearly he needed to get out more.  “I better get a plan or an excuse before Cheryl gets home, or I’m…  What the hell?”

     He’d swear that he saw something, deep in the corridor of repeated reflections.  He tilted left, tilted right, but things seemed in order as far as the eye could see.  He gave his head a shake.  But wait.  “What was that?” he asked aloud.  He was sure that he could see something moving in the eighth reflection, the third-to-last one visible.  Just the one reflection.  Nothing was moving in the others, but definitely there was…


    Trevor was sure that he could see a leg where the shower curtain was slightly open, in that one reflected bathroom.  Instinctively, he looked behind him.  No leg.  He peeked in the shower.  Nothing.  “Field glasses, field glasses…” he muttered as he put down the mirror and dashed out to find his binoculars.  He was near panic when he realized that he gave them to his nephew, who fell in love with them when his uncle showed him that the smear of face on the moon was actually a bunch of craters.  “Stupid nephew.  Think, think, think.”  And then he had the answer.  “Telephoto lens!  I can use the camera!”

     The logistics of holding the long, oddly shaped and heavy camera in one hand and the mirror in the other were complex to say the least.  He was in a very awkward position when he heard the keys jingling at the door, and all but dropped the two fragile objects trying to assume a casual pose when it opened and Cheryl walked in.

     “What’s up, honey?” Was there a trace of suspicion in her voice?

     “Shaving.”  Did he answer too quickly?

     “What’s with the camera?  Are you doing a photo shoot?  Were you going to surprise me with some dirty pictures, sweetheart?”

     “Uh, nothing.  What are you doing home?” He tried to change the subject.

     “I came to have lunch with you.  Things have seemed kind of strained with us lately, not least because I’m working so hard.  Too hard.”  Was that a jab?  “Anyway, I’m sorry.”  What was her game here?  Was this a guilt trip?

     “I can’t stay long, but I’ll make us a couple of sandwiches, okay?”

     He couldn’t keep his mind off the mirrors and the one rogue reflection.  Was he seriously going crazy?

     “Honey, sandwich?”

     “Uh, yeah.”

     “What would you like on it?”

     “Yeah.”  He turned back toward the mirror on the bathroom wall, gazing deep into its universe. 

     From down the hallway, he could hear Cheryl trying to dote on him, and he couldn’t escape the feeling that she was trying to rub it in.

     “Listen, C., I’m going to get a job, okay?” he shouted down the hall.  “Don’t worry.  Just stop pressuring me.”

     “Honey…” she paused, incredulous expression on her face.  “I came to make you lunch and in so doing apologized for not giving you enough attention, and you accuse me of harassing you?”  She grabbed her keys off the hallway table.  “Seriously, Trevor”, she added, and stormed out of the apartment.

    “About those sleeping pills, Cheryl…” he fired at her mentally, through the wall.


     “I think that’s the first time you and I have ever agreed on anything,” Trevor said to the toilet.



     “Where the hell is she?” 

     He had been staring through the camera, into the mirror, for what seemed like an eternity, his vigil broken only by occasional stops to stretch, relax and reposition, and to blink four or five hundred times.  He knew he was not going crazy.  He couldn’t be.  He felt fine.

     “Where are you, you little vixen?”


     “Not you.”  He squinted. And there she was, plain as day.  “You…” He wasn’t crazy.  His back was killing him, but he was afraid to put down the camera and mirror for fear of losing her.  She was a woman, all right.  Mid-twenties, average height, slender build, and quite naked.  Quite naked, indeed.  Suddenly a naked man entered her washroom.  Trevor wasn’t sure he should be seeing this, but naturally he was riveted.  This wasn’t voyeurism; it was something else entirely.  The naked woman turned to embrace the naked man, also of average height, slim, but with a muscular build.  Not Trev’s type.  The man ignored her advance.  He grabbed something from out of Trevor’s view and left the washroom without a word.  She said something to him as he left, but Trevor couldn’t hear it, and she turned to look at her sad beautiful face in the mirror, not noticing her watcher half a foot and three million miles away.  Eventually, she, too, exited the room and Trevor was left on his own, stunned and bewildered.

     He spent much of the afternoon roaming the apartment, sore all over and sure he was nearly blind in one eye.  He had finally got out of the building, sort of, but he knew that he could hardly tell Cheryl about it.  Even if she did agree to take a look, and not just walk out on him again, what if no one was there when he tried to show her?  She would think he was nuts.  And, banish the thought, what if… what if no one had ever been there at all?  Suddenly these thoughts were derailed by another: What about the rest of the apartment?  Surely it couldn’t just be the washroom.  He would have to wait for the return of the hand-mirror in order to find out for sure.  In the meantime, he resumed his watch with renewed vigour. 

     Eventually, Cheryl returned from work.  A thick layer of ice had been forming between them, but Trevor hardly noticed.  His eyes had become as glassed over as the shiny surface that so drew his attention.  When he wasn’t in front of the mirror, he was sullen and withdrawn. Otherwise he was just withdrawn.


     “You’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the mirror, Trev.”  She was used to him ignoring her by now, but something had changed over the last couple of days.  It wasn’t just the incident the previous afternoon.  “I’m starting to forget what you look like in here.”  She got off the couch to see what he was up to.  She knocked twice, with no response.  Gingerly, she opened the door to find her fiancée in front of the mirror, as expected, but also with another largish mirror perched on its side in his hand, held up behind his head, like a canvas sitting on an easel.  The masterpiece was a portrait of Trevor’s backside, and he was looking at it through a camera, staring like a madman. It looked extremely uncomfortable.

     “I see you’ve got it all covered.”

     No response.

     “Trevor, am I not giving you enough attention?  I know I’m never around, but you know, I try.”

     Absently, Trevor replied, “Yeah, honey, I’ll be there in a sec.”

     “Trevor, my love, I don’t quite know what to do with you these days.”  She didn’t even want to know about the camera.

     “Okay, sweetie…”

     Sulking down the hall, she noted the irony of the situation.  At least when he was rude to her, he was paying attention.  Was he sick of her?  Getting cold feet? Using drugs?  She doubted he would know where to get any.  By the time Trevor emerged from the washroom, she had taken some drugs of her own and fallen into a cold, lonesome sleep.


     Seeing the familiar lump under the sheets and hearing the telltale drone of her breathing, Trevor knew it was safe to set up in the living room.  After leaning the rectangular mirror against the back of the couch, he carefully extracted the mid-sized hand-mirror from Cheryl’s handbag, grabbed a chair, a big relief, and sat down to investigate.  With his larger, rectangular mirror being smaller than the wall-length one in the bathroom, and the hand mirror smaller than the rectangular, his view was severely limited.  He tried angle after angle, but to his increasing despair it became apparent that this wasn’t going to work.  He couldn’t see more than a few reflections deep.

     “Damn, damn, DAMN!” his voice rose in frustration.  Cheryl wouldn’t likely wake up even if he shouted, but his neighbors might, so he cooled his jets.  He felt tears welling up in his eyes.  He choked them back and returned to the washroom where he resumed his search with increased fervor. His nerves were shot, both body and brain.  His optical nerve, the one in his left eye, was particularly feeling the pinch.  It had been a long, strange couple of days, but he was soothed a little, despite his absurd posture, when he saw that both of his “neighbors” were in their washroom.


     Trevor had them in his sights. The gentleman was just entering the shower and she was leaning against the counter with her back to Trevor.  They were talking, but maddeningly, he couldn’t hear a word.  Her body language, the bobbing of her head and her hand movements all said the conversation wasn’t going well.  Suddenly, silently, she slammed her fist against the counter and spun around, looking angrily into the mirror.  It appeared like she was looking directly at Trevor. What did he do?  “What did I do?” he asked aloud, but her sole response was to slam her fist once again, eyes wider than ever. Trevor was so confused, his mind and his body both twisted in this insane corridor of mirrors, with this strange, sad woman looking maniacally into the mirror, at him!  He began again to weep, this time for real.  Just then the pipes began their chatter.  The whispers, the almost discernible murmuring.


     That was it.  At that moment, her partner must have said something because the woman’s face got even angrier, more bent with despair.  Tears flowed from her eyes and she slammed her fist down again, yelling, staring right into Trevor.


     Trevor cracked.  He fell, camera and mirror flying out of his hands, the former hitting the wall-length, glass breaking into a million tiny reflections which rained onto his back as he completed his descent to the tile floor below. 


     “Trevor, honey.”

     He awoke to the sound of his beautiful fiancée’s voice.  At first he didn’t open his eyes. He basked in the bright light radiating through his eyelids.  He breathed deeply the smell of her breath, and savored her image in his mind’s eye.  He wasn’t sure where they were, and he didn’t care.  He was in the moment, content.  Finally he lifted his lids, immediately wishing he hadn’t.  The light was that of the harsh fluorescent, silhouetted by Cheryl’s face.  She was crying.  Everything was glittering.  It gave the illusion that the washroom was covered in her tears, a trick he was made sharply aware of when he tried to shift his weight and felt the glass grinding beneath him.  How long had he been laying here?  What was happening?

     “What’s wrong, honey?” he asked her, looking into her eyes for what felt like the first time in a thousand years.

     “What’s wrong, Trevor?  Look at yourself.  Look at this place!  I don’t know what’s going on, but what’s wrong with me is what’s wrong with you, and it’s wrong with us.  I think maybe we need some time apart.  Maybe I’m smothering you.  I don’t know.  Maybe we moved too quickly.”


     “Trevor, let’s not talk now.  If you’re alright, I’m going to go to the office early.”

     “What time is it?”

     “It’s five-thirty.  Goodbye, Trevor.  I’m sorry to leave you at a time like this.  I just… I’m sorry.”

     Trevor lay back down on the pillow she had put under his head and passed out cold.


          Cheryl returned mid-evening, exhausted and heart-broken.  Exhausted from work, of course, but also from her life in this box with Trevor; and heartbroken about what she had become convinced she had to do about the problem.  Reaching for the handle to the apartment door, she swallowed and prepared herself for whatever scene she might enter upon.

     “Hey, honey.”

     “Hi, Trevor,” she replied sheepishly, unable to look up at him as she bent over to take off her shoes. She dared not even glance into the washroom.

     “It’s cold.”

     “What are you talking about, Trevor?  I think this is the warmest day of the month.”                                   

     “Not the apartment, sweetheart.”

     Cheryl really, really didn’t want to know.  She plodded down the hall in slow motion, without a word, still not looking up.

     “Look in the kitchen.”

     She took a deep breath and clenched her fists as she rounded the corner into the kitchen, fearful of what madness she might behold.

     “The gnocchi.”

     She looked up at the counter and was stunned to see her favorite comfort food.  The anxiety, which she had been holding in all day at work and on the bus and subway back to the apartment, all came out at once.  She burst into tears. 

     “I started it a little too early.  It must be cold by now.  There’s no need to cry, sweetheart.  I can warm it up for you.”

     “Oh, Trevor.”  She ran to him, put her arms around him and nearly squeezed him into juice.

     He seemed oblivious to what had happened that morning, but she didn’t want to lose the moment by bringing it up.  Plus, she was starving, having been too stressed to eat all day.  What only this morning had been a scene straight out of a horror film was now a fragment of memory, vague as a dream.  The smell of the food and the innocent look on her sweet Mr. Mom’s face had her under their spell.  It was as if none of it had ever happened.

     After dinner Trevor suggested they have a shower together.

     “Would the lady care to come get naked and wet with me?”

     “Trevor!  I don’t remember the last time we showered together.”  It had been eons.  “Let me go to the washroom and I’ll start the shower.  Just give me a minute.  I have to freshen up.”

     “I’ll get fresh with you, baby.”

     “I’m sure you will,” she said, giggling like a schoolgirl.  “Five minutes, mister.  I have to pee.  How fresh is that?”

     Walking down the hall to the washroom, she nearly forgot about the mirror, the glass and God forbid, maybe a bit of her poor Trevor’s blood, only remembering as she reached to turn on the light.  She winced as the bulb flickered on to reveal a perfectly normal, blood-free bathroom with an intact wall-length mirror.  Either she needed to lighten her meds, Trevor was a magician, or he had actually got off his ass and called someone to come fix it.  She opted for the latter, as she was too logical to be insane, and he no master at the sleight-of-hand.

     Once she was ready and had the shower going she stepped into the hallway and beckoned him with a little striptease, only to coyly back into the washroom upon his approach.  He followed her in.

     “Are you ready?” she asked, batting her eyelashes.

     He entered the washroom wordlessly and reached into the drawer under the sink without looking at her, took out the hand mirror and brought it out of the room somewhere, temporarily breaking the spell he had cast with the gnocchi.  Immediately he came back in, grabbed her, and kissed her hard, like she was the last molecule of oxygen in the room, like his life depended on it.  She pulled him into the shower where they made love for the first time in over a month.  She closed her eyes, forgot the world of words and deeds, and thought instead in colors.  When they were finished, they held each other for a few minutes, as much to help support their wobbly legs as to embrace.


     “I’ll call the landlord in the morning, sweetheart.”

     She kissed him. “What’s gotten into you, Trevor?”

     “I don’t know, but I know what’s gotten into you…”

     She mock slapped him.  “Trevor!  I’m gonna get out now.  My fingers are pruning and so is your sense of humor.  I’m getting into bed.”  With that, she kissed him again and left the shower, toweled off, and exited the room.

     Trevor was overheated, so he adjusted the water temperature and sat down in the bathtub, letting the cool water pour over his empty head, which swirled in the afterglow.  Finally, he got up and shut off the water, dried himself and crawled into bed with his lady.  He gingerly put his arms around her, although with her medication he could have thrown her over his shoulder and taken her for a jog and she wouldn’t have woken up.  To his surprise, she opened her eyes, sober as the light of day, and gazed deep into his. 

     “I love you, Trevor.”

     “I love you, too, Cheryl.”

     Trevor turned out the lamp and they both fell into a deep, deep sleep.


The End.


3rd Place came from the Horror category.

William Patterson

"The Poet"

Writing is a journey which I began traversing path during my years as an idealistic teen on the southside streets of Chicago. During this time my mind speculated upon a world view that hinged upon inner city visions and hopes. However, as I matured in life I learned to expand my human senses to witness a much broader world by which I now express in words. I know that writing and reading are my outlets into different places and times.

My belief is that an author is a storyteller who can express the essence of life in words; it may be love, family, culture, turmoil or pain. I myself have been on all of these pathways.And it is my sincere hope that my reader will see thru my eyes the heart of a father, or the agony and joy of this man by my words.

It is through the medium of words that we the bards become creators giving life and energy to letters. I have self-published one book of poetry known as Lessons of the learned, which areas of faith, love, culture ethnicity and trials and triumphs. I am inspired by great poets and authors such as Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King because of their imagination and passion.

We did not choose words- The words chose us to be their caretakers.


A Twilight Date


     Grey Clouds of smoke rolls off the tips of stout cigars and lingers in the taut air like pieces of soft dreams wandering for a home. It covers the sounds of robust laughter and clinking of lager glasses brewing over with Ale like an old dusty blanket. Harry sat at the middle of the bar nursing the last few gulps of his fifth pint of Guinness. Last night had been the celebration of his promotion to junior partner at the brokerage firm of Holleman and Weitz. He grinned fiendishly while musing on the jovial antics which he and his friends had done in the past few hours. Now alone he plays a waiting game at the pub, while his friends had gone home to either wives or girlfriends. And he yearns for those former college days when they were all carefree and eligible.

      Commitment is not the road by which Harry desires to travel on, for he is a handsome chap with success flowing thru his veins. His Hollywood actor smile and chiseled four days a week gym body makes it possible to seduce almost any woman who comes within his reach. Harry’s theory in life is that committed relationships are a waste of his time. However, there is another dragon in which this radiant knight desires to slay; the acquisition of his own full service brokerage firm by the age of thirty-five.  

      Harry’s life has been an elevator ride in a corporate ivory tower with different female riders periodically jumping on and off at different floors. He enjoys the challenge of new conquests in both personal and business affairs. Once he was told by a gorgeous brunette named Amanda who worked as legal counselor in uptown that he charmed women and then tossed them away as yesterday’s toy dolls. Their escapade like the others had been cocooned in sex and lust, but this one was his longest that lasted only five months.     


     He glances into the mirror behind the bar admiring himself with gloating eyes, while watching the scene for any new prospects. The hunt in this jungle is like playing the game of chess for him. His strategy is to always be three moves ahead of his opponent, which is any beautiful woman who gets trapped within his line of sight.

      From seemingly nowhere a sensuous fragrance wafts thru the smoke-filled room and fills his nostrils. He jerks his head around to catch a glimpse of the culprit and then his eyes finally find her. She glides thru the shadows in the room with an aura of a fallen angel; glowing and moving nonchalantly. And the dimness captures a hazy profile of her face as she moves towards a lone table near the door. The strands of her auburn hair sashays in synchronicity with her hips which curve in a low cut black dress. She pauses to pick up a long black trench coat and twirls it around fluidly inserting both of her arms into the sleeves. Then she walks out thru the double oak doors and into the twilight.

     Harry douses his throat with the remainder of the dark brew and beckons the bartender. He drops a fifty dollar bill on top of the bar and snatches his coat from the stool then quickly strides towards the door. The air is crisp with snowflakes twirling down from the half-moonlit sky as he enters the vastness of lonely city streets. He looks to his left and notices her walking many feet ahead.

     The city is sleeping yet there seems to be consciousness in the atmosphere surrounding him and this mysterious woman, and he was determined to seek it out.  Suddenly he hears what sounds like humming and it surprises him.

“I wonder what song is she humming, and perhaps I could get her to sing like an intoxicated song bird tonight!”

He jested out loud while flashing impish smirk.

     Her silhouette snakes thru the backdrop of granite high-rise buildings, blinking traffic lights and begrimed spots of snow drifts. He can see puffs of breath floating aimlessly above her auburn hair, which seems to radiate the only color in this seemingly black and white image.

“Crunch, Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.”

     Harry’s foot steps accompany the sweet whisper of her humming as the only sounds echoing inside his ears. “Hmmm, this is an enticing adventure, just two creatures a locked into a night flight chase.” His mind pondered briefly at the strangeness of this situation. Nevertheless, he feels an arousal swelling from within and his heart pounds faster with anticipation.

“Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump…”

     The woman turns left at a dimly lit corner with a flickering light post and disappears from view. He quickens his pace to a half-trot and arrives at the corner just in time to watch her cross the street.

“Oh you are sly my lady, but you won’t lose me!”

He declares with a confident tone.

She stops in front of a Victorian brownstone, and walks up the stairs to a door with a small circular window which has a soft amber glow shining through. Motionless she stands while the light eclipses around her body and face. Harry approaches the bottom of the steps eagerly as if he were a child waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap.

     Her voice calls out to him in low whisper.

“Come here Harry, I have been waiting to meet you for awhile.”

He wrinkles his brow and cocks his head.                


“How do you know me?”

“Oh Harry your reputation exceeds your name, and I just wanted the opportunity to meet the legend himself.”

“Are you coming?”

     Harry fidgets like a little boy caught with his hand in a cookie jar by a stern Mother; nonetheless he is the hunter who never recedes from a thrilling hunt. As he slowly moves up the steps towards her, she stretches her arms out in a hugging gesture. He is now within her grasp and finally able to see her face, but now it was too late!

    The scream boils and churns from some bottomless pit hidden deep within his throat, yet could not escape out through his mouth. His eyes widens in horror as the raven black pupils embedded into her skeleton face bore into his. Her bony arms wraps around his body as she presses her face against his sucking away his life force.

“I am the succubus named Death and I have waited so long to love you Harry.”

She blew a kiss into his mouth.




     Three days passed before Kelvin had decided to check in on Harry at his apartment. He thought it strange that he had not heard from him since the night of the party at Crogan’s Pub. After several phone calls to Harry’s office and cell phone went unanswered, he flagged down a cab and made his way to his friend’s place.

    They found him lying on his back in the bedroom wearing the same clothes that he had worn on that night. The landlord was frantic as he dialed 911 while muttering to himself.

“I really don’t need this! I don’t need this right now”

    The coroner’s report later revealed that Harry died from a Cardiac Arrest after arriving home that night from the bar. And for many months he had been suffering from sleep apnea mingled with the stress of working many twelve hour days. Yet the final straw in the haystack was the frequent alcohol binges at different bars that transpired into the wee hours of night. Harry had lived too fast without thought of tomorrow’s due and life had finally come to collect its tab.




Finally Honorable Mention goes to poet Yvonne Nunn for "A Senior Conundrum"








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