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Horror Short Story Contest Winners

 


We are happy to announce the winners of the Madison County Reads Horror Short Story Contest! We had so many great entries. Thank you to everyone who contributed. A link to each winner's story can be found on the title.

Adult Category:

1st Place- David Tenneson with Salvation Awaits.

Judges comments: “This story really drew me in and didn’t let go. I loved both the language and concept, and I found myself still thinking about this story several hours later.”  “The author took the concepts of judgment, atonement, and freedom of choice and spun it into an excellent piece of existential dread. The true horror of the story is self-inflicted on the narrator, by the narrator, without them ever realizing the true nature of their situation, and I...well, I love it. It's properly disturbing.”

2nd Place- Alicia Cole with The Mark.

Judges comments: “In the stripped-down, diary-like passages of "The Mark," we see the story's narrator confront a difficult, potentially ruinous situation with a dark, calculating response. Their transformation is swift but organic; in only 800 words Cole satisfactorily lays out our narrator's justifications for their actions, only for them to be left with some appropriately troubling consequences.”  “This story didn’t come right out and say what was going on, I was just along for the ride. I love that the main character relished in imagining the thief slowly poisoning himself. Even more so, I love that main character was poisoned herself. Or inhabited by a ghost. Or the ghost was guilt.”

3rd Place- Owen Clarke with The Cream of the Crop.

Judges Comments: “Told from the point of view of a child, the reader doesn’t fully understand what is happening until the very end, when you realize what you thought you should be concerned about was something much worse.”  “It reminded me of Stephen King in pacing and the way the characters were revealed.  The interesting twists as the situation unfolded and the growing sense of horror until the bleak sad ending.  Great!”


Teen Category:

Maggie B. with Abernathy Girls.

Judges Comments: “Three mysterious sisters enchant a town and encounter a teenage girl with destructive urges. I LOVED this story! The writing is superb. Lines like "They kidnapped spring and laid it on our doorstep" are poetry. I want to read this NOVEL.”  “Wow.  Just flat out WOW.  The world, the characters, and the sense of dread are all tightly entwined.  Excellent writing and I hope to read more from this author in the future!”

Ashley B. with Killer.

Judges Comments: “This story about a cabin-bound family facing off against a terrifying force in the woods is scary! The shifting point of view from Linda to her sister Lucile to an external view of their "aunt" Fiona is really creative and effective in building dread.” “I loved the changing POV and the twist ending. I have to admit, I did not see it coming!”

Aparna B. with Just Desserts.

Judges Comments: “I love anything with mythological monsters but the monster in this one is all to human.  Besides who hasn’t wanted to see their bully get their just desserts?”  “Can I have a pet Cyclops?  I think I want one… even after seeing what Victoria goes through.  Mythological horror where the real monster was inside all along.  I love it!”