The thriller shocked me, and I loved it.
By Dulce Zamora
My daughter’s brainchild won first place in the middle school’s spooky writing competition. The story left me speechless — not because of the award — but because of the storytelling. There was so much to digest in this 299-word fantasy. The language filled the senses like butter: rich with poetic rhythm, well-timed dissonance, and unnerving mystery. If I weren’t this tween’s mother, I’d declare this piece to be exquisite. The 300-word limit made it even better because she was forced to be sparse and calculated with details. This was no small feat. Writers tend to fall in love with their word- and world-building. They prefer to say more rather than less. Yet, sometimes, well-set boundaries could actually help us attain more freedom by narrowing the loop of infinite possibilities.
This scribe sprouted from my loins, so it’s understandable if you render my judgment dubious. However, the author in me begs to differ. I know good writing when I read it. See for yourself. After some good-old fashioned mama-begging, Jasmine gave me permission to share the prize-winning tale in this blog. Let me know what you think. Perhaps, one day, I can say I knew this writer when… she would let me tell her stories.
Stygian by Jasmine
“Hungry.” It was barely a whisper, just a breathless voice from winds of imagination. That’s not me. Is it?
“I’m hungry,” Stygian whispered subconsciously. They twisted the word around in a silent hallway. The lights had all flickered out, the only light coming from the start and finish. Taking a step onto the tiles, Stygian heard the sound echo.
That’s not me. Stygian blinked mindlessly. Me? From what were thin fingers and pale, cold skin, Stygian reached up. Short, black hair. Me? Stygian blinked cold, dark blue pools of ink, what seemed to be eyes. A tuneless melody unfolded in the shadows, piercing Stygian’s ears, and vibrating through their mind.
“Who said that?” Stygian hissed, reversing on their heels.
“Hungry.” It was yearning, carved out from the deepest abyss. Stygian hissed again, from the very back of their throat. Nothing. The tuneless melody looped, echoing, and echoing, an echoing. Piercing.
Stygian went upright, blinking out of all innocence. They swayed silently and guilelessly. Waiting. “Hungry…” The voice hissed in Stygian’s own throaty voice, and their eyes popped open in sudden surprise. They fled.
Silver illuminated the hallway. Fear. Stygian clawed their way up, but what slipped through their fingers was sickly, sticky scarlet. Blood. Stygian choked. It was the same, empty, tuneless melody.They twisted and pulled, reaching for the silver, but couldn’t escape. They were left in scarlet shadows, fear and hunger.
“Hello?” It was a fairly innocent voice. Timid, curious, and gullible. Stygian reversed on their heels. Someone. A creature, in the distance. Nimble, swift, standing perfectly still. Gullible. Stygian took a step closer, but the creature only became farther, away.
So longing, so dark, so lost. Another step.
They licked their lips.
© 2021 Windswept Wildflower