Well, how good were this week’s stories! I can’t tell you how happy I am that our judges did not agree. This way, we were blessed with seven stories instead of the promised three. And oh my Odin, what stories they were!
So this week’s challenge was to write 250 words about a monster. Seven monsters we were given, three survived to the next round and then one was picked and deemed worthy of the mini prize – Professional audio production of the winning short story.
Our stories, this week were:
1 LARVAE #teamsumiko
2 THE PET #teamdaphne
3 LINGUA #teamJC
4 BLOODWORM #teamjonathan
5 THE ODDMENTS MONSTER #teamadele
6 THE LAUGHING MAN #teamnaching
7 ALWAYS HUNGRY #teamcat
You can read and/or listen to all these brilliant stories here.
In the discussion after the stories were read, we learned some juicy deets about our beautiful, spooky host, Emz. Our leader into the night is scared of insects and monkeys! And even though the contestants have been warned, it will be interesting to see if any of them draw on this info for their next projects. Knowing what spooks the judges could give them a leg up or tear them down. Only time will tell if any of them dare to scare our dearest Emz.
But this discussion leads me to think … What do our fearsome fifteen fear? What makes our makers of fear jump in the night? I simply had to ask. (And if you’re wondering what scares me, it’s koalas.)
We had some super interesting answers. AE Kirk – our archaeologist – was freaked out by skeletons as a child. Sumiko – the author of LARVAE – has an irrational fear of maggots, which may explain her monster. Naching – our winner for this week’s challenge (oh, had I not mentioned that yet!) – is claustrophobic. Ten points to who can guess what JC is scared of …
One story, which I really wanted to share with you, was from our sweet Daphne. I will let her tell you the story…
“I am TERRIFIED of ladybugs. Yes, the little red and black beetles that populate gardens and children’s story books. I wasn’t always afraid of them–I wore a ladybug dress to my first day of kindergarten–but that all changed when I was ten.
My parents, after twenty-plus years of marriage, finally built their dream home in the Missouri countryside: a magazine-worthy log cabin situated on five acres of wooded land. All was well. The house was completed and we moved in. But at some point during the construction process, ladybugs had laid eggs in one of the interior rooms–specifically, what would become my room.
After a few weeks, the eggs hatched. Thousands of them. While the room had been open to the environment when they were deposited, it was now sealed, locking the beetles inside the house along with me. They were everywhere: in my bed, my clothes, my hair. Their tiny armored bodies blocked out the light that streamed through my windows as they swarmed toward what they thought was freedom. My father would vacuum my room every day (taking the wriggling, writhing mass of insects outside for disposal), only for more ladybugs to appear in their kin’s place. This continued for months before a significant majority of the monsters had been rehomed outside (where I assume they went on to reproduce more of their abhorrent kind). Yet, to this day, when visiting my childhood home, I, without fail, find one of them creeping over a couch cushion or across my arm.”
So, back to the contest. The top three stories this week were BLOODWORM by Jonathan Fortin, THE PET by Daphne Straset and THE LAUGHING MAN by Naching T Kassa. But I totally already spoiled it by telling you that Naching won. Her story, set in a war zone and crossed with creepy bedtime tale, won her this week’s mini prize which you can also hear on the podcast.
Next week on the #NGHW contest is challenge number 3! Write a 450-500 word, non-fiction, blog post about anything horror. This is to test our fearsome fifteen’s ability to blog which is a super important asset for any writer’s career. This is a very different challenge that may see some different contestants take the limelight. It will be really interesting to see how the contestants handle non-fiction. They will be judged on:
• Blog ability. What will appeal to the readers.
• Topic interest. Is it something horror addicts are interested in today.
• Writing quality.
The winner will have their subject discussed on a prominent horror podcast.
So, who will you follow? Perhaps you will be on #teamjonathan – the gothic, demon lover with a taste for the unique and bizarre – or #teamfeind – Cthulu’s best friend and our favourite metal head – or #teamquentin – our filmmaking fan of Frankenstein’s monster – or #teamriley – the beautiful cosplaying gal who loves herself a little bit of Freddy. Let us know in the comments or on the social media.
Adelise M Cullens