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2016 Creative Writing Contest

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Winning Entries From The 2016 Casey County Public Library
Creative Writing Contest

ADULT CATEGORY

First Place

The Artist by Dallas Johnson

“I really like this painting,” the young man said, as he studied the painting of the man in the mist.

“Do you?” He turned to see an older man smiling, bemused.

“I do. I hope the artist never stops painting.”

“It may be too late for him,” the old man said, sadly.

“It’s never too late,” he said with conviction. “He shouldn’t stop painting.”

“You’re right,” the old man said, thoughtfully. “I won’t.”

He watched, slightly confused, as the old man left the gallery. He shrugged and forgot all about the encounter, until a few days later he found a beautifully painted picture in his mail, of himself looking at the man in the mist painting. On the back it said, simply, “Thank you.”

He went to the gallery later and approached the woman working there.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m looking for the man who painted the man in the mist. He was here the other day.”

Puzzled she said to him, “You must be mistaken. The man who painted that died almost a year ago exactly. It was his last work.”

“No,” he said after a moment, with a small smile. “It was his second to last work.”

Second Place

The Kiss by Melissa Griffith

He stands, taking it all in. Even in this blinding, treacherous fog, he’s connecting with something bigger. He sees the beauty in everything. He sees me as a beautiful storm, filled with a devastating, fascinating potential, but also peaceful, filled with hope and light.

We always meet here, but today is different. A bittersweet taste permeates the air. A great force is pulling us closer together, like our souls are meant to be entwined, but an even greater force is repelling us like two planets in orbit, keeping us inevitably apart. Today is goodbye.

As if reading my thoughts, he turns to meet my gaze. I suddenly realize the pain of losing him will be intense and devastating, life-altering, but the bond shared between us worth every shred of suffering. I’d wait a lifetime just to hold him again.

As he closes the distance between us, I feel my knees grow weak, and my heart beats faster with anticipation. We lift our hands, palms touching, and our eyes meet. In the blue, I see a love that is all mine, but can never be. Our lips meet, our hearts collide, and for one beautiful moment, he is mine.

Third Place

Transcending by Traci McKinney

Standing on the precipice of a new beginning; memories playing through my mind in everlasting succession; scenes of devastation; civilization crumbling ; endless fields of remains; flowing rivers of blood. In the wake of my assent, entombed in shadows, remnants of grief linger for the loss of friends, family, and all things I held dear. Their faces flash before my eyes:

Aiden.

Damon.

Nicole.

Little Chase.

Visions of reaching hands, and the whisper of their voices crying out, screaming, haunt me every waking moment. Heartbreak and sorrow press down upon me. Overcome with emotion, I fall to my knees, and watch the sky ablaze drawing nearer.

My former life must be relinquished in order to continue with this next phase of my journey. Forsaking such endurance is a reprieve, an absolution that I desire almost as much as I yearn to reverse the circumstances of the past few weeks.

The first rays of brightness brush my skin, its tingling warmth slowly washing over and encompassing my entire body. The pain recedes to a distant memory. Darkness and destruction fade away.
The light consumes me.
All else ceases to exist.
Only the luminance, of which I am now a part, remains.

YOUTH CATEGORY

First Place

The Foggy Hilltop by Brin Powell

The photo felt strange. The dark figure was solitary, but didn’t seem quite alone. The sun couldn’t be seen, but Gabby knew it shone just beyond the clouds. And, being the most interesting part, the fog looked almost alive. Alive in a way that its swirls might seep out of the image and fill the room if it desired.

She had seen this all before, but each time Gabby saw the picture it seemed new. She leaned back in her chair as she fingered the torn edges and straightened the small dogear that refused to stay in its place.

Gabby held her breath as she placed a fingertip on the person atop the hill. She felt a surge of power as her finger slipped through the paper. She opened her mouth in surprise as a force liken to gravity pulled her hand into the image.

The edges of the photo expanded to fit her arm. Gabby’s eyes widened in horror as she discovered her inability to withdraw her arm from the freezing air inside.

She gave a silent scream as her head and shoulders were pulled into the image. And now there are two dark figures standing on the foggy hilltop.

Second Place

I’ve Done Nothing Wrong by Alyssa McKinney

So this is it. This is the afterlife. I’d always thought it’d be a bit more – I don’t know?—cleaner? I’d never envisioned death as a swirling expanse of dingy fog. It was kind of disappointing, to be honest. Where were The Pearly Gates? I truly expected God himself to just be sitting here waiting to greet me, yet all I get is this? Maybe I just didn’t deserve that ending. I guess I really hadn’t been the best person.

For starters, I stole a Hershey’s Kiss from Kroger when I was two. They’d always had that giant candy display, and two-year-old me was simply unable to keep his grubby little hands away from the delicious treats.

Furthermore, I used to bully this girl in seventh grade. She just would not shut up about her stupid books. Eventually, I got so tired of her blabbering that I would actively seek out any books she was reading and spoil the endings for her.

I don’t understand. Those things aren’t that bad, right? So why couldn’t I have a happy ending?

Actually, now that I think about it…

I guess I did kill that man and wear his face as a hat.

Third Place

The Murder of Detective Koridan Iskar by Emma Moore

An icy breeze whipped through the cold night air, and fog shrouded the hilltop, obscuring friend and foe alike. It was not a good night for a chase. Koridan Iskar had held his position as head detective for ten years, yet still he dreaded nights like this one. These were the nights that sent terror racing down an officer’s spine. These were the nights where criminals ruled. These were the nights of murder and grief.

He was jerked from his thoughts – a dangerous practice on these nights, distraction – by the whisper of a twig snapping to his left. He whirled, gun raised, finger poised on the trigger, only to see Officer Trimone gliding almost soundlessly through the fog. It was as if he was turning back to his own search for their escaped psychopath that Koridan felt it, a sinister presence behind him. His muscles tensed, ready to turn, but swiftness had never been one of his strong suits.

The cold metal of the knife brushed his throat. A voice purred in his ear, “We’re going to have so much fun together.”