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Spring, 2015
24-Hour Short Story Contest
2nd Place Winner!

TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:

Sitting on the porch steps, she stared, ignoring the scent of lilacs from the overgrown bush. Her heart lurched when she saw the mail truck approaching, dust in its wake. Would it arrive today? The ancient mail carrier took his time handing her some envelopes and, finally, a large package in brown paper. As he drove away, she dropped the envelopes on the porch, and walked quickly around the side of the house, praying nobody inside saw...

Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.


2ND PLACE!

Home Sweet Home
by Hannah Vaughan

He could hear the man talking as he prepared the large box, poking a couple of holes in the top and setting some soft towels on the bottom. He and his sister hugged each other in their tiny little section of the building, the one where they’d lived since they were born. Their eyes were big and anxious, their hearts beating rapidly with excitement. Was this going to be it? Was it finally going to be their turn now? The man was telling his helper about “The Lady” that had made a special request for them. Apparently somebody finally wanted them, and they were going to have a home of their very own.

Large hands were reaching over to grab them now, lifting them carefully and placing them together in the box. At least they weren’t going to be separated. The brother had spent many sleepless nights worrying about that possibility. He had to take care of his little sister! The man threw some pieces of bread into the box, then closed the lid tightly, shutting out all the light. The two siblings huddled together, frightened in the dark. The box was lifted and they rolled to the other side, tumbling head over heels into a messy jumble. His sister started crying, and he hugged her close, hoping she hadn’t been hurt in the fall.

The box was moving then. At least it was kept upright, but the constant swaying motion made them both feel sick to their stomachs. The bread pieces were left forgotten in the corner to get stale. They dared not eat while in the box, for any sick mess made in there would end up falling on them if the box was turned again. They had to look their best when greeting the one who wanted them!

It seemed like they were in the box for days, and their limbs were starting to ache in the enclosed space. The brother could hear when the man handed over the box to someone else and told him to keep the box upright, for which he was extremely grateful! The sister cried when the man’s voice faded into the distance as he shouted goodbye. She wasn’t sure she was ready to leave the only home she’d known. The brother thought that their new carrier must be older, for he could hear the shuffling of feet as they barely dragged along on concrete pavement.

Finally, after what seemed like days more, the man slowed his gait, making the sister breathe a sigh of relief, for she had been feeling quite nauseous at the swaying movements! The brother tried to encourage her. “Just think, Sister...soon we will have a home of our very own...where someone will finally love us!”
The sister breathed a tiny smile. She was timid in nature, and not quite as excited as her brother was. A sweet smell drifted in through the holes in the box, and the brother nearly fainted in ecstasy at the aroma. He had never smelled such a thing as lilacs before, having spent his entire life in that tiny building. If their new home had beautiful smells like that, he could not even begin to imagine the wonderful life they would live!

The man stopped then, and they both heard him greet someone. “Good day, my Lady,” he said in a voice scratched with age. “Here be the package you were expecting.” The brother shivered in excitement. This must be “The Lady,” the one that was to be their new family!

“Oh good!” trilled a female voice. “I thought it would never get here!” Then the box was changed to different hands, sending the two tumbling back against the other side of the box once more. He could feel “The Lady” running then. She must be really eager to greet them! He heard the sound of a door slamming, then the box was plopped down rather harshly on a rough surface. The two hugged each other in excitement as the lid was jerked open. They were going to get to meet their new family now! The bright light blinded them for a moment, then a beautiful face came into view; delicate features with curly hair and bright red lips greeted their sight when it returned. “Oh, you are perfect!” The voice breathed, and the brother thought he’d never heard such a lovely voice as he kept his sister close to him to give her comfort.

Hands were lifting them then, and the brother wondered if she would treat them differently than the man in the building had. Before he had a chance to look around at his new home, they were both placed in a huge glass enclosure. The brother was stunned. Surely they weren’t going to be forced to live in another box. It was a much bigger box, and admittedly had some nice plants and little hiding spots, but it was still a box!

“Come, my Precious...” trilled the lovely voice. “Mommy is going to need your beautiful venom again soon for another horrible person, and I need you to keep up your strength.”

The brother felt a little dazed. Was she talking to him or his sister? Then, there was a slippery sound of scaly skin slithering on rocks, a sound that sent dread into the hearts of the two siblings. Before the brother could process the feeling of danger, a huge mouth loomed towards him and his cowering sister, immense, white fangs dripping with eagerness as the black cavernous throat grew even closer. The brother’s last thoughts as his sight dimmed were of his old tiny home and building. He wished they’d never left it now!


What Hannah won:

$250 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to THE WRITE MARKETS REPORT
-- QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments
-- BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts

ENTER THE NEXT 24-HOUR SHORT STORY CONTEST HERE!
Contest guidelines are HERE.


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