*** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING ***
The stories below contain subjects and scenes and stuff that might not be suitable for all age groups or sensitivities. Proceed at your own risk.
*** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING ***
For them who don’t read (or pay attention to what I write), this post contains three short stories of approximately 1500 words each. Two are from two twin brothers and one is from me but they are presented anonymously so as to not bias the readers.
Speaking of readers, I’m asking readers to read the three stories and vote for your favorite. I’m trying to get an actual judge to make the call as to best story but I plan a Reader’s Choice award and that’s where you, the readers come in. There will be a survey at the end of the post.
Edited to Add: please encourage friends to read and vote (share the link to this post). Also, if you happen to recognize which story belongs to which writer, try with all your might to vote on merit only. We’re trying to avoid making this a popularity contest (says the guy who’s not very popular).
So, here’s the set-up . . . one of the challenge participants is a teacher and he asked his 8th-grade class to come up with a few ending paragraphs or sentences for a story. We, the writers can choose any of the ending sentences and come up with a story getting us there. Whichever we choose — we can choose any we like — it must be the last words of the story.
So, here’s what the kids came up with:
The house was fully engulfed in the flames, the memories burning away with it. Finally, they opened their eyes.
And that’s why Needwood Middle school is haunted.
And when she woke up, it was all a dream.
Remember, one of those sentences has to be the last words of the story we write. The writers — me, Perry Broxson, Gary Broxson — chose whichever one of those we want and retrofit a story to it.
To be as fair as possible, the names have been removed from the entries (they will be revealed at the end of the one week judging period, noon, December 4th). However, each story is copyrighted to its author and may not be reproduced — in part or whole — without written consent from the author.
I’ve used a random number generator to assign the order of appearance below, so here we go.
Oh, one more thing; I’m presenting the stories exactly as presented to me. I decided against editing even if I saw an error only because I don’t know the intent. Perhaps it’s an intentional error.
Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved
“Nope, ain’t what you think,” the old mocha-colored gentleman said. “Needwood didn’t catch its haunt from that unfo’tunate incident.”
James Darling was thirteen and tubby. He was also the editor of Needwood Middle School’s monthly newspaper, The Disperser. Observant, he noticed the old man’s eyes: one blue, one brown. James adjusted his thick glasses on the bridge of his pug nose and said, “Mr. Morley, please tell me what you know about the haunting?”
“Sho thing,” Morley said, “I’ll chat with ya in betwixt chores. There’s messes to mind to.”
James smiled. “Thanks, Mr. Morley. You’re the best janitor Needwood has ever had.”
“Mighty kind of you to say. But I’d defer to my Pappy, Courtland Morley. He started janitorin’ the day the school opened up – August 23, 1947. He’s the ghost you’re axin’ about.”
James fished a pen out from behind his ear and jotted feverishly in his notepad. “I didn’t know he was your father. In the ghost stories, he’s only referred to as Meadowlark. I’m up against a Halloween deadline, so if you’ll give me the quick-n-dirty I’d be grateful.”
Morley scratched his white, wooly head and studied the boy. “Yessir, that’s what they called him. Meadowlark. Wanna ax why?”
“Sure,” James said, impatient. “Why?”
“Cuz he whistled, Mr. Darling. My pappy whistled like a songbird. When he scrubbed shitty toilets, he whistled. When he mopped up vomit, he whistled. When he whitewashed racist graffiti off bathroom walls, he whistled. You sho you ready for all this?”
James clicked his pen repeatedly, eager and earnest. “Born ready.”
“The lynchin’, Morley said, “tell me what you heard about the lynchin’. I don’t wanna bore you with p’ticulars you already know.”
James jammed the pen back behind his ear. “Okay,” he said, strangely prepared for the challenge. It was as if he’d answered the question a dozen times. “Goes like this. Long ago, when there was racism and stuff, the Negro janitor gentleman called Meadowlark hooked up with a white teacher; her name was Abigail Something. Long story short: He knocked her up. When the townies found out, they lynched him . . . in the tree next to the monkey-bars. That’s the story.”
“That’s it?” Morley asked. “What about the ghostin’?”
“Oh yeah, it’s said that every time some klutzy kid makes a mess, the ghost of Meadowlark appears, wearing overalls, a whicker hat, and a paisley scarf. He’s dragging his metal mop bucket with him. If you listen, you can hear the steel wheels rolling over the linoleum. And you can hear whistling.”
“Mercy,” Morley said, bemused. “You call that ghostin’?”
“Well, it’s not exactly the scariest haunting,” James said. “That’s why I’m talking to you, Mr. Morley. I’m hoping you could put some meat on the bones.”
“Might do,” Morley said, winking his blue eye. “Can’t say as I know much about the old cuss, given that he was strung up as I was wrigglin’ in my mama’s belly. But I do have a spiritual connection with Meadowlark. Go ahead, ax your questions.”
“Why . . .” James hesitated, chewing on his pen. “Why would he do it?”
“Why would he . . . Meadowlark . . . your father . . . the ghost,” James stammered. “Why would he appear and clean up the messes of privileged white kids?”
Morley tilted his head and sucked his teeth. “We’ve been over this, haven’t we James?”
James looked up from his notes. “No, I don’t think so. Did I miss something?”
“Last year,” Morley said. “October 30 . . . the day befo’ All Hallow’s Eve. The day the veil betwixt them and us is thinnest. Do you remember?”
“No,” James said, but felt as if he did. “This is the first time we’ve ever spoken.”
Morley reached out and gently brushed the boy’s bangs to one side. His blue and brown eyes darkened as tears welled. “You need that story writ, don’t you, James?”
“Yes,” he said. “I have a deadline. Tomorrow’s Halloween and I want this ghost story to run front page” –
“For her,” Morley interrupted. “You want to impress that little filly, Starlene.”
“What?” James protested, blushing. “No I don’t. I don’t even like her. She’s gross.”
“Ain’t what you told me last year,” Morley said, scrubbing tears off his stubbly cheeks. “Or the year befo’. Or the year befo’,” he laughed. “Or the ten years befo’ that.”
James stepped back. Unconsciously, he gripped his pen like a weapon. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Morley. I’m only thirteen. None of this makes any sense.”
Distracted, Morley cupped his hand to his ear. “Hear that?”
A smile, wide and winding, stretched over the wizened landscape of Morley’s face. “Wheels,” he whispered.
“Wheels?” James repeated, incredulous. He wanted not to hear, but there it was, the unmistakable droning rumble of steel wheels in need of grease.
Morley pursed his lips and began to whistle. It was a tune James had never heard.
“C’mon,” Morley said, “you know this’n.”
“No . . . no I don’t.” But he did. It was a song called Let Yourself Go. It was made popular by Fred Astaire in 1938.
Morley looked over his shoulder, down the dimly lit hallway of Needwood Middle School. “Sounds like Meadowlark’s a comin’. We must have a mess on our hands.”
Morley touched the boy’s forehead once again. He pulled a paisley scarf out of his pocket and wiped his fingers clean. “There’s many kinds of messes. Some is what you think – spilt milk, a dropped Sloppy Joe . . . .” He laughed. “Boys with crooked wieners that couldn’t hit the urinal if it was big as Needwood Creek.”
James turned his head to a sudden snatch of music . . . a whistle.
“Then there’s the other kind of mess, Mr. Darling,” Morley mused. “The kind of mess that can’t be mopped up or scrubbed away. The human kind of mess.”
James checked his notebook. The words human kind of mess were written. “We’ve discussed this before, haven’t we?” he asked. “Why don’t I remember? What’s going on, Mr. Morley?”
“Hear that song?” Morley whistled the chorus, harmonizing with his father. “Let yourself go, it says. Good advice, wouldn’t ya say?”
James’ felt a hot trickle on the tip of his pug nose. He wiped it with his sleeve. “Blood,” he said.
“Quite a mess,” Mr. Darling. “Not your fault, though. You’re the hero of the story. Needwood named the library after you . . . quite an honor.”
A gruff, affable voice interrupted. “Didn’t name a goddamned thing after me!” A black man wearing overalls and a whicker hat appeared next to Morley. The two embraced. “Pappy,” Morley said.
“What’s happening?” James asked. “Are you the ghost that haunts Needwood? Are you Meadowlark, the janitor that was hanged?”
The black man opened his stiff cotton collar and presented his neck. There was an abraded, blue halo – the executioner’s brand. “Least it wutton messy,” he said, then laughed jaggedly. “I can’t abide a mess.”
“Why do you come?” James asked. “Why don’t you go?”
Meadowlark smiled the same way Morley had. “Flip that one back on ya, young man. Why don’t you go?”
“Go where?” James asked, studying his notebook for answers.
Meadowlark whistled a refrain of Let Yourself Go. “It ain’t where ya go; it’s what you let go.”
“But my story,” James said. “I was going to write a ghost story for Starlene. And when she reads it . . . when she’s frightened . . . I’m going to put my arm around her and ask her to the Harvest Dance.”
Meadowlark took the paisley scarf from his son. He wiped James’ forehead. “Ain’t gonna happen, young man. What did happen was you got yourself shot. Thirteen years ago today, a shit-heel by the name of Boyd Fink waltzed into the library and shot up the place. To this day, nobody knows quite why.”
“Shot? Me?” James asked.
Meadowlark presented the paisley rag. It was soiled with blood, bone, and brain. “Yep, shot dead. But you went out better’n me. I danced and waggled like trout on a string. You . . . you stepped in front o’ that little girl.”
“Starlene,” James said. He looked into his notebook and saw the name drawn in big, ballooned letters, crowded by a constellation of hearts.
Meadowlark dropped his mop into the bucket. He sloshed water onto the linoleum. Working, he whistled.
Morley admired his father. “Ya know,” he told James, “if you let yourself go, Pappy can go, too.”
“But how?” James asked. “How do I let go?”
Morley tapped the open notebook. “Clean up your mess. Finish your story. You’ve got the title right there . . . just finish it and let yourself go.”
James bent his head to study the notebook. Blood poured onto the pages, like Cherry Kool-Aid from a pitcher. Amidst the splatters, he read the title he’d written thirteen years ago: And That’s Why Needwood Middle School is Haunted.
Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved
My heart pounded, my breath came in raspy gasps, and my legs felt like I strapped them to lead weights. I couldn’t see what was behind me, but I felt its presence. Felt the evil. Felt the anguish within the evil, and it was nearly upon me. I dreaded the awful anticipation of being engulfed by it. And then, I woke up.
With waking came the realization it was only a dream.
Only a dream. The words mocked the remnants of my terror, my still-pounding heart, the sweat turning into a chilling reminder it was too early for the programmed thermostat to switch on the furnace. I reached down, grabbed the comforter folded at the foot of the bed, and brought it up to my chin.
Staring straight up, I could barely make out the ceiling fan’s blade slowly churning the air, keeping it circulating. As my heart calmed, and I warmed, I moved my legs. They felt fine; it had just been a dream.
And dreams are only the brain’s way of making sense of the world, to order the chaotic input of experiences and constant stimuli.
But there was more to it for this dream. That kind of terror, that primeval visceral reaction to the anguished evil, that’s anchored in, and fueled by, actual events.
Last month, I’d given my 8th-grade class a project.
“Build a house that could serve as temporary shelter for the homeless and use only material that’s normally discarded.”
I sought and got permission to use the gym at the old, and now abandoned, Needwood Middle School building. The building had closed last year when the new building opened. It no longer carried the name, but everyone knew it as the Old Needwood Middle School.
They had said it was cheaper to build a new school than expand the old building and that next year’s budget would include funds to tear it down but, for now, it sat empty.
I had to hand it to the kids. They put their hearts and minds into the project. They started by researching home construction from around the world, settling on Japanese architecture. Using lightweight material and wooden frames allowed them to reclaim shipping pallets and cardboard boxes and old newspapers.
It was a team effort, two hours after school, and anyone who had the time contributed. Most of the time, at least half the class attended during the allotted time.
I’m not sure when it began, but students started bringing personal items to decorate the house they were building.
At first, cheap knickknacks that had been gathering dust at their homes. But then, someone brought a photo of a kid who had gone missing while a student at the school. It had happened five years ago.
I looked at the photo of the smiling face and felt the world implode, all light and sound falling away so that the photo was all that I could see.
The second photo, from an incident nine years ago, was almost as much of a shock. By the time the fifth photo appeared, all I felt was a dull emptiness.
The sixth and final photo was from twenty-eight years ago.
I brought up the photos in class, but no one knew how they got there. Each kid assumed one of the other kids had brought them. I should have known; none of these kids were even alive when the first student had gone missing, and newspaper archives from twenty-eight years ago were not on the Internet.
I was twenty when I left the Army. At twenty-three, I had my teaching certificate. At twenty-five, I’d come to the Glynn County School District. That was three years ago.
After what I had seen and experienced, it was exactly what I needed; exposure to the hope and optimism and innocence of the young.
At first, I hardly noticed her. I’d see her in the playground, apart from the others, but I didn’t pay much attention until Winter started getting serious. It hardly ever gets freezing in Glynn County, but come October, you want a sweater or light jacket.
All she ever wore was a summer dress, often, the same summer dress. One day, I walked to where she sat and sat next to her. Janet, her name was. She had an angelic face and a voice to match. No, she wasn’t cold. No, she didn’t need anything. Reluctantly, I left her and went back to my classroom to prepare the afternoon lesson. An hour later, I looked out, and she was alone in the playground.
I told my kids to read two chapters of the assignment while I stepped out for a moment.
When I got outside, she was gone.
I saw her each of the next two days. I found out she liked horses and porcupines and lemon cookies and peppermint candy. The next day, a Friday, an unusual Northern wind dropped the temperature into the low thirties. The kids stayed in, but when I looked out the window, she was there, on the same bench.
Again, I went out, and she was gone. Turning my back to the stiff breeze, I scanned the playground. I walked over to the bench, my shoes crunching the frost on the grass. There was no sign of her anywhere that I could see.
Turning, I saw the trail of my steps leading back to the building. I looked around. No other steps had disturbed the grass on the playground. Suddenly, I was colder than I could attribute to the wind.
I rushed back to the class and later, after school, I made a few discreet inquiries about the girl. People looked at me strangely, and I quit asking.
I didn’t see her again for nearly a week. The next time, I was ready. During a very nice Indian Summer day, I sat next to her and reached out.
My hand passed right through her.
I looked around. A few students were looking at me as were two fellow teachers.
I got up and left the playground.
I found her a week later. I found her in the newspaper archives. Janet had disappeared two years prior. It became an obsession. I did more research. Six children in all, going back twenty-five years, all students at the school, all vanishing in mysterious circumstances.
And then, the dreams started. In the dreams, I was the kids. I experienced what they experienced. For an entire week, I dreamed I was each of the kids. I didn’t imagine it; I experienced it. They were letting me know what they went through.
On the seventh day, the dreams stopped.
Until now, three years later. The pictures triggered the dreams. In the pictures, a man stood behind each of the kids. The same man I now saw in the dreams. The evil and associated anguish came from that man.
It took a week before I found out he was a Baptist minister, now retired. He had moved from the area just after Janet’s disappearance. Two counties over, is where he’d moved to.
It’s where I visited him late Sunday night. I didn’t know what I would say, but I didn’t have to say anything; he recoiled in horror when he answered the door. I know he hadn’t seen the knife in my hand. No; he reacted to the six kids who had accompanied me. The kids who had threatened to tell. The kids he had killed. He retreated as all six advanced toward him, but they only stared at him.
Not me; the Army taught me how to kill. It turns out I was good at it.
It’s late, well after midnight, and I stand inside the old gym, inside the house made of paper and reclaimed wood my students built. I gather each of the six pictures, place them on the floor, and set them on fire. I watch for a moment before exiting the house.
The six are waiting outside. I walk to where they stand, perfectly still, their eyes closed. They could be sleeping.
In short order, the house is fully engulfed in flames, their memories burning away with it. Finally, they open their eyes, smile at me, and fade away as the flames spread.
The old Needwood Middle School nearly burned to the ground; it wasn’t worth the firemen risking their lives to put out a fire in a building due to be demolished. All that’s left are maze-like charred walls of classrooms and offices.
People say the place is haunted and can’t wait for it to be torn down. I know better; they are finally at peace.
You might ask if I’m wracked by guilt or remorse for what I did.
Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved
“Sit down and let me tell you the truth,” the wizened old Indian said to the classroom. His voice was deep and resonant. The students quieted, stashed their cell phones and looked at the man as if they hadn’t noticed him before now.
Kaden Phillips, a 13 year old know-it-all, replied, “But sir, we are sitting.” The Indian said nothing. He walked slowly to the front of the room then sat down on the tile floor, back straight, he closed his eyes.
“Class,” Mr. Tolson announced, “perhaps we should join Mister… uhh…Chief…Winter Song in a semi-circle.” Slowly at first they extricated from the plastic desks like mollusks from shells. Mr. Tolson motioned to the floor and the children began to sit, nearly surrounding the stoic Indian. “Scooch in close guys,” Tolson said. “Sit…uhh… Native American style.”
Chief Winter Song opened one reproaching eye and looked up at Mr. Tolson, then began. “I am Choctaw. My tribe lived here long before the white man came with greed, disease, and lies.” Tolson flushed, he suddenly regretted asking the local Bureau of Indians chapter to provide a class speaker for today’s history lesson. “But this was never our land,” Winter Song continued. “One cannot own the wind, the rain, or the howls of the Coyote. For it was he who tricked the white man, avenged the Choctaw, and has now cursed your school.”
“He, who?” Kaden asked. “Who tricked who and cursed us?
Chief Winter song looked at the boy as if he were an imbecile. “God.” The children began to murmur, not comprehending the Indians curt answer. “Times were different then,” he began. The children silenced. “The man you know as Francis Needwood was not the God you worship today.” He pointed to a black-and-white framed photo of Francis Needwood adorning the back wall of this and every classroom at Needwood Middle School.
Chief Winter Song reached into his leather pouch and produced a long-stem pipe and a leafy substance. He tamped the bowl full. Flick. Kaden held a blue bic lighter up to the Indian’s face. The Indian nodded as the boy lit the acrid herbs. “Is it true that our school is built on top of an Indian burial ground? Is it haunted?” Kaden asked.
Mr. Tolson shushed the impertinent boy with a finger to the lips and stopped himself from interrupting what seemed to be an expression of Native American culture. Instead, he opened the window enough to allay the smoke detectors. But the smoke was thick. Thicker than smoke from the local Hercules plant at full tilt or the never-ending tire fire at the county dump. The odor, however, was surreal and somehow melodic.
The story teller sat silent as the smoke curled and came to life. “The Great Spirit will now reveal all. Breathe deep and see,” Chief Winter Song announced, in a voice that seemed everywhere and nowhere. Kaden saw it first. The familiar figure of Francis Needwood was sitting behind a large wooden desk; he appeared to be grading papers. The volume suddenly switched on and Kaden could hear the laughter and incomprehensible chatter of half a dozen children in this cinematic vision.
The room was familiar to all the students as they breathed it in; it was somehow newer and older. The paint was fresh, the glass was clear but there were none of the items now associated with modern classrooms. No smart-boards, no computers, no air conditioning Kaden noted, only a small copper-colored fan. And there was now a photo of President Dwight D. Einsenhower on the back wall.
The windows were open but the Arizona heat hit like a fist. Mr. Needwood, as his nameplate confirmed, was dressed in a white button-up, short-sleeve shirt and a thin black tie. His face was red and sweaty. Kaden, now omnipresent, could see that the Mr. Needwood was not grading papers after all, he was filling out tax forms. He didn’t understand the complicated line items but could sense the frustration emanating from Mr. Needwood as his pencil lead snapped on the government forms. “God damn it,” Needwood barked.
The small group of students chimed in immediately. “God damn it, God damn it, God damn it,” they chanted. That’s when Kaden noticed something odd about the children. They weren’t quite right. The assorted group sported a mixture of maladies: heavy eyelids over bulging, crossed eyes; hair standing up in shocks and patches, thick lips and tongues that drooled and smacked. Sausage-size fingers and palms clapped to the strain of the expletives.
“Shut up!” Needwood shouted.
The chorus immediately changed to “Shut up, shut up shut up!”
Needwood jumped up, scraping his wooden chair across the tile floor. He marched to the standing locker and pulled out a white canvas coat with odd sleeves and bright buckles. Needwood held it high and waved it like a surrender flag. A hush spread over the classroom. That was the desired effect. He tossed the thing away and went back to his desk.
The silence was broken by the simultaneously high and low pitch of an electric pencil sharpener as Mr. Needwood prepared to get back to his taxes. Kaden was surprised by the boxy sharpener with walnut siding. Even back in his present time, very few teachers used electric pencil sharpeners in their rooms. He did not know why, they seemed so practical. Perhaps they were deemed unsafe for small fingers or disruptive with their whirring.
Distracted by the device, Kaden didn’t notice the visitor that had crept silently into the room, perhaps from the open window, until one of the Downs syndrome kids squealed “Puppy” delightedly. The boy, approximately 10 years-old, thought Kaden, but then it was so hard to tell with these types, walked pigeon-toed across the room to where a mangy dog was curled up in the corner. The dog was dusted with red Arizona dirt and fresh clumps of sod in its coat. It panted in the heat, tongue lolling. The boy patted the animal gently but clumsily and earned a lick across his face.
“What the hell are you doing?” Needwood shouted at the boy. “You want it so bad, you got it.” The boy looked around confused. Kaden now saw that the boy was petting the strange coat Mr. Needwood had thrown into the corner, not a dog. Needwood charged the boy, wrapped him up in the oversize coat and synched the flailing straps. It was a straight jacket, Kaden realized, having seen one in a half-remembered horror movie.
The boy whimpered as the canvas grew hotter and more restrictive. Needwood sat him in the same corner and screamed into his face. The diatribe was interrupted by the distinctive whirring sound. Again, it was Needwood’s prized electric pencil sharpener. He turned toward it, half expecting to find one of the other imbeciles pushing crayons into its port. Nothing.
Needwood turned back to the sobbing boy in restraints. The whirring started again. It picked up a rhythm as though a pencil was going in-and-out, in-and-out. The remaining students began laughing and cheering, “Puh-pee, puh-pee,” they cried. Then it became clear to Kaden what the mentally-challenged children were seeing and applauding. It was the dog. No, maybe not a dog after all. It was a Coyote. It now stood on Mr. Needwood’s desk. It straddled the electric sharpener and plunged its penis into the pencil port. It humped the device, howling comically each time it thrust and grinded.
Needwood was oblivious to this surreal scene which frustrated him all the more. The noise from the sharpener, the cacophony of the retards, and the war still in his head, pushed him to his limit. Needwood half-opened the bottom desk drawer, then slammed it shut. He shuddered and then buried his face into his folded arms, blocking out some of the madness.
The children watched as the ‘puppy’ stopped humping the pencil sharpener on Mr. Needwood’s desk and stepped closer to their ‘sleeping’ teacher. The dog licked the man’s cheeks, then lingered at his ear, seeming to whisper something.
Mr. Needwood woke up. His eyes were wide and unfocused. Without hesitation this time, he opened the bottom drawer. Needwood brushed aside the document designating his release from the army as a Dishonorable Discharge, stemming from an incident in South Korea the previous year. The former Sergeant Needwood, pulled out his sidearm, a 45 caliber pistol. This time he wouldn’t back down in the face of the enemy.
Kaden watched as the man, for which his future-time school was named, methodically fired into the faces of the children looking up to him from their plastic chairs. He then went to the boy in the straight jacket. Robotically, he unbuckled the crying child. He tossed the jacket aside and then placed the muzzle of the weapon into the boy’s mouth and fired.
The Coyote howled with delight. Mr. Needwood looked to the beast. The man nodded, as if getting last minute instructions. Needwood bent down to the dead boy, pressed the 45 into his chubby hands and pushed the gun into his own abdomen. He squeezed the boy’s hand, firing the gun. Needwood was flung backwards, landing onto the round plastic table ringed with dead children. Blood pooled and spread on the tile floor as Kaden receded back, back, back.
Kaden had heard a different story about their founder. Mr. Francis Needwood had been a Korean War hero, he had been a stellar teacher, he had saved the school from a rogue student armed and murderous.
Now in the classroom, the semi-circle of students opened their eyes. A howl in the distance welcomed them back. On the smartboard, written in blood, was an answer to a question. The kind of thing that good teachers do every day. It read, “And that’s why Needwood Middle School is haunted.”
And there you have it . . . and here’s the survey:
You have until December 4th, noon, to cast your vote.
Of course, you may also leave comments below. If you ask specific questions of the author, you’ll receive answers at the end of the contest.
Thank you all for participating and tell your friends to come and vote. It would be nice having more than the usual 4-6 readers participate in this because the stakes are pretty high for these are the awards up for grabs:
If I can swing it, I’ll call upon an outside judge (an editor, a published author, or agent) to declare one of these stories overall winner. In that regard, if a reader with said credentials happens to read this blog and steps forward, get in touch with me (first come first serve).
As an aside, if such a person does step forward, I’m flattered and honored such an esteemed person deigns to grace this blog with their presence. (Note: that’s called sucking up. In my experience, it hardly ever works and sometimes hurts one’s cause.)
Whether this happens or not, the Readers Awards are significant in their own right. Why, I myself won a
Reader Award Honorable Mention Award and it meant a lot to me because readers are who I typically write for . . . nevermind.
If we land an outside judge, we’ll be vying for this award:
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it’s copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intentions, like attracting you to a malware-infested website. Could be they also torture small mammals.