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Literary Lounge

The OnceWritten.com Literary Lounge


The OnceWritten.com Literary Lounge features original, award-winning short stories and poetry from OnceWritten.com writers. Click on the short story or poem title, to read the entire piece.

Fall Fiction
Contest

(2009)
The Love Detox
Kate Baggott; St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada

My professional disillusionment took three months and cost me 150,000 words. Every morning on 63 sequential work days, the creative director wandered into the office and gave me a voice recording. They were, without exception, the rambling "thoughts" generated during his morning commute. He didn't edit out the cell phone conversations he had with his wife, his mother, clients and friends along the way. He did start out each morning with something that could have been considered a chapter heading among non-readers. He got progressively less clear after that.

Touching Purity
Jena Shellito; New Orleans, Louisiana

Eva's head sinks into the pillow next to me and her hair runs over the sides, pooling there on the bed sheet. A puddle in flames. We're in the old house, in my old room with the green stars on the ceiling and the paint like tree bark around the edges. The rain is hard and knocking on the roof above us. Eva's eyes are closed, and the skin above them is smooth and thin. I want to see, too, so I shut out the light, my eyelashes tickling my cheeks as they close.

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2009)
The Boy With Too Much Hair
Jim Hitt; Hemet, California

We had just begun to set up on the edge of Los Banos for their Frontier Days. Usually the San Joaquin Valley in early September can be hotter than hell, but a heavier-than-usual ground haze filtered the sun so that it barely penetrated. I figured that by night we would be sitting in a heavy fog.

The Last Night of October
Pat Devlin; Fairfax, Virginia

If you ever drove those back roads in Jersey, through the Pine Barrens, you know what I'm talking about. God almighty, they wind and curve -- dark as hell when the sun goes down. That's how it was last night. No moon, heavy clouds, blackness broken only by the dull beam from my headlights out on Route 542. Swampy smell to the air. Scrub trees and overgrowth all along the two lane road. Mosquitoes too, although not as bad as in summer. A big-ass deer jumped out of nowhere and crashed into my windshield. It's a wonder I wasn't killed.

Poetry
Contest

(2009)
Blues-Paved Road
Lynn Veach Sadler; Sanford, North Carolina

It turns out Granddaddy Bob
is a fan of jazz and blues.
It turns out Granddaddy Bob
was a serious wandering tomcat
in his early onset of the Slayter Dark Streak.
Havoc
Michele Boule; Acton, Massachussetts

Sheets flap fiercely in the crazy, afternoon wind
like wild, flying nuns,
waving semaphores

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2008)
Just Another Halloween
R. Duclos; Malden, Massachussetts

Junior felt sick. He knew he should be excited, but a mix between the syrup covered gruel and the thought that he would see his parents in a few hours churned inside his stomach. Would they be afraid of him? He hoped not. Junior thought about the rules and knew that his family had every reason to be afraid of him. He was a monster, after all.

Click
Josh Stillman; Cary, North Carolina

When I'm bored, I tend to click the mouse. A lot. I move it all over the computer screen, and I click. Sometimes I see how fast I can click, sometimes I click to the beat of a song in my head. Right now it's the latter. The song: "Wearing and Tearing" by Led Zeppelin. The clicking: a fast and driving rhythm with a heavy bass. My performance, in my opinion, is excellent. John Bonham, God rest his soul, would be proud. A distraction, though, which I must put up with during each of my clicking sessions, has made me upset–my computer is very loud. The fan inside it seems much too powerful for such a small device; it buzzes incessantly and, needless to say, loudly. It is so loud, now, that I have lost track of my clicking and messed up the rhythm, which upsets me further.

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2007)
Reflections of Evil
Edith Edwards; Supply, North Carolina

"We're in for a blow, Mr. Jarmon. Look at those mares'tails clouds on the horizon. It's as if the gods are angry with each other and determined to take their fury out on man."Captain William Payne handed the spyglass to his first mate.

A Murder of Elvi
Caroline Holland; Pensacola, Florida

It's Halloween again, and we are back in Sin City. Where else should one be on this special night? The six of us, in our young Elvis costumes this year, pompadoured and blue-jeaned, a comforting and familiar sight, on the hunt for the next luscious bit of flesh.

Poetry Contest

(2007)
A Bed of Salt
Blue Mc Donnell; Santa Monica, California

By the time I came around to feeling pain
Moonlight had flooded the room.
Vomit hung in the back of my throat
Remnants of last nights doom.

On the Back of a Flyer
Kathy Kachelries; Wallingford, Pennsylvania

These lives are impossibly small
    in the filter of nicotene time,
    where seconds are impounded

Fall Fiction Contest

(2006)
The Comic Who Couldn't Laugh
Melody Von Smith; Buffalo, New York

Benjamin Myers, wearing only his boxers, stood in the entrance of his bungalow scratching his head and squinting at the man on his doorstep.

A Little Recreation
Angela Williams; Essex, United Kingdom

When he dropped a half-crown in my upturned beret, I couldn't help noticing him. Most people only gave pennies or halfpennies.

Summer Poetry
Contest

(2006)
Tangerine Man
Brandi-Ann Tanaka; San Jose, California

The cutting smell of a tangerine
Peeled by the dirty hands of a father
Who has little but his daughter
As she reaches for the tiny jewel
She looks up and sees everything
Where he sees nothing but shame

Dirty Laundry
Terri Perez; Union Bridge, Maryland

You asked me not to love you
Took my soul
Torque and twisted
Until darkness flowed
Like well used oil
In a steady stream.

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2006)
A New Day
Rya Kelley; Fairfield, Texas

The man doesn't notice me lying on the floorboards of the backseat when he gets into his BMW. They never do. I listen to the jangle of metal against metal as he finds the right key, hear the thrum of the engine as he turns the ignition, and we're off. The dark curly hair on the back of his balding head is all I can see of him, but that's fine. I don't want to look at him. He turns on his stereo, some lame 70's music that I can't stand, but the noise bodes well for me. The likelihood of him hearing me—the rustle of my clothes or perhaps a jaded sigh—is all but nonexistent now. When the time comes, I will catch him completely unaware.

Night Shift
Diane LaCombe; Cibolo, Texas

It is after midnight. Blue light flickers against the curtains and the sound of canned laughter spills out into the hall. Mr. Garcia, fighting the sleeping pill I gave him two hours ago, fuels his wakefulness with reruns and infomercials. Like many of my older patients, he is afraid to go to sleep. I give him a reassuring pat, pull up the side rails on his bed and tiptoe from the room.

Winter Poetry
Contest

(2006)
Tap for Silver
Haylie J. Cook; Hollywood, Califonia

I'm hangin' up my tap shoes
  At the end of a long day,
Listenin' to Heaven and Tom Waits
  Wonderin' why it had to be this way.

Bus
Pam Calabrese MacLean; Antigonish, Canada

There's no one on this bus
but me.

The woman in the seat behind,
her children asleep,
is already home,

Fall Fiction
Contest

(2005)
Goose
Janice McCachen; Victoria, British Columbia

Through the narrow slit of the castle keep window, the boy surveyed their arrival. They had taken the long way around the lake from the station, skirting the village, past the stone cross where every day, winter and summer, Jean le Fou stood, bare chest and skinny arms spread across the old stone cross in front of the churchyard. One of the girls stopped to adjust a strap on her sandal, but the buckle must have been broken because she couldn't go more than fifty meters without stopping again. Both girls walked with their hands behind their backs to take some of the weight from the enormous backpacks they carried.

The Spider Web
Meghann McVey; LaPlace, Louisiana

What evil have I committed that I must endure such unrest? Even before the hour of my ordination, I took no life. I did good works, like helping the poor.

Writing Prompt
Contest

(2006)
Conversation
Neil Davies; Wirral, United Kingdom

"Regret?"I studied the woman sitting opposite me closely, noting the distant glaze in her eyes, the slightest of smiles pulling the corner of her thin-lipped mouth upwards, creasing the hollow of her sunken cheek. "Not sorrow then? Not grief?"

Summer Poetry
Contest

(2005)
The Longing We Save
Pam Calabrese MacLean; Antigonish, Canada

In an actors'game
we wandered the stage
blindfolded,
allowed our fingers to explore
the first face we met.

Coal Dust Street
Dr. George Carle; Argyll, Scotland

And he saw it now and then
the lamp lit row of houses that
stretched beyond the eye
houses where men who dug black
slept and drank when they could

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2005)
The Stroke of Midnight
Leonard Varasano; Sea Bright, New Jersey

In the desolate countryside many kilometers to the north of London, on the outskirts of the town of Hobbs, two young lads walked along a dirt road lined by aged, gnarled oaks, encompassed by swamp, in the shadows of towering cliffs. As they approached an adjoining trail leading off into dense thickets, the older lad veered off, while the smaller boy hesitated.

Almost Undead
Renana Unger Hannahs; St. Paul, Minnesota

It all starts with our landscaping. I'm not one to blame the victim, but we really should have trimmed the giant weed farm along our driveway. If the weeds hadn't had a chance to start their own forest, I might have noticed the male skulking in the greenery before I opened my car door.

Spring Fiction Contest

(2005)
The 30th of February
Adrienne Schwartz; Johannesburg, South Africa

Ma Lebo was a whale of a woman and fearless. From the top of her barrel-shaped head to her ankles she was a wad of corrugated flesh. Her cold, black eyes could peel the skin off a baboon's back. Nothing daunted her. No Apartheid law, no tsotsie's threat, no tempest from a troubled earth ruffled her equilibrium.

Vinegaroon
Trudy Sonia; Culver City, California

Alyssa heard the baby cry in the next room and opened her eyes. The red numbers of the alarm clock leered through the dark. She muttered, "Shit." It was three in the morning. Only two hours since she'd last put him down. Maybe Darren was working on an ear infection. It was unusual, even for him, to be up so often during the night.

Fall Fiction Contest

(2004)
Hunting
Cinthia Ritchie; Anchorage, Alaska

Still Life
Barbara Faux; Hackleton, Northants, United Kingdom

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2004)
Midnight Hour
Neil Davies; Wirral, United Kingdom

Invitation
Andrew Nance; Saint Augustine, Florida

Summer Poetry Contest

(2004)
The Old Life
Marissa Herzog; Sudbury, Massachussetts

Winter Storm
Chuck Baker; Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Fall Fiction Contest

(2003)
Due
Mark Fink; Encino, California

Sunny
Stephanie Davy; Bayville, New York

Midnight Hour
Halloween Fiction Contest

(2003)
Stories from the Guilty
Matt Jenkins; Gunnison, Colorado

Stygia Lost
Terry Weide; Kansas City, Missouri

Summer Poetry

Blue Vinyl
Jendi Reiter

Alabaster Mermaid
B.D. Faw; San Bernardino, California

Short Short Fiction

(2003)
Capital City Tattoo
Sharon Wahl; Tyrone, Pennsylvania

Sun on Glass
Andrea Werner; Kamloops, British Colombia, Canada

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Listed Here

Only winners of the OnceWritten.com creative writing competitions are listed on these pages. Winners typically receive a cash payment, publication on the website, and publication in one of the OnceWritten.com Off the Press newsletters.

Click here to visit the OnceWritten.com Contests page now.

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