Out of the Box Blogfest!

There's a blogfest that's been going on over at Tessa's Blurb (click for details and the linky to other participants). She challenged writers to create a story that's out-of-the-box for them. I've (this is erica, btw) dabbled in a few genres, but usually write contemporary YA and MG.

Last summer, a local magazine held a contest and I wrote a horror short story for it. Life got in the way, I didn't have time to do it justice before entering, and it's been shelved ever since. At over 1,800 words, that wouldn't do for a blog post at all. But I got it out, dusted it off, and decided to try it here. At around 480 words, it's still a little hefty, but if you have time, read it and let me know what you think. Or come back later. We'll be here.

Oh, and as an added challenge, I changed the pov to first-person present (instead of first-person past, my usual). Not sure I nailed it, but it was an interesting experiment. Here it is:

Short Story #1
(have I mentioned I'm really bad at titles?)

My family was created to destroy the Skintomieurs. They aren't zombies or vampires, since they're alive, but also very unlike humans. They eat what comes to them - sheep, deer, possum, even mice when the pickings are low. Not just their blood or brains, either - their entire bodies. Every few months they try to take a human. We usually make sure they don't succeed. That makes us their prime targets.

On this night, I'm keeping my eye on the two I can see while watching for others that might be around and bend down to grab a long stick. They don't usually hunt in packs, but then why are they just looking at me? Were they waiting for me on purpose? Pretty high level for a bunch of brainless eaters. Scanning my peripherals, I grip the stick tighter. My eyes finally see the anomalies in the wheat field.

I activate the Bluetooth hidden in my thick hair.

"Shay? Did you miss the bus again?"

"Mom. They've declared war." I spoke quietly and without moving my lips, just in case they got smart all of a sudden.

"Where are they?"

"The field. Over forty, I think. Their leader's by the barn."

"We're on our way."

That's when hell broke loose. Snapping my stick in half, I start poking.

The first one hits its mark right in the eye socket. Behind him my oldest brother, Benny, takes two down in rapid succession with a club in each of his hands. I hold out my hand and he tosses me one, grabbing another from the holster beneath his coat.

Our training taught us to kill with one shot to the soft spot on their skull - a few inches to the side and they'd only be stunned. My dad and Benny's favorite technique is to kill one with the right hand, stun another with the left, and move down the line until they're all dead.

The swinging makes my arms ache, but adrenaline keeps me moving. My sister Katherine, a few yards in front of me, slows down. I yell to her to switch to hitting one at a time and I'll follow behind to finish them off. My mom and little brother Garrett see us and do the same thing. Blood and brains and bone fragments fly everywhere and all I can do is hope my hands don't get slippery.

Katherine and I get to the porch with no serious injuries and my dad and Benny chase the leader, who's way ahead. Garrett limps toward us, a bite mark evident in his calf muscle. Mom helps him into the house for our special version of a first aid kit. It will be a long and painful night for him.

When Dad gives the all-clear signal, I join him to gather the bodies for burning. The leader escaped with a few others, he tells me.

Dad makes the final statement of the night over a pile of burning, stinking corpses. "This isn't over."


  1. Hi,

    It's very good! Hellish sense of dread when the Skintomieurs are spied, and great description re elimination process. Nice job, and a pity word count prevented more of the story.


  2. Nice and the skintomieurs is a catchy word.

  3. I felt rather scared, Erica, so it must be good. Gruesome too. They will be back, won't they?

  4. Thanks! You did get the beginning, a bit of the middle and the end, so even in the 1800 words version, we don't know if they come back. :) It is gruesome - I like horror, but I've never written it before (or since), so thanks again to Tessa for encouraging me to put a bit of it out there!

  5. OOh, creepy! I'm intrigued! I think you nailed first person present pretty well!

  6. Yay, erica! I like this short very much. It grabs me much like the MG you are writing right now! christy PS: My out of the box would be a legal thriller. Or mystery. so many possibilities. Do you have horror in you MG? hint, hint...send more...daily dose, remember? (First, get your laptop fixed....)

  7. Woot, go the horror!!! Great story, I liked the build-up of suspense :)


  8. Thanks again everyone! This out-of-the box thing is fun, everyone should try it (and the blogfest goes another week or so if you want to! fun prizes!).

  9. Hi. Nice gruesome action! I thought the present tense worked very well for it.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading all of my 3000+ words and leaving such nice comments. :)

  10. Suspense? Check!
    Horror? Check!
    Bad ass monster killing YA MC? Check!
    Very cool :) glad you stopped by my entry!

  11. Okay,
    I said I would read it tomorrow, but I couldn't wait. You did a great job! Yes, the horror element is there, but it's on a more sophisticated level. Pacing was right on and the descriptions well formed. The first person present works well too. I know how difficult it can be. On my entry I wrote in something different too.... first person past. I kept reverting to first/first a lot. I need to check constantly as I'm writing.... How do you keep the tenses from mixing up?


  12. Excellent! That was an adrenaline rush. So spine tinglingly descriptive. Intense.

    I can tell you're pretty good with action scenes.


  13. Thanks for all the new comments! It was fun and christy's trying to talk me into making it a book. If I do, the logline will be what Erica (the other Erica, hehe) said!

  14. First person past tense is my favorite, too. I have such trouble with other tenses for some reason. Horror isn't usually my thing, but your story made me think of Zombieland. You have a knack for givin a clear picture of what's going on. I can picture it as some sort of weird family outing. Great story!

  15. Great creep factor in the story - that's what you want in horror!

  16. Wow! That was a lot of action in such a small package! Well done!


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