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Folklore's Folly

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

This post is about my second entry for the writing contest I posted about before. Like the first round, we only had 24 hours to craft a unique story based on specific criteria. For me, the specifics for this round were that I had to write a ghost story in which the word "rumor" was used and a smoke detector was set off.

Truly, this was a challenging endeavor. The story did not come to me as naturally as I had hoped, and I found myself being very frustrated that all of my ideas were not to my satisfaction. I ended up writing two stories, much like when I wrote for the first round, and chose this story based on the opinions of my lovely friends Karl and Amanda, and Karl's fantastic parents Joan and Gary. I ended up being quite happy with the story, and once again, allowed fate to take over after I submitted it.

Unfortunately, despite the story receiving very positive reviews and high praise from the judges, I did not make it to the final round. While disappointing, I found I was happy with the outcome. I had not written a bad story. Rather, I just had amazing writers to battle against! And to be perfectly honest, that is a great reason to not win.

Getting to compete in this competition once more was exhilarating, and it is something I fully plan to do again this year. My final thoughts: make sure to challenge yourself, especially in areas and hobbies you love. It will help you grow and give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And who knows? Maybe you might be the one everyone is trying to beat.

Folklore's Folly

It had become Grasmere’s version of Bloody Mary. The rumor of what lived in the woods on the outskirts of town changed with each generation, but the constant was this: something lived out there, and it was angry.

The dare so unique to Grasmere was simple: go into the woods at the witching hour, stand still, make noise for ten minutes, take a picture, then leave. It had been proposed by many, but attempted sparingly, with each child who tried it returning to school the next day deathly silent with fear in their eyes.

Unlike the others, though, James wasn’t in the woods because he had been dared to do it, but rather because he wanted to prove those other kids were liars. He walked silently, his breath rising in the December air as he approached a clearing. He looked at his watch, waited for the appropriate time, then produced his noise maker: a smoke detector. Chosen for its volume and irritating noise, he knew no creature could ignore it. Any real creature, that was.

He looked around again, then set it off, allowing the mechanical wail to pierce the frigid air. The minutes passed, loud but uneventful. Finally, he turned the alarm off, satisfied with his proof. He pulled out his phone to take the picture, and as he readied the camera, he saw another’s breath mingling with his own. His heart stopped, and he dared not move, even when two red eyes slid around to stare him down.

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cover photo credit: Jesse Orrico

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