SpecFicNZ is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2013 Halloween Drabble Competition. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to:
1st place: ‘The Pumpkin King’ by Paul Mannering
Runners-up: ‘Old Trick’ by I. K. Paterson-Harkness and ‘What day is it?’ by Paul Mannering (entries were judged blind, and Paul was lucky enough to impress our judge twice).
Winners will be hearing from us shortly to arrange for their prizes to be send to them.
Read the winning entries below:
The Pumpkin King by Paul Mannering
I told Pa that the pumpkins were doing it again this year. He whipped me good for telling tales. But I snuck out before midnight and climbed the big tree by the pumpkin field. Under the harvest moon they reached out with their green vines. Plucking the head off the old scarecrow and lifting the chosen one to his throne. I could hear them, the rustling of their leaves like a praising hymn. That carved face laughing under the moon. The pumpkin king steps down from the cross. A Jesus for his flock. What sins is he forgiving them for?
Old Trick by I. K. Paterson-Harkness
Hallow knelt by the grate and watched the paper burn, the words written in careful cursive script turning to ash. As the kindling caught he heard a knock at the door. Damn kids always came too early. He waved a hand and the front door swung inwards.
“Give us the trick, mist -” the smallest began, words freezing solid.
Hallow unfurled himself – thankfully his peers were too dead to see how slow he’d gotten – and held up a bony hand. Flame leaped towards his body in a fiery arc, then fizzled out. Hallow sighed.
“TRICK!” he shouted, and the kids scampered.
What day is it? by Paul Mannering
We fight the legions of undead with fire, swords, and sharpened shovels. Tonight, under a full moon, a group of them came to the fence. Moaning and shaking the wire. The guards cut them down with flamethrowers and I was on clean-up duty. I drag the corpses away because the dead attract their own. The first one’s face peeled off when I dragged it out of the ashes. Underneath, the pure skin of a child. A child in a Halloween mask. I checked the others. All children, wearing fantasy faces of horror. Empty treat sacks smouldering in their charred hands.