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8th Grade


  • Must be in grades 3-8 to participate.
    (Each grade level will be judged separately.) 
  • Students in public and private schools and homeschool students are welcome to participate.


  • Stories must be the student’s original work. A re-telling of published work will not qualify.
  • Maximum length of the story is 500 words.
  • Stories must be submitted online, using the entry form below.
  • Please do not include artwork with entry.
  • Only one entry per student.



A panel of judges, primarily teachers and/or published writers, is selected by Georgia Writers Museum. Submissions are judged by grade level. Judges will select a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner from each grade.

How to Enter

Enter Now

Student Honor Pledge: I promise I did not get any help on my story and all the work is my own

Supervising Adult Pledge: I affirm this student did not receive help on her/his story and that all the work is her/his own

Submission Deadline

Submissions will be accepted from Monday, September 13 to Friday, October 15.

Winners will be announced on Friday, October 29.


To be announced…

2020 Winners

1st Place: Robbie Miller, Gatewood Schools

The Scariest Camping Trip Ever!

I was planning on having the best camping trip ever with my best friends – Brooks, Frank,
Harrison and Drew, but I was wrong. I brought cards, blankets, sleeping bags, and a flashlight to
go explore after dark. I also brought some water balloons to prank them. Hooray! Finally, they
were here.

My dad and I went to set up the huge tent while the others went out in the deep woods doing
something on their own. When they came back, we played some cards. Harrison won the game
and we then started a fire because it began to get dark and cold. We then made delicious Smores,
but the dog came and ate them so we went to bed. Howlll!

About 5 hours later, I heard a loud howl. I looked to see if anyone was awake. Nobody…… I
went outside to see what it was. I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I then checked to
see if anyone was awake again, but they were all gone. I went and chased it, but I fell. I noticed
the thing I tripped on was big. It looked like a body. Boom! I heard loud thunder. I looked behind
me and I saw it run into the tent. I ran over to look at it, but when I went in the tent…..BOO!!!!!!
They did it. All five of them, including my dad. I went back to look at the body. The paint was
washed off.

The body turned out to be a mannequin. I was scared half to death. It was the best night of my

1st Place: Gunner Phelps, Gatewood Schools

The Evil Pumpkin

On Halloween night, kids in Grove town had a night they will never forget. The night began
when Timmy went out with his friends to trick or treat. Little did Timmy and his friends know
what that night had in store for them. It all started when little Timmy and his friends went past
the graveyard filled with pumpkins and spider webs. Timmy and his friends were taking
shortcuts to get to the neighborhood that had all of the good candy.

“Hey, guys I don’t know if we should be here. It’s really scary.” Said Eliot.

“Oh stop being such a wuss,” yelled Will. Just as Eliot and Will started to get into a fight Timmy
spoke up and said “guys I think I just saw something move.” Both of the boys stopped fighting
and ran to investigate with Timmy. They both said at the same time. “Look it moved again over
there!” Both of the boys looked but saw nothing. Will rolled his eyes.

“Timmy you’re a liar, a liar liar pants on fire!” said will.

“Yea there’s nothing here Timmy stop trying to scare us it’s not going to work,” said Eliot. All of
a sudden a ginormous pumpkin jumped out from behind a gravestone and roared “GIVE ME
YOUR CANDY!” All of the boys were struck in terror. Then the pumpkin leaped out at the
boys. They all took off running and went back to Timmy’s house to get some fireworks out of the
garage. They all ran back to the graveyard and snuck up on the evil pumpkin. When they had the
pumpkin in their sights, Will lit the firework that Timmy was holding and blew up the pumpkin
with the fireworks. They all laughed and ran home and ate all of their candy. The End.

1st Place: Asa Segars, Gatewood Schools

Halloween Madness

Halloween came in a flash. The wind was howling and the red and yellow leaves were falling.
Trick-r-Treaters were getting ready for the cold spooky night. While Chris and Sofia were
putting on their spooky costumes, they were thinking of their pumpkin carvings. Chris was
thinking of doing a Frankenstein and Sofia was thinking about doing a mummy.

When they were driving to the pumpkin carving contest, Mom said, “Chris, that Vampire
costume looks spooky.” Sofia had a zombie costume. When they arrived, there was a name tag
labeled Chris, so he sat in the chair beside it. Sofia did the same. Swoosh, the wind blew hard
and the pumpkins began to shake. The pumpkins turned in to eyeballs, witches, skeletons,
mummies, vampires, werewolves, and even evil gnomes. Suddenly, we were all scattering like
ants. Next thing I remember is Sofia was being taken away, then something grabbed me too. I
heard a howl as a werewolf ran past and that is when I realized Mom had saved me from the
Halloween madness.

2nd Place: Elizabeth Weems, Gatewood Schools


It was October 6th and a girl named Judy moved into an old abandon house. She immediately ran
to see her new room, but she wasn’t so excited when opened the door. The first thing she saw
was cobwebs, lots and lots of cobwebs. The next thing she saw was dead cockroaches all over
the floor. If that wasn’t bad enough, she even saw cockroaches in the spider web.

Suddenly she saw something on the counter, it looked like a lever. She tried desperately to get
through the cockroaches to get to the lever but suddenly she heard her mom call her. Her mom
told her to get in the car they were going to the small nearby town. Her mom said they needed to
get paint, cleaning tools, and everything they would need for the house. When they got into town
they were confronted by a mob. They kept screaming questions “What is it like?!” “What is it
like!?” Judy became scared and asked, “What is WHAT like?” The mob stated, “the house you
moved into, don’t you know the story?”

Judy became pale and shook her head slowly no. One brown-haired man wearing a blue jacket
immerged from the mob. Judy shivered as she quietly said hello. He told the story of a little girl
who lived in the house. It was said she had made tunnels all through the house and even had a
lever in her room to open the tunnels. One day she became trapped in the tunnels. Her parents
searched and searched for her. Some people say she is still stuck in the tunnels others say she ran
away. The man looked Judy straight in the eye and said “I believe she is still in that tunnel
waiting for something to happen.”

Judy got in the car with her parents still thinking; could that have been the lever she saw. When
they got home the family went to Judy’s room to clean all the cockroaches and spider webs.
When they were finally finished Judy looked at her room, she wasn’t dreaming it was a lever.
She walked up to it and pulled it as hard as she could. There was a creaking noise from the
corner and a trap door opened. She heard a small faint voice singing “Come and play with me”.

Judy approached the trap door and she took a deep breath, her heart was beating intensely. Out of
the dusty fog, a cold dark hand grabbed Judy’s arm. She screamed and tried to pull back but it
was too late. Her mom and dad ran in, but Judy had already disappeared behind the trap door.

Some people say it was a story made up about Judy. I personally believe it was real because I am

3rd Place: Sienna Cox, Putnam County Elementary School


Once upon a time, there was a skeleton, and he went to school for the first time in his life. The
skeleton got bullied and didn’t have any friends. The school that he went to was also not a very
normal one because there were no people there. Instead, there were monsters, witches, vampires,
spiders, and ghosts. He was the only skeleton there, and he felt so alone- He decided to come up
with a plan-The plan was to scare the monsters, steal the witches’ broom, break the spider’s web,
shine a bright light on the vampire and call Ghostbusters on the ghosts. He decided to carry out
his plan at the school dance on Halloween night, which is the spookiest night of the whole year.

When Halloween finally came, he couldn’t wait to show all the other students how it felt to be
bullied. He wanted them to feel as alone and afraid as they made him feel. That night he hid in
the coat closet at the school dance and waited for the first student to open the door. He had a
blast scaring them, stealing from them, breaking their stuff, hurting their feelings, and
embarrassing them. He laughed so hard thinking about how he had finally gotten even with

After he had become bored with it all, he decided to go get a snack, hoping to hear the scary
creature in the coat closet. Instead of hearing the scary creature in the closet instead he saw and
heard some monsters, witches, vampires, ghosts, and bullying another skeleton. He could not
believe his eyes. Finally, there was another skeleton just like him. Instead of letting them
continue to bully the skeleton, he decided to do something about it. He shouted with a loud and
scary voice as he did in the coat closet.

“I know the scary creature in the closet, and he’s not at all happy with the way you’re treating
this skeleton. He says if you don’t stop then you will regret everything.” Then he smiled the
scariest smile and he kept biting his big teeth together and clanking his bones against each other.
All the monsters, witches, vampires, ghosts, and spiders froze with fear. Then they all ran home,
and the two skeletons became friends.

1st Place: Kayden Hudson, Lake Oconee Academy

The Consequence

It was April 26th, 2009 when the hauntings of the town, Hillside came alive. This town was very
old and not many people lived there. There are 3 best friends, Katie, Saige, and Liam. They lived
in the most haunted house in town. They had to follow certain rules of the house, that the spirits
made them do and if those rules were broken they would have to face the consequences.

Even when they first entered the house they could tell that there was something off. Just the first
night they had the chills all night, they felt like something was watching them, and they all even
had sleep paralysis which they have never had before. Then all of them woke up to a loud,
BANG! They all rushed to the kitchen and when they got there was a list of rules. They all
thought that they were dreaming. It was 3 am! So they went back to bed thinking they were,
going crazy.

The next day they woke up and went straight into the kitchen to see if they were dreaming. And
it was there! The rules were still there! Katie picked it up and started reading them and there
were 200 rules! The ones that surprised them the most were, “ You can not come out of your
room past 11:59 pm. You must never try to contact spirits. YOU CAN NEVER SAY
BASEMENT, DISAPPEAR, OR SENSE! They were all in complete shock. That night they all
had to sleep at their friend’s house. Because they were still all shaken up. It was so odd, if you
were happy and then walked into the house you would just get a wave of anger come over you.

The next day they tried to contact the spirits using a ghost app, forgetting it was one of the rules.

“ Good morning. I downloaded a ghost app and I was thinking we could contact the spirits.”
Liam said,

“ Good idea, let’s just use it now to get it over with.” Liam pulled up the ghost app.

“ I had to pay for this so it better work,” Liam said as Saige rolled her eyes. First, they all walked around the house with the ghost detector. A ghost would show up every time we would ask a
question and the voice that would always come through was a male with a very deep voice. When
the first ghost showed up, which looked like a freakishly tall man who had a long beard, Katie
walked out the first time and went to her room. They spent the rest of the day doing that until
11:30 p.m. so that they wouldn’t break the rules.

The next morning, Katie and Saige went to the kitchen for breakfast when they didn’t see Liam
in there yet. Which was surprising because he never sleeps in and always makes breakfast. So
they went to his room to see if he was still sleeping. But he wasn’t there!
“ Oh no,” Katie and Saige said at the same time. To Be Continued…

The first thing that they did was call his phone but it was still in his room. Then they both rushed
to where the rules were and one of them was crossed out! Then they realized that they had
broken a rule! They contacted spirits, and that was the one that was crossed out.

“ So I guess since it was Liam’s idea the spirits punished him and blamed it on him,” Saige said
in a rush.

“ Yeah maybe. But that still doesn’t explain where Liam is. It is like he disapp..” Katie said
while being interrupted by Saige. “ Don’t say that!!!” Saige said as fast as a lightning bolt.
Remember that was one of the rules, don’t say, well you know what.” Saige explained. Then
they walked around all of their property and even checked if their car was still there and it was.
They waited a few hours just to make sure that this was not a prank.7 hours had passed of them
just staring at a wall thinking of what to do. Then Katie picked up the phone and called 911.

“ 911 what’s your emergency?”

“ Hi, we have not seen our friend anywhere today. His phone and car are still here. And we
looked everywhere we could think.”

“ Ok ma’am, we are going to be sending some cops over there. What is your address?” “ 3097
Elmer’s road” “ Okay ma’am they will be there soon.” The person said as they hung up. 10
minutes later, *knock knock* They opened the door,

“ Is this Katie Bryan and Saige Cameran?” “Yes,” Saige said, “ So you think that Liam Hallow
has gone missing?” Katie pulled Saige to the side, “ What are you doing??” Saige asked, very
confused. “ I never told them that the person that went missing was Liam. I never told them his
name!” Kaite said, trying not to be loud. They turned around quickly as they caught them having
a side conversation.

“ Uh we just got a call, it was him he went to get groceries,” Saige said with her voice shaking. “
Oh well uh, we probably need to take you to the police station.” Katie got a text from the 911
operator. “ Saige come here! “ “ Uh oh,” The text said, “ Sorry that we are late. We got in traffic
and we are about 5 mins away.” They both just slammed the door on them and locked the door.
The fake cops just started banging on the door and we heard that they were gonna break-in by
getting a head start and running so fast into the door. So when they heard them running and
getting close to the door they opened it so that they would run right into the couch and trap them.
And BANG! They ran right into the couch! Then perfect timing the real police came. But then as
they were arresting the fake police they heard a scream but it sounded familiar, like Liam. Katie
and Saige went to where the noise was coming from and they found him!!
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” All of them screamed. To Be Continued…

2nd Place: Noah Angle, Lake Oconee Academy


Harry was exploring his new room, his family had just gotten a new house. The room was grey
and gloomy. It had a small dresser and a wrinkled bed. There was an old painting of a sad clown.
It hung on a nail that was rusted and twisted. Harry was not satisfied with his new room.
That night Harry had just gotten into bed when he heard a scream. He jumped out of the bed and
put on his slippers. The stairs creaked like a grandfather clock as he rushed down. Harry saw a
long shadow at the bottom of the stairs. It stood still as if frozen. Finally, he got down to the first
floor. Harry gasped at what he saw, an old man was sitting in a chair in the right of the room. He
had never seen this man once in his life. His mother was on the left side of the room with her
hands over her mouth. It was hard to see the man over the shadow of the night. Harry squinted
hard trying to make out his face. It was luminescent almost blue, like a lava lamp. He wore
chains over his arms.

A chill ran down Harry’s spine as the man approached him. Now he saw his face. it was old, he
almost looked like a ghoul. His chains rattled on the floor like a rattlesnake. The man’s robe was
old and dusty.

“GO AWAY!!!” the monster rasped. “Ahhhh!!!” screamed my mom. “YOU DO NOT BELONG
HEAR!!!” screamed the beast. “S-stop…” Harry managed to squeak out. “YOU DO NOT
CONTROL ME!!!” yelled the booming voice “oh really!” Harry said, gaining confidence. He
jumped up, grabbed an old painting, and smashed it through the head of the beast. As the beast
stood up Harry shined a mirror at the monster. Suddenly the monster vanished out of thin air.
Harry and his mother clapped hands. Then they hugged with a cheer of triumph.

3rd Place: Eliana Clayton, Putnam County Elementary School


“Mom!” yelled Scarlet. “Yes hon?” said Scarlet’s mom. “Can I get cotton candy?” “Sure,” said
mom. Scarlet and her mom were at a Halloween carnival. A second later, Scarlet saw a broom in
the sky! No one else seemed to see it. But a lady was on the broom, and she landed right beside
Scarlet! She was green and had a hat on. “Ww-what a-a-are y-y-you?” asked Scarlet, awfully
scared. “Well I’m era witch!” she said. “That can’t be possible!” said Scarlet. “Well, it is,” she
said. “What’s your name?” the witch asked. “Scarlet” she replied. “Pretty name”, she said.

“What’s your name?” asked Scarlet. “My name is Matilda”. “Oh,” said Scarlet. Matilda walked
closer to Scarlet. Scarlet started backing up. “No need to be afraid,” she said. “O-okay,” said
Scarlet. “Just comin’ to tell you that yer a witch. You need to come with me”, said Matilda.
“Uhhh okay!” said Scarlet.

She hopped on the broom. They passed farms, cities, buildings, and trees. “Put your hand out”,
said Matilda. Scarlet Put her hand out and green powers went flying into the air. “Wow!” she
said. “You were right! I really am a witch! I’M A WITCH!

Matilda took Scarlet to her tavern then a minute later they heard a scratching on the walls. When
Matilda opened the door, a vampire stood at the door. “Matilda! Matilda! Matilda! So glad to see
you!”. “Go away!” shouted Matilda. “Oh!” he said. He had spotted Scarlet. “Half-human, half-witch”, he said. He ran toward her. Matilda shouted to Scarlet, “Hop on the broom!”. The
vampire was trying to get Scarlet! But then, BOOM!!!! Scarlet used her new green powers to
defeat him!

1st Place: Evan Truman, Gatewood Schools

The Spirit of the Lake

Ella was looking out of her car window when she saw a kid.

“Mom, didn’t you say it’s just us in the neighborhood? Isn’t that a girl skiing on the lake? Oh
nevermind, it must just be my imagination”, said Ella.

“Guess so”,” said Ella’s mom. As her mom pulls up to their new house, she and her parents walk
up the steps to their new house. They open the door and step inside, and Ella exclaims, “wow,
this is nice!” She runs upstairs as her dad trails behind her, pointing her in the direction of her
new bedroom. As Ella steps into her new room for a look around, she sees a girl in a bathing suit
and as she turns around she warns Ella not to go into the lake. Ella asks the mystery girl, “why
not?” She just responds…” just don’t, okay! There is something in there.” There was a pair of skis
leaning against the wall, the mystery girl told Ella to tap twice on the skis and she would appear
again. And then she was gone.

Later that day, the girl reappeared and said the monster was gone and she would see Ella on the

One Month Later

“Now that we are finally moved in, can we now go to the lake”, asked Ella? Ella was on her skis
and was doing her fancy ski tricks as her family cheered her on from the boat. As she was
jumping a wave, the mystery girl appeared beside her on skis. She told Ella what a good job she
was doing and would see her again soon. By the time they put the boat up, walked back inside
the house, and Ella took off her wet bathing suit it was about 1:00 pm. She was bored and ready
for an adventure. She was curious as to why all the houses around her were vacant. She told her
parents she was going to walk around the neighborhood. She just couldn’t help herself and
walk across the street and down two houses. She snuck around the side of the house and found
that the sliding door on the patio was open.

Ella opened the door and stepped into the kitchen and carefully closed the door behind her.
When she turned around there was a cute boy staring at her. The boy said, “Hi, my name is
Tyler”. Nervously, Ella introduced herself. The cute boy asked, “have you met my sister?” “Um,
I think so…I just don’t know her name”, replies Ella. Tyler tells Ella his sister’s name is Holly.
Ella is very confused and asks him, “what happened to this neighborhood and where did you and
Does Holly come from? Where did everyone go?” Tyler explained, “Holly and I have been here at this
lake for over 100 years, this used to be our family’s farm. We are what you might call friendly
ghosts. We’re excited to see humans again, we’re glad you’re here. This used to be a fun-filled
community with lots of kids until one day the Spirit of the Lake scared everyone away. The
Spirit was determined to win the National Ski Contest and skied all night and day, scaring
everyone. One by one, the families packed up and moved. Because there was nobody to ski for,
it wasn’t fun anymore and decided to move on from here.”

“That’s scary, I’m glad it was me and my family first to move back into the community, ” said
Ella. Ella said farewell to Tyler and is looking forward to seeing her new ghostly friends again.

2nd Place: Mia Claire White, Gatewood Schools

Dance Studio Scares

The day started out like any other. The dancers were excitedly arriving at the dance studio on a
rainy Halloween morning. Each dancer was unpacking their shoes and telling each other what
they were going to wear for Trick or Treating that night. As they were chatting, their dance
teacher called them to class and they hurried down the hall to the theater. While everyone was
stretching on the stage, the teacher began to give choreography instructions to the group.
Suddenly, the lights flashed and then went out! The room was pitch black and the dancers began
to scream. Just as the panic took over, the stage lights flickered back on. The girls let out a huge
sigh, figured the lights went out because of the stormy weather and started their dance practice
again. The dancers lined up in their positions and the music started. Each dancer gracefully
leaped, turned, and strutted across the wooden floor.

Above the music, the girls heard the floor creaking. The studio floor had never creaked before,
especially not THAT loud. They saw their dance teacher look around with fear all over her face.
First, the lights went out and came back on by themselves, and now the floor was creaking
loudly! It was enough to make everyone feel the scary Halloween vibes. But, the dancers
continued and pretended not to be spooked. The dancers kept practicing up until lunchtime. The
girls had almost forgotten the creepy events that had happened that morning. Everyone washed
their hands, sat with friends, and began eating their lunch. All of the sudden, music began
blasting from the theater. The music was so loud that the girls had to cover their ears. The dance
teacher started screaming because no one was in the theater anymore. She yelled, “Grab your
bags and run! The studio is haunted!!”.

3rd Place: Luck Lollis, Lake Oconee Academy


It was a rainy day, Joe and Joanna were playing in the rain. And then Joe wandered in the woods
and found a hole in the ground and Joe said, “Joanna come here look what I found.” Then when
Joanna came they went in the hole and they kept wandering deeper and deeper in the hole and
the hole became a Cave.

Then all of a sudden BAMM! The kids were frightened by the loud bang so they went to explore
what the loud noise was. The kids found a bunch of people standing but they didn’t look right.
None of them have heads! They started running and then hid. Joe whispered, “Do you think that
banging noise did this to them?” Joanna said, “probably.” in a mumbling voice.

Then they heard the footsteps of the people and they were as silent as an ant crawling. Then
when the people were gone they walked in the other direction and the people heard Joe and Joanna.
Joe told Joanna, “Go I will fight them!”. Then he fought them and failed. Joanna was out of sight
and Joe’s head was eaten. Now Joe is “Headless Joe”. Joanna thought the coast was clear
because it was so quiet but to her demise, it was not! Then Joanna had to fight them too but also
did not succeed and her head was eaten too! Now Joanna and Headless Joe are roaming the
woods to this day!

1st Place: Lily Schwartz, Putnam County Middle School

The Cursed Book

There once was a town, it had no name. Everyone in the town was very happy and lived a normal
life. Although everyone in the town was different, one thing terrified them all. The thing that
terrified them so much was the library and books in general. Nobody touched a book, talked
about a book, or walked inside of a library. They even avoided going anywhere near the old
abandoned library, and when they absolutely had to, they walked as far away from it a possible.

Other towns thought this fear of books was ridiculous, but there was a reason for this mutual
fear. Just a few years ago, the people of the town had loved books until something horrible
happened, something that gave the people of the town a reason to be afraid. There once was a
girl that loved to read, even more than most of the townspeople did. She spent most of her time
at the library, completely immersed it whatever book was in her hands. Her name was Zula. One
day she was looking for something new to read, as she had just finished the novel she had been
reading. She scanned the shelves of books and suddenly a particularly colorful book caught her
eye. She pulled it off the shelf and read the title: The Haunted City. The cover was metallic red
and gold, which shimmered in the early morning sunlight. The title sounded appealing to her and
she settled down into a comfy armchair and started reading.

She was captivated by the first sentence and could tell that this was going to be a good read.
Warning: This book is very dangerous and reading too much of it can cause serious dangers, so I
suggest that you put this book down and burn it. I do not want anyone to have the same fate that I
watched happen.

Zula figured this was just the author’s way of pulling the reader into the book, although the author
may have gone a little too far with all the “burn this book” nonsense. She dismissed the odd
beginning and happily continued reading. The book was about a girl that caused an entire city to
be cursed to have tons of ghosts coming around at night to kill villagers at random. It was
significantly thinner than what she normally read, and she was finished with it by early evening
that night. At the end of the book was another warning.

If you are reading this and you ignored my warning at the beginning, then burn this book and try
to forget all about it. You still are not likely to survive reading this book but burning it and
forgetting about it is your best bet to not suffer a nasty death and possibly cause a curse because
of your foolishness.

Zula was starting to wonder if maybe there was some truth to this. If the author had been that
serious about it, she maybe should be at least a little concerned. She thought over what she
should do, but then realized how ridiculous she was being, a book couldn’t have supernatural
abilities like that. Could it? She decided that there was probably nothing to worry about and
started walking to place the book back where she’d found it when it started glowing green. She
almost dropped the book in surprise. She was rethinking her decision to not burn the book when
the pages fluttered open to the page where death had happened. She gasped in disbelief just as
she was sucked into the book.

She must have blacked out because the next thing she knew, she was opening her eyes and she was
in an unfamiliar place. It was a village, but it looked dead. There was no grass, just dirt and there
were no human beings in sight. She saw misty figures everywhere and dead bodies on the
ground. Ghosts she realized and she felt a sudden sense of dread. Before she knew it, one of
them was upon her. It was killing her she knew, Zula desperately tried to get it off of her with no
luck, her hands and feet moving right through it.

She suddenly was back in the library, but the ghost was still on her and ghosts were flying
everywhere around her. There had to be hundreds of them, she thought. They were not making a
mess or doing much of anything except staring creepily at her. She suddenly felt the life escape
her and she fell to the ground, dead. The ghosts then poured out into the street, got the villager’s
attention and told them what had happened. The ghosts also announced that they would kill half
of the villagers and once they had done so, they would leave. They did what they said, and the
villagers tried to flee and/ or fight, but it was no use. The ghosts left the ones that had survived
with a warning, they told them that 2 other books had been cursed, and if they were ever read or
mentioned, the same thing would happen again.

The villagers also saw strange things happen at the library at night and so they avoided it at all
costs. Everyone burned all their books and never spoke of any books again. To this day they still
live in fear of books and libraries and they forever will. The End

2nd Place: Lola Segars, Gatewood Schools

Hocus Pocus

Halloween came around just like that. It still felt like August, but in a gust of wind, October
arrived. That meant Halloween and costumes. Every year, I had the lamest costume, and all the
kids called me a loser. This year things were changing.

“Everly, come down. I have a surprise,” she yelled. “Coming Mom,” I said. As I ran down the
stairs, I had a feeling that whatever she was going to tell me was about Halloween. ” Sweetie, I
have a surprise for you.”

” What is it,” I said? ” I bought you some fabric and made you this costume!” I could not believe
my eyes’. From behind, came a fluffy cat costume. I did not want to hurt my mom’s feelings, so I
told her it was perfect, and that I would wear it that weekend. As I walked up the stairs, I said, ”
You’ve got to be kidding me.” That night my mom told me to take my brother to get a pumpkin. I
called, “Chris, let’s go!”

As we walked out the door, my mom told us to be safe and not to stay out too late. I told her we
would be fine. As we left the driveway, I realized how dark it was. When we arrived at the
pumpkin patch, there were only a few pumpkins left, so I thought this wouldn’t take long. While
my brother was investigating every pumpkin in the patch, I heard footsteps coming closer and
closer. I called out, ” who’s there?” Nobody answered me. All I heard was footsteps coming
closer and closer and then it came out with a BOO! Of course, it was Johnny and Mikey. They
were my worst enemies also known as my every year scarers. I told them don’t do that again.
Johnny said, ” why not you chicken?” Mikey said, ” and where is your dorkish brother?” I said, ”
don’t talk about him like that.”

I told my brother “come on let’s go home.” That night I tossed and turned, but then my eye’s
popped open. I looked around for a second trying to figure out what was happening. When I
realized I was in my room I calmed myself, but before I knew it, I heard a creak in the hall. I
called out, “Hello” but nobody answered. I heard it again, “creek” I walked out to the hall and
called, “Hello”. I peered out of my door and heard footsteps running like we were playing tag. I
followed the footsteps to my brothers’ room but nobody was in there. I thought it was strange. It
was so weird it was like I was in another diminution with just me and whoever was creating
those footsteps.

I started to freak out so I ran to my parents’ room. They were not in there and that’s when I
panicked. I ran around calling my family’s name, ” Mom, Dad, Chris are any of you here?” It was
like I was in a haunted house with ghosts all around me. That’s when I heard the footsteps again
but this time, I chased the footsteps. Then I heard little giggles all around me. I yelled, ” where
are you!” but there was no response. I sat in the corner of the hall and just cried, it’s all I could
do. The thoughts in my head were blank. Later, I heard my name being called, ” Everly, Everly,
Everly wake up.” I moaned and groaned and then shot up like a zombie rising from the dead. My
mom called out, ” Everly are you okay you are going to be late for school.” I said, ” wait what,
was that all a dream?” My mom said, ” what do you mean when you came home from the
pumpkin patch last night you passed out.” I immediately thought to myself this is a bunch of
Hocus Pocus.

3rd Place: Joelyn Madden, Putnam County Middle School

The Bloody Eyed Man

One day a little girl headed home, walking along a path through the woods as she has always
done. She had never noticed a dark and rusted tunnel along the trail, but today she did. She
decided to investigate the tunnel to see where it went and what it would lead to. As she walked
and walked, she realized that there was light. She thought the light would be the end of the
tunnel, so she decided to continue to walk towards the light until she got close enough to see that
it was not the end of the tunnel, but it was a flashlight. She was weirded out but also curious, so
she continued along.

As she got closer, she noticed a person was holding the flashlight. Once close enough, she yelled
out, “let me see your face, please?” The person slowly pointed the flashlight at their face, and to
her shock, it was a very tall man wearing a black suit with pale skin, a long tongue, bloody eyes,
and tentacles for arms. Frightened and weak at the knees, she turned and tried to run, but the
bloody eyed man stretched out his long black tentacle and wrapped it around her body. She had
no chance of survival. He pulled her back and transformed her into the bloody eyed girl. Now, if
you are walking on that same path, you will see two lights down that old, dark, and rusted tunnel.
Please do not enter. The End

1st Place: Emilia Grace Viscara, Lake Oconee Academy


“That leaves us one more question, trick, or treat? There’s been speculation whether or not kids
will get to have their Halloween festivities tonight due to Hurricane Samantha…” “Turn that
off!” Mom says from the kitchen, clicking the TV off. “Hey!” Daniel calls from the living room.
“That was about trick or treating, Mom!” “It doesn’t matter! I’d rather be dead than let you go
out during the hurricane!” “But, Mom!” Daniel whines. “I’m sorry! But my number one priority
is keeping you safe. That means no trick or treating this year.” “Ugh!” Daniel screams. He runs
up the stairs, stomping. He slams his door and collapses on the ground. Halloween was canceled,
and there was nothing Daniel could do about it.

He looks around his room, and something catches his eye. A video game cartridge. He takes a
hold of the game and inserts it into the Nintendo. A screen on the TV appears. Player One Start.
He clicks his controller. The music from the game starts and then– The TV glitches. Static, then
flames. Confused, Daniel starts to shake out of fear. He drops his controller, backing up from the
TV. The static gets louder and louder until– Darkness. Daniel bolts upright, gasping for air. He’s
not in his room anymore. In front of him stands a castle, with a dragon sitting atop of it. Daniel
holds a sword, although he didn’t know where it came from. A hologram-ish screen appears
above him. Player One Start. An anonymous voice comes from the sky.

“Where am I?” Daniel cries. “Slay the Dragon.” Says the voice, sternly. A countdown begins.
10. 9. 8. “I don’t know how!” Daniel shouts. 7. 6. 5. “Slay the Dragon.” 4. 3. 2. “But I-I can’t!”
1. The iron gate to the castle comes crashing down. Daniel thinks for a moment, knowing he has
to cross the bridge. He steps forward. It starts to crumble beneath him. He runs across the bridge,
trying not to be engulfed by the water. “Slay the Dragon before the night ends! Or else you will
be stuck behind these walls forever!” Says the voice. “Now go!”

Daniel approaches the castle. A ginormous door stands before him. Daniel nervously takes out
his sword, glowing with a blue light. Daniel taps the sword on the door. An old man opens the

“Who goes there?” “I’m Prince Alexander from the nearby state Georgia! I’ve come to slay the
dragon!” “Slay the dragon, I see… I suppose if you were here to slay the dragon you could come
inside…” The man gestures for Daniel to come in. “This castle hasn’t had a living being in 600
years. Beware of the ghosts, they might be a little spooked.”

Daniel enters the castle. A staircase reaches up onto the top of the tower. He looks up, and the
staircase is filled with thousands of spirits. He steps onto the first step. Creak. The ghosts turn,
staring at Daniel. They rush down the stairs, circling him.

“Please don’t hurt me!” Daniel yells, putting his hands up into the air. “I’m Prince Daniel. I hail
from Georgia. I am here to slay the dragon that sits atop this castle!” “Did you say the dragon?
That dragon has had us under a spell for the past 600 years!” Says an old woman ghost. “I have to
slay the dragon tonight, or else I won’t be able to get back home!” “Before tonight? Oh dear boy!
Go, go!” Says the woman, pushing Daniel onto the next stair. Daniel takes a breath in and hops
up the stairs to the castle. When he reaches the top, he climbs onto the roof as quietly as possible.
That’s when he sees the dragon. Ginormous and green, sleeping on its side. It was the scariest
thing Daniel had seen in his entire life. He stands up, sword in hand. He raises the sword above
his head, ready to end the dragon and get back home. He braces himself for impact and strikes!

The glowing blue collides with the scaly green dragon. The dragon roars and turns around to see
Daniel, standing behind him. He shakes the whole castle in anger. Daniel approaches the dragon
again. He hits the dragon again in the feet. The dragon collapses in pain. Using all of his
strength, he continues to fight. Daniel brings down his sword in front of the dragon, ready for the
final strike to end him and get Daniel back home. He raises the sword above his head, brings it
down, and– Stops.

“Daniel? What are you doing? Slay. The. Dragon.” Says the voice. Daniel can’t. He looks at the
dragon with its bloodied feet and hurt scales. “Is this even real? Is this a real dragon? Am I
having a dream right now?” Daniel says into the open. “I know nothing! Because of that, I can’t
kill this dragon. I have a heart and courage. I’m courageous and brave, but I can’t be right now
because of the unknown I am facing. I have no idea what lies ahead of me. Because of this, I will
not kill a dragon that has done nothing to me! I may be stuck in this world forever, but a real
prince of courage would never do something so cowardly!”

The tower beneath him starts to crack. It begins crumbling to the ground, collapsing into a pile of
ruins. Daniel looks over the kingdom, knowing he would have to make his home here. He jumps
down from the pile of rubble, ready to start again. The hologram appears over the kingdom
again. But this time, it’s a leaderboard. Right at the top, in bright blue letters, says “Prince

“Congratulations, Prince Daniel of Georgia. You’ve won the game. You’ve shown more courage
and bravery than ever could be done fighting a dragon. You listened to your heart and won. It’s
11:55, Prince Daniel. You must get home now.” Says the voice. Daniel smiles up at the sky. He
approaches the river, and the bridge appears. It’s glowing with light.

“Thank you for this. It’s surely been a journey.” Says Daniel. “Come back anytime and Level
Up.” Says the voice, laughing. Daniel smiles and crosses the bridge. He walks across, turning
from the Great Prince Daniel of Georgia to just plain old Daniel. He was back in his room, all
alone on Halloween. Everything was normal. He peeks outside from his window, and kids fill the
streets. “Daniel!” Mom calls. “It’s time to go trick or treating!” THE END.

2nd Place: Marshall Jones, Putnam County Middle School

The Night in the Woods

Looking up at that moon, the blood-red moon that confirmed all the rumors, just made me sick.
“I have never told this story to you guys. Only Griffin and I know it. Well…these two… the star
athlete who went missing, Anthony, and smart and funny, Ben, who also went missing.’’ Griffin
looked up at me and his eyes said is it time yet? I looked back and nodded. Everyone leaned in
close. Then I began to tell the story…

It was two years ago; we all heard the rumors of an underground cavern that made zombies of
anything which touched the crystals that lay there. So, we decided to visit on that night of all
nights…… Halloween. We snuck out… Griffin, Anthony, Ben, and me. We headed for the dark
oak forest that was north of my house. We got at the gate that had a sign, TURN BACK NOW.
Ben was the first to say we should do what the sign says, but Anthony was already climbing the
fence. We all did the same. We got about fifty steps in when we turned around because we heard
a noise.

Standing at the entrance was a person with no left arm and weirdly enough was not screaming in
pain nor bleeding Just standing there. Then with a scream, it charged us. Just as it was about to
tackle me, Anthony grabbed a stick and smacked the zombie creature. To our surprise, its head
came off. Then the once lively creature was dead. We all stood there frozen; had the rumors been
true? Had there actually been a cavern with crystals that turned anything into a zombie? I was the
first to return to normal from a frozen time which felt like an eternity. “Guys, was that a zombie?”

Then they returned one by one saying, “I think so.” “Guys, if that was a zombie then there’s a
cavern which means we must close it off.” Everyone had their remarks asking if we were crazy.
But then Anthony said, “It is the only way. What if a zombie apocalypse happens? We’re the
ones to blame for not closing it off.”

Everyone agreed, but if one of us turns into a zombie, we would not hesitate to do what we must
and kill them. In the distance, we saw something that terrified us. A wall of dead people was just
there staring deep into our souls. Out of the crowd, a bigger zombie appeared. Then he took one
step and the wall of the zombies charged us.

“Run!” I didn’t have to tell them. While we were booking it, we split up not on purpose, but we
did. I yelled all their names and heard Griffin. I went to his voice but tripped. When I looked up,
I saw a gravestone. I read it, it said my name, Rapheal Lawrence, Rest in Peace 10/31/29. I
looked around and saw other gravestones with my friends’ names. Griffin’s and my gravestones
were still dugouts, but Anthony and Ben’s were covered. I dug up some of the dirt on Anthony’s,
and then I saw his face. Anthony was dead. I started to cry; then I ran. I saw the fence we came
through and Griffin on the other side. I jumped the fence and started to run for home with

We both agreed to not tell anyone until it was time. And here I am telling you this story now.

“There’s no way that story is real.” said one of my newly doubting friends. “Good… make
yourself believe it’s not real because if one day you do believe, you won’t be able to go one
single night without having a nightmare. I mean like one of those three a.m. someone come save
me kind of nightmares. Some nights, you physically save yourself from falling asleep because it
has happened too often.”

3rd Place: Maggie Wilson, Lake Oconee Academy

The House On The River

I still have nightmares about it. I mean it was eye-opening, not just something you can forget in a
blink of an eye. When something like this happens it sticks to your mind like glue, haunting you,
not wanting to ever leave. And yes you hear stories all the time about the house on the river.
However, the evidence is never to be found. Some people never return. What’s their story? So are
the other stories even true? No one knows. Until you see for yourself.

“ What should I wear tonight?” Nova questions her sister “ I’m not sure, probably something
comfortable. “ “ Ally. You never dress up! Just tonight. Please “ Nova says dragging her voice “
I don’t even have nice clothes “ “ Just wear some of mine,” Nova says, turning around to her
closet. “ Here,” Nova pulls out a long silver, sparkly dress. “ Okay, are we going to a party or
prom? “ Ally replies Nova rolls her eyes, then turns back around.

“ How about this skirt, and this top? “ Nova asks “ That’s reasonable I guess. Umm, okay fine. “
“ Yes! “ Nova exclaims After makeup and hair, they finally made it out of the house. Nova
roams over to her old white jeep and grips the handle to pull herself in. Her body tenses up at the
heat of the seat. “ Ow, that’s hot. “ she expresses. Ally reaches for the radio and turns on Radio
News “ A group of teens has appeared to go missing. The last place they were found to be the
river on East Street.”

“ Wow, “ Ally says “ Huh? “ Nova states while trying to back up out of the driveway “ Nothing
just the Radio. “ Ally says back From then the rest of the ride there was pretty much silence.
When they arrived Nova was greeted by all of her school friends. On the other hand, Ally tended
to keep to herself at school and didn’t have many friends so she just stuck by Nova.

“ So guys what are we getting into tonight? “ Nova asks “ Actually we aren’t staying here, we are
going down by the river on East Street. “ James mentions “ Oh cool! “ Nova replies “ The River?
East Street? Nova, we aren’t going there. “ Ally says with worry “ Come on it’ll be fun Ally don’t
be so protective” Nova turns around and responds to Ally “ No Nova you’re not going. “ “ You
know what if you don’t want to go then leave. I came here to have fun not to be bossed around by
you. “ Nova tells ally “ Fine, do what you want. “ Ally walks out of the front door. “ Okay, guys
let’s go! “ Nova announces Everyone jumps into Nova’s car. Nova looks around wondering
where Ally went, but she didn’t have time to worry about it. So she just started the car and left.

Nova pulled onto a dirt road. She put East Street on her GPS but the road led her to a dead end.
Everyone jumped out with their flashlights and walked to see where they were. As they walk a
little further they witness an old, shabby house. “ Woah, sick. “ Jamie asserts “ Yooo, we gotta
go in there. “ James utters Nova walks closer and turns up the flashlight’s brightness to get a
better look. She turns around and takes and makes eye contact with everyone. Then continues to
walk forward. “ Yeah, okay. “

They all stroll over to the front porch where James jumps on. Jamie runs her finger down the
black door, paint flaking off. The wood beneath them creaking Jamie opens the door. She starts
choking on the dusty air. Nova walked in, everything was out of place and aged. James grabs his
phone to check the time. It was already 11:00. Once James entered the house the door
automatically shut itself.

“ What was that? “ Jamie questioned “ I don’t know, it wasn’t me. “ James answers Nova looks
around with worry. “ Guys. “ Nova says “ Huh? “ James asked “ Look. “ “ Look where- “ A
freezing cold breeze roamed past them and then they heard a whisper. “ Run. “

James falls and gets dragged by his feet into the other room while gripping the floor trying to
hold himself back. Jamie and Nova rush behind the ancient scratchy couch with fear filling their
bodies head to toe. They wait about a minute then Nova peeks back up. James is gone. Nova
looks back at Jamie with panic in her eyes. “ Do you hear that? “ the ghostly voice expresses
They deeply stare at the creaking staircase. Ally appears. “ Ally! What are you doing here? “ “
Nova what are you talking about, there is no one there” Jamie whispers not wanting to catch
anyone’s attention “ Yes, there is, it’s Ally. “ Nova answers “ Ally as in your sister? “ “ Yeah,
who else would I be talking about? “ “ Nova. Ally died a year ago. “

1st Place: Parteek Aulakh, Lake Oconee Academy


It was dark and rainy on the night of Christmas Eve. The rain was hitting the ground as fast as a
gun can shoot. Dr. Einstein had been working on his creation for just over a year. Today he
decided to release it. But then things went a little south. The creation looked and sounded like
one of those zombie fantasies. Soon Dr. Einstein realized that it wasn’t one of those fantasies it
was real life. The zombie steadily started walking towards Dr. Einstein and then he ate them.
Soon after Dr. Einstein woke up infected. He was a zombie now. Then the worst that could
happen happened. Dr. Einstein and his creation broke out of the building.

A lot of people thought they were crazy when they saw them outside. And then one person went
for a closer look and then he got bitten and then turned infected. There was havoc on the streets,
one didn’t know what to do. They were running all around, highways were getting closed. The
worst that could happen was happening. The next day … The streets looked exactly like the
movies cars were flipped, there was fire everywhere, and most importantly they were zombies
everywhere. The reporters and news channels had estimated that they were about 1 million
zombies roaming the streets. The government soon started sending out military choppers and
military personnel to assist the citizens but every attempt failed; they were overrun by zombies.

Factions started for me to protect one another. But then another hiccup in the road happened. The
government withdrew its personnel and let the citizens fight for themselves. Soon after the
factions started fighting each other. The people were almost killed as much as the zombies. A
peace agreement had to be brought forward so that mankind could still exist.

Finally, some pieces of good news came forward: scientists were close to finding a cure. Soon
after this news broke out do you factions started to agree with each other because they realized
this couldn’t be close to the end. One week after the news broke scientists have found the cure. It
was all coming to an end. There were a few problems: how are you going to get back all the
people that died, are the people that turned in the zombies going to be normal again, and will
society turn normal again?

These were very serious questions. The government decided to bring back the forces and use the
cure. The numbers of zombies were going down day by day. One month later the world was
finally at peace and all of the zombies were gone. And then started the slow slow climb back to

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Amanda Vining photo

Amanda holds a BS in Biology from Georgia College & State University. She began her career as an educator with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. After leaving the DNR, Amanda became a formal educator with Baldwin County School System and Jasper County School System. Amanda began her museum career at the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MAS) in Macon, Georgia, where she served as Curator of Environmental Science
(2011-2020). While at MAS, Amanda developed a love for sharing the world around us with the many students who visited on school field trips. During her time as Curator of Environmental Science, Amanda launched a storytime
program for preschool children.

Since 2020, Amanda has been serving Georgia Writers Museum as a volunteer on the Education Committee. Amanda has brought her love of sharing stories with students by launching Peaches’ Reading Pasture. As Museum Manager, Amanda looks forward to serving the community and helping to inspire those within our community to put words to paper and share their stories.

Amanda was born and raised in nearby Shady Dale, Georgia. Her husband, Rodney, is a native of Eatonton, and they currently reside in Putnam County. They have three children.