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
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. “