creative writing contests.  your imagination.  PUBLISHED!

2015 holloween flash fiction contest | FIRST PLACE WINNER 

by Laura Rose Cardona

Editor's comments:  Laura did a fine job of using "It was a dark and stormy night" and making the story her own.  I especially liked her segue from a potentially spooky story to something a little darker - the human mind at its most vulnerable. This, and her strong, unique writing style, are why she was chosen as the winner of this years Halloween Flash Fiction Contest.  PS - This is the first contest hosted at Black Ink Contests so Laura is also the first winner EVER for this contest site!

by Laura Rose Cardona


It was a dark and stormy night. A bolt of thunder crept into my room and shocked me awake.

“Mom!” I yelled, bolting from my bed. My chest rose and fell in rapid succession; I made my way toward the door of my room. I was always afraid of storms. Lightning's electric current only existed within the night, and within the night existed the dark, and I was always afraid of the dark. Anything could be lurking.

My hand grasped the metallic silver door knob, and I rotated it with a firm grip. The aperture made a soft clicking noise before unlocking the way to not only my own exit, but also the entryway of the shadow-like figure that stood before me.

“Mom!” I shrieked. I took in the appearance of the apparition as it came forth. Its body was a pure lump of darkness. Its face was almost owl-like in appearance. Large black tunnels caved in on its blank expression, forming two abysses that appeared to be eyes. Its nose was a mere shadow; there was no visible mouth to be found. I felt tears streaming down from my cheeks as I quickly back-stepped, the creature following me with hushed footsteps.

“MOOOOM!” I continued to scream.

Nearby, I heard the faint flicker of a nearby light. I recognized the sound as the hallway light and concluded that my mother must be on her way. My sweaty palms met with the thin paint of my wall. I was cornered.

“Please…,” I choked out, my mouth quivering far too ferociously to engage in coherent speech. The gap between me and the figure was closed in a matter of seconds, and I was enveloped in its darkness. I could still sense my surroundings around me, though I couldn’t see. All I could hear was the concerned cry of my mother’s voice.

“Sweetie?! What’s wrong?!” She hollered.

“Mom…I-I can’t see,” I replied, my fear-induced exhaustion finally taking a toll on me.

“Just…just follow my voice, okay? I’m right here. Come and unlock the door.”

 Slowly, shaking, I found myself at the door, and opened it. My mother pulled me into a tight embrace.

“It’s okay. I’m here now. It was just an enemy,” She cooed, stroking my hair comfortingly.

“It was so real. So vivid this time, Mom.” A new wave of tears erupted from the aqueducts of my terror.

“Well, what did I say to do when you see one?”

“Look in the mirror…,” I deadpanned, upset at myself for forgetting one of the most valuable lessons my mother ever taught me. If they don’t have a reflection, they’re not real. I lifted my head from her crook precociously, slowly panning my view toward the mirror. There was nothing. Just my room and the people within it. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Get some sleep, okay?” She whispered as she returned me to my bed, giving me a swift kiss upon my forehead.


When I awoke the next morning, I was quickly ushered into my mother’s car. We were driving to visit my father, who, in all my thirteen years, I had never seen once. I thought this time to be the perfect opportunity to inquire more about him.

“Mom?” I began softly.

“Yes, Ema?” she replied, her eyes still attached on the road.

“Why did Dad leave?” I asked, a hint of disappointment clouding my pitch.

“Well, your father.” She sighed. “Your father loves me very much. Not everybody can handle children, however, especially with…” Her voice trailed off.

“The enemies?” I added.

“Yes. The enemies.”

“You’ve been seeing enemies all your life too, right, Mom?”

“Yes, sweetie, I have. No more of this, okay? And do not mention it to your father.”

I nodded, despite my urge to delve more into the conversation. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one terrorized by visions of hostile beings, but my mother always spoke so little of the matter that I had become accustomed to dismissing the topic. I leaned my head against the car window, the blinking of my eyelids becoming heavier and more permanent.

“Love you, Mom,” I murmured.

“I love you too, Ema,” She said, just before I drifted off to sleep.

When I awoke, my mother guided me out of the car. She instructed me to stay behind her at all times.

“We don’t know how your father might react to us showing up unannounced like this, so just remain out of sight.”

I obeyed this command. When we entered my mother sat on a couch adjacent to my dad; I stayed behind a wall, peering at them as they spoke.

 “What brings you here?” My father asked.

“I’m tired of playing games, Jim. It’s been thirteen years and you've not had any contact with your own daughter since she was fi...”

“I don't have a daughter!” My father shouted suddenly.

My mother quickly rose to a stand herself; tears welled in her eyes.

“I’m sick and tired of you denying her existence! She’s a person; not only that, she’s our child. How do you think she feels? She asks about you almost every day!” Pain was laced through her voice.

“How do you think I feel?! I tried, Ema (Ema??  Ema was my name!), I really did try to make this work between us! Your schizophrenia, what did you call them…your enemies, I tried my hardest to put up with that, but when you conjure this child out of NOWHERE—”

“She’s real!” My mother insisted.  “She is real. Dammit, Jim! She’s standing right there!”

My mother pointed to the entryway where I was shrouded, and my father looked straight at me, straight through me, straight to the mirror behind me, and in its reflection was nothing.

There was -  nothing.



"A Hispanic female teen, Laura Rose Cardona was born, raised, and resides in Brooklyn, New York. Currently a junior in high school, Laura attends Williamsburg Prep, with her contemporary favorite subject being AP Composition. For as long as she could recall, Laura has always had a passion for writing, and at 16 years old, Laura can confidently say that her passion still remains thriving and unyielding. This passion stems from the idea that writing provides a creative outlet to express and emphasize upon ideas, ideas which could then go on to enforce social awareness, justice, and equality. An advocate for reform herself, Laura is working on publishing smaller pieces of poetry in the short term, and working on publishing her debut novel: Purgatory, in the long term." -GirlsWriteNow

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