Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest


We are down to the final 2 months before The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is officially released. Time to kick off the Tell Me Your Ghost Story contest!

I’m a huge fan of flash fiction writing contests, so I’ll start things rolling by telling you a 150 word or less ghost story from my life.

When I lived on Wall Street, one night in that haze between dreaming and fully awake, I saw people dressed in clothes from another era and exuding an eerie bluish light at the end of my bed. I felt like they wanted to tell me something. I have no idea how, but in my bones, I just understood that they were ghosts.

I freaked and threw the covers over my head because, as we all know, that protects us from the supernatural. By the time I’d gathered enough courage to look again, I was completely awake and they were gone. It turns out there were some horrible fires that destroyed buildings down there. I think when people die tragically something of them remains.

How the Contest Works

This contest is open to anyone 12 years old and up. (On Wattpad, 13 years old and up due to Wattpad’s terms of use.)

From June 1, 2015, at 7 a.m. EST to July 15, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. EST, I’ll be running the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest here on my blog and via Wattpad. It’s a flash fiction writing game with awesome prizes.

To enter, all you have to do is tell me your ghost story by commenting on this blog post before July 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Your comment must include your name, email, and your ghost story. The entire ghost story must be 150 words or less. (Note: Your title doesn’t count toward the 150 word count.) It can be based on your own ghostly encounter or can be a scary ghost story you make up.

Each contestant is allowed up to 3 entries. So if you can’t narrow it down to your favorite ghost story, you can post your top 3 ghost stories.

The story should be PG-13. It can fall into mystery/fantasy/paranormal/horror categories, but it must prominently feature a ghost. If it is longer than 150 words, it won’t be eligible for this contest.

If you are entering via Wattpad, please make sure to tag your story with: #TGWIGcontest #wpcontests so that I can find it and add it to the entries. Here’s the link to the contest on Wattpad:

I will select the top ten best ghost stories based on spookiness and quality of writing. Then I will send them to my editor, Jessica Jernigan, who has graciously agreed to judge them for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in the contest.

The Prizes

3rd prize: A critique from K.C. Tansley of the first ten pages of your short story or manuscript + a query letter critique + an ebook copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. Total value: $50.

2nd prize: A one hour Skype visit with K.C. Tansley for you, your book club, your school, or your community. You can ask me any writing questions you’d like or chat about books with me. It’s your hour to pick my brain on anything writerly. If you want to pass pages by me for review, I can give you instant feedback during that hour. You’ll also receive a signed copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. Total value: $70

1st prize: A gorgeous limited edition sterling silver replica of the Radcliffe ruby necklace. There are only three in existence and they were hand crafted by Marina A. Raye. You will also receive a signed copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. In addition, I will publish your winning story on my blog + sing your praises on social media. Total value: $150.



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 Announcement of Winners

Winners’ names will be posted on my blog and on Wattpad by August 5, 2015 11:59 p.m. EST. I will also email winners to request their mailing address by August 7, 2015 11:59 EST.

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95 Responses to Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    What a fun contest. I’m not much of a flash fiction writer, but I know many who excel at it. I bet you’ll get some great entries, especially with those great prizes. Have fun!

    As for you seeing dead people—chills! :/

  2. Great prizes Kourtney and a great way of promoting the new book!

    • Thanks! When I started writing the book, I always wanted a replica of the necklace. I plan to wear mine to all events. Started working on that in March. 😉 Hope this helps spread the word. It started with me emailing responses to a Q&A to my publicist and one was about my own personal ghost stories. Then she immediately wrote back with hers and we thought this is something fun to do for adults and teens. 🙂

  3. It’s summer – perfect time for ghost stories. Short ones take careful crafting. Can’t wait to see what ghostly images emerge.
    Amazing prizes (the necklace is cool – great idea to wear it during your events!)

    • I wish we could gather around the fire and make smores too. They do, but I think it’s about letting the reader’s imagination fill in the gaps. 🙂 Me too. Aw, thanks. I love the necklace. It’s expensive but worth the cost. 🙂

  4. Super excited about this! The girls and I are getting ready to write! !

  5. What a fun contest, Kourtney! I don’t write flash fiction, but I’ll be anxious to hear about the entries.

  6. EllaDee says:

    I love a good ghost story. To get the ball rolling…
    It followed me home through dark silent streets. Stalking me to the door. Hairs quivered on my neck as it slithered past my shoulder. As I climbed the stairs the warmth evaporated. I shivered. Shaking my head in disbelief I entreated “Leave. You’re not welcome here.” The temperature plunged. “I’m not interested. Go back to where you belong and do no harm”. I finished my bedtime preparations; invoking protection, touching each in the circle of crystals. Almost asleep, I heard the television turn on. And off. How many nights now? I felt the air chill and the edge of mattress dip. I moaned into the dense humming energy “Go away” as I resisted its embrace. A stronger force pulled at my arms. Resisting even as I was lifted I muttered. “Not doing this. Be gone. Highest good no harm be done”. I fell back. Enveloped this time only by sleep.
    EllaDee, dln011 [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] au

  7. Fantastic promo idea!

  8. Ally Bean says:

    Since I read this yesterday I’ve been thinking about my ghost story. And I have to admit that I don’t have one. I don’t know if it is that I’m too pragmatic to believe such things OR if I’m so unobservant that I don’t notice when a ghost is around. Either way, I’ll be a fascinated reader of other people’s ghost stories. This contest should be fun.

  9. Aw that’s too bad, but I understand. Thanks for giving it a try! 🙂

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    This is such a cool idea, Kourtney! And that is such an awesome personal story of your own. None of my brushes with the unexplained come close to that!

  11. Mayumi-H says:

    This is, perhaps, the perfect incentive for me to get back into blogging: a writing challenge from a friend! I am going to think on this one and get my submission in as soon as I can. Do you mind if I spread the word about it on my own social media? (Feel free to say no.)

    Thanks, Kourtney! <3

    • Yes, come back to the dark side and blog with us! 🙂 Yay, can’t wait to read it. Please please spread the word–we want as many people to hear about it as possible. More entries=more fun!


  12. I am all over this. I just don’t know which ghost story to pick! What a great contest idea, Kourtney. You are so fun and creative.

  13. Does it have to be a scary story? As long as it’s focused on a ghost, can I branch into comedy with a semi light-hearted nature?

    • Great question! It doesn’t necessarily have to be scary, but part of the judging is based on spookiness. So it can be lighthearted like a cozy paranormal mystery or a Scooby Doo episode, but it does need to have a spooky component.

  14. wkenney1 says:

    I pushed to the front of the bus as fast as I could, ignoring the protest of the old woman in the handicapped row. The street packed tight with commuters, I felt safe for the first time in days.
    The nape of my neck prickled when her fingertips found my skin. I jolted, bit back tears, and elbowed deeper into the crowd. I refused to look over my shoulder because I knew what I would see.
    A man in a blue suit gave me a suspicious look as I rushed past. He smelled me, saw the bags beneath my eyes, heard my frantic breath. It took all I had to not scream, grab someone by the collar, and beg for help.
    The rasp of bare feet on the concrete behind me. The bustle of a mid-morning commute. My stampeding heartbeat. Her whisper in my ear.
    “Got you.”

    Thanks for putting this contest on! Always good to exercise the old creative muscle.
    Wil Kenney
    wkenney1@gmail (dot) com

  15. Nathan Green says:

    12:02 am. It was the same time I had been arrested so many years before. The memory was brittle, incomplete, as though recorded on half crumbled parchment.

    I remember screaming in court “thou shalt not bear false witness!” mad with fear, with rage.

    A man wanted my blanket. He punched my face. After that my mouth always hurt. It was the only time I cried, begging god for even a shred of justice.

    11:59 pm: my final appeal rejected. My arms strained against thick leather straps with strength I never knew I had. Not to escape, not to live, I wasn’t so naive, but to take justice on them all with my own hands.

    12:03 am. The fools, the idiots, they thought to kill me but all they did was free me!

    I am become justice; a furious curse on anyone who would break sacred commandment and bear false witness.

    green.nathan.h [at]

  16. Torance Devere says:

    Hello, thanks for having this contest, great motivation to write!
    I call my entry “Reflective Ends”

    “The mirror is my gateway.”

    As I returned home, my mind kept cycling the 5 words, obsessively. They had come to me in a dream the night before, refusing to evaporate in the wake of dawn. They accompanied me throughout the day, as though they were haunting me.

    Upon awaking that morning, the image of a ghostly apparition still fresh, I refused even a cursory glance at any reflective surface. The dream phantom had been clear, and I wasn’t taking any chances.

    Now, as I entered the lavatory, a curious feeling overtook me. I was a puppet on a string. My hand, beyond my control, switched off the lights. The room was bathed in darkness, except for a faint glow emitting from the mirror. As my vision shifted, I knew the evil would escape. I apologized to my family, focused on the glow, and was blinded. The end came swiftly.

  17. AaronK says:

    I have a true story to share.

    My family moved to this rundown house, because it was dirt cheap. My cousin came over for the first weekend, and at the time she claimed she could see ghosts. I don’t believe in ghosts but I always played along because it was funny.

    The night she slept over she claimed to see a ghastly woman floating outside, with a noose around her neck, whispering “I’m sorry” over and over. I didn’t believe her but it was creepy to imagine at the very least.

    The next week, the neighbor lady came by. She wanted to let my family know that the old owners wife had killed herself in the garage. I couldn’t sleep for weeks.

  18. Brittany says:

    My name is Brittany, my email is, and here is my story, “Cold and Alone.”

    There is a little girl you’ll see while driving down the backroads in winter. She’s barefoot and wears nothing but a nightgown, but it’s freezing out and the hollow feeling in your stomach tells you there’s something wrong. She’ll wave you over and tell you she’s lost. She’ll tell you she’s scared. And she’ll tell you she’s cold, oh so very cold, and reach for your hand for comfort. For warmth.

    But you’ll never be warm enough to warm the dead.

    A policeman will find your car within the week. Out of gas and battery dead from idling too long. He’ll see you collapsed on the side of the road, seemingly killed by frostbite and hypothermia. But why did you stop? He’ll go to radio it in, but he sees her. A sad, lost little girl who doesn’t understand why no one will help her get warm.

  19. Sabryna says:

    Hello, I’m working on a few entries for this, trying to decide which one is best. I know it seems like a silly question, but is there any chance that we can give more than one submission? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Sabryna–that’s awesome. Not a silly question at all! I’m delighted to hear you want to enter more than one flash fiction piece. It’s actually a really great question that I hadn’t thought about. I updated the contest rules to say you can have up to 3 entries. So you are allowed 3 submissions. Hope that helps.

  20. Sabryna says:

    My name is Sabryna and I’m fifteen. My email is I have two stories. My English teacher, Doctor Carew-Miller told me that I should submit something to this… so here goes! 🙂

    As a Family
    Marco sits at his kitchen table, swirling a measure of whiskey in the bottom of his glass. The room he sits in is charred and the paper has been peeling. There has just been a fire. He was the only survivor. His whole family is gone. He has a gun sitting on the blacked wooden table. He considers it. He look up to see the burnt ceiling and chandelier directly above him. The fire started in the nursery. The whole second floor is gone.
    The baby monitor on the floor crackles on. There is static for a moment, then he hears crying.
    “Mama?” requests a small voice. Marco looks up. He hears footsteps above him. He hears a gentle “shhhhh.”
    “Don’t worry, baby. Mama’s here. Don’t worry, Daddy’s coming. He’ll be here soon.”
    The chandelier falls.

    Jacob lies on the ground, his head under his bed. His mother can hear him talking, laughing. As soon as he hears his mother in the doorway, he pokes his head out from under the bed.
    “Hi, Mom!”
    “Jacob, who were you talking to?”
    His mother winces. She’d been pregnant with twins, Jacob and Michael. But she’d been in a terrible accident, and Michael was stillborn. She’d never told Jacob about him.
    “He says hi, Mommy.” She swallows. He might have just randomly picked that name.
    “Can I say hi to him?” she asks cheerfully. Jacob smiles and nods. He lifts up the bedspread and she slowly gets down to the floor. When she looks under the bed, she sees a boy identical to Jacob. But there are cuts on his face and scratches on his arms. His eyes are black, sunken holes in his face.
    “Hi, Mommy.”

  21. Trisha says:

    Here is my submission! It was a lovely challenge for a wordy writer like me.

    I could no longer see my precious mother through a haze of tears that wouldn’t cease. I could overhear those waiting outside the door to take her away. They kept saying “the body”.

    It made me want to vomit. Not because they were wrong, but because they were right.
    How cruel that, moments after her last labored breath, my mother was really, thoroughly gone. That one single, intangible thing that made her my mother- that made her a person- was just… gone.

    There was only a body– a shell– here now.

    Suddenly, I felt the tap on my shoulder that I never expected to come. It was her “sign” that there was something after this world.
    As the taps escalated to hits and scratches, I wailed for us both.
    The “something” awaiting us on the other side, was infinitely worse than the “nothing” I had always believed.

  22. Christian says:

    Good evening! My name is Christian Kummer and I am fourteen! I am extremely passionate about the sciences and mathematics but have always loved English, especially mystery and ghost stories. Here is my entry, enjoy. 🙂

    One Foot Under
    Avery lies in darkness on the damp surface below her, nightmares consisting of the ghoul filling up her confused cranium. The tune that had ripped through her bloody ears the night before is playing on endless repeat in her mind. “Rain, rain, please, please stay. Do come back another day. Close my eyes, fill me with fear. Because there will never be anyone here.” But the same speculations consistently cross through her mind. Is it really that dark? Is it actually raining?
    The beetles and cockroaches answer that. It is not dark or raining. But acid poured onto her bloodshot eyes give her an infinite darkness to suffer from. The rain – just water droplets that seep through the dirt ceiling above her. For Avery is a seed of death sitting beneath the ground. Her ghost had decided it was time to wet the plants. Plip, plop. Plip, plop.

  23. Renae Grinlaubs says:

    This is actually a true story that my grandfather told me a few years ago (I’ve written it from his perspective here). What a wonderful exercise!

    Four letters killed my best friend. E.A.R.L. I wish we’d never done it. I still smell the straw in that barn and hear the crack of the cup. It was Halloween; we were eleven years old. Earl’s parents wouldn’t allow us to play with Ouija boards but my parents were cool. Four of us sat shivering around the board, pretending it wasn’t fear that made us shake.
    “Who will marry first?” Dean asked. S.C.O.T.T. We giggled and shoved Scotty at the answer, unsure if someone had moved the cup.
    “Who will die first?” I called, giggling. The cup spelled his name and then cracked into four perfect pieces. The candles went out. As one, we leapt up and ran. Toddler’s hand prints climbed across the foggy windows, reaching for us. We made a pact of silence about that night.

    Two weeks later, Earl died in a car crash with his parents.

  24. Grace O'Rourke says:

    Hello! My name is Grace O’Rourke. I had fun writing this and I hope you like it! (I may add one or two more entries later, but I’ll have to write them first.) Thanks!


    I watch from the doorway as my husband tucks my daughter into bed. She asks for a story, and he obliges and sits down. Just like he always used to. My hands begin to shake. Even if you love someone, it’s still disturbing to see them up and about after they’ve died. I never believed in ghosts, but it turns out I was wrong. He tells her the same story he always used to tell, about a knight who slays a dragon.
    “The end,” he finishes, standing up and turning towards the door. Towards me. Tears gather in my eyes. My daughter sits up.
    “Tell it again, Daddy. And Mommy, come sit next to him.”
    He agrees hurriedly and begins the tale once more, and I rush over and sit down. We’re both too afraid of her to disobey. I don’t know if she’s my daughter anymore – death changed her.

  25. Mark Corrigan says:

    Hi Kourtney. My name is Mark Corrigan and I have two entries for this contest. My e-mail address is: Thanks! 🙂

    “The Giggling Girl”
    When I was eight years old, my mom worked night shifts a lot. On those nights, I’d stay with my grandmother. Granny had this little cabbage patch doll in the room I slept in. She had a blue dress, red stringy hair and cute black button eyes.
    It’s only now I remember that on some nights, I’d hear a faint giggle during the night. A little girl’s giggle. Back then, I guess, I thought nothing of it. Now… now I find it terrifying.
    Granny died recently. It’s been ten years since I stayed over at her house but when mom and I were putting away her things, I noticed that the doll was in granny’s room and not the one I used to sleep in. At her funeral, I could have sworn I heard that faint little giggle in a passing breeze as she was lowered into the ground…

    “The Blind Spot”
    There’s a legend about an old back road close by. It’s a short-cut out of town. Most people don’t take that road home at night. Too afraid to. Want to know why?
    An old man was killed by a drunk driver a few years back, just past the bridge. There’s a dip in the road a little further up. ‘Guess the driver didn’t see ‘em. Poor old guy never stood a chance. Anyway, rumor has it that shortly after that incident, another drunk driver took that route home to avoid getting pulled over. As he approached the bridge he heard a voice come from the back seat saying:
    “Keep your eyes on the road.”
    The guy looked back and saw nothing. Right then, he crashed. When the police found the wreckage the next morning, the guy was dead. Weird thing was… his eyes were missing.

  26. Aquileana says:

    The brief ghost story is awesome, very haunting!… The contest sounds neat …. I wish you luck with it and your book, dear Kourtney!… All the best to you. Aquileana :star:

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  28. Rik says:

    Hey Kourtney,

    I decided to go with a bit more military-horror ghost story. Hope you (and others) like it!

    “The Tomb”

    Jack was panting as he frantically searched for the handle in the darkness. It was supposed to be right there, where is—found it! He thrust the door open, and a cool morning breeze came over him. He should have been able to see the sun coming over the horizon, now that he left the blackness of the tomb behind.

    But he could not. His vision was gone, his ears still ringing. He cursed himself for using the incendiary explosive in such close confinements, but the shade had been right on him. He screamed for help, unable to hear himself, and hoped the rearguard was still there. As a set of hands grabbed him, he felt relieved. They had not yet left. It was going to be okay.

    The hands then flowed through his battle dress, through his skin. So cold. Not his friends after all. The panic returned.

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  30. Loved reading through these stories Kourtney.. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed them.. I could add a few REAL Ghost stories of my own. 😀 . but will refrain, as I have not much time this week..
    Wishing all who take part GOOD LUCK in the competition..
    Love and Hugs.. Sue <3

  31. Hi Kourtney

    I came across this contest and it sounded fun. I’ve been toying with an idea for a longer story based on some of these themes. Although it’s not exactly scary, I think it might be a unique, fun read for you.

    Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

    George Anthony Kulz

    Listening to Dandelions

    Tradition tells us fall is the time ghosts appear. It’s a time of dying, of mourning, and especially of Thanksgiving, for the visitations by the dead remind us of our transient nature in this world.

    But spirits are transient as well. They long to return to their loved ones. Fall represents the end of a departed soul’s journey, but ghosts begin their migration from the land of the dead in the spring, when the earth is most alive. Since the dead have forgotten how to communicate with other living humans, they listen to the land.

    Dandelions carry messages from the living to the dead, if our dearly departed know how to listen. When they hear these whispered promises, they follow, backwards through the dandelions’ time, to the source, to a residence, to the living.

    To us.

  32. jmmcdowell says:

    Wow, just wanted to pop in again to say how much I’m enjoying these entries! To everyone who’s participating, I hope you’ll keep writing!

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  35. Very creepy. Thanks for entering the contest!

  36. Hey Kourtney! What a fabulous idea for a contest. Here’s my entry:

    The Message – by Kate Johnston

    Blood is everywhere. I’m too weak to hold my baby, though her cries wring my heart. Nurses work furiously as I feel someone sit beside me.

    A worn voice and a cool hand on mine. “Hang on.”

    I make out a vague impression of upswept hair, lace, pearls. I know her, but only in photos. My grandmother, who died giving birth to my mother.

    Oh God, I must be dying. My heart thuds with dread as I stare at this faint bruise upon the atmosphere. I feel vibrations across the bed. A word appears in the endless blood on the sheets:

    With a nod, she moves through the flurry of nurses and fades into the wall.

    I see a teddy bear at the foot of the bed. The same toy my mother gave me when I was born. The one left to her by her dead mother.

  37. Zoë says:

    Thanks for holding this contest! My name is Zoë and my email address is yopiyesih [at] gmail [dot] com.

    I don’t believe in ghosts, at least not your ghosts.

    Not ghosts in white sheets. Not poltergeists throwing chairs. Not vampires or women in long, lace dresses with dark, dark hair. And not the creak in your hallway at night, either, or the monster waiting to grasp at your ankles from under the bed.

    No, these are the ghosts that only hint at their presence, through a breeze on your neck or the scent of flowers or of rotting meat. These are the ghosts that live in the forest, the ghosts that leave blood on the sheets you hung out to dry, to let you know they are still there. These are the ghosts you never see. These are the ghosts that follow you across oceans and across generations.

    So no, I don’t believe in your ghosts. But my grandfather’s ghosts? Those I believe in.

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  39. Mayumi-H says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of your submissions, Kourtney! From so many younger writers, too, which is great to see. Here’s mine:

    “Come to Daddy, baby,” he’d whisper against her wet cheek. She’d cringe from his lips the same way she’d do from his fingers, her throat warbling a moan. But Daddy’s girl was a good girl, who always did as he told her. To still her squirms when his stroke skimmed beneath her nightgown; to take his tongue when he kissed her; to shut her precious little mouth about their precious secret times together.

    It was easier when she was young. But age brought rebellion, defiance. Insolence. And, one night, instead of a kiss, he brought her a needle. No more secret times after that.

    Though, he misses her: her soft, pliant flesh and soft, pliant heart. He can almost feel her, still, a faint touch against his face, his lips, around his throat-

    His scream strangles under her hands as she smiles with white, vengeful lips. “Come to baby, Daddy.”

    It was the best I could come up with! XD

  40. Sarah says:

    I’m gonna try this!!!! 😀 My name is Sarah Stalnaker and this is my email
    My friend told me about this and I thought, “Well I’ll give it a try!” so yeah! Here are two of my stories 😀

    First one: Jamie

    Jamie thought the wind and the rain wasn’t mecessary. But then again the wind and the rain didn’t bother her. Nothing seemed to bother her anymore. That’s what she keeps telling me at least. I only see Jamie when I’m alone in my room and the lights are off. She just appears and starts chatting away. I cried at first but eventually she got me to stop. The only problem with her method though was now I no longer breathed life. Instead I breathe what Jamie breaths…Nothing.

    Okay! Second story: Lonely

    Jackson woke early every morning just to feel wanted. He would walk to his kitchen and get a glass of milk, making sure not to spill it. Jackson waited for him, his name was Luke. He first appeared to Jackson when he was fourteen years old. Jackson’s parents worked all the time and had no time for him. Jackson felt alone and woke early one particular July morning and saw him. He was standing in the kitchen and looking around. It wasn’t easy to miss him since Jackson had never seen anyone actually in the middle of the small island the kitchen had. But yet Luke was and that was the beginning. The beginning for them both. The only difference about them…Luke didn’t plan to leave alone this time. He didn’t plan to be alone ever again.

    Okay I’m done now haha! Thanks!!! 😀

  41. Hannah says:

    So this is my entry. Thanks for letting me particapate. This is my email and here is my entry:

    Play time
    Madison huddled under the blankets with her hands over her ears trying to block out the sounds of the ghostly child in the corner of her room begging for her to and play. The child had long white hair, a white nightgown, and a knife stabbed through her heart that dripped crimson blood onto the floor of her room. The child would only leave her alone when she called mommy and daddy, but they thought she was just making stuff up and would grow annoyed with he and leave.
    “Just leave me alone!” Madison shouted.
    “Then play with me.” The child replied in a cold unfeeling voice.
    “Will you leave me alone after that?”
    The child nodded.
    Madison swung her legs over the side of the bed onto the floor and tipped toed hesitantly over to the child who grabbed her neck with her hands and squeezed.

  42. Contest is now closed to entries.

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