You guys! I didn’t know what I was in for, having a contest challenging you to write about FREAKs. Every single entry was a contender, and no, I’m not exaggerating. Your stories far exceeded my expectations, and I appreciate your efforts and all the support you’ve given me.

Thank you so, so much.

Unfortunately, I had to disqualify three entries due to slightly high word counts, even though I absolutely cringed over one of them. But it wouldn’t be fair to break the rules. I admit, I kind of wanted to give everyone a prize, but I know that would defeat the spirit of competition.

And please remember, just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean your story wasn’t excellent! The only criteria was to MAKE ME CRINGE, which is purely subjective, and these were the stories that FREAKed me out the most:

First Prize
Winner of $50 Amazon Gift Card, an ARC of FREAK, and a hardcover of CREEP
* BOTANIST *

The woman gazed down at her husband dangling below her. The rope had
saved him, but he couldn’t get a foothold on the sheer rock face.

She
sighed. The climbing vacation had been her idea. It had taken all her
powers of persuasion to get him up here, but she couldn’t decide which
was the harder battle: overcoming his vertigo, or getting three full
days out of his schedule all to herself.

He was taking it all
very calmly. Remarkably so. No sign of his terror of heights. Maybe
high-powered – and wealthy – vice-presidents were made of sterner stuff
than she’d given him credit for.

“It’ll be over soon, honey,”
she called. She fingered the knife at her belt. “But, if you’re going
to, this would be a good time to freak.”

 

Second Prize
Winner of an ARC of FREAK and a hardcover of CREEP
* SOPHIA RICHARDSON *

They never try to hide the names. Loser. Weirdo. Freak. Their
voices follow me down the hallway, a constant buzz in the background,
like the TV tuned to a dead channel, like the tide sucking at my feet,
drowning me an inch at a time.

Weirdo. Freak.

It’s
my own fault. I know I bring it on myself. Long blonde hair dyed black
over a sink in the girls’ bathroom, cut to just below my ears with
scissors stolen from art class, not caring when the roots start to show.

Not caring when the cuts on my wrists show.

Freak.

It
should bother me more: the names, the voices. But it’s so much easier
to ignore them than the others, the voices no-one else hears, and for a
little while after the cold metal splits my skin, they go quiet.

Third Prize
Winner of an ARC of FREAK:
* MARSHA SIGMAN *

The bleachers were on fire. The football team lay scattered across the
field, blood staining the Astroturf beneath them. Coach Edelman dangled
from the goal post, a thick string trailing from his slack mouth. It
took me a minute to realize it was his whistle. Someone had jammed it
down his throat.

A group of cheerleaders lay in a pile near the
end zone. Their skinny legs with orange spray tans stuck up at odd
angles making it impossible to tell where one ended and the other began.

It
wasn’t until I caught sight of the mascot that something inside me
broke. We were the Shadow High Eagles but the costume looked more like a
freaky chicken. It was upended in a giant cooler of Gatorade. Bright
yellow feet drifted slowly from side to side as the green liquid sloshed
and spilled over.

I screamed my anguish at the sky.

 

Honorable mention goes to:
* ELENA DAZE *
for submitting a fabulously original poem

Hot, weak, young, and twisted;
Wore a wig, number unlisted.
Snuff film madame,
Real name, Adam;
Transvestite joke,
Gave head for coke.

Six lines down, rock star clown;
She’ll make you laugh in the worst part of town.
She’ll show you hers and leave a scar;
You won’t make it home if you get in her car.
She’ll get you high, she’ll make you cry,
She’ll freak you out, and then you’ll die.

This was so much fun. Thanks for participating, everyone. You rock!

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