Late to share this one, but….
I WON THE JUDGE’S PICK!
So stoked. Had a lot happening this weekend and I miscalculated the new deadline due to the start of daylight savings here (managed to add an extra hour somehow…) so entered my story late. I found the prompt really inspiring though so I’m glad my entry was accepted – and rated so highly.
I don’t normally dig crime as a genre, but I was reading This Book Is Full of Spiders by David Wong when the prompt was posted and had the creepy ghost/monster/child Anna in my head. It all kind of snowballed from there.
Anyway, here’s my *winning* entry for Microcosms 41. I’ll be judging next week so please go enter and give me a bunch of amazing stories to read!
Inspiration or Title: Sweets from a Stranger [I made this my title]
Clyde shivered and blew into his cupped hands. The basement was icy and dank, reeking of cat piss. And sadness.
Still, all his good leads had dried up. And all his less good leads. Now he was onto wild notions and speculation. The Smithy family had once stored belongings here with a friend, two years before their mysterious disappearance. The friend had sold the place to developers a few months later (“It was always so damp and depressing! I couldn’t handle it.”) and it had sat empty and neglected ever since.
He opened the door that lead to the alleyway outside, seeking out fresh air but finding only refuse. A young girl skipped around the corner and froze when she saw him.
“Hey Mister,” she said, “what are you doing in the bad house?”
Clyde snorted. “I was just wondering that myself!” He walked toward her and pulled a mint from his pocket. “Would you like a lolly, young..?”
“Lucinda,” she responded, snatching the sweet from his hand.
He smiled. “Why do you call it ‘the bad house?'”
She flinched. “Because the bad man waits for the children. He poisons their toys and whisks them away!”
At the sound of footsteps Clyde started and turned to see his partner, Keats, in the doorway. “You okay out here Clyde?”
“Sure. I’m just chatting with Lucinda here.”
Clyde turned back. There was no sign of the girl besides a stray mint wrapper cavorting in the breeze.
He shivered again.
“I’m fine, Keats. I want a detailed history of this property, and a chemical analysis done on the Smithy kids’ toys. I have a feeling there’s life in this case yet.”