These entries from April's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "April Writing Challenge."

Alicia Arellano

“What do you think you’re doing?” Suddenly she was snapped back, reality coming in like a tidal wave. Brought back, the forest changing, melting away to the hospital room. “I’m not crazy,” she said to herself, though the words came as more of a plea. Around her the walls were gray and the air was sterile, a terrible contrast to the lush forest. Her eyes lifted to the tops of the trees. Only they were not trees at all, but the tops of half dead flowers which once decorated her room.

Remembering the voice from before, she turned. She looked around, searching for the source of the sound. She found nothing in her line of sight, but it had to be here, the voice that took her to the room she now stood in. “You’re going mad,” said the voice. She turned around quickly, startled by the voice. But again nothing stood with her. “I’m not crazy,” she said, pleading. The forest had been there, she could smell the pine, she could… The scene changed again.

She stood in the drooping light, waves crashed around her, drowning out her cries.

The waves whispered, “You’re crazy.”

No matter how loud she screamed she couldn’t drown them out.

“Now now, Lexi, calm down here,” said a voice calm and quiet yet loud over the waves.

Lexi felt a pain in her arm as her eyes fluttered.

“There now,” said the voice again, the voice of a woman in a white uniform.

“All better, just needed your ‘vitamins,’” she cooed.

Lexi relaxed, her eyes heavy as she drifted off…

The forest was so lush, the tops of the trees letting in only the faintest of light. She could smell the pine…




Gwen Boiselle
United States


She ran the back of her hand across her forehead in an attempt to prevent sweat from dripping into her eyes. She had lost count of how long she had been running, trying to escape. She ran as fast as her feet would carry her, until her bones ached and limbs trembled each time her feet pounded the ground. Her eyes lifted to the tops of the trees. She couldn’t help but feel as if she was being followed. Voices pounded in her head and memories came back in flashes, burning her mind, like a bad headache. She looked around, searching for the source of the sound. It was just paranoia getting the best of her. More often than not, she’d find herself a victim of its games.

“What do you think you’re doing?” She turned around quickly, startled by the voice. Hands quickly secured around her neck, suffocating her with every moment. She struggled to get free, but to no avail.

She knew it wasn’t real– the hands. It was just how she felt on the inside, as if someone constantly had their hands around her throat. Suffocating, hurting, and reminding. The hands often covered her mouth to keep her silent about what she’d seen, what she’d done. They’d muffle her thoughts, words and screams, they’d bottle up inside her, waiting to explode like a shaken up soda can.

There was no taking back what she did. She thought numerous times about turning around, but she knew that would only lead to consumption by the thing she had been so desperate to get away from.





Lillie Busch

Old suitcase handle gripped by a shaking hand, her eyes lifted to the top of the trees. Cypresses and dogwoods and oaks framed the shadowed skyline. No wind stirred the air; instead, the heavy humidity stuck to her clothes and clung to her hair. Heavy like her heart; stifling like the little shotgun house.

In the silence, distant music drifted down the street. A stray car honked. Lit windows brightened the dark. Darkness like unpaid electric bills and empty rooms. Darkness like his suffocating breath when he touched her in their bed.

What do you think you’re doing?”

She had attempted to escape before, but the front door had opened. The footsteps had meandered down the hall, slowly, because he had all the time in the world.. The omnipresent warden at his post.. In the dim bathroom light, she swore that she still saw the bruises shaped like loss. Like his fingerprints. Like family dishes thrown against the kitchen wall. Her body ached at the thought.

No-one will ever love you like I do.”

Similar to a CD stuck on repeat or a nightmare that refused to fade, his words echoed inside her head.. Bounced from one side to the other like loose change or a ragdoll. On the porch, her legs trembling, she could have sworn that she heard his voice. She looked around, searching for the source of the sound. The night surrounded her, swallowed her, engulfed her..

Who are you without me?”

In the house behind theirs, a door slammed and some person, some man, yelled. She turned around quickly, startled by the voice. For once, her resolve stiffened instead of melted. For far too long, her heartbeats had aligned with doors shutting; her body had flinched like pain was all it knew. The taste of salt from both tears and blood was too familiar, like an old friend.

Dragging the battered suitcase down the steps, clothes and memories and hopes shoved inside, and with hoarded money in her pocket, she finally walked away.

The next day, she pawned the wedding band.




Paula Becka

Moonlight Encounter

Below my dangling feet the undergrowth cracked.

I straightened.

Pale moonlight spilt through the trees’ branches that reminded me of claws, ready to snag into my skin any moment. Yet they were silent. The sound hadn’t come from them.

Straining to see who else would be crazy enough to enter the gloomy forest at this time of night, I sighted a small lithe figure trudging through the bracken. It looked like a girl who appeared to be stumbling through the shadows that lay around her like a lake of dolefulness.

I got to my feet on the shaky branch, a twig just above my head snapping.

Clumsy, I scolded myself.

Down below there was movement. The girl had stopped abruptly. She looked around, searching for the source of the sound. A little light fell onto her face. She looked young. Besides her ghostly pale face everything about her seemed dark.

“You okay down there?” I called, disturbing the dead silence which remained, now that the girl had stopped tripping over twigs and dried leaves.

She turned around quickly, startled by the voice. Her eyes lifted to the top of the trees.

I must’ve looked dubious, a silhouette standing way above her head.

She looked terrified.

I jumped down from my perch, landing on the prickly forest floor which was nowhere as soft as always described.

“You lost?” I asked.


“You don’t sound so sure.” I took a step towards her.

“What do you think you’re doing?” She took a step backwards, glaring.

“I didn’t mean to give you a scare.”

“I’m not scared.”


We remained across from one another, the girl’s glare piercing me for a moment, then her facial expression almost softened. Almost.

“Mason?” she demanded.

“Uh, yeah,” I stuttered. How the heck did she know my name?

“We were in the same class.” Her gaze fell. “Fifth grade.”

At that moment I recognized her. Short, dark hair, pointed nose. I could have sworn her eyes would’ve been a radiating blue with more light.

“Kara,” I stated. My mind paused. The girl who had disappeared years ago. The girl who had killed her sister.

She pushed her hands deep into the pockets of her jacket. That was when I saw it. A shiny piece of metal, glistening threateningly from inside the jacket. A long curved knife.

I froze.

Above our heads the stars twinkled tranquilly.


Leave a Reply