October 2021 Contest Winner
Congratulations to Cheyenne Smith on their submission to our October “spooky microfiction” contest! We hope you enjoy their submission as much as we did.
If you’re interested in submitting your work to Scribbler’s contests, take a look at our contest page for the next opportunity to submit.
The exhibit was hauntingly exquisite. Bronze pedestals adorned with carved marble sat dispersed throughout the thorn-riddled and overgrown garden of the museum. Guests of all ages filtered through at night, the only time the exhibit was open, brochures haphazardly dangling from their fingertips, forgotten. Their gazes, as awe-struck as mine had been, half-shadowed by the orange haze that suffocates the atmosphere, passed right over me.
They do not see me; they do not hear my screams.
But I hear them, muffled. I see them, blurred.
A couple obscure my vision. I break my wrist a thousand times, straining to move a finger. I scream. I yell. I beg. My voice cracks and fissures, crumbling with the breaths I waste on words that only end in a whisper. Silence drowns me. They move on.
They never see me.
Two boys now stand in front of the pedestal, our worlds separated by a thick crimson rope. Their parents peruse the set of statues a row over; two granite humanlike creatures holding hands, the sheet draping their features carved from the same rock. Unmovable.
I hear the boys now, describing the statue in front of them and all her beauty. The perfect curves of the sculpted marble, the indentations, and the chasms almost seem too real. The face and soul smothered by stone carved into gauzy linen, impenetrable. I watch one reach out a hand, compelled by reasons beyond logic to grip the unyielding cast, to rip her free. I pleaded. The boys’ fingertips brushed the front of the statue. The other snatched his brothers’ hand away. I cried. Brandishing the brochure that threatened ill will on any who touched the masked masterpieces, the second boy pulled the curious one away.
The brochure read, “The Stone Ghosts: Come See an Eerie Yet Truly Inspiring Anonymous Contribution!”
Yes, anonymous. The security, the curators, the owners; none of them know who created the Ghosts. And they don’t want to. To evaluate their most gracious donator or to dissect His medium, would be too close to an accessory crime. They only care that the Ghosts keep coming. For as long as I have been stone, they have only cared for paper. Some early mornings, when my soul turns my voice to gravel and my heart anchored to cinderblocks, a deadened chorus rises from the statuary. The Ghosts, my varnished counterparts, take up my broken song and demand freedom. Those are the days the staff turn up the museum’s music.
The museum is now closed, security does its final sweeps. Nobody ever hears us. The guard drifts through the rows, swinging His flashlight like a threat. He stops in front of my pedestal. My nostrils, left free of the cast entombing my body so that I may suffer more breaths, remember His scent. He looks up into the stone sheet, meeting my panic veiled eyes, and says,
“Those boys are next.”
He is the only one who hears our screams.
If you’re interested in submitting your work to Scribbler’s contests, take a look at our contest page for the next opportunity to submit. Our biggest contest yet — a manuscript contest with a HUGE prize — is open until January 18, 2022! Check out our contest page to make sure you don’t miss the submission window.