- Prompt: Write a short story of 650 words or fewer based on the photo prompt above. You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.
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Entry Deadline: CLOSED
Out of more than 200 entries, Writer’s Digest editors and readers chose this winner, submitted by Chris Puzak of Elkins Park, Pa.
It was in there, waiting for me.
“Give me 10 minutes,” I said to the police lieutenant, “Then dynamite the building and pave it over. That should buy you some time.”
He nodded. He had just seen three of his men die, and the night was still young. “Everybody get back” he shouted to the assembled officers. They looked nervous. I wanted to throw up, to leave, but I didn’t have a choice. I had to go in.
It all started far away from here, at a car dealership in Florida. Crazy Floyd’s, I think the name was. A little girl was crushed by a self-driving car. People had speculated she had been trying to get to the balloons placed as decorations inside the car as part of the dealership’s anniversary celebration.
The car injured a few other people, then drove off like a bat out of hell. Newspaper headlines made Stephen King references. Kids played a game on the playground called “killer car”. Some wannabe comedians made sick jokes about it on Twitter.
But little Becca Thomasson was just its first victim. There was Tyrone Simpson, and Wanda Waverly, and the Zogby family, and so many others. From coast to coast, there were reports from cities across the country of a car filled with balloons running over pedestrians.
The jokes stopped. Production of self-driving cars halted. Congress talked about making them illegal. Owners of self-driving cars reported having their tires slashed or their windows broken. Some people swore they wouldn’t leave their house until the devil car was stopped.
Now it was here, in my city. It had crushed an old lady trying to get to the drug store. The police had fired a few dozen rounds, and that didn’t even slow it down. They only sent me in because they had run out of options. I was certainly an unorthodox choice, but as the mayor told me, I was their only hope
I found it on the second floor of the parking garage, blood dripping from its chassis.
“This ends with one of us dead,” I said to it. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my crucifix.
The newspapers assumed it was a self-driving car killing people. It wasn’t. That’s why the cops called a priest.
The car’s engine screamed in agony as I tossed holy water on the hood and began the rite of exorcism.