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Your Story #89: Winner

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  • Prompt: Write a short story, of 650 words or fewer, based on the photo prompt above. You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Once again, you’ve made the Your Story competition a success! Thanks to everyone who participated in competition #89 (either by entering, reading or voting).

Out of more than 300 entries, readers helped us pick “Monster On The Hill” by Warren Bridge as the winner. For winning, Bridge’s story will appear in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest.

Winning Entry

“Monster On The Hill

by Warren Bridge

Liz broke down and wept when the three members of the West Kerry mountain rescue service appeared on the mist shrouded horizon. In a hoarse and cracked voice she spoke between sobs: "Thank you… thank you… David… monster…"

Dan Bishop was the group leader, and he tried to console Liz as the hackles rose on the back of his neck. "It's OK, we're here now, you're safe. Are you Liz? Where is David? The call said you were in trouble, did something happen to David?"

"Dead… monster… fog…"

"You're going to be fine, there are no monsters, you probably saw shadows in the fog. Where is David?"

"It came out of the fog… it killed him… it killed David."

Out of earshot, while John and Bill gave Liz some hot soup from a flask, Dan radioed base. "We've found the girl, she's a bit delirious, probably from exposure, but otherwise OK. Something seems to have happened to the boyfriend though, so we'll have to go back out. ETA at O'Brien's Gate is two hours from now, a medical and police presence are required. We'll need all the help we can get, we could be out all night."

The shortest route off the mountain involved a difficult traverse along a narrow, steep-sided ridge which was dangerous even on a bright, clear day. As night fell, and the mist thickened, conditions became lethal. The group walked in single file at a slow pace, head torches trained on the rocky path, until the fog became so dense that they could see neither the floor nor each other.

Dan shouted for them all to stop. John replied from the front, "OK Dan." Liz was behind Dan and called out, "OK."

Bill, who was at the rear, didn't reply.

"Bill, are you OK?"

Silence.

"Liz, did you see what happened to Bill?"

"No, he was behind me. It's the monster, it's back."

"Look, Liz, there is no monster, he probably just fell. John, walk towards me and wait here with Liz. I'm going to find out what happened to Bill."

John emerged from the gloom, and Dan made his way back along the path, edging his way forward one small step at a time, until he stumbled onto the prostrate body of his colleague. He called out into the darkness: "John, come here, something's happened to Bill," but there was no reply.

With visibility down to almost zero, Dan got down on his hands and knees to examine Bill. As he did so, he thought he saw a fleeting shadow pass him by. Crawling forward to Bill's head, Dan became aware of a presence that made every hair on his body stand on end. At the precise moment he noticed the blood that had poured from the gash in Bill's throat, he felt a cold hand on his mouth and an even colder steel blade cutting into his neck.

Dan froze in terror as Liz whispered into his ear, "See, I told you there was a monster."

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