YAY! A Contest!

So my county has a contest every year called “Teens Write For Fun”. The first prize is either $300 or $600. I don’t know. The website doesn’t say. (Stupid website!)

Anyways, I “spent all summer working on my entry”, and finished it just a half our before what I thought was the deadline, and ran through the heavy rain to get to the entry place. I’m feeling pretty confident, and $300 or $600 can buy a lot of video game merchandise, and that’s pretty much all I have to say. You can see my entry, Silhouettes, below.

Silhouettes

 

Darkness.

Slowly the scene of a long, dark country highway came into Kevin’s vision. The road stretched out in front of him, and into the thick black of the night. Tall, vast cornfields filled the space on either side of the highway. Behind him was a tall house, but it was too dark to make out any details. What Kevin could see was the front door slowly closing.

What the heck?

Kevin had no idea where he was, and no recollection of how he got here. All he knew was that he felt strange. Not necessarily scared, but just strange. Like he was alone in the world, and he always had been.

Up the road was an old car; a GTO? It was hard to tell. And Kevin didn’t really care anyway. He gazed disconcertedly at the vehicle. It definitely shouldn’t have been there. He didn’t know why, but Kevin was sure it didn’t belong.

Suddenly, the headlights flashed on, revealing the silhouette of a large man. Kevin couldn’t see his face, but he knew the man was looking at him. This normally wouldn’t have seemed peculiar; If you were driving along in the middle of nowhere at night and you saw a thirteen-year-old boy standing by the road, wouldn’t you look at him too?

But the way the man was looking at him was definitely cold and angry–Kevin couldn’t see his expression, but he was sure of it. And like his car, the man didn’t belong.

Slowly the man began to limp toward Kevin. He stepped with one foot, then dragged the other behind him. Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

A panic washed over Kevin; somehow he knew the man was dangerous. Yet for every step and every drag the man took, Kevin became more and more frozen with fear.

Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

 

“KEVIN!”

Kevin awoke, still filled with fear. Surrounding him were desks, chairs, and chalkboards. He looked at Christa, who he was sitting across from, Tyler next to him.

“What?” he asked tiredly.

“You were sleeping,” replied Christa.

“Was not,” Kevin lied.

“Your eyes are barely open.”
“That could mean anything…”

Christa rolled her eyes, then turned her focus back to the task at hand: History.

Kill me now.

He thought ahead to Cornfest, the annual festival in the little town of Port Richard, which was just this Friday, and on that day there would be no school. Today was Wednesday—Only a day and a half until the festival. It was right there in front of him, but for now he was stuck in school like a dog on a chain.

God I hate school.

 

That night Kevin had the same dream; the dark highway stretched before him, the car up the road, the silhouette of the man revealed by the headlights.

And once again, the man began to limp toward him.

Thump. Drag.

Once again Kevin was filled with fear and panic. He was frozen in place as the man came closer, and he was just a sitting duck.

Kevin finally came to his senses and one thought went through his mind: Run.

Kevin turned around and sprinted down the highway, looking over his shoulder every few seconds.

Finally he came to a bend and the car was out of vision. Overhead the moonlight was blocked out by clouds, making the black night even darker, and Kevin could barely see two feet in front of him.

MEEP! MEEP! MEEP!

 

 

Kevin reluctantly rolled out of bed and turned off his alarm clock. Ahead was the usual routine, brush his teeth, pack his lunch, ride the bus to school and try to get through the rest of the day without losing his mind.

 

After six hours the school bell rang and at last the teacher dismissed the class.

Freedom!

Enjoying the rest of the evening was easy. Watching TV, stuffing his face with potato chips, and mashing the crap out of his Xbox controller buttons always was.

The sky darkened and Kevin dived into bed and fell asleep instantly.

Yet again he had the dream of the silhouetted man, and yet again he found himself around the bend of the highway, surrounded by darkness. Kevin panted like a dog, and his legs felt as if they were made of lead. But he had finally outrun the limping man. He hoped.

But just then—Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

No! I outran him! He was limping! How could he have caught up to me?

Kevin looked behind him, but no one was there. Kevin was completely confused, for the sound drew closer but still he saw no one. Kevin turned back around, and he found the source of the noise. No, the man hadn’t been following him from behind. Ahead he could just barely make out the silhouette of the man, limping toward Kevin.

How the heck can that happen! That’s impossible!

Kevin became even more perplexed, and the confusion made him even more scared.

Kevin turned around and ran as fast as his legs would let him for what seemed like hours. His foot hit a rock, and he tripped and fell face first into the rocky old asphalt. Blood dripped from his face, soaking the ground. Pain ran through his head, hands, and knees, but he managed to get up. And there, barely half a foot in front of him, was the dark man.

Kevin awoke. The afternoon sunlight poured through his bedroom window, and he could hear the birds singing. A smile crossed his lips as he realized what today was.

Cornfest.

He sprung out of bed, got dressed, and rode his bike down to Cornfest, where he would meet Tyler.

Eventually night fell, and the way the colourful Ferris wheel and carnival game lights looked against the darkness was amazing.

Kevin and Tyler enjoyed the festival’s many corn-related attractions—corn-eating contest, caramel corn, and finally the corn maze.

The boys entered the gap in the in the tall field of corn stalks. They got deeper into the maze, and the noise of the games and the people’s chatter died. The bright, colourful lights were no longer visible. The maze was lit only by the dazzling stars above, and the big full moon, giving a sense of loneliness.

A cold gust of wind rushed through the cornstalks, blowing Kevin’s baseball cap off. The cornstalks almost seemed to suck in the hat

“Sure is cold out here,” Tyler muttered.

Then Kevin heard what were not exactly footsteps, but more like a limp.

Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

It sent a chill down Kevin’s spine.

Tyler stepped closer the corn wall. “I don’t like this,” he said. “I don’t like this at a–” But before he could finish his sentence, Tyler was sucked into the corn. He screamed for a fraction of a second before he was completely absorbed by the crop.

Kevin’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He had heard of tales of ghosts haunting Port Richard, but never for a second had he believed them until now.

Then something threw him into the crop, some kind of strong wind. The leaves whipped him as he was pulled deeper into the corn, cutting his face and hands. Finally he rolled to a landing, filled with pain and shock. His right hand was bleeding from the slashing of the leaves. He laid still for a half minute, taking in all that had happened, then got up.

He had to make his way back to Cornfest, but where was it? Kevin had been thrown around way too much to know. So he guessed. He figured that was better than

 

 

nothing. He began to jog in what might’ve been the right direction, and went on for nearly forever until the corn cleared.

He found himself on a long country road stretched out before him, surrounded by cornfields. He could see about only half a mile before the road was swallowed by darkness. Behind him was a tall, old house, but it was hard to make out any details. All he could see was the front door slowly closing.

It was wrong. Kevin had lived in Port Richard his whole life, and not once had he seen this road. It just felt wrong.

Up the road was an old car. Something told Kevin it wasn’t supposed to be there. He didn’t know why, but it just didn’t belong.

Suddenly the headlights flashed on, revealing the silhouette of a large man. At first Kevin thought, Great, maybe he can help! He began to shout at the man, but he just stood in place, staring at Kevin.

Kevin fell silent. The man gave off a bad vibe. He felt…dangerous. Kevin’s hair stood on end, and his skin became cold and bumpy.

The dark man began to limp towards him. That scared the crap out of Kevin. He stood frozen in place as the man get closer.

Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

Kevin snapped out of it, then began to run the other way. He ran for what seemed like hours, then finally came to a bend, the car’s lights were out of vision. The night became darker as a cloud blocked the moonlight. Kevin was completely out of breath. A cold drop of sweat ran down his face. Kevin didn’t believe what happened next.

Thump. Drag. Thump. Drag.

Kevin saw no way of that being possible. The man was limping, and Kevin had been running like an Olympic athlete. He looked over his shoulder to see—nothing?

That made no sense. The more Kevin looked, he just saw more nothing, but the noise grew louder. He looked back in front of him. And there was the man, limping slowly towards him. That was even more impossible.

Kevin ran back around the bend, panting harder than ever before. He tripped and fell face-first on the rocky old pavement. He scraped his hands and his face bled, painting

 

the asphalt red. The pain was incredible, but he managed to get up, and find himself face-to-face with the dark man. Except the man had no face. The front of his head was just a dark layer of skin as black as ink.

Holy crap.

Kevin tried to turn around and run, but the dark man grabbed his jacket. He struggled, but the dark man only pulled him closer. Kevin unzipped his jacket and ran like heck.

At last he came to a house—the same house he had just been running away from. Kevin looked over his shoulder. The faceless man was still behind him, thump, drag. The front door slowly opened itself and Kevin jumped in and slammed and locked the door behind him.

Silence fell. Kevin dropped and sat down. Finally– he was safe. Now he just needed to wait until sunrise, and he would make his way back to town.

Thump.

“No!”

Drag.

“No, that’s not possible!”

Thump.

            Kevin screamed at the top of his lungs. He had learned that there was no such thing as ‘not possible’. Everything he thought he knew before tonight had been defied.

Drag. Thump. Drag. Thump.

Kevin unlocked the door and ran out, but no corn surrounded the area, and no stars shone above. It was completely dark. He was trapped.

Now everything—officially everything—Kevin knew had just been defied. There was no impossible, there was nothing that couldn’t be. Anything and everything that caused him horror was possible.

Suddenly Kevin was bathed in yellow light. He looked up and found the source of the light—in a window up above, a lamp had been turned on. A silhouette walked in front of the light and looked down on Kevin.

Kevin was shaking. He couldn’t take any more horror.

To his right, another window lit up, and another silhouette appeared.

Kevin fell to his knees.

And then another window lit up, revealing another silhouette, and then another, and another, until he was surrounded by walls of light. Until he was surrounded by silhouettes.

Life-Changing

A few minutes ago, I saw that there was a contest on Facebook for the 1-year anniversary of the video game Alan Wake. Contestants would write how Alan Wake changed their lives for the chance to win a signed (probably by Sam Lake, the game’s writer) Alan Wake poster. This was my entry:

Amazing. Utterly amazing. Alan Wake was truly life-changing for me. I’ve always been interested in writing, and Alan Wake’s deep and intricate story inspired me that much more. It showed me what a story could be. I believe the writer is Sam Lake? Send him my thanks.

I am an artist. A musician, an author. And Alan Wake let me know that there were other artists out there. And they were making video games! How cool is that! I was especially struck by a statement in ‘The Alan Wake Files’; “Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature.” Those words are my exact thoughts. And they were emerging from the lips of another person who I have never met, or even heard of for that matter. At that moment I knew there were others, just like me, who thought the same thoughts as me, and made the same type of artistic creations as me, who may have been as unaccepted and mocked as I have been in the past months because of their different way of thinking. At that specific moment, a joy washed over me as I knew I was not alone.

This game was a real piece of art, and to an outsider of Alan Wake, that sounds pretty stupid, but it was delivered like a book, or a movie, not just a money-maker keeping our thumbs busy. It was a wonderful creation, and it is the something I will always remember as the thing that changed my life.

Not that that was all I was concerned about, I’ve always wanted to share how the game changed me, but I was sure I was gonna win this awesome poster. My entry was longer and more deep than anyone else’s, which mostly talked about things like, “Now I read a lot more books,” and “Now I look more deeply into stories,” and such. I couldn’t wait to get that awesome piece of paper! It was only after I posted my entry that I read that the two winning entries would be randomly chosen out of the  chosen out of the 350 and counting, “in an effort to be fair to all entrants.” Just typical.