When we read something, the words can evoke emotions in us, such as love or sadness, laughter or fear. Mostly the emotions we feel come because of longer pieces we write, but we challenged the writers to evoke an emotion in only one sentence.
The assignment for round 1 was:
Write a sentence that evokes fear.
Only ONE sentence
Short assignments seem easy, but they mostly are not. Writers had a limited number of words to come up with a sentence that will make the readers feel fear. In this, we frequently go to our own experiences. What are we afraid of? This means, the sentence might touch into your ‘fear center’, but will it do the same for your reader? What if you try to write from the perspective of your reader? Will you manage to evoke fear, if you don’t know what they are afraid of? Keeping all this in mind, makes the simple assignment of writing one sentence, suddenly become a lot more challenging.
Readers, what should you do now?
Read all the entries, and vote for the stories you like the best. Try to keep the assignment in mind when you make your choices. You have to choose three stories, no less, no more.
The survey is at the bottom of the page after the last story. Don’t’ forget to click the ‘Finish Survey’ button when you’ve made your choices!
Also, we would love if you can leave the writers some feedback in the comments section below.
- Writers are not allowed to tell anyone which entry they have written!
- You can only vote once. Votes will be monitored and double votes will be removed.
- The voting round closes on Tuesday 26 April 2022 at 23.45 GMT (see the countdown in the sidebar).
- Results of the voting round will be published on this site on 30 April 2022 and then the author of each story will be revealed.
All sentences have already been sent to the jury, and they will rate every story with a point between 1-10. Below you, the public, can read all the sentences, and vote on the three you like best. The points the writers accumulate in this public voting round will be ‘translated’ to a point between 1-10, and added to the jury point to get the final result of this round.
Below are the 30 sentences we received back for round 1 – read them and feel the fear!
1. Feeding Time
The skrit-skrat of razor claws stops outside our hiding place again, but this time neither of us have enough milk to keep the baby quiet.
2. Dangerous Driveway
She thought she heard a yelp as she hurriedly backed the car around the toys, but far worse was the sickening crunch that followed.
3. Hiding place?
The family cowered in the silent safety of the hidden basement as death squad soldiers searched their house above, and then, the baby started to cry.
4. Not alone
I was sure I locked the cellar door, because I checked, and now it slowly swung open in front of me, sending a wave of cold, earthy smelling air in my face.
5. Soul death
His life crumbled in the matter of an instant when he realized the consequences of his actions, the bond was broken and she was gone, never to return.
6. The Afterlife
John’s head spun; he couldn’t decide if the incessant buzz of the flies, or the maggots chewing on his flesh was worse – if he’d known this was what death was, he’d have been cremated.
7. Broken Silence
As she savored being alone for the first time in weeks, she exited the bathroom naked except for a fluffy robe and heard a window sliding open in the guest room.
8. The Corridor
The corridor stretched before me, terror creeping into my soul as feral screams pierced through the frosted glass windows of the doors which flanked each side of me.
Alice’s heart pounded as the gunshot reverberated in the hall, praying the intruder would pass by the bathroom door where she huddled in the tub.
10. Deep Cut
The burn of the ice-cold scalpel etches into your chest and you immediately scream out, but their anaesthesia has paralysed your voice as well as your body.
11. Daddy’s Rapture
Daddy smiled and told me he loved me before closing the casket lid but it wasn’t until the hammering started that I realized this wasn’t a game.
12. Groaking Feast
Her tiny frame shrank as he steadily approached her, or more correctly, the smidgen of food she had scrounged for hours to satisfy her first meal in days.
13. Old Church
None know how the preacher died in the old wooden church, but on moonlit nights some say he stands in a broken out window of the chapel beckoning those who see him to come inside.
14. God’s Bathroom
The rusty needle, loaded with death, kissed the abscessed flesh between his wife’s blood-soaked toes.
I watch her slumber, exhalations soft and sweet, soon her screams will be my symphony.
16. Something Approaches
With her vision obscured by the early morning fog, she thought at first that the figure across the street was human; then it began approaching her, and no human could possibly move like that.
17. Blood Kiss
Kissing her neck, his eyes belied the baby faced smile as he sank his teeth into her jugular, sending her body into shocked convulsions and her face into questioning terror.
The bloodied and broken child standing in the road cocked his head — the spitting image of my son, who had died three hours ago on a hospital gurney.
19. Until Proven
The fact she was innocent no longer mattered, her fate rested in the hands of strangers; strangers who had never wronged her, until they rendered their guilty verdict.
While she could not see him in the inky darkness that surrounded them, Justine felt her dog push up against her legs and heard his growl become a whimper.
21. Unpleasant Surprise
I’ve observed the abandoned house for years, always empty, dark, and quiet; exploring it tonight, my flashlight finds a bedroom, walls covered in plastic wrap, and musty odor transformed into bleach.
Wheezing, fighting desperately for even the faintest breath, she clawed at her swelling throat as the burning hives crept rapidly up her arm and darkness crept in around the edges.
23. Kissing Surprise
Their lips separated and John bent down to kiss her neck; Suzy felt his teeth elongate as he brushed against her neck before she felt the bite.
24. Running Scared
Helen was sure she was being followed; another flirty text came through, she took the dark shortcut that she knew not to take, when everything went black from the bag over her head.
25. Baby Doll
After my toddler’s funeral, as I lay sobbing on her bed, I heard her dolly call for me and I froze, because I’d made that doll myself, out of only cloth and cotton.
26. Innocence Punished
The guillotine sang as it slid down toward my tender neck, while my life’s sorrows and joys flashed behind my clenched eyes, leaking tears.
27. Copied Cat
The nib glinted in the half-light as he ripped words from her soul and plagiarised across the page, leaving her violated and devoid of inspiration, her muse left for dead on the margin-side.
28. Death Wish
Most people are afraid of dying in a nuclear holocaust, but I don’t think enough are afraid of surviving in one.
The rebel leader, Tercel, lay hooded and splayed upon the altar stone, his genitals tightly trussed with leather jesses, dreading the climax of the incantation and the first cruel incision of Castratrix Hawke’s black talons.
30. Jarring Emptiness
Realizing this is the only cure for this devastating disease, made his mouth open in a silent scream as he took his last breath, freezing the blood in his veins.