A little while ago I wrote a short story for the L. Ron Hubbard "Writers of the Future Contest". I did not win, and I know why, my story is really more horror than Science Fiction or Fantasy. But I decided that I will post each chapter here on my blog. There are 37 very short chapters, for a total of 15,000 words, about a fifth of a modern novel. Here is the start.
Maxwell and Wilton heard the scream in tandem, and neither hesitated to follow it. Bats in hand they stormed out of the confection hut and blazed the paths between the games and stands, all the while calling Clair’s name in frenzy and panic.
They ran and scooted to stops and turns, careful not to lose sight of each other, but once they had found the apparent source of the scream, a fortune telling machine with a mallet lying uselessly in front of it, they realized that they were too late. Clair had vanished into the carnival.
“Clair!” screamed Wilton.
“Clair?! Oh, shit where did she go?” Maxwell turned in place looking for something; displaced carnival furniture, a scrap of clothing, a mark from a shoe scrapping the ground. Nothing denoted a departure in any direction.
Wilton continued to circle the area, calling her name with all of the effort he could expend, but to no avail.
“Clair!” Wilton ignored Maxwell, he just kept screaming off into the park, unable to feel anything but burning anger rushing to his face.
“Wilton!” screamed Maxwell. Maxwell then grabbed for Wilton, and wrestled with him until he had calmed slightly.
“Max,” Wilton was almost in tears, his face apple red. “We have to find her.”
“Wil,” said Maxwell, grabbing onto Wilton’s shoulders and staring into the man’s eyes. “Do you have any theories?”
Somehow this question stabilized Wilton His jaw relaxed, and his eyes, while still tearing, softened their angry gaze into the look of someone who was trying to wrap his head around a child’s riddle that had to do with a pun and a duck. “Yes,” said Wilton. “Something is here with us, and it has Clair, and we’ll probably meet it soon.”
“Why do you say that, Wil? Why will we meet it soon?”
“Well,” said Wilton, “because it will be done with Clair eventually, and we’re they only ones left in the park. So, we’ll be next.”