We are happy to announce the winners of this year’s Halloween contest! The contest’s theme was "family," and we really enjoyed seeing how each writer worked the idea of familial entanglements into their story. No matter which way your seasonal taste leans (personally, we feel that APPLE CIDER RULES, PUMPKIN SPICE DROOLS), there’s bound be to something you enjoy in our latest lineup!

Grand Prize Winner
Saturday’s Children by Lori Janeski
I’m not superstitious, but part of me blames that broken mirror.

The guys had made it a running joke for the last few days. Alice gets slammed into a funhouse mirror by a rampaging ghoul, we all make jokes about her seven years of bad luck, even though she managed to take said ghoul’s head off with a Bowie knife. By herself, thank you very much.
Elizabeth’s husband walked through the kitchen door of their modest home along St. Andrew’s Square. Or rather he stumbled through the door, drunk as a skunk and smelling like one too. His blond hair was mussed and a good amount of blood stained the front of his shirt. This had been going on for weeks. He’d leave in the early evening, be out all night, then drag himself home. Sometimes there was blood on his clothes and other times he was filthy. She was sure she didn’t want to know the details, not that she would get any.

"Now what’d you go and do, Edward?" Elizabeth asked. She helped get his fat arse sat in a chair just far enough away from the table so that if he threw up it wouldn’t be all over the buns she was makin’.
Honorable Mentions
Family Reunion by Clay Waters
It was overcast and early when Paul parted the creaky gate and entered the cemetery. The day after Halloween. The fake ghouls had departed, leaving behind orange streamers and the occasional condom. The cemetery was old and not without character–some ironist had awarded it four stars on Yelp–but the novelty had dulled over repeated visits. He had long plundered it for the earliest death, a tall gothic stone from deep inside the previous century. So different from the anodyne modern ones. He pondered the paradox: As death had been staved off more efficiently, it had perversely became a more modest affair.

Someone had hooked an incongruous pinwheel onto an infant’s ancient gravestone; it spun merrily in the wind that roiled the ominous rain-clouds above. Hooking a left at the Masonic obelisk, he headed toward the sprawling, spooky tree growing out of the stomach of some luckless 19th century citizen.

A Cabin in the Dark by Fred Tribuzzo

In the darkness of the cabin, thirty-eight-year-old Wes Carver sat at the kitchen table and stared at the picture of his wife Claire and six-year-old daughter Lily, smiling from the screen of his cell phone. His two beauties had been gone now for an entire year, killed last Halloween by a trucker who lost consciousness after suffering a heart attack. The eighteen-wheeler crossed the median and demolished several cars, ending the lives of his young wife and child.

Many nights Wes awoke suddenly, tears on his face. He had good friends, parents still alive, a loving brother and sister, but none of them understood the blackness of his despair.
Virtually Dead by Matt Souders
@LuzMarian squawked:
@UBCTeam, what harm does virtual sex do? You’d know if you did the slightest bit of digging. See my talk with former addict @TZ_Thomas if you want to know what UBC is missing. #endexploitation #notagame #realsex

@LongJohn replied:
@LuzMarian, y r hottest chicks always prudes? #tragic #feelthepoke

Inverawe by David Churchill Barrow
Inverawe had been a place of peace, surrounded by Duncan Campbell’s extended family, and thus safe from the turmoil of warring highland clans; but there was a dark side to Inverawe, and it was not merely the steep part of the glens that saw little sunlight. It was a warm summer’s eve when that accursed knock came upon the door just after dusk.

It was a clansman in the colors of the Appin Stewarts–his clothes stained with sweat and blood, panting so hard he could barely get his words out.

On The Menu by Wayne Martin

Garat glared out the forward screen, trying to maintain focus. He shifted in his seat, relieving the numbness in his backside. The seat padding had been worn down over the years to almost nothing, matching the general shabbiness of the vehicle. His beard was unshaven, his hair uncombed, his clothes a crumpled mess from two days of continuous travel. He looked in the rear vid screen. Nothing. They weren’t being followed. They had never been followed in the time they had been travelling, but he couldn’t settle his nerves enough to believe they were safe.

He driven most of the previous day and now had been driving since before dawn. His wife, napping in the seat beside him, had taken the long overnight shift while he had lapsed into a fitful sleep. A quick glance into the back seat assured him that the kids were still sleeping. Good. That way they wouldn’t notice how hungry they were. After the stupid refrigeration unit had died and spoiled the last of the meat, there had been little to eat. The remaining snacks had been dinner last night, eaten as they traveled. Breakfast and lunch today had been water and juice.