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Sudden Fiction By A Mexican Master

Mexican writer Juan Rulfo penned the novel Pedro Páramo, (1955) a chilling ghost story that was one of the main inspirations for the Latin American literary boom that became known as Magic Realism. I recently came across this cool (and rare) piece of short-short fiction by Rulfo and, since our Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition is currently open for submissions, I thought it was appropriate to reproduce Rulfo’s story here as an example of how it’s done. Enjoy:

“It was already late in the night when I arrived at that little, lost town in the mountains. To my surprise, the peasants were waiting for me. In silence, without any explanation, they took me to the plaza. They tied me up to the tree in the center of that plaza, and again in silence, they left. [click to continue…]


Solstice Dawn, Stonehenge. Photo: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)

Prizes For Short-Short Stories

Winter solstice marks the official start of our annual Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition for short supernatural fiction of up to 1,000 words. And what better image than Stonehenge to use in announcing our competition, given that writers from Britain took all three cash prizes last year? We’re wondering if this was just a fluke, or whether the Brits can do it again. . . .

If you’ve got a short yarn ready to be read, or are thinking of writing a miniature supernatural tale—you’ve got until January 31, after all—you just might want to have a look at our contest guidelines. Good luck!


John Leech 1843


Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt
whatever about that. The register of his burial was
signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker,
and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and
Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he
chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my
own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about
a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to
regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery
in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors
is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands
shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You
will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that
Marley was as dead as a door-nail. [click to continue…]


this-is-the-only-way-outImage: Leslie Lawrenson

Halloween Is When We Announce And Publish The Winning Stories In The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award Contest. Happy Reading!

You can skip right to the winning stories. Or, you can read on. . . .

Each time we reopen our biannual competition to submissions—every spring and summer, in other words—we stress very emphatically that traditional ghost stories are just one of the many types of tales eligible to win The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award. In fact, we’re eager to read anything written on a supernatural theme or containing a supernatural element, regardless of whether it contains an actual ghost. What we’re most insistent on is good writing and a gripping story. And our most recent competition perfectly exemplifies these very values.

None of the tales we’re publishing this time around—Not the Winner, Honorable Mention, or Second Honorable Mention—features a single old-school spook. Instead, all of the stories fall into a broader category that perhaps we could call “psychological fantasy.” In other words, most of the supernatural events featured within them appear to occur almost entirely in the minds of the people who experience them. In one of these stories, the protagonist is bedeviled by internal demons he thought he’d left far behind him; in another, a man at the end of his life confabulates a disturbing and unforgiving image of God; and in the last, isolation, uncertainty, and an ancient tragedy cause two characters to be strongly affected by their imaginations in very different ways.

Fiction of any kind is at its best when it’s not predictable, and all three of these award-winning pieces will keep you guessing until the very end. Congratulations to their authors—and many thanks to photographer Leslie Lawrenson for his wonderful illustrations.

Come on inside to help us celebrate our winners, and to enjoy a Halloween read that is at once chilling and thought-provoking.

Our next contest is the annual Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition for stories of 1,000 words or fewer. Keep your eyes peeled, because we’ll start accepting flash fiction submissions in mid December.

And if you’re planning to submit a full-length supernatural story to the next Ghost Story contest, we’ll start taking entries for those again in March—and we’re looking forward to reading yours!

Finally, if you’d like to leave a comment, or to discuss our stories or the contest in general, please visit our Facebook page.