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The Sharpie Hero
By Elizabeth Graham (grade 5)

Jade Johnson walked out of Clarke Central, mad because she got a “D” on her paper. She stormed out of school to OfficeMax, screaming, “Where are the Sharpies?”
“Fifth aisle.” said the clerk. Jade sprinted down the aisle for orange Sharpies. It was the day before Halloween.
“OK, here I go!” Jade took a deep breath and tore open the box. She opened a Sharpie and sniffed deeply 40 times. She felt dizzy and the rest was just a blur…
You probably know if you sniff Sharpies enough, you go high on their fumes. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jade.
She was so high, she walked into Petsmart, grabbed 10 bunnies, a box of 100 hissing cockroaches and two jogging leashes. She ran over to the checkout counter, opened the box of cockroaches and tried to color them with the orange Sharpies. The clerk started screaming at the top of her lungs. Jade walked out with the supplies she stole. The Petsmart clerk called the police.
“Some weird kid just walked into Petsmart and has released 100 cockroaches! And she stole 10 bunnies!”
The police officer asked, “Did she have blond hair, brown eyes, and tan skin?”
“We’ve heard another report of someone who looks like this,” said the police officer, “Did she perhaps comes from the direction of OfficeMax in the Alps shopping center?”
“Yes,” said the woman.
“We will send some officers over there and if you hear anything else about her, please tell us.”
Meanwhile, Jade was stumbling into LV Nails. She walked in, choosing some orange and black nail polish. She started painting on the walls: big jack-o-lanterns with black eyes, black noses and black mouths.
Jade began to hallucinate. One of the pumpkins she was drawing jumped out at her, leaving a hole in the wall, and said, “Boo!.”
“Augh!!!!!” shrieked Jade. She had never seen anything like that before. She became very dizzy, and came back to her senses after the Sharpie high wore off a little, but then…
Three police officers rushed through the door. The Sharpie high had worn off a little, but Jade still had damaged her brain, in a way that she would always act like she was on a Sharpie high. She somehow knew those police officers were after her, and the “new her” felt mad and wanted to destroy something.
She ran quickly toward the imaginary hole, crashed through the wall and ran out. Surprised police officers chased after her into Kroger. She got one of their big shopping carts, and put the shopping basket with the bunnies and the orange Sharpies in it.
Jade sprinted down the aisle avoiding the police. Now that she was crazy for the rest of her life, she decided that she wanted to buy a mini grill from Kroger. Five of the bunnies jumped out of the cart and started to gnaw at carrots and lettuce in the vegetable section.
She reached the mini grills, got some barbeque sauce and decided to eat the bunnies. She found an outlet. She plugged the grill in. After that, she dumped barbecue sauce all over the bunnies. As Jade was about to throw the bunnies on the grill, one of the police officers caught up to her and tried to restrain her. She sprinted out the door with her two jogging leashes and tied the long ends together. She strapped herself into one of them, lassoed the other one to a post on the roof, and climbed up.
Meanwhile, inside Kroger, the grill exploded into flames. A careless shopper pushed his cart too fast and—boom! The shelf full of oil knocked over and started the fire.
On the roof Jade could still hear the sirens and feel the heat. She didn’t have time to worry, because the police were almost on top of the roof. To make matters worse, Jade’s arch-enemy was there.
Jade knew what to do. First, she would push her enemy off the roof, then jump off herself. When she was close to the ground she would unclip herself from the leash, drop safely and escape. She had to work quickly.
Luckily, she and her enemy didn’t get hurt but the person underneath them did… they had knocked a serial killer unconscious. She was a hero. She had captured the person who had killed 50 people in Athens, GA and was about to escape. Luckily Jade was there high on Sharpies so that Athens, GA could have a happy Halloween.

Killer Clowns at the Morton
By Yehyun Hong (grade 5)


“He’ll never know we’re planning to take his life.”
“Who, Ethan?”
“No; both of ’em.”
“What are you going to do with their bodies?”
“Hang ’em up in our shack, ferment ’em, and then rip their hearts out and eat ’em. Grind their nails and sprinkle ’em on for ’dem toppings. That’ll teach the cops a lesson.”

Excerpt 1

I’m Ethan. Last week I was on trial accused of murder. I didn’t kill anyone, yet I was convicted. I think they’ve mistaken me for someone else. At sentencing, I was given a choice: life in prison, or clown hunting.
Clown hunting, you might ask? Well, a few weeks ago, six clowns were responsible for nine kidnappings and 16 murders. Rumors of these vicious clowns started when a woman said she was being chased by clowns at night on Milledge Avenue. Rumors spread from her to the police stations, then to the local newspaper, then to everyone. Of course, I chose clown hunting.
Now I am in a helicopter, on my way to what I hope is not a suicide mission.
Anyway, in the helicopter is another person who I think ended up here like me. He looks about 57, with a small goatee in a camo suit, holding a I am 19 years old, not believing I’m in this situation, wearing a camo suit and holding a pistol. Great.
We land at Lake Herrick, where most murders and kidnappings had happened. The pilot commanded us to get out. We looked at each other and split up. I walked into the forest alone. Bad decision.

Excerpt 2

I walked into the forest. I heard a crunch. I looked back. Nothing. I kept myself as quiet as possible. More sound. My heart beat faster. I started sweating. A shiver crept down my back. Suddenly, in a second, a pair of rusty fingernails dug into my neck. I whipped around. A terrifying clown stared at me with a wide grimace, pulling out its knife. It gave a big swing. I fell onto my knees, writhing in pain. The clown hovered over me with the knife, ready to stab. I closed my eyes, waiting. A second later, I opened my eyes to see the clown dead! Julius stood there. I gave a sigh of relief. Five more to go.

Excerpt 3

Remember the guy with the I figured he was the one who saved me. He said his name is Julius. I looked at him closely, I noticed he had brown hair and blue eyes, like me. “When we split up, I sniped four clowns.” Julius reported. I gave another sigh of relief. Only one more to go. “Let’s go to the Morton Theatre, their home base.
We arrived at the Morton Theatre that evening, jumping through a window, and settled down.
“Julius?” I said. Nothing. I started to panic. I looked behind the curtains. “Julius?” I asked anxiously. I heard another high-pitched creak. I gulped. I suddenly heard footsteps coming closer. I looked back. No one. I faced forward. I saw a doll, sitting on the shelf, which wasn’t there before. It had little shoes, a pink shirt, a red clown-Afro, and eyes that seemed to follow me. I took small cautious steps and crashed down into a hole.

Excerpt 4

I rolled to the right, then to the left, as the last clown used its bazooka. “Julius!! Where are you?!?” I yelled.
“Julius is dead. You’re next,” the clown replied.
“Not so fast!!” I shouted, choking down tears. I flipped over the clown and gasped. This clown had two faces on its head. The front looked like a normal clown. The back had a grey face with red eyes and white pointy teeth.
“You shall die…” screeched the grey-faced clown. “This is not the end, Ethan. You shall be captured and die by my hands.”
I screamed. “Argh!!!!” I ran towards the creepy face, shooting my pistol. The clown dissolved into the mist. I saw Julius, sitting in the corner, dying.
“Julius!!” I cried.
“Go. Tell everyone what you just saw,” he gasped. “Ethan, good job, my son, and—don’t be a criminal.”
“OK,” I whispered in shock, as tears ran down my face. I got out of the building through the hole in the ceiling as the scene replayed in my head. Julius, my long-lost father, had been killed by clowns, and had saved my life!
Here I am in the police station now, telling them everything.

The Mirror
By Sola Ishibashi (grade 5)

The Jackson Street Bookshop closed after three decades. It hasn’t been open for a long time. Now, there is also the apartment that is being rented out right next to it.
But they are not so close that the brick and wood is smooshed together—there is a little gap. A gap that lets a little air in every day. A gap that lets a cat come out unharmed, but you? That is another story. This is information. But why did I tell you this strange, very random piece of information? Well, you’ll see.
There was a boy living in Athens, GA. But he died. Oh, well. Anyways, so let’s talk about his story. This was when he and his family were still alive.
This boy did not believe in anything scary, I guess. He felt completely safe in his little house. To think that there was a killer clown in your school did not scare him. Because he didn’t believe they were real.
To think that your town was a haunted and cursed one did not scare him either. Because he didn’t believe that curses were real. He only talked of misfortune.
The only thing he cared about in life was his family. They were his life to him.
About that haunted cursed town thing, there was a talk going around the town that day. Someone told the middle aged ladies who were looking for juicy gossip to tell, who told their fellow neighbors, who put it in the newspaper so everyone would know.
It was gossip that scattered around the freaked out town.
The gossip? Oh, it was just a fantasy someone came up with. They say that there was a mirror, somewhere in town that takes people into the depths of its frame.
The mirror keeps you until you become too old to remember, to frail to think and then…
…it kills you.

But as I have told you, this boy did not believe that there was such thing so instead of telling all those rumors, he kept them to himself, never uttering a single word to people who didn’t know.
So this boy was walking down Jackson Street, all alone because he has no friends because of his crazy love for his family.
Then, a glint, perhaps a flash, caught his eye. He turned, hoping to find treasure like in his books that he read. But no. It was a mirror.
It was a plain mirror with a crack in the middle. The boy saw that the mirror was propped up against the brick wall of an apartment on lease. There was a gap between the apartment and a bookstore called Jackson Street Bookshop.
He should have walked away from the mirror in the gap. But he didn’t. He prodded it with a stick. Over and over and over again.
Soon he became bored of prodding the big crack with a twig. (Why would this boy poke a mirror with a stick?)
So he started walking back to his home.
When the boy got home he opened the door. He looked inside. Everything looked fine. He went crawled into bed and instantly fell asleep. His arm ached after poking the glass mirror over and over again.
When he woke up, he started getting ready for school. He grabbed his backpack and his books and went out to the back door.
What shocked him was that there was a gravestone in his yard. The name that was on it said Jane, his mom. He raced back inside and asked his father and his family but they all said they never knew that Jane had died.
So they grieved. It was miserable to share this but the next day? The father’s gravestone was outside. One by one, his family was plucked out of the world.
Soon he was all alone. He was in his bed when he heard “come to me” whispering over and over again.
He found himself crawling out of bed and walking toward the door. He saw his legs moving toward the gap. Toward the mirror. He knew that it was his turn.
And then? He screamed his last scream.
Some people say that he went to a happy place. Some people say that he fell asleep and then never woke up. But the real truth is…
…he was taken by the mirror.
So never think that nothing will happen to you if you don’t believe.
Because it will be your turn.

Freaking Clowns
By Alison Jibilian

Those damn clowns. The first time I saw one, I was walking down Lumpkin, on my way back from the Georgia Theatre.
At first glance, it was terrifying. It stood ominously, swaying back and forth, that evil grin, a bloody butcher knife in hand. I jumped back and almost stumbled in my alcohol-induced stupor.
The clown giggled, and I saw that the face was just a rubber mask, the butcher knife just a foam prop. It was Oct. 20 and Halloween was coming. This was just a prank.
The next night, I saw two. They were chasing a crowd of sorority girls down the street. Fully sober, I began to realize the hilarity of this. In the midst of the chase, one of the clowns’ wig fell off, and he had to stoop to retrieve it. Even the girls were laughing.
This was my inspiration. I’ve always been a bit of a prankster, and with all the clown sightings in the news, this was the perfect opportunity.
My roommate was pissed when he found out.
“You’re not seriously planning on dressing like a clown, are you?” he asked. “That’s how you get yourself killed. And even if you don’t, it’ll just make you an asshole.”
But I didn’t listen.
The 29th came, and I donned my costume. The Wild Rumpus parade would be the perfect opportunity to scare some people silly.
I kept it pretty tame at the beginning. I didn’t want to scare any little kids. For part of the night, I even kept my mask off. But as the moon rose higher in the night sky, the little kids began to go home, and only adults were left. My victims.
I kept it simple: jump-scares mostly. Sometimes I would follow somebody around. A couple of times, I stood back and swayed, clutching the trick knife that I had purchased at Party City.
My roommate was wrong. Once they got over the initial surprise, everybody laughed and wanted to take a picture with me. I made a lot of friends that night.
Early morning came around, and mostly everybody was gone. All except for one girl, dressed as Harley Quinn. She was walking on the other side of the street, so I stopped and stared at her, swaying back and forth, my knife in hand. Probably not my greatest idea, trying to scare a girl who was walking home alone, but I’d had my fair share of beer, and I was looking to scare one more person before the night ended.
I followed her for a couple of blocks, and if she even noticed, she didn’t let on.
It seemed like she was headed for the Arch. She was probably planning on taking the Night bus back to her dorm.
She was walking really slowly. If I ran around the block, I could head her off.
She turned left on Clayton. I ran down Lumpkin and turned left on Broad. I was there waiting when she reached the crosswalk.
“Boo!” I shouted, jumping out from behind the corner.
The girl grinned. And grinned, and grinned. This was a mistake. Something was… off. I took a step back, but it was too late.
Her face twisted into something inhuman. Fangs descended from her gums, a low growl rumbled in the back of her throat. Long, manicured fingernails became claws.
The last thing I saw was her “Daddy’s Lil Monster” shirt, coarse gray fur bursting out of the collar, her lipstick an insidious shade of red.

Runner’s High
By Jeff Kilpatrick

Garrison Shultz did not care for runners. Never had. They bounced in place on street corners in their expensive neon shoes, stunk up early morning coffee shops and dripped their pretentious sweat all over his car while they stretched in the parking lot. No, he had never liked runners. Craig Lareby was a runner. He had also been Garrison’s boss. Thirty-six years Garrison had worked in the Facilities Management Department at UGA, probably since before that smug Lareby had even stopped pissing in his diapers. Yet, it had been Lareby—still in his damned Under Armour running shorts that showed way too much of his pasty thigh, his sweaty hands mucking up Garrison’s desk calendar—who had fired him, sent him out to pasture with the rest of the useless junk that didn’t fit in with today’s ‘best practices’ and ‘productivity objectives.’ Garrison had taken it hard, gone home and started drinking. The drinking had led to anger. The anger had opened some old wounds, deep-seated prejudices that dwelt in the repressed darkness of his soul. Garrison had cracked. He had no interest in healing the wounds; he liked the pain. He thought others should feel it too. Others like Craig Lareby.
Garrison Shultz had spent three decades roaming the laboratories of the university and he had made friends, no, not friends—he didn’t care too much for academics either—but he had met faces. Faces with notebooks and formulas. Faces who liked to talk about what they did. A lot. One face stood out, Dr. Jessica Prim, assistant director of the Behavioral Neuropharmacology Laboratory. She was doing what she called ‘exciting work’ with euphoriants and their effect on the emotional state of her subjects, and how one particular new drug, PN-144, was showing great progress not only in heightening euphoria, but also other emotions. While small doses of the drug, given at the right stage, could increase euphoria, the same dose, given at the wrong stage, would have the reverse effect—changing anger to rage, depression to suicide, even euphoria to mania—creating such heightened states of emotion that the subjects lost all control over their ability to reason. Granted, Dr. Prim worked with rats, but Garrison didn’t see why her findings couldn’t be applied to the larger rats that ran through the streets at 5:30 a.m., watches beeping a constant reminder that they were on pace.
Within minutes after taking PN-144, the rats became living versions of whatever emotion they were experiencing at the time—crushing depression, blind euphoria, vicious rage—to the point that they collapsed in the corner, heartbroken, or attacked everything in their environment, even killing other subjects, or simply leaped around until their hearts gave out. Whatever the beginning, the end always resulted in death. Garrison liked that idea.
So, making his way through the back alleys and ‘maintenance only’ corridors of campus, Garrison had let himself into Dr. Prim’s lab using one of the duplicated, do-not-duplicate keys he kept on his personal key chain and had replaced the vials of PN-144 with simple syrup—the rats would love that—and then had made his way down to Sanford Stadium, the staging area for the AthHalf. He had found the supply truck with the barrels for water station No. 1 and had dumped in every drop of PN-144 he had, not even bothering to stir it.
At 7:42 a.m., Garrison watched from his balcony on Hillcrest Avenue as the first runner went by. Young and slim, Garrison didn’t think he had stopped for water. Too arrogant. At 7:54, a young blond woman cut in front of an older man, almost tripping him up. The old guy looked pissed, glaring and cursing under his breath. Another runner glanced at his watch and frowned, probably not looking at a PR today. How disappointing. More and more runners went by, happy, sad, angry. The street became more congested as the mid-level runners passed through, slower. Thirstier, thought Garrison, and smiled. At 8:02 he heard the first screams from somewhere over on Milledge. Garrison wondered casually if the old man had taken revenge on that blond for cutting him off. PN-114 was kicking in quick, aided by the increased blood flow of the runners. Garrison poured himself a cup of coffee. With any luck, Craig Lareby would be passing by soon. Maybe he would cut someone off too. That would be a good show.

The Dead Are Rising
By Niko Lee (grade 5)

So on July 20, 2046 everything went wrong. I am Benri, and this is how I had the worst experience anyone can have. It started on a day where there was a big riot on North Campus of UGA. Some faculty researcher had accidentally spilled an experimental toxic serum. Then out of nowhere somebody fell down, and got shot by someone in the riot. The experimental toxic serum then got into his bullet wound. He suddenly stood up, and all of a sudden he bit a rioter, and then the two zombies started biting other people.
Luckily I am a zombie fanatic so I knew what was going on. I tried to get out of the riot, but someone punched me in the face. My vision got blurry. I made it out. but not without getting hurt…
I ran away to a big random house in Five Points, and went in. All of a sudden I heard a noise behind me, it was an 11-year-old girl. She was not a zombie though. She and I ran to a farm, looted it and ran away. The girl was scared because she thought I (Benri) would hurt her. When we looted the farm she didn’t take anything which concerned me. We took a car and all of a sudden I heard a moaning from the back of the hijacked car.
Then the girl grabbed me; she bit my arm. Then I knew. She had become a zombie. I screamed and yelled out, but then more zombies came. I killed the girl with my knife. I climbed to the top of the car. Let me tell you what I’m going through right now.
I’m surrounded and bitten. It’s only gonna be be a few hours ’til I turn (short for turn into a zombie). I say, “I’m already bitten, so risk it for the biscuit.” Then I jump down and stab every zombie that’s in my way. I make it to a house. I climb the fence, kick down the door, and go in. I check everything, but on my final check I go to the attic and find a small boy alive, but starving. I give him some food.
I think about why the girl turned. All of a sudden it makes sense. The reason she didn’t take anything at the farm was she was bitten. I get the boy and go. We find a hotel called the Holiday Inn Express. We went in.
We found a room and slept a night. In the morning when I woke up, the boy was gone. There was a note where he last slept. It said, “If you want him back you need to follow the notes.”
I followed the notes and here is what they said: The first one said, “Go to room 662.” The second one said, “Now enter the bathroom.” The last note said, “Go into the shower.” Then I saw the young boy hanging in the shower, a noose around his neck. Then I looked behind myself. The guy who wrote the notes is standing behind me with a gun. Suddenly I feel a pain in my arm. I’m about to turn. I punch the guy in the stomach, then he shoots me in the foot. All of a sudden a small horde of zombies come in the room. I must have attracted the horde because I was so loud. I run and jump out of the window. Now I am on the roof. I see the guy who wrote the notes. He tries to shoot me but he’s too out of breath. I tackle him. He then drops his gun accidentally. I grab it. He pushes me against a wall. With my last breaths, I shoot him. The last thing I see before I die is my life flashing before my eyes… and then blackness. I am dead. To be continued…

By Rhys Lindquist

I was surprised when Abney and Sons’ Wax Museum opened up downtown and began to draw rave reviews, but then again, Athenians have always prided themselves on embracing the unusual.
One by one all of my friends visited the place, coming back talking about what a fun experience it was, how many wax figures were in the collection and how knowledgeable Mr. Abney and his two sons were. It was probably peer pressure, but after a while, I decided to poke around their website myself to see if the place was worth visiting. I can’t say it was too promising—the layout was primitive, several links were broken, and the only images that would load were exterior shots of the building and portraits of Abney and his sons themselves. Abney and who I assumed to be his oldest son looked average enough, but the youngest son seemed to be deliberately hiding his right hand. The image of Napoleon flashed in my mind and I chalked it up to either vanity or embarrassment.
Curiosity getting the best of me, I eventually goaded myself into swinging by.
The shop’s facade looked like any other in the downtown area, sandwiched between two restaurants with little in the way of parking. I entered into a small lobby, recognizing the face behind the counter as the younger Abney son. His right hand was, throughout our meeting, deftly concealed.
He greeted me with a smile and asked if he could extend to me the pleasure of a tour of the facilities. His eyes drifted to a plexiglass box with a note about suggested donations taped on. I deposited the minimum in the box, and was handed a map.
“Where would you like to see first? All our rooms are of the utmost quality, I assure you,” my receptionist-cum-guide said. On the map were four rooms connected to the main lobby via corridors: “Alumni,” “Pet Room,” “Our Beloved Coaches” and “Days Gone By.” I chose the room immediately to my right—”Alumni”—and Abney Jr. guided me inside.
Unsurprisingly, the room was full of wax figures. As I walked around and read the plaques in front of them, my guide standing at the door ready to dispense information, I noted that the room didn’t contain any effigies of notable people; rather, they looked like I did that day—casually dressed, with a slack to their posture.
“Pet Room” was what it sounded like as well. The room was full of bulldogs. This time I recognized the names of some of the UGA family line, but others bore less professional monikers, like “Smartypants” and “Dozer.”
“Our Beloved Coaches” contained names and faces I had seen briefly in articles referring to the Dawgs’ various wins or losses. Abney Jr. remained at the door, beaming.
“Days Gone By” seemed to be much the same as “Alumni,” but the plaques bore earlier dates than the first room—even some from the late 1800s. Some of the figures looked a bit shabby, an unhealthy caste to their skins, a hint of smudged paint here or there.
When the tour concluded, I left feeling that my understanding of the place was still muddled. With no celebrities, politicians or other public figures, the draw of the museum was interesting only to the denizens of this town.
But when I left, and Abney the younger held the door for me, I caught a glimpse of his right hand. There was something… wrong about it. His veins stood out too stiffly, and his skin was yellowed. I was eager to discuss my visit with my friends, but the first time I met with them after the museum, I noticed the same unusual qualities in their hands as well. Once, I made an excuse to brush my hand against my friend’s. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but I could swear it was wax.
And every time I think back to that last room, I think to myself that one proud-looking farmer seemed to have bones sticking out in strange places. I think of the eyeballs of some of those statues, and how dessicated they looked. I think back to the man who guided me in, looking prideful at first, but with the slightest hint of resentment as I left the building.
As prideful as a hunter sighting his next kill, and as resentful as that same hunter when it slips him by.

Silent Siren
By Chelsea MacDonald

She sat alone, head cocked to one side, her eyes dancing from behind the blade propped up between her knees. The audience crept in single-file lines, gladly accepting their headphones and finding their places on the floor. They stared at her, curious. She was different, they whispered, she was weird, and they began questioning how they had ended up here, on a Sunday of all nights, as the mic whistled on to announce the next act. The room was windowless, still, anxious as the moon above, with the glint of the saw reflecting the neon. “This is going to be a dark one, y’all,” she breathed, arresting the crowd as the door quietly locked behind them. She drew the bow high and ripped open the dark, a sudden shriek that pierced the souls of the living, exposing them to her will. The blade screeched as she began rocking back and forth, lids closed, steady, grinning. The beat grew stronger and stranger as their minds glazed, drunk with the pregnant sound, unaware of the pressure change as the ground began to tremble and smoke. She cackled with satisfaction as He rose and floated between them, irresistibly drawn to her tempestuous song. She threw back the saw and exploded another hiss, soothing them into her depths, exposing them to His unholy intention. His black wings brushed the now-pale victims as they unwillingly heeded her call, netted beneath the song of the siren. The room steadily clouded, cold and thick, as the youthful souls seeped out from their undead ears and mixed with the smoke and vibrations of the wailing blade. He stretched His bony fingers and dared to pet the heads of His new brood, stalking closer to the oracle with greedy delight. The headphones flashed in unison with each stroke as their backs arched, their heads rolled back, their bodies writhed in submission to His touch, eyes rolling back and turning black as night. She twisted and giggled, maintaining the evil rhythm and faster fueling the transformation, providing fresh fodder for her desperate master. He glided to the front and hovered over her, fully flexing his impressive wingspan, staking claim over the crowd and reaching through her waves to possess the shells of the newly un-innocent. He raised his arms and bent his head while the mass followed in smooth unison, their headphones straining to keep up with the sinister beat and climaxing into an intolerable neon frequency. She glared up through her lashes and saw the process was complete. The gleaming headphones slowed to a recognizable rhythm as she guided the crowd back towards the light, easing them into their new destiny. He carefully drew his hood and tucked his black wings beneath his shoulder blades, retreating back into the mist, blending and sinking beneath the show. They stiffened and stood up, haunched and numb, unaware of where they were leaving or where they were going, surrendering their headphones at the door and marching out into the moonlight in a determined trance. She remained behind them in the room, snickering as she clutched the blade and watched them leave, waiting for her cut and plotting the show for next Sunday…

Right as Rain
By Bain Mattox

I’m walking along Boulevard, listening to Vic Chesnutt’s “Gravity of the Situation” through my earbuds. It’s overcast and the sun is barely starting to rise. I’m on my way to work, much earlier than usual because I can’t sleep and I have quite a workload ahead of me. I venture on to Satula Avenue and a fog bank crept over me. The same kind of fog that had crept along the street the day after my grandfather died. I was only 12 then, but I swear it had the same chill. There was no one on the streets. My whole family was in mourning and I had to get out of that depressing house. I took a walk. Suddenly, there it was, my grandfather’s cream Cadillac sitting at the stop light. Paw Paw was in the driver’s seat. It was him. His eyes behind those thick rimmed glasses. He sat there motionless, then he looked over at me and smiled. I froze in place and just stood there in awe. The light turned, the Cadillac pulled away, and the fog lifted. I’ve never told anyone that story.
Here I am, walking through that same fog. I know it’s silly. That’s what I tell myself. I need to tell someone else so I stop in Ike and Jane. The familiar smell of donuts and coffee isn’t there this time. In fact, nothing’s there, no one’s behind the counter, no donuts in the case. Just a stale flicker of the fluorescent light bulbs. I start to freak out a little bit. I dial my friend, Victoria, who works there. Busy signal. There’s now a pit in my stomach. I get out my keys and walk to unlock Normal Bar, and there’s a man on the patio. He’s sitting amongst the fog with a burlap sack at his shins looking at me. He’s sporting a tweed suit, dress shirt and no tie. I nod. I go inside and start to unstack the bar stools. I hear the squeak of the back door’s hinges. His wingtip shoes scuff the black vinyl tile as he enters. “Are you Bain?” he says. “Yes, how can I help you?” I respond. He sets the burlap sack down on the bar and says, “These are for you, I hear you collect old photographs.” After all of this eeriness and panic I’m feeling, I’m instantly annoyed. The last thing I want to deal with is some guy peddling his junk on me. “No, thank you sir, I’m not interested, I’ve got a lot of work to do, so…” I say. “I don’t mean to bother you son, I just think these photos will look great here, they’ll be…” he paused, “right as rain.” I continue working my way down the bar taking the stools down. I firmly say, “No thank you sir, sorry.”
I turn to walk away and the hinges squeak again. The man is gone, the bag is still on the bar. I let out a huff and hurry after him grabbing the sack and exiting through the back door. He’s gone, just the empty parking lot and the fog lifted. I walk back in and throw the bag back on the bar. It tips over and all of the photos fall on the floor. As I pick them up, I flip through them. The black and whites are old photos of Normaltown. Old cars, gas stations and hand-painted signs fill the weathered paper. I get to the last one and it’s a picture of two men with their arms around each other’s shoulders in front of a store. In big letters, the sign behind them reads, “Right as Rain”; under that, “Fine Clothing for Men.” One man is dressed in a dark suit, dress shirt, bow-tie, a bowler cap and loafers. The man next to him is dressed in a tweed suit, dress shirt, no tie, no hat and wingtip shoes. I would swear on my mother’s grave that it was him. I glance back at the sign. “Est. 1931,” at the bottom right; at the top left, “1365 Prince Ave.” I turn towards the back door and catch a reflection of myself in the glass. Also in that reflection is the front door of Normal Bar behind me. Above the door, black vinyl letters read our street address: “1365.”

The House Across The Street
By Clara C. McCarthy (grade 5)

Hi, I’m Cassie and this is the story of how I had the scariest time of my life. Well, I should probably start from the beginning.
“I love Athens, and I love where I live,” I said to my best friend, Sarah.
“Then why do you always complain about the house across the street?” asked Sarah.
“OK, I love where I live except for the house across the street,” I said.
“It can’t be that scary, Cassie,” said Sarah.
“Well, you’ll see soon enough because you’re coming to my sleepover on Saturday and you will see the house and trust me it is creepy,” I said.
“Oh, yeah, the party, I can’t wait!” said Sarah.
I had warned Sarah about the house the day before, but she must have forgotten because something happened at the sleepover during Truth or Dare the next day.
“Truth or dare” said my other friend, Stella. I chose dare.
“OK,” said Sarah. “I dare you to go into the house across the street!”
“But Mr. Peroy, my neighbor, is missing. What if… his dead body is there?!” I said.
“Come on, we will go with you,” said Stella.
I knew I wasn’t getting out of this so I went. I shouldn’t have gone. I was right about the dead body but that wasn’t the only horribly scary thing there.
As I went through the door, I felt the temperature dropping. The door slammed shut behind us. Worried, I tugged on it but it would not open. Looking back, I realized I should have told Stella and Sara about the door, but I didn’t want to worry them so I keep quiet.
“Cool,” said Stella and Sarah at the same time. But I was definitely not thinking cool, I was thinking creepy. There were spider webs everywhere. But when we went upstairs I let out a scream. I had seen something horrible, Mr. Peroy’s dead body. My friends saw him and screamed too.
“Run,” I yelled and we did.
Running down the stairs, I saw a skeleton. There was some flesh on it and it was wearing a dress that I had seen in the newspaper two months ago. The dress belonged to a girl that was reported missing. Then I remembered that the door was stuck. I called out to my friends.
“Run upstairs. There are windows we can go through!” said Stella.
We ran up, but before we could get out something appeared. It was a ghost and she started chasing us. She got Stella.
Stella yelled, “RUN NOW!!!!”
We took off running as fast as we could. We told my mom and she called 911. The next day they found Stella’s dead body lying on the floor next to Mr. Peroy’s dead body and the girl’s dead body. That’s it! Wait, I see something coming towards me. It’s the ghost. Help! I’m gonna die!

Dear Readers: Epilogue: After the End

We are sorry to inform you that Cassie died right after writing this on her typewriter. We are putting this in the newspaper to honor her and her friends Stella and Sarah.

What has happened to the three girls:
Cassie: dead
Stella: dead
Sarah: heartbroken, moved to Nebraska, where she went crazy.

The Zombie Audience
By Jon Millians

Dr. Poison was plotting in his lair on the 22nd of September, the first day of fall. Soon he came up with a brilliant plan to strike fear in people’s hearts. All that was left was to wait for the perfect moment to put his perfect plan into action. He decided on the month of October to put it into motion, seeing as people were already scared.
It was a normal Saturday night in October. There were still only a few people in the Georgia Theatre since UGA was playing a night game. All of a sudden, a mysterious fog came rolling out of the vents, and chanting echoed throughout the theater. Then the sounds of moaning zombies, screaming actors and maniacal cackling blended together and rang through the theater.
The evil Dr. Poison was happy. Phase One of his plan was complete. Next came Phase Two, unleashing his mind-controlled zombies. Then Phase Three, revealing himself to the terrified onlookers.
A few nights later on Halloween night, many trick or treaters in terror screamed. Dr. Poison yelled “TRICK!” from a helicopter as zombies overran the streets. Of course the civilians did not know who he was. Strangely, no one was infected.
“Yes, yes,” said Dr. Poison. He was excited; his plan was going well. He said gleefully, “Nothing can stop me now!”
A voice behind him asked, “How about us?” Dr. Poison turned around to see the theater workers. The Dr. then said in an empty threat, “Get ’em, zombies!” and the workers turned around screaming. “Ha, that showed them!” said Poison. He turned to the the tanks holding life/death/mind-control gases—the same gases that created the mind-controlled zombies.
Three weeks later, the Georgia Theatre had a play called The Revealing. People flocked in to see the play, because no one had ever seen it. When Dr. Poison was sure that everyone was in the theater room, he pulled back the curtain. The audience was astonished at his deformed face which the poison had created. With his hideous bright yellow eyes, wrinkled pale skin and dry green tongue, it was enough to scare anyone. Screams did not drown out his words: “I am Dr. Poison. The person who created the zombies. You may say ‘but they are not infecting anyone.’ Well now they are!”
The audience screamed louder. He then said, while he put on a gas mask, “And you are about to join their ranks.” Then the vents issued the gases he admired earlier.
The Oddities Department of Paranormal Investigations Inc. was getting calls off the hook. All this zombie nonsense, but none of the officers had seen one. The boss of the department said, “What is all of this?” after the first call. Can you imagine how mad he was after 100 calls? Mad enough to say, “No officers in the entire department have seen a zombie!”
“That is about to change,” said a raspy voice behind him that he recognized immediately as the voice from the 34th caller—the one who reported he knew who was behind it. The boss turned and said, “What the…” Behind him was a zombie and Dr. Poison.
The boss found himself in a plain white room. He knew it was an interrogation room. The man from earlier stepped in, this time without the zombie. He took out a menacing looking piece of equipment filled with a pink liquid. He plunged the tip into the boss’ arm. The boss felt his mind slip away.
Poison enjoyed controlling the boss’ mind. The doctor was going to convince the entire world there were never any zombies. This was going to be too easy with the mind-wipe fluid he recently made. Once he had done that, he could unleash his zombies and take over the world.
In his private lab, he vaporized the mind-wipe fluid. Then he put on his gas mask and sent the vapor to space in a rocket with a satellite. The satellite soon sprayed it onto the Earth. He then called in his zombies.
He soon unleashed his zombies onto the unexpecting citizens of Earth, and the citizens of Athens, who panicked and were no match for the zombies. Earth and Athens surrendered to him, and the citizens of Earth and Athens crowned him leader of all.

Nice Night for a Drive
By John Nelson

My girlfriend was in town from Atlanta last weekend, and instead of our usual movie at Beechwood or going out downtown, we decided to spend our Saturday night watching the stars from the bed of my pickup truck somewhere outside of Athens’ city limits. She was more than excited to do something outside of the norm, just the two of us.
After dinner at Taco Stand, we drove down Lexington Road toward Oglethorpe County and within a few minutes of driving we were smack dab in the country. I didn’t map out a location beforehand, I thought it’d be easiest to pick a spot in a random field and wait for the stars to emerge.
The sun was starting to set and we hadn’t found a good spot yet when I noticed something up ahead. It was a dim light bobbing in the other lane, but it was too weak to be the headlights of a car or motorcycle.
As we got closer, I saw it was someone carrying what I thought at first was a flashlight. Once we were about to come even with the person, I felt a slight skin crawling sensation as I saw the person was in fact an elderly woman carrying a lantern. The woman was wearing an old, off-white nightgown and she was completely barefoot.
The lantern she carried was an old-timey model with a greenish-yellow, wrought iron frame and dirty glass panes that dimmed the lantern’s glow.
Her messy grey hair framed her face and her gaze was straight ahead, not looking our way as we passed her. I watched her in my rearview mirror while remarking to my girlfriend how spooky the woman looked.
After a minute or two of talking about the woman and other topics, we came upon a flat, open field that looked promising. We parked a few hundred feet from the road and hopped into the truck bed to watch the stars and cuddle. I left the truck running so that we could hear some music, too.
After 15 minutes or so, I was pointing out constellations to my girlfriend when we both heard a sound that shocked us into silence—footsteps. We sat up and saw the same elderly woman crawling on the field toward us, grass crunching under her hands and knees as she moved. She then stood up slowly and started walking toward us.
I was absolutely terrified, but knowing that I needed to protect my girlfriend galvanized me. I climbed out of the truck slowly while my girlfriend stayed seated and upright. I took a couple steps toward the woman and greeted her as calmly as I could.
“Hello ma’am, nice night, isn’t it?” I asked.
She stopped walking and stood still as a statue. Her eyes were unmoving, but she seemed to be mouthing something silently. After a painfully long time, I started to say that we were just leaving when she broke in.
“Hello… ma’am,” she said, her coarse voice much deeper than it should be.
My stomach started to fill with dread, not knowing what to do next. Keeping my eyes on the woman, I motioned for my girlfriend to get in the truck, and I breathed a small sigh of relief when I heard her climb out of the truck bed and shut the passenger door.
I then asked the woman, “You need help? Is there someone I can call for you to…”
The woman cut me off again, saying, “Can call, can call, can call… you need help…”
That was enough for me. I backed away and quickly got into the truck, which thankfully I had running the whole time. My girlfriend whispered frantically for me to just drive. I shifted the truck into drive, all while keeping eye contact with the woman. She stood in place, never taking another step toward us.
I drove a couple hundred yards in the field and made a really wide turn so that we wouldn’t have to drive near the woman. After a minute or so on the road back toward Athens, we drove past the woman’s lantern that lay glowing off the road near where we first saw her.
Thinking back to that night, the most disturbing thing wasn’t the old woman’s appearance or her not responding in a normal fashion, or even her crawling toward us. It’s her voice that haunts me, because I recognized it after the shock wore off. Somehow, she was speaking with my voice.

Sarah and the Doll of Death
By Caroline Orbock (grade 5)

A young girl named Sarah was walking home from Clarke Middle. She lived in the last house on a dead end street. Whenever she gets home from school, she goes up to her room to do homework. One afternoon, while doing her homework, she heard someone knocking at the front door. Sarah looked outside, but nobody was there, then she heard someone knock at the back door. She went into her brother Tom’s room, but Tom was at Blue Ridge for an overnight trip.
Sarah looked around and noticed that all of Tom’s toys had been destroyed. The destroyed toys formed the word “DIE.” Sarah thought to herself, “This must just be a prank.” All of a sudden, the doorbell rang and wouldn’t stop. Sarah went downstairs and saw blood coming from under the stairs. She turned and then looked outside through a window. Sarah saw her mom getting out of her car from work. When her mom came inside the house, the blood was gone. She didn’t know what to say so she just kept quiet, but trembling in fear.
Her mom had a sad and worried look on her face. “Your dad died in a car crash today. When the police came to investigate, they only found a doll,” Mom said. Sarah was shocked. She couldn’t understand what was happening. Her mom told her to go to bed to help her feel better. Sarah did, but she had a feeling that she was being watched…
The next morning, Sarah woke up thinking it was all just a dream. She went into her mom’s room and when she looked inside, she saw the most gruesome sight. Her mom’s head was on the ground while the rest of her body was on the bed. Sarah quickly walked to school thinking it was a prank, and her mom was still alive. When Sarah got home from school she saw a note on the counter. The note said, “Watch out, I’m coming for you.” This made Sarah really scared. When she looked into her mom’s room again, this time she saw another note: “You are not alone in this room.”
Sara looked around the room, but did not see anything strange. Sara started to sweat even though the house was cold. Sara heard the doorbell ring again. She looked out a window, but only saw blood. She tried to call the police, but it was no use, her phone didn’t work. Sara heard another knock on the door, and looked outside, where there was a knife on the steps.
Sara tried running out the back door, but it was locked and she couldn’t unlock it. She tried the front door, but it was also locked and couldn’t be unlocked. Sara ran upstairs into her room. She saw another note on her bed. The note read: I have you trapped now. Sara tried to leave the room, but it was no use. She had been trapped! Sara couldn’t even go into the bathroom.
She started to freak out and even started crying, for Sara knew what was going to happen. Sara thought a doll was going to kill her, just like the doll did to her mom and dad. The note vanished and a new one was there. The next note said, You have 10 more minutes to live. Sara looked fearfully at her clock. The clock said 7:28; she knew she would only live to 7:38.
Ten minutes later, another note appeared. It said, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” Sara saw a doll walk in through the door. Sara screamed. The doll was holding an ax. The ax had dried blood on it. The dried blood must have been from my mom, Sara thought. The doll started walking towards Sara. As the doll was about to kill Sara she screamed as loud as a whale would fart.
Once the doll killed Sara, it opened the door. Sara’s brother walked into the room. He started to laugh at what he saw. His plan had worked; everyone in his family except him was dead. After her brother was done laughing, he gave the doll 20 bucks. Tom silently walked out of the room with a wide grin on his face. Tom had gone to get a trash bag, to clean up Sara and her bright red blood on the floor.

Dating in Athens: a True Horror Story (Zombie Edition)
By Alison Phillips

Devon checks his phone for the fifth time that minute. Still no reply from that dick pic he sent.
Huh, weird.
He rubs his pencil thin beard in frustration and impatience while tapping the bar.
Where is this chick?
The doors to Buddha Bar part and in storms a #Goddess, #slayinit, #nofilter, #fashionablylate Astrid. Her stare is glued on her phone.
After literally banging down his fresh Kill Bill, Devon tips his fedora with a confident smirk and a cocked brow.
She glances up from her phone. “It’s Astrid.” She returns to her phone with a subtle eye roll, “But whatever. Traffic’s crazy out there.”
They stand in silence at the bar while Astrid ferociously texts, tweets, and instagrams about the #singlelyfe. She takes a break from typing to snag a picture of an empty shot glass.
If this doesn’t get 700 likes I’m posting a yoga selfie later.
Devon’s phone makes a flushing noise as a text notification and he immediately checks his screen. Turns out his first dick pic wasn’t well received.
I’ll try again later.
He also had a text from his parents, something about an emergency.
Meh, not right now.
“You wanna a shot?”
“I only drink Starbucks. OMG let’s go to Starbucks instead!” Astrid squeals as her eyes bulge out of her skull. “I think they finally have pumpkin spice lattes!”
Devon shrugs, pays his tab without a tip, and leads the way like a seeing eye dog while Astrid updates her check-in location on Facebook.
They slowly crawl up East Broad Street while Astrid takes pictures of leaves and Devon sneaks a Snapchat of his date to send to his 15 roommates. His phone instantly starts flushing with responses.
Ah Shit bro!!!!!
That gurl is TIGHT!
Dat @$$ Doh!
Is that bro behind her passed out?!? LOL!!!!

Devon looks up to find a banged up man with scratch marks lying on the ground. He quickly snaps a selfie with the corpse while sticking out his tongue and holding up his fingers in a “Rock On” fashion.
That’ll get some major likes!
Devon puffs his chest with pride as they approach the corner Starbucks, bowing as he opens the coffee shop door.
After grabbing their lattes labeled “Acid” and “David”, they climb the stairs to the crow’s nest where a few people were sleeping and talking frantically on their phone.
Devon pulls out a chair and sits in it backwards. Astrid pulls up Devon’s Tinder profile on her screen. “It says you’re like, a CEO. What are you CEO of?”
“Oh, I’m CEO of my life! I make all my own decisions and stuff. No one controls me or tells me what to do.”
“Yeah, that’s like, really deep.” Astrid says as she takes a selfie mid sip of her drink.
She instantly posts it and notices a photo just uploaded by her friend Madison.
Omg her makeup looks horrible; she looks freaking sick or something. God I’m so much hotter than her…
Devon thumbs through his phone and pulls up his Tinder account. “What about you? Says you’re into art.”
Astrid straightens her neck while she pulls up her Etsy account. “Oh yeah! I take like these super easy pinterest ideas, make them, then sell ’em on my Etsy store. My parents are like, SUPER obsessed with my work, they keep buying all my stuff. I must be like really talented. They’ve been calling me non stop today for some reason. UGH!”
Devon bobs his head, “Yeah man, that sounds pretty cool.”
“Yeah, but like, Athens isn’t like really artsy, so I know once I move to New York I’ll be like, a celebrity or something.”
Devon bobs his head again, his eyes glazing over in boredom, “Yeah man, that’ll totally work.”
Astrid starts typing on her phone.
Devon’s phone flushes.
“Uber to my place?”
Astrid shrugs. “Yeah, whatever. Let me just check my… and post this…”
Devon stares at his phone, “Yeah I need to update my… and share this…”
At this point, both young adults reel into their alternate realities. Facebook leads to checking messages, messages lead to chat sessions, chat session lead to shared links, shared links lead to commenting on posts, commenting post leads to profile stalking…
Devon and Astrid had become so enveloped in their own little worlds, that they hadn’t even noticed the danger they were in. The zombies had already clawed their way up the stairs and had begun gnawing their ankles.
#fin #theend #gameover

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