I don’t quite remember how I managed to find myself walking along the bottom of this canyon. One second it was ungodly hot with my skin melting off my very bones, and the next second the sun had set, and the sky was black. These massive jagged walls tower above my small self, reaching up to the sky. The full moon is massive tonight--and a deep crimson. The spiraling galaxy spread across the vastness of the colorful sky, the moon its centerpiece. It looks like a human brain when deep in daydreams. All this light illuminated this dead canyon, so my path onwards is visible to my weak mortal eyes. I continued on my hike, my feet numb and blue as the temperature dropped. Absolutely no one will come looking, for they do not know that I exist. One second is all it took my mind to wander enough to lead me off my road and into the unknown. It’s getting cold awfully quick--I don’t have a coat or anything to keep warm besides a little lighter. It sparked and sputtered, and then it died as it gave into the wind creeping through the canyon. It gripped the walls to drag itself along through the dark but glowing canyon. I took a turn along a wall and there, a few meters before me, rested a longhorn skull. Part of me was not surprised to find something dead in a desert canyon, but the other part of me wondered what it was doing here. The skull was a shimmering white–--there were no cracks or blemishes. It was unrealistically perfect except for the bits of flesh on the horns. My heart raced as I passed the skull without an issue, and so I calmed and carried on. But there was a call that soon rung through the canyon--a vulture. I don’t know why I felt the need to turn, but I did. My eyes scanned the canyon floor for the skull behind me, but it was nowhere to be found. At that instant, the sky began to swirl faster around the moon. I looked up and begged for it to guide me on my way in light, but in the next second, the moon let off a massive fire and disappeared out of the sky. The sky was pitch black, almost vanta. In one second the sky was so full, but now it was dark, and there was nothing to illuminate my path or the canyon. It felt like the canyon was buried alive. And then something shuffled. The noise echoed around the walls as something in the dark moved. It sounded close and didn’t at the same time. I stood in the darkness in silence . . . who knows what could approach. The shuffling echoed again, too close for general comfort. It sounded as if this thing was trying to desperately claw through the dark. As I listened, something clamped down on my shoulder. And I ran. I ran forwards, hoping for nothing before me. It wasn’t long before I stopped in Silence. Relief set in and I sat down happily, but it wasn’t long before Relief fled. The air got cold, and my skin tingled anxiously. A gentle light began to creep up the walls, creeping until it illuminated the wall to my left. A dead-end. I dared not to turn to the eerie orange light waiting… unmoving… there was a shadow… long horns . . . Slowly I turned to the light, and as my eyes landed on the being before me, I froze. The skull stood towering over me in a scarecrow body. The eyes held the sky in them before it disappeared, hay poking from its seams. It was the ugliest and most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. Before I could process this creature, my body was hoisted from the ground as it grabbed my throat. Breathing no longer existed as its eyes dug into mine, those galaxies swirling madly. My vision tunneled to its eyes and nothing more. That orange glow faded as my heartbeat slowed. Its other hand felt around and rested over my heart--it was no longer beating. My body hung limp in its grip as the hand ripped the heart from its tendons. It held it before my tunneled eyes and dropped my body. It hit the ground in a lifeless thud at the creature’s feet. The eyes still swirled as my vision began to fade . . . Remain on the path. Curiosity killed the cat. * * * “Do you think they found her?” The woman turned from the sink to face her husband, who sat down before the television with a cup of coffee. It was evening, and after a hard day of work, it was time to relax with the news of the day. “I hope so,” the woman replied. “I pray that she comes back.” “I do, too,” the man said, turning on the television. The television flickered as it came to life, blowing up the screen with the headline “Breaking News!” boldly screaming at them. “Looks like something happened today,” the man mumbled to himself. The television flickered again as it changed to the story. The man sipped his coffee as his eyes returned to the screen, and as they did, his hand released his cup. The cup bounced off and shattered on the floor, catching the attention of the woman, who instantly ran into the living room. It wasn’t long before she, too saw the screen, and as she did, she screamed. BREAKING NEWS: BODY OF LOST HIKER FOUND IN THE GRAND CANYON’S NORTH RIM. BODY IS AS WHITE AS PAPER WITH A GAPING HOLE AND MISSING HEART. EYES WERE WIDE OPEN WITH SWIRLING GALAXIES, AND TWO HORNS STUCK OUT FROM THE HEAD. NOTHING WAS FOUND AROUND THE BODY BESIDES A BACKPACK AND HAY. POLICE ARE ON LOCATION TRYING TO SOLVE THIS ODD PHENOMENA.
Skelly Snoo of Upper Merion Area High School explains, "This piece was written in a way where something in the feared dark comes to life and attacks the person the way certain hallucinations do in real life."