Matthew Fisher , First Place Horror Writing Contest

A local girl has gone missing. Yesterday, 16-year-old Laura Adams appeared to be kidnapped during the annual trick-or-treating event. Witnesses last saw Laura getting into the passenger side of a white minivan. More info to come.

I turn off the news, smiling because I know there is no way she’ll ever be found. “We did it,” I say to my husband, Arthur, “we’re safe.”

           “It’s been a month, and there’s still no sign of her. What do you think happened?” I’m standing in line at the local grocery store and cannot help but hear the couple speaking about what once was my daughter. I look like a wreck, but what else can you expect from a mother mourning her daughter’s death? “I don’t even want to think about anyone hurting that poor little girl,” the man replies. The woman turns around with a look of sympathy, and I give her a weak smile. If only everyone knew of the horror that child brought into my life.

           “Hey, Arthur. Do you ever see her? “I ask one winter afternoon while we’re lying in bed. 

“If I’m being honest, I can’t seem to get her off my mind. But it’s been over a year, Amy. “We can relax now,” he responds, massaging my shoulders in the process. “Plus, you and I both know she’s gone for good.”

In an attempt to comfort myself, I curl up into a ball. “I know, but I don’t think she’ll ever really go away,” I say with tears in my eyes. “I don’t feel safe anymore. Everywhere I look, I see her-“

Arthur interrupts, saying, “I know, sweetie. I know. “He rolls over, wrapping his arms around me. Feeling comfort in the only person I trust, I force myself to close my eyes and try to fall asleep.

RING, RING! I approach the phone, as scared as I always am these days. It’s been two years since Laura’s death, and every October I remain in fear of what may come. “Hello?” I ask, picking up the landline.

“Hi, Amy.”

I feel time freeze for a moment as my stomach drops at the sound of her voice. I feel my face turn pale, and I drop the phone in shock. It’s impossible. I sprint to my bedroom, searching for Arthur. As I open the door, I am faced with my worst nightmare. Her bright red eyes glow at me while she gives me a big smile; Laura stands five feet in front of me, carrying the head of the only man I ever loved.

“Looking for this?”