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And The Winners Are….

After reading all the entries and tallying up the votes, we are proud to announce the winners of the Textbroker Writing Contest! Thank you to all of our authors for their excellent work! We had a tie for third place, and two Honorable Mentions were chosen by Author Services. Congratulations to the winners, and we hope you enjoy your prizes!

After reading all the entries and tallying up the votes, we are proud to announce the winners of the Textbroker Writing Contest! Thank you to all of our authors for their excellent work! We had a tie for third place, and the two Honorable Mentions were chosen by Author Services. Congratulations to the winners, and we hope you enjoy your prizes!

First Prize: Curtis F

I had just accepted to write a bunch of large DirectOrders I had been waiting for when, suddenly, I heard the strangest noise. I looked up to see my dad. Respirator humming. I should've recognized that noise, but it seemed as if it'd been a decade since hearing it. Wait a sec… DirectOrders?

 

 DAD???

 

 Then it came rushing back to me. The experiment. Our goal: time travel. Our subject: me. I didn't remember Dad's respirator because it'd been over two decades since I heard it. He had died shortly after…

 

 After I started working at Textbroker. I must be about 20 years old now. The experiment was successful, but not how we'd intended. Yes, I was traveling through time, but only in five year intervals. I had no way to control it. I was reverting back into former versions of myself. Former "mes".

 

 I remembered now. Not only three minutes ago I had been 25 years old and rushing to the lab where the experiment began. No, they didn't have the technology yet, but with my knowledge of the project, maybe we could figure something out. I was too late; I only have an hour at each stage. I had phased out about 10 feet from TimeCorp.

 

 I had to get back… now. I stopped as I rushed by my father, giving him a hug that could've never been long enough. Out the door, two miles to TimeCorp.

 

 Nothing. Bulldozers. Scaffolding. No TimeCorp. No hope. High school… here I come.

 

Second Prize: Laura Heff

I had just accepted a bunch of large DirectOrders I had been waiting for when, suddenly, I heard the strangest noise. There was a muffled curse and what sounded like items being moved. Had someone broken in?

 

 After a moment’s consideration, I squared my shoulders and stood up. I was a grown woman, perfectly capable of investigating a strange noise late at night. It was probably the cat. My heart jumped when I realized that the cat was curled up on the sofa behind me, sound asleep. Still, I gathered my courage and opened the door to the office. I cocked my head, listening as the sounds continued. It appeared to be coming from the kitchen.

 

 As I inched toward the kitchen door, I spied the silver candlesticks on the sideboard. Armed as I was with only a pen I had been holding when I first heard the noise, it seemed a good idea to hastily exchange the pen for a candlestick. I grasped it tightly, holding the candlestick in front of me as, an inch at a time, I pushed the swinging kitchen door open. The site that greeted me was so unusual, so far beyond comprehension, that I gasped and dropped the candlestick on my foot. I then slithered the floor, my head coming to rest upon the white linoleum floor as I fell into a faint.

 

 Inside the kitchen was my husband, doing the dishes.

 

Third Place: MzTiaRose

I had just accepted a bunch of large Direct Orders I had been waiting for when, suddenly, I heard the strangest noise. Every thought, at that moment, involves Halloween as October crept up so unexpectedly. I figured someone was probably just trying to scare me. Unfortunately, they succeed. Petrified, I decide to use the adrenalin pumping through my veins to catapult me back to my office, which is located downstairs in my unfinished basement. I am quickly reminded to run an ad for a roommate because I hate living alone.

 

 I race into my office and seek refuge in the comfort of my cozy writing chair. I quickly latch and lock the door. I try to ignore the alarmingly loud beating in my chest. The herd becomes louder as it approaches. They will undoubtedly break the door down any minute! I knew they would eventually find me, but I refuse to give up without a fight. I can fix this! If I proofread quickly enough, I can make these gigantic fiends disappear. Apparently, this wave of monsters is the worst ever. I am unable to catch my breath. I am horrified as the most gruesome, fat, and ugly curly comma monstrosities charge at me and begin to eat me alive. My screams wake me, and I notice my white laptop screen is filled with only commas glaring at me threateningly. I had exhaustedly fallen asleep on my keyboard with my chin pressed on the comma key. What a nightmare!

 

Third Place: mcookman65

“It is a beautiful morning.”, I thought to myself as I walked out onto the patio of my lakeside condo. I watched the sun rise into a cloudless, blue sky, as a pair of squirrels chased each other through the old oak, heavy with orange leaves. My coffee helped to boot me up as I sat down at my laptop to work. The squirrels continued to chitter and scamper through the nearby tree as I logged in to Textbroker.

 

 I had just accepted to write a bunch of large DirectOrders I had been waiting for when, suddenly, I heard the strangest noise. It sounded like a chittering, high-pitched shrieking, subsonic humming crash of some sort. I sprang quickly up from my deck chair to look; more alarmed by a sound that I couldn't identify than I would have expected. It took little time to spot the source of the noise.

 

 Lying at the base of the oak was an odd, silvery, blueish-green, tray-like thing that seemed to be pulsing with light. On top of the “thing” was a very frightened squirrel pulling and struggling to get away, as if its feet were somehow glued to the strange object. After a flash of light and another weird, multi-pitched sound, the squirrel suddenly sprang free and disappeared quickly into the high canopy. I had to investigate this thing.

 

 I ran down stairs and made my way around the lake. That's all I can remember; the next thing is waking up here.

 

Honorable Mention: A-060157

The rain was pounding outside, but I'd barely noticed the sound. In fact, I had just accepted a bunch of large DirectOrders I had been waiting for when, suddenly, I heard the strangest noise. It was different than the repetition of the raindrops. In fact, it was completely different.

 

 Fear rushed through my body. Did my heart just skip a beat? The growl was unmistakable. The roar was something I'd heard before, but it was something I'd hoped I would forget. I wanted to close my eyes. I wanted to imagine myself away. I wanted to be anywhere but here, but I couldn't change that.

 

 I turned around, and even in the dim lighting of my office, I could see the Infected creature standing there. The zombie was bigger than I had expected, but no less terrifying. Its eyes gleamed even in the darkness. It had spotted me. It had hunted me. It had found me: its next meal.

 

 How had the creature gotten in? I had learned weeks ago that the things I wrote about tended to come to life, especially if I wrote during thunderstorms. I had immediately barricaded my home. It wasn't a gift I wanted. It wasn't a life I had imagined, yet it was the life I had found as a writer.

 

 The things I dreamed became reality.

 

 And now the creature I had written about just hours before was here.

 

 With a deep breath, I picked up my weapon.

 

 It was time to fight.

 

Honorable Mention: The Kurgan

After nearly two weeks of abject supplication to a new client, I finally saw the Direct Orders I wanted. There they were! Ten articles on my favorite musical topics paying 32.3 cents per word. I nearly salivated. I accepted the first one and began typing. Then I heard it. It was the strangest thunderclap I had ever heard. Can you imagine a sound so soft as to be nearly inaudible yet still shake the house? Taken aback when the computer screen went blank, I uttered some not-so-PG phrases I'd been saving up for Textbroker.xxx. There it was again. The house rattled again, and I picked up the land line phone. Nothing.

 

 It was weird. My cell phone was also dark, and none of the light switches worked. Becoming uneasy, I glanced outside. The street lights were out, and there were no lights visible anywhere. People seemed to be congregating in the street, so I went outside. As I spoke up to my neighbors, they began shuffling towards me. Not walking, shuffling. Over my shoulder, there was another terrible, low-pitched sound and a flash of light so intense it could only be one thing. I hit the dirt and glanced up. The ominous cloud on the horizon wasn't large, but now I knew why the power was out. Three little letters. E-M-P.

 

 As I stood, I saw my neighbors in the fading light. Some had no arms, some no legs. But they still shuffled. Zombie Apocalypse! Now, where's my machete again?


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