This year, the only NYC Midnight competition I entered was the 250-word Microfiction Challenge. It kicked off in November 2022, when 5,439 writers submitted their Round 1 assignments in 125 groups containing approximately 44 writers per group.
My challenge was to write a story in the Suspense genre that involved ‘getting lost’ and featured the word ‘sound’.
I wrote a story called Corn (which you can read below) and am delighted to say that it got me through to the next round by the skin of my teeth, coming in at 9th in the top 10 places.
So, my Round 2 challenge, which came through last week, was to write a Romantic Comedy, that involves ‘riding a merry go round’ and features the word ‘decent’. This round places the 1,250 remaining writers in 25 groups of around 50.
Romantic Comedy is possibly my least favourite genre ever. Funnily enough though, I recently had a go at a Romance short story for a JAMS homework prompt, but it’s very much out of my comfort zone.
I spent most of the day getting absolutely nowhere and had almost given up when the seed of an idea formed in my head, and I decided just to have a go. I banged it out in a couple of hours in the evening. I’m not feeling very confident, but we will see … Better to have tried and failed and all that.
Anyway, here is Corn. I Hope you enjoy it.
The impenetrable forest of corn, taller than a man, loomed all around her. Watching with a thousand unseen eyes. Taunting. Waiting with malevolent patience to draw her into its depths. Envelop her. Suffocate her. Erase her.
Fear and panic jostled for control. Her mouth was dry. Her heart thudded in her chest. Fast, shallow breaths dizzied her. Which way?
The afternoon was hot and still. The cloudless blue sky a relentless dome of heat that raised a film of sweat on her skin. Salt and dust combining to sting her eyes and the bloodied scratches that criss-crossed her bare limbs. She had to keep moving.
Ahead, the narrow uneven path forked in two. Left or right? Right or left? Her mind a confusion of indecision. A dried-out husk of corn and a couple of withered stalks lay on the ground at the entrance to the left fork. Was there something familiar about the irregular shape they formed? Had she passed that way before?
The corn whispered.
Emma went right …
The corn is angry. Tendrils reach for her. Graze her skin. Snag her hair.
And then a voice! The thrill of recognition.
“Emma! Over here.”
She rushes towards the sound. Sobbing and gasping with relief. Throws herself into his arms.
As they walk to the car she turns back and reads the sign at the entrance to the cornfield.
A smiling head of corn. Yellow and green and grotesquely cheery.
“Can YOU beat the Maize Maze?”