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Dream Quest One Third Writing Prize Winner -

Winter 2016 - 2017



of Montague, Michigan - USA




Smile, Girl

By Rachel Wade


“Beauty provokes harassment, the law says,

but it looks through men's eyes when deciding what provokes it.”

(Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth)


Elliot James Cook, was his name. A charming and hardworking, young man of 24 who got engaged to his lovely wife Elizabeth Mae Cook a week ago. Now if it wasn’t for Elliot’s job as a chief investigator they would already be on their way to Paris, France for their honeymoon but that’s not what happened, unfortunately. He is in charge of investigating unusual circumstances that people call in to the police station, so getting away from that is like trying to take away a dog from a deer carcass.

            Elliot had been dragged into a case that the people had been begging him to investigate for 2 months now. Young women, of 20 to 25, have been going missing left and right, the predator preferring newlywed females. This case was the last one he would want to ever look into. Just imagining the actions taken against them. Who knows what the criminal could be performing.



Night surround his car and his headlights pushed away the dark. The engine of his car rumbled to a halt. The driver’s long muscular legs stepped out of the car hesitantly making their way to the crumbling building. A chilled breeze clung to the back of his boney neck like a leech finding fresh blood. His dusty black hair intertwined with cobwebs that call this rotten place home. The old decaying barn whispered to its visitor, the wind howling through the holes in between the once straight planks. Above the barn, the sky cloaked itself with dreary clouds


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crying tears of agony, banging against the tin, rusty, roof. Crates sat in scattered stacks of towers creating a maze for the dusty haired man. His hazel brown eyes darted back and forth wherever his flashlight shined hoping to discover no movement. The tips of his fingers slid his keys into his pocket. As the keys slipped in his index finger tracing over the name Elizabeth.

As he followed the trail, his flashlight revealed a pathway leading downwards. His ring finger gently traced the wooden walls as he stepped down, his hand glided down the frigid brick walls of the barn’s basement.

The steps groaned whenever his dark grey boots trudged on top of them, as if they were sick. An echo of the wind slamming the door shut above him sent a jolt up his skeleton, starting from his ankles and caused the flashlight to dash out of his hands. His muscles tensed.

He shrieked as his knees fell quickly to the soil covered lumber. Callused hands fumbled across the dirty floorboards in search of the hand-held safety he let go of. The beating of his heart thumped inside his neck thickly, his breathing became more prevalent with every pump.

“Where is it?!” He whispered harshly to himself, short of breath.

The frantic breath subsided and he sighed in relief, firmly gripping the cylinder object in his left hand. As he tightened his grasp he came to find that the handle of his flashlight had become rubber-like and cold. With a large inhale his feet lurched him backwards. His eyes widened to the size of moons as his hand stumbled across the light, shooting it in the direction of the thing he had touched. The light revealed a woman with once lively eyes now froze open. Her face, cut on both sides in an upwards direction to widen her jaws, a gaping black hole of a mouth. Her iris purple, floral patterned, dress had been torn and stained with red splatters in various places across her body. The once crystal blue eyes were now lifeless as they stared into oblivion. Her body laid there without an opinion. Without a voice. Victimized.


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What kind of creature or… or human for that matter could do something like this?

            The young man’s eyes released droplets of salty water that raced into the corners of his mouth to hide. As he looked up through his watering eyes, words were written above in red ink from the dead lady’s veins.

Smile, Girl.

            His thoughts were interrupted by the fearful touch of claws crawling under his ivory skin. The sharp nails and the tracing the small of his back sent miniscule pricks throughout his spinal cord. The five-daggered rake was attached to a body invisible to the average eye. Something stirred behind him he could feel it… but every time his hair swished one way or the other to glance behind him… Nothing visible was there.

            His face plastered with the emotion of Medusa’s victims. The man’s feet shuffled backwards towards the icy brick wall. He had seen too much. His once innocent hazel eyes had seen the nightmare’s that were only in his head. The dead woman with a cavernous mouth and life-sucked eyes. The catcall of a message above her head… Her dress tattered. Her lifeless expression…

            With a deep wisp of breath the man’s tall and slim cut body tumbled backwards. He expected the floor to support him but his expectations were not met. His cumbersome arms and legs fell weak as his vision grew black around him. Darkness slithered up the sides of the hole, the top of it traveling to faraway places. The thick pounding in his neck grew fast-paced as the opening disappeared from view and his body began to tremble.

            A loud exclamation echoed through the hollowed hole as his body hit on the cold, squished, dirt. Lungs deprived of oxygen. Eyes unfocused. As he sucked in another breath his eyes refocused on his surroundings. There were piles of something. What were the piles made


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 of? Slowly he sat up, his hand sinking into a chasm of rotting flesh. He retracted from the rotted stomach he slipped into. Women’s dead decaying bodies lay sprawled out around the floor. Laying in distorted angles that aren’t humanly possible. As the man’s fearful eyes glanced around the room he found words above him on the wall. There were written lines that he has only heard on the streets. Lines spoken to his wife when sitting down for a cup of coffee together.

            You look fine today, girl.

            Look at those legs.

            You got a great pair of-

             The man’s thoughts tumbled into a spiral of building anger. His hands shook as he stood. A ripping sensation mangled his stomach. The hazel eye’s slowly made their way behind him in the back of the hole. They landed to see a mesmerizingly beautiful woman with the face of a young child on their death bed, tied to the wall in thick barn rope. Her body limp and delicate. Hanging. A dark figure stood in front of her with a glistening sharp object in his hand. The man’s heart grew black as his eyes overflowed with fear and agony.

With an outstretched hand he screeched, “Elizabeth!”


~The End~



About the author:

My name is Rachel Wade and I'm a junior at Hart High School. I love the performing arts and hope to make my way into theater as my job. My favorite activity is to sing and attempt at writing songs. I also enjoy writing in my free time.