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Last Call · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Closer
The door burst open as the boy ran into the closet, closing it behind him and hoping the creature didn’t see him hide.

It took him a few seconds to calm down and for his breath to return to normal, but he did not let his guard down. Moving as slowly has his nervousness allowed, he peered through the keyhole, trying to scan the hallway and see if he was safe.

His hopes were dashed as he noticed a large, sluggish mass at the very edge of his vision.

Startled, he jumped back and falls through the garments hanging in the closet. Only the carpet muffled the noise of his landing, but he’s not thinking about any of that. His eyes gaze down to the space between the door and the floor, and his breathing speeds up as he sees something block the light.

Then, he heard a noise. A noise unlike anything he’d ever heard before but that somehow managed to send chills down his spine. He recognised the noises. It was his name.

“Da… niel…”

Daniel closed his eyes and covered his mouth with both hands, hoping the creature wouldn’t think of looking for him in the closet and would just walk away. He grew uncomfortably aware of every noise he made. The air coming out of his nose, the muffled rubbing of his pyjamas against the wall, the beating of his heart which grew faster by the second.

Nevertheless, he remained silent, trying to repeat the prayers his mom taught him every night. After a few seconds, the shadow disappeared, and he once again saw pure light coming through the space between the floor and the door. Still, he didn’t move. He waited for a good while until his breathing calmed down and his heart stopped beating like crazy.

When he thought he was safe, Daniel opened the door a smidgen, peeking through to see if the creature was still around. Satisfied with the empty hallway, he ventured a step out, and then another one, until he was creeping down the hallway.

He then remembered to close the door, and as he did so, he caught a glimpse of the door at the very end of the hallway.

Dark. Dark wood with twisted veins and several stains, the carpet near it was still a bit damp, but it was the soft dripping sound which made Daniel’s skin crawl. He had to get away. Closing the closet door, he once again crept his way through the house, careful to make as little noise as possible.

Just as he turned around the corner, he heard the creature’s steps in a nearby room.

Panicking, he shuffled to the closest room and ran inside, diving under the bed and pulling himself further into it. There’s quite a bit of dirt under it, but he cared little for getting dirty. Not getting caught was more important.

His heart skipped a beat as the door opened and thudding steps made its way into the room.

“Da… niel…”

He does his best to remain immobile, despite his body’s efforts to shake as though it were the middle of winter.

The creature was in the room with him, and it was getting nearer by the second. Even though, he was forcing himself to close his eyes, he couldn’t help but throw a few furtive glances to the side of the bed from where the sounds came.

He could see the boots of skin hitting the carpet with every step. His gaze lingered on them, following their every move before they turned around and started moving the other way. Daniel didn’t dare to breath until they had left his sight.

After a few more seconds, Daniel finally let out his breath as his whole body slumped, washed over by waves of relief.

“Da… niel!”

The cries die in his throat as he feels two hands wrap around his ankles and pull him from under the bed.




“Do not make me say it again, Master Daniel,” the matron said as she carried the pouting boy.

Daniel rolled his eyes, letting his body slump in the embrace of the older woman. They walked towards a dark wood door at the end of a hallway.

“Your parents shall arrive within the hour and they’ll expect to find you bathed and in bed,” she said as she opened the bathroom door.
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#1 · 1
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Just wanted to drop by and say this is one of my favourites of the bunch. A nice little tale of juvenile mischief, similar to and possibly directly inspired from Spaceman Spiff.

That comparison makes me think, though, of a missed opportunity. Perhaps Daniel's imagined form of the nurse could be a whole lot more defined? It would have been neat to have a very visceral description of the monster as it's coming for him, instead of just a shapeless mass. Perhaps he could peek at it through a crack in the closet door. That way, after the reveal you could describe her again much more normally, and show what parts of her (like her clothes, for example) that he used to come up with her monster-form.

Similar to what you did with the door.

Also I feel I should mention the shifting tense between past and present. A little more editing probably should have been done, perhaps involving saying the sentences out loud to see where the tenses conflict. For what it's worth, I think sticking with past tense is stronger. Don't know why! Just how I feel.

Thanks for writing!
#2 · 3
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I agree with Miller this sounds like a Calvin and Hobbes strip, which is cute.

However, the I-hide-everywhere-in-the-house-to-escape-an-imaginery-monster trope has been used repeatedly over the rounds and feels really threadbare right now. It’s not really a problem, but here this weakness is also underlined by an awkward style. The execution is okay, but the text is ridden with clunkiness and mistakes, typos and especially tense shifts which make the reading a mite jarring.

Combine this less-than-ideal style with a sort of unoriginal premise and you get something which is cute, but otherwise needs a lot of work to shine.
#3 ·
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If there was an occasion where purple prose would have suited a story, it's this one. Unfortunately, Daniel's emotions are normally described, which creates a clash with the ending.
I mean, we learn that he is frightened, but in fact, no, he wasn't. If you had used the first person, it would have worked better for me. Here, I feel the narrator is cheating me (I don't have any problem with a character cheating me)
Calvin and Hobbes has been mentionned, which is inevitable, but like I said, it works for Calvin and Hobbes mainly because Calvin's monologues are oversaturated with purple prose. If we had any doubts, this should clear them.

So a cute and nice story that missed a step for me.
#4 ·
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I'm immediately confused, because we have a door opening and closing at the same time, and it's not until the end of the sentence that we get a clue they're not the same door. Then he's able to slow his breath in only a few seconds, which doesn't seem possible, and he's looking out the keyhole for the monster, and he sees it on the edge of his vision. Maybe that's not what you meant, but that sounds like he's seeing the monster out the corner of his eye. More likely he can only see a bit of it due to the keyhole obscuring it, but my point is he's going to try looking directly at the monster, right? Yet this sounds like he's deliberately keeping it in his peripheral vision.

Next, it starts waffling between past and present tense, and not in a way that makes me think it's on purpose. You don't need to tell me it was his name. A name was clearly spoken, and without any reason to believe otherwise, the default will be to assume it's his.

This monster's really bad at finding him. It's overlooking all the obvious places.

Yeah, that's about where I figured this was going. A few editing issues, and as I said, it kind of loses me on the realism front in a few places. Take some of the descriptions, like "skin boots." This is Daniel's impression, and while he's probably literally correct (I assume they're leather), I can't tell whether he's convinced this is a real monster (which is hard to buy), he's deliberately imagining she is, or he's way too convenient in characterizing it as such.

Let me back up to the second of those. It doesn't carry the kind of tone that a child's imagining has. He'd see this as a game with a goal, yet the way he's just aimlessly running speaks more toward actually being frightened for his life. And while that helps disguise the twist, it hurts the realism after the twist is revealed. He can still sound scared--a child playing such a game would probably play along as if he were--but when you have a story that gets recontextualized like this, you have to be able to read it again after learning the true context and have it still work perfectly. It would help a lot if you had some touches that lent it more of a make-believe air but that still create a sense of genuine fright before the reader knows that. It's a tricky balancing act, but one that makes for a very memorable story and an impressive thing to pull off.

It got a little chuckle out of me, but it didn't surprise me that much.