Winner’s Sample “The Long, Small Hours” by Travis Burnham

The Long, Small Hours

Travis Burnham

            It’s a dark night for dark deeds, and the avatars of seven gods of chaos are scattered across my lawn. They look human enough behind their masks and through the filter of the security cam, but they aren’t fooling me.

            Some young prepster with his blond hair slicked back is the first to step up to the front door and taps the mic plate before talking. The second he opens his trap, I know it’s Abhotehath, the Hundred-Tongued God, because he’s so polite when he says, “Please don’t deny us, James, or I’m afraid we’ll have to kill all of you.”

Creepy windbag.

He rambles on a bit more, says they want the homeless guy, but I can read between the lines: they want me. They’ll take Mary and the kids, Charlie and Zoey, too.

And then the gods of chaos cut the power.

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