Frightening First Line Contest—2016

Frightening First Line Contest—2016

We invited you to create the first line of a frightening story. Just the first line. But we wanted a first line so intriguing or chilling or scary that it makes our skin tingle and our nerves twitch.

Here we present the winner and finalists. Read…if you dare.


Mama knew my scent, knew the days of my blood cycle, knew exactly how fast I could sprint from the red shed to the arroyos that sliced through our property.

Miranda Nicole Gutierrez
San Antonio, Texas


I felt him move inside me and knew that one day soon I would be called to do something terrible. It gave me something to live for.

Shawn C. Baker
Los Angeles, California

The slow burn of a Mojave summer crept over the horizon, and my car still would not start.

Amanda Wuenschel
St. Louis, Missouri

The sound of a baby’s laughter would have made Warren smile, except that it came from the belly of the 20-kilo trout he’d just reeled in.

Subhankar Biswas
Bangalore, India

Even in the dark she could see it crouching at the foot of the bed grinning—always grinning with perfectly square and straight human teeth.

Stephanie Hurst
Buffalo, New York
The contest is closed.