Here are the winners from several recent contests. As always, find links to the latest contests in our right-hand sidebar!
Nightshade & Wolfsbane Giveaway
The winner of a set of books by Andrea Cremer, courtesy of Penguin Teen, is:
Dark Parties Giveaway
The winner of a signed copy of Dark Parties by Sara Grant is:
Dragon’s Oath Giveaway
The three following winners will each receive a signed copy of Dragon’s Oath by PC & Kristin Cast. For this contest, we asked you to tell us your favorite character from the House of Night series! The winners are:
Natalie R, whose favorite character is Stevie Rae.
Darcus M., whose favorite character is James Stark
Angie L., whose favorite character is Zoey Redbird
Pretty Little Liars: Twisted Giveaway
To celebrate the summer finale of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars — the TV show based on Sara Shepard’s best-selling series — we offered up two copies of Twisted, the latest book in the series. The winners are:
Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness: Signed Book Giveaway
The following winner will receive signed copies of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl:
Be sure to look for the third book in this series, Beautiful Chaos, in stores later this fall!
The Revenant Ghost Story Writing Contest
Each of the three following winners will receive a copy of The Revenant by Sonia Gensler, courtesy of Random House!
I am invisible. I am nothing. I sit at the table and everybody moves around me, paying no attention to the girl that isn’t there. It’s been years since somebody played with me, let me sleep folded next to them on their bed, let me trail behind them as they ran around the mansion.
He sees me, I know he does. When they sit at the table like a family—a family—and I sit down at the end, he glances at me. He opens his mouth to speak, then shuts it again.
He knows what I am. Not an invisible girl. Not a girl who fills no space.
A girl who died way before her time, decades ago.
And he’s afraid.
It’s quiet. Nighttime. Something I’ve long forgotten, the way my nanny tucked me in, read to me before I drifted off to dreamland. I’m downstairs in one of the living rooms; it’s different than it was when I was real. Solid. Alive. A large, black box hangs from the wall. I’ve seen the family watch moving pictures on it. It’s loud at times, hurts my ears. It’s off right now.
I float through the house, opening the spirit doors as the earth ones stay shut. I can go through them both because I’m not earthly anymore.
I am spirit.
I find the grand staircase that my momma walked down, holding the rail with one hand and her skirt with the other. She wore elegant gowns, and made all the men stare. Daddy would catch her, arms around her waist, and give her a quick kiss, lips barely brushing as if not to smudge her painted red lips.
Then I’d be whisked up the stairs to sit in my room with the nanny as they danced in the ballroom below with the other rich neighbors.
The floorboards beneath me do not creak, even when I jump on the loose parts. Anger flares. They should creak!
I trail down the hallway, ignoring the silence.
I am nothing.
The boy’s door to his room is ajar. The spirit door is closed, but I fling it open, the air rustling. Air is both spirit and earth. It doesn’t know the difference. The air brushes open the earth door and I float into the room.
It was mine once upon a time. And now it is his.
I want it back.
He sleeps on his stomach in the bed, one leg thrown out from under the covers. With a smile etched on my face, I grab the leg and tug. I tug so hard, but he barely moves. He doesn’t even wake up.
Anger flares again and I grab his legs with both hands and pull harder than I’ve ever pulled.
He moves. He falls and wakes up. His eyes widen. “Help,” he says, but it’s the faintest of a whisper.
But there’s no help for him.
“He lied to me you know”, she says to the petrified woman in the bed. The words were simple, yet they packed the punch of a prize fighter’s fist. She keeps touching the pins that hold her lovely pale hair in place and smoothes her long flowing nightdress as she drifts back and forth in the semidarkness. She is a beautiful sight, the grave still clinging to her semi-transparent form, and she is going to be heard; whether or not her audience wants to listen.
The grandfather clock began to chime in the hallway downstairs, its deep clanging sound resonating through the house and through her soul. She remembered that sound and for a moment she forgets the woman on the bed, as she is carried away to her past.
The clock in the entryway sounded loudly, its deep tones a dirge that a young girl of 16 did not know was a warning. The sound of boots stamping on the rug at the front door echoed the pounding of the clock as she raced into the foyer. She slid to a stop and smiled at him standing there in the doorway, so strong and handsome with snow kissing his dark hair. He smiled and nodded, and she gave way to her furiously beating heart and ran at him as the clock continued to chime. He lifted her and swung her around as if she weighed nothing. He slid her engagement ring on her finger and in that instant she felt nothing but joy.
“He was such a good pretender” she muttered to herself as the clock fell silent, “He should have walked the boards”. The clock stopped chiming and the leftover vibrations in the air seemed to cause a void in her heart, as well as where the sound should be.
She smiled sadly as she remembered, it was a long time ago yet it seemed like yesterday. She had huddled in the chair by the fire; the flickering coals casting shadows on the walls. She heard voices outside and pulled back the sash just in time to see her husband’s lips brush those of a dark haired woman. His nimble fingers caressed her, lingering as if he couldn’t leave. The woman smiled and pushed him away. He blew a kiss from gloved fingers, doffing his top hat as he went. Inside, she slumped against the wall sobbing silently. He came in smelling of fresh snow and cheap perfume and her heart broke.
The past and the present combine as she turns toward the scared young woman. “He will hurt you”, she says sadly. She drifts closer to the bed running pale fingers over the wedding dress hanging on the armoire. She hears the gasp as she steps fully into the moonlight. Her face a moment ago so lovely is now bruised and bloody in the semidarkness. “This is what he did right before he killed me.” The dark haired woman in the bed gasps and begins to scream.
She told me stories about how when she was my age she’d make short dresses out of paper and then go out dancing with her sisters. All the boys loved her, she said. They loved to watch her dance in her paper dress and sing to herself about kissing under an apple tree. The boy that would become her husband, my grandfather, she met one night when she was out dancing.
She also told me about how she grew up on the Rio Grande. I pictured her walking out her front door and taking a few steps across the dirt before kneeling down to splash her face with the cool river water. Then she’d stand and watch the palm fronds slap the sky.
Oh, how the boys would watch her dance. And, oh all those palm trees.
After my grandparents were married, they moved north, far away from the river and the trees, and settled into the house I now live in.
I’ve always hated this house. I’ve always thought there were too many things in it and that the rooms were quiet and cold. When I was younger and would stay the night, I would worry myself to sleep thinking that I could hear voices. Once, when it was time to leave in the morning, my grandma sent me home with one of her old jewelry boxes. She’d put plastic container of holy water, a plastic rosary, and a small white bible in it.
I don’t want to live here, but my mom said we didn’t have a choice.
Grandma wanted us to have this house, she told me. And we need a place to stay.
A week after we moved in Mom sold off most of the dishware and the furniture at an estate sale. I watched as strangers ran their fingers over lamps and linens before leaving with nothing.
I thought that with most of her things gone, my grandma wouldn’t have a reason to stay, but I know she’s still here. When I’m in bed, counting the seconds, I hear things: the crunch of paper, a happy girl’s voice singing the faint notes of a song, wind, water, the clicking of rosary beads.
The morning she died, my aunts consoled each other by saying their mother was finally up in heaven, dancing with my grandpa again. One of my grandma’s sisters, up from the river, held on to my arm the night we said the rosary and told me to pray so that my grandma would make it out of purgatory.
I smiled, told her I would, but forgot. I’ve since said many prayers, but nothing has come from them.
Now, every morning, I get up before the sun rises. I take my grandma’s old jewelry box off my dresser and walk silently around the house. I follow the sounds of wind and rustling paper, and I try to trap them.
Congrats to all our winners! Be sure to check the sidebar for all the latest contest!