2020 Youth Short Ghost Story Contest Winners

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

2020 Youth Short Ghost Story Contest Winners

In September the Library hosted a short ghost story contest for youth in the Kansas City area, with the winners' stories turned into videos for the Youth & Family Engagement YouTube page. We had two age categories, 10-13  and 14-18. Below are the 1st place winners and honorable mentions of the contest, as well as links to the winning story YouTube videos. Read ahead...if you dare!


First Place, Ages 10-13

"Truth or Dare"

Paige, age 10

It all started with a group of friends: Emma, Liza, Courtney, Brandalynn, and Lea. One afternoon after school, the girls decided to have a sleepover at Liza’s house. Liza’s mom always loved when the girls came over, but when the girls walked through the door Liza’s mom didn’t even say “Hi!” The girls were a little weirded out by it, but then they ran up to Liza’s room. The girls were bored until Courtney suggested that they play Truth or Dare. Desperate, they all said “yes” and started playing. But little did they know that this game of Truth or Dare was deadly.

Courtney started by daring Liza to go in the bathroom and lick the toilet seat! Liza was absolutely disgusted by this dare but she did it anyway. As Liza licked the toilet seat she yelled out, “Eww, gross!” Next, Brandalynn dared Lea to force down a spoonful of hot sauce. Brandalynn gave Lea the spoon and she slurped it down with a pain in her throat. The girls continued daring each other. There were dares like “call your crush,” or other stupid things like that.

Suddenly, the lights went out. The girls all assumed that it was just a blackout. But when the lights came on they were all shocked to see that Courtney... was gone! Liza, Lea, and Brandalynn all started inching towards each other. Breaking the silence, Lea started quietly saying, “Courtney. Courtney, where are you?” There was no response. When Lea looked down she was shocked. From the ceiling, a substance that appeared to be blood was dripping onto the floor.

Lea screamed. Was this how they were all going to die? Brandalynn and Liza came rushing over, and they too screamed. They all hugged each other in disbelief. While all of them were scared, they knew that they couldn’t die like this. Brandalynn grabbed Lea and Liza by the hand and took them into the kitchen to find Liza’s mom, but she was nowhere to be seen. Liza started shouting, “Mom? Mom!” Then the lights went out again. They all knew what to expect, and sure enough, when the lights came back on, Brandalynn was gone.

Lea and Liza screamed and shrieked for help, but no one was around to hear them, or so they thought. Lea grabbed Liza’s hand and squeezed it as tight as she could. When Lea looked up, again she saw blood dripping from the ceiling. They didn’t know what to do. Liza had never believed in ghosts her entire life but now she was starting to believe. Liza reached for her phone and tried calling her mom, but her phone was dead. Taking charge, Liza came up with a plan to escape.

She told Lea that they would hold each other's hands so tightly, that when the lights went dark, the ghost wouldn’t be able to grab one of them and then they would run. Minutes passed as they held each other's hands tightly. Suddenly the lights went dark. Liza had doubts this would work, but surprisingly, the whole time the lights were out, she still felt Lea’s hand in hers. When the lights came back on she screamed. For instead of Lea she saw a detached limb in her hand. Liza ran into the closet hoping that the ghost wouldn’t be able to get her from there.

Liza felt something cold brush up onto her skin. When she turned around she saw the unimaginable. There, standing right behind her was her mom. Liza yelled out, “Mom!” but there was no response. Then Liza noticed the blood stain on her mom’s shirt. Yes, it was her mom, but she was dead. Liza’s face turned from scared to petrified. Liza looked around the closet in disbelief, but indeed her mom was dead. Then she ran out of the closet feeling sick to her stomach.

Once she closed the closet door Liza turned around. Liza screamed her head off. There, standing in the corner of her kitchen was a pale white figure. Its eyes were fully black and its soul was too. Its hair was silver, and all over it were blood stains. When Liza looked up at its head she screamed once more. There at the top was an ax, cutting into its round, beat up head. It was murmuring something under its breath, but Liza couldn't tell what it was. Liza was still screaming, but no one was around to hear her. Liza saw it pull the ax out of its head, and that was the last thing she saw. After that night, none of them were ever seen again.

First Place, Ages 14 - 18

"The Fire"
Damaris, age 14

The fire roared with ferocity, the blaze licking at the wooden logs hungrily. The face of the lone person standing by the fire lit up with an orange silhouette of the dancing flames, flickering across their skin with warmth.

A young child shivered from the cool air, trekking through the undergrowth feebly. They staggered towards the fire, eyes wide and alert. Their hair was very disheveled and at a closer look one would notice the char mixed into the strands, and the hairline was slightly burnt. The child wiped at their face, struggling to catch their breath.

A taller one stepped back from the campfire and frowned at the sight of the child. "Did you collect the rest of the firewood..." They cut themselves off, their face paling and lips sliding open ever so slightly, appearing as though they'd just seen a ghost.

The child held the firewood in its arms, but hanging off their shoulder was an axe, strapped around their body. "Hand me the axe, Mikey," the older one whispered, holding out their hands.

The faint throbbing of the fire flickered over their outstretched palms, the only light in the dark forest for a long while.

The child, Mikey, didn't respond. They continued to stare at the older child, or perhaps even through the figure. Their eyes were fixated on something beyond the person standing in front of them.

"The... fire? Are you looking at the fire, Mikey?" the older child inquired, taking a few steps back. Their foot crunched in the leaves tossed out over the ground.

Mikey's stare never ceased.

Concerned yet frightened by this demonstration, the older child backed away, the leaves shifting around under the pads of their shoes until— "MIKEY!" screamed the older child, their chin hitting the dirt and scraping through the ground as they hit the bottom of a hole.

"I see you’ve fallen into line with my prediction."

The now trapped child crawled to the back of the hole, fear pounding in their heart as they heard a new, gravelly voice speak.

A dark hooded figure bent over the edge of the trap and glared down at the child. They slowly reached their hand up and undid the hood hiding their face. The cloth fell in layers around their neck, but the darkness swallowed their entire face, and the child couldn't make out the features.

"I knew we shouldn't have snuck away from the group," the child muttered to themselves, agonized. They closed their eyes out of stark terror, trying to regulate their breathing, which happened to be a very foolish decision on their part.

The next thing they knew, was a pair of cold, slimy fingers wrapping around their arm, scratchy nails with all sorts of disgusting material gathered underneath, dug into their skin.

The child blinked, and that was all the time it took for the tall figure to shove them into a bag. "No!" The child squirmed around inside the confined space, squealing desperately like a pig.

The bag swung wildly with the poor child inside, who was trembling as the gruesome devil like creature carried them.

Until it dropped, rolling on the grass. The bag twitched and the front of it was tugged forwards as the creature was assumedly untying it.

The child closed their eyes, hoping death would take them swiftly and painlessly. But something told them that whatever this creature had planned for them would not be either of those things.

The drawstrings tugged open, a smiling face appearing through the tunneled hole. The eyes were small balls of a misty black air swirling around their sockets, highlighted now that they were right beside the fire and the child could see all the features clearly.

The grisly bones poked through the skin, some parts of the face split open as the bone marrow penetrated the stretchy balloon-like skin.

Blood oozed out of the deep pits surrounding the bone, curling down the split canyon and dribbling down the broken face. The child also observed that the bone itself appeared to be cut in half, on purpose. The end of the bone looked to be smooth, but they couldn't tell very well from the blood and red tissue blocking most of it. One corner of the bone was pointed downwards, facing the lower part of the profound trench enveloping around the chopped bones. It looked as though while cutting open a part of their face, they had had a slight accident and the now two separate bones had ended up turning inside the puncture, roiling around the tissue and jabbing through the insides of the facial structure, severely disfiguring the shape of the creature's face.

The skin only swelled more with the gruesome smile that encompassed their face, and the child noted that a section of the face snapped, the skin breaking and the top of a thin bone growing out of the open fracture.

"You'll be helping us out with chopping wood," the creature rumbled, their voice low and crumbly with age.

"Us?" the child's words dripped with sheer dread.

The creature smiled again, the skin thinning out and the open fractured bones becoming more prominent with the grimace. "Yes, us." They waved their hand forward and the soft sound of leaves crunching accompanied a limping figure crossing the forest.


Mikey gripped the same axe as before, and being so close to the source of light, the poor child still half inside the bag could see the eyes rolled back into Mikey's sockets and the way their lips were dragged into a blank line. Their skin also had a rather pale sheen to it.

"What have you done to Mikey?" the child asked, barely able to speak the words as fear had now swallowed them whole.

"The same thing that will happen to you," replied the creature coldly, and with a toss of their head, followed by a malicious bout of laughter, they trapped the child by the fire.


Honorable Mention, Ages 10 - 13

Margaret, age 11


A boy woke to hear creatures rushing against his bedroom floor, confused, he stood up slowly and wrapped his blanket around him. He began walking towards his closet when he heard a squealing noise. He jumped and turned around to see nothing. He headed back to his bed and curled up unable to sleep; he stayed hidden under his covers.

“I hate mice! Maybe there was just one… It sounds like my cat killed it…” That thought helped him calm down and he slowly drifted off to sleep.

That morning he woke up right as the sun was rising to hear more of a hissing noise. He sat up quickly and grabbed his blanket again.

“Thomas-?” he asked thinking it was his cat. The hissing stopped instantly, and he flinched when his closet door opened by itself. He sighed with relief as Thomas his orange tabby padded out purring. He collapsed and sat down on the floor leaning against his bed. He motioned his cat towards him. He realized something was off about him, the cat flinched and stepped forward very slowly as if he didn’t trust the boy. Its eyes flashed red for a split second.

Maybe it is just the light shining in his eyes in that weird way... he thought.

The cat stepped backwards and backed into the closet. Huh- I didn’t know he liked the closet… He thought, he yawned and stretched as the blanket slipped off his shoulders. He headed towards his bedroom door and opened it. He went into the bathroom to wash his face before heading downstairs and getting a bowl of CoCoa Puffs. He ate it slowly from still being tired. His mother came downstairs and jumped up, surprised by him being awake so early.

“Henry! You scared me! What are you doing up so early?” he looked up his mouth full of cereal. He swallowed his mouthful before replying. “Thomas woke me up.” he lied knowing his mother hated mice more than he did. “Huh… Oh well, you have school in a couple hours. I guess you can watch some TV or something.” She yawned as she opened the fridge to make some eggs. “You’re not full are you? I was going to make scrambled eggs.” Henry shook his head and brought his cereal over to the living room. When he turned on the TV he saw a news report on missing rats from a lab. What if that’s what I heard? He began breathing heavily. “Mom!” he yelled jumping up and rushing into the kitchen “Mom, Mom, Mom! A bunch of rats escaped the local lab!” he yelled. “Oh dear… It should be fine, it happened before. It was a couple years before you were born.” he nodded and sat back down in front of the tv and went onto YouTube to watch something he actually wanted to see. His mom brought him his scrambled eggs and went into her home office.

“Henry! Time for school!” she called and Henry stood up and grabbed his bag. He quickly threw in some leftovers from last night’s dinner for his lunch and pet Thomas before throwing on his shoes and ran outside. His friends were waiting at the corner of their street and when he got there he heard them whispering about the rats. “Can we please not talk about that!” he groaned “Henry! You scared us!” one of his friends yelped. “Come on we’re gonna be late!” he pushed past them and headed across the street and walked ahead of them leading the way to school. When they got in the playground they had a few minutes before class. They went to the storm drain and began kicking rocks around it. “Be careful with this one, my grandma got it for me.” someone said and set it down. They began gently kicking it around then the bell rang and they ran towards the school entrance. “Wait! My rock!” they all slowed down. “I’m gonna go to class! Hey Miles can you stay with her and try to find it? If I’m late again my mom’s gonna get a phone call.” Miles nodded and ran back towards where they had been playing.

A couple hours had passed and Miles and May hadn’t come to class. After math class was finally over Mr. Jones had tapped Henry on the shoulder before he left the room. “Huh-?” Henry asked as he turned around. “Henry, where are your friends Miles and May?” Henry looked up at the teacher and shrugged “I dunno… May lost a special rock her grandma gave her and they went to look for it… Maybe they haven't found it so Miles took her home cuz she was sad…” he suggested. Mr. Jones sighed “You live close though, it wouldn't take that long. Oh well, head on over to English class.”

The news kept talking of how the rat population keeps growing and growing. They never knew what caused the growth in population, now they do. It’s been a week and the kids still haven’t turned up. People in their town kept disappearing. His Mom and cat are both gone. He and a few people are the only ones left. The rats are taking over and turning everyone they touch into a rat disguised as whatever they started as. That night he heard another squeak and the next thing he knew, he, too, was a rat.


Honorable Mention, Ages 10-13

Bianca, age 11


7:00 pm- The Wilsons’ House

Katie Brown, tall, blonde, and a horrible babysitter, was on her way to babysit Emily Wilson -- a 6-year-old who seemed like she was going to be Katie’s easiest kid yet. “No worries, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. Emily’s in great hands!” said Kate. “You two just have fun on your outing!”

“Thanks, Katie! Emily should not give you any trouble; she sleeps like a baby on nights like these,” said Mrs. Wilson.

“Bye!” said Mr. Wilson, heading out the door.

“Bye-bye!” said Mrs. Wilson, following her husband out.

“Phew!” said Katie. “Glad that part’s over. Now, movie time!”

Just as she flipped on the TV, there was a noise outside that startled her. “Charlie? Is that you?” she asked nervously, looking out the kitchen window. She turned on the patio light, relieved to find her boyfriend’s face staring back at her. “Come on in,” she said, opening the back door and letting Charlie in.

“Thanks,” he said. “It was cold out there.”

Katie smiled at him, watching as he took off his jacket.

“Now let’s watch a movie.”

They were settling down when they heard a light shuffling behind them.

Katie turned around and saw a little girl with a cute lacy white dress, brown curls bouncing on her shoulders, a small doll face that looked very fragile, and a tiny teddy bear that had a rip in its right arm.

“What is it, kid?” Katie asked.

“Will you play with me?” she asked sweetly, stepping towards them.

“No! Go back to bed, it’s past your bedtime,” Katie said. The little girl just stood there, a frown on her face, holding her teddy bear.

“No!” she shouted. “I want you to play with me!”

“Look kid,” Charlie said. “How about you go back to bed, or I’ll take that teddy bear of yours.”

She squeezed her teddy tight, and stomped upstairs. “That worked like magic, Charlie!” Katie said. “Now the kid won’t bother us anymore.” Suddenly, the TV shut off.

“What happ—” Katie got cut off by all the lights turning off at once.

“Whaaaaa,” said Charlie, looking around in the darkness. Katie turned on her phone light, scanning the area.

“You didn’t want to play with me,” said a voice behind them.

“AHH! Oh, it’s just Emily. Stop screaming, Charlie,” Katie said. “Wait, Emily…. AAAAAAHHHHH!

9:00 pm, Wilsons’ House.

“I had a great time, darling!” said Mr. Wilson. “Didn’t you?”

“Yes, honey! But I’m glad we’re back, I’ve missed little Emily!” Mrs. Wilson said, unlocking the door.

“We’ve only been gone for two hours- AAAAAHHHHH!” screamed Mr. Wilson, for on the living room, were Katie and Charlie’s dead bodies, with humongous gashes all over their bodies, and a ginormous butcher knife beside them, all covered with dripping blood.

“Mommy?” said a small voice, and on the stairs was a small girl with straight, raven black hair.

“Emily! You’re okay!” yelled Mrs. Wilson, running to her daughter. Just as Mr. Wilson was about to run to his child, he heard a voice behind him.


He turned around and saw a small girl with brown curls bouncing on her shoulders, a small doll face that looked very fragile, and holding a teddy bear with a rip in its right arm.

“Oh, um, hello there. Where’re your parents, little girl?”

The girl stayed silent.

“Okay, do you have a name?” he asked her.

She smiled and then spoke. “My name is Lily. Do you want to play with me?”


Honorable Mention, Ages 14 - 18

"Trapped Between the Lines"
Diamya, age 17


You know the days in which you feel like there's no room for feeling anything other than your own impending doom? Well, Jamar was having one of those days and had woken up in a hurry as he had just missed his alarm.

As he walked into his job, him being a demolition worker, he usually felt pretty confident about his choice in career, but something about him taking a sledgehammer to the old psychiatric hospital felt awfully occult compared to his usual routine. The fluorescent lights shone down on him making him comparable to what could only be the dead as he continued to raise the sledgehammer up and and down onto the tile floor.

Although Jamar was the only worker assigned to this area oh the hospital Jamar began to worry that someone had an eye on him. Looking behind him he saw nothing but worn down hospital innerworkings. So with reluctance he began to shrug it off as paranoia and began his work once again in an abrupt manor.

As he slammed down on the tile floor with a force once again he began to realize that there was something different about the feeling of the impact of the sledgehammer. It's as if it were bouncing back in a subtle way, but that would be impossible, wouldn't it?

He looked at the tile with curiosity and in that same vein he slammed down on the tile once again with a force summoned solely through the aggression he had felt building up to this moment.

That is until he saw a what looked like notebook wedged between the tile and subfloor. With intrigue he began reaching towards the notebook which in a weird and foreign way seemed to hum with excitement at the thought of once again being discovered.

With what was now a slight reluctance Jamar picked up the notebook and opened it just slightly, but before his eyes could even process what the pages behold he flew across the room due to what was seemingly the most powerful gust of wind that he had ever experienced.

A rush of adrenaline rushed threw him until he realized that he had not run into anything yet, so with a fierce fear coursing through him he opened his eyes. Fear struck through him with even more abundance when an all white shadowlike figure with a jagged and big smile on their face stared straight into his eyes.

A look of animosity yet gratitude swirled in the monsters eyes as he spoke the words, "You're next." A chilling laugh coursed through the room when the force holding him up also swirled around him, now with color.  Feeling sick, he now saw that the "wind" holding him up had a personality of its own.

It is now said that every night the neighbors heard his pleas, legend has it he put up a fight.

Until he couldn't.


Honorable Mention, Ages 14-18

"Hi There"
Kennedi, age 17


Down in a small town called Lownville lived the Crover family. The Crovers were a very laid back family that wasn't always involved with the community. You might ask why...well that's because the community didn't want anything to do with them. It's not that anything was wrong with the Crovers, it was the house. Around 10 years before there was a massive murder that occurred in the house that they lived in. A woman had murdered her whole family while they were sleeping. Ever since then the house was abandoned and it recently got fixed up. Even after it got fixed, no one moved in except for the Crover family.

The Crovers were a family of six - Mardy, Jill, and their four sons. Everything was fine the first two months the Crovers moved in. But around the third month is when things seemed to take a shift in gear. The oldest son, Max, would notice that his younger two siblings, Fred and Sam, would sleepwalk in the middle of the night. Max knew that he had never in his life seen his siblings sleepwalk in his 9 years of being a older brother. Whenever this would happen, Max would guide them back to their beds and didn't find the need to tell their mom or Dad.

One night Mardy went to sleep in the living room due to him and Jill's recent argument. They didn't like to argue in front of the boys so Mardy just left from upstairs to squash the problem. Around 11:00 at night, Jill had came downstairs after putting the boys in bed to talk things out with Mardy. An hour and a half pasts and that's when the couple heard the stairs creaking as if someone was coming down the stairs. The couple was startled but wasn't really concerned because they thought maybe it was one of the kids. " Boys?" Mardy called out. But their was no answer, so Mardy got up to check out what the commotion was. He saw that their was no one on the stairs but then he heard the basement door open. The Crovers had never been in their basement, due to the fact that it was never fully finished after the house had been repaired. When Mardy reached the basement door, he saw his two sons, Fred and Sam going down the stairs. " Boys, get up here and get back in bed!" Mardy yelled. Jill soon ran to the basement door to where Mardy was and saw that the boys were in the basement and wasn't listening to their dad. "Boys get up here now and listen to your father!" Jill yelled. 

But their commands didn't seem to alert the boys. Seconds after, the basement door slams in Mardy and Jill's face as they are standing there.

Standing there in shock and disbelief, Mardy and Jill felt a presence behind them. Jill, afraid to turn around, says, " Who's behind us?" Before whatever it was answered, Mardy dropped to the ground cold. Forgetting that something was behind her, Jill immediately checks to see what happened to Mardy. As Jill shook and tapped Mardy, she looked up and saw the most disturbing sight of her entire life. She saw a woman with her face halfway torn off standing five feet from in front of her. " Who are-" Jill asked before getting cut off by this woman. " GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" the woman yelled with the highest pitch she could. The way she yelled was inhuman. When Jill began to run upstairs, she was suddenly picked up by the throat from some type of force and was slammed against the kitchen cabinets. But, she didn't fall to the floor, she stayed against the cabinets as if she was being held there. As Jill was being held against the cabinets the woman began to walk toward her while whispering some sort of chant. Jill couldn't make out what she was saying. While the woman was whispering this chant, Fred and Sam came upstairs and stood next to the woman and stared at their mom with pitch black eyes. Due to Jill being in such a state of shock, she passed out.

Max woke up out of his sleep and noticed that his two younger brothers were not in bed except for Johnny. As Max got out of bed without trying to wake Johnny, he heard noises coming from downstairs. Before going downstairs, Max runs to his parents' room to tell them about Fred and Sam's sleepwalking. But he noticed that they weren't in bed and then Max heard loud whispering coming from the kitchen. As Max reached the body of the stairs, he peeked around the kitchen corner and saw his mother against the kitchen cabinets and a strange woman standing in front of her. When Max moved closer, he then saw the basement door open and saw his brothers go into the kitchen and stand next to the woman. Then Max saw that his mother suddenly got quiet and it seems that she had passed out. After moving his eyes from his mother, he then saw his dad laying on the floor, cold. Max screamed and the woman turned around and ran to Max at a very fast speed and smacked him across the jaw, causing him to faint.

Jill had woken up from being passed out for five minutes. Her vision was blurry and she couldn't make out the room. Then her vison cleared and she noticed that she was still against the cabinets. As she was looking down, she noticed blood all over the kitchen floor, but she wasn't bleeding. When Jill looked up she noticed her husband and kids all taped to the walls unconscious. What Jill was seeing was unbelievable, as she looked around the room, she saw the woman walked into the kitchen from the dark hallway. The woman had an axe in her hand and Jill screamed for dear life as she saw the woman head toward her husband. As soon as Jill blinked, her husband's head was on the floor. Then the woman proceeded to chop her kids' heads off. Jill was falling unconscious from what she was seeing before the woman stood in front of her. Before Jill could say anything, her head was chopped clean off.

Johnny noticed that his brothers were not in bed and ran downstairs. Once he reached the kitchen, he saw blood and a woman. The woman turned around and said to Johnny, " Hi there." Before Johnny said anything, everything went black.