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"The Candy's Conundrum" by Aishi: Feb. 2024 2nd Place

Despite dreary weather on Valentine’s Day, halls burst with red and pink decoration. Pink envelopes adorned desks, including yours. As you opened pink cards, one stood out: bright red, haphazard, suspiciously in your handwriting and signed with your signature. But what scared you was the message. “Dear my past self, I need your help. Eat the candy attached and prepare yourself. Time is running out. Best Regards, Mehaisy”

Mixed feelings consumed your thoughts, still you ate the candy, not prepared for what happens next. No, not at all. Instantly, you were whisked to a fantastical realm, vibrant with colors and strange creatures.

A goblin, grinning malevolently, greeted you. "We’ve been expecting you," it rasped in a guttural almost evil cockney accent. "Follow me."

Reluctantly, you trailed the goblin down a dreary path, contrasting the vibrant surroundings. Arriving at a towering castle, the goblin muttered into a strange device. Suddenly, the ground lifts. The green creature screams, urging you forward. Fear grips you as you realize this is not a dream.

With a final scream, the window burst open, unveiling majestic throne room. As you peered inside, dread settled. It was you. Trapped in a cage, older, more tired, and skeletal, one punch and future you would be dead. “I’m sorry…” future you said, eyes pleading, your heart ached from the worry.

Why were they sorry? They looked as if they wanted to stop what was going to happen. But they could not. Boom. Agony floods all over. Lights out.


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