Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writers' Platform Building Campaign: Challenge One: The Candy Man


 

Hello again, old friends and new! What an exciting and busy weekend it turned out to be! Nothing quite like taking advantage of a holiday weekend by exploring the natural world. In this case, the deserts of Southern Utah. We climbed through canyons, discovered dinosaur footprints, and checked out some ancient cliff paintings.

And this is why I did not post my First Writers' Platform Building Campaign Challenge yesterday. Good thing I still have time. Better late than never!

The Rules:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

So here it is! Exactly 200 words!


The Candy Man 

The door swung open. I dare not open my eyes.

A sweet and sticky smell comes to me like the breath of a dragon, along with the sound of a crying old lady. The Candy Man yanks me in, laughing a mischievous laugh. He said I would see my worst nightmare come to life— what does this have to do with an abominable snowman hurling sulfuric acid-laced chocolate cream pies?

“Come, come, be not shy,” giggles the sadistic little man. “Look, look, else someone will die!”

I pry my eyelids apart and see an elderly woman with gray hair. She's tied to a chair, and dangling from a thick licorice rope above a swimming pool-sized vat of boiling butterscotch.

The Candy Man holds up his thick taffy suspenders, supported by peppermint buttons. “Your Aunt Crystal was bad,” he chimes. “Like you, she stole candy . . . makes me sad. Return what is mine! Gimme give, and I might let you live!”

“That’s not my aunt . . .”

Scrunching his brow at the woman, the fellow pulls a tiny memo from his pocket. “Your name is Dennis Pivot?”

“My name is Marcus . . . you idiot.”

Growling, the man tosses me from the room.

The door swung shut.


I thought I'd take the challenge further by writing in first person, present tense, because I'm a third person, past tense kind of guy. Did it work? Let me know down below.

I'm David, and boiling butterscotch--what a way to go!

128 comments:

  1. Make mine caramel please...if you're going to throw me in a boiling vat of sweetness that is. ;) Great flash fiction piece, David. Yes, first person present works for you!

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  2. Totally worked. I loved it! So fun!

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  3. So, first you name it after a horror film that gave me nightmares, then you add a photo that gave me nightmares and then you make me associate candy with VERY BAD THINGS.

    I loved it :-)

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  4. ha ha ha!
    that was great!
    and we'd never know it was your first try if you didnt tell us =)

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  5. That was awesome! I wouldn't have EVER guessed that you're a third person guy! (I'm a first person kinda person). Awesome post!

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  6. I thought it was a very clever story though I have to confess to cringing once or twice...

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  7. Hilarious ... and creepy! All you needed was clown!

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  8. Great story. I haven't even begun thinking about my first campaign challenge.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  9. Oh my... unwrapping that candy led to some scary stuff! (And the poor old lady, no matter whose aunt she is!) Writing in the first person worked well -- good for you for doing that.

    Make my vat of boiling candy chocolate, please.

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  10. I totally love this!! I was expecting something awful to happen and then... lol :)

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  11. Very interesting! Lol! Makes me want some candy. ; )

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  12. Mwahaha! although I hope he gave him a fake name. wouldn't want the real auntie tied up with licorice!

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  13. Poor old lady! Who knew candy could cause so much trouble!! Great job! :D

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  14. An evil candyman?! Say it isn't so! I like that he had the wrong kid.

    It works in present tense, except that the first and last lines are in past tense, per the challenge guidelines.

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  15. Another great new idea on those opening words! An evil - yet rhyming (and possibly bungling...he did take the wrong kid...) - candyman, a candy-thieving old lady, and a confused kid! Fabulous! ~ Nadja

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  16. I like this Dennis. I was laughing thinking that the candy man mistook the identities of brothers :-) I too normally write in the 3rd person and did my own entry in the 1st. I'm thinking your story works. Good job;)

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  17. This is so great and you could NOT have picked a better picture. That candyman is creepy!

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  18. Absolutely wonderful. I loved it. Poetic and hilarious at the same time. Excellent piece of flash fiction.

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  19. Loved it :) Boiled in butterscotch, now that is a great way to go. Awesome job!

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  20. Very nice! I enjoyed it. Good luck!

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  21. What a clever story! Great job! So glad to meet you, too! Happy writing, dear David!

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  22. Hahahahaha, nicely done. I enjoyed the characters throughout.

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  23. I appreciate all of your encouraging comments, everyone! And I've enjoyed reading all of your entries, too. I must have visited 100 blogs today. If I haven't commented on yours yet, I will eventually. And that's a promise! :)

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  24. David, just when I thought I had read the most imaginative piece, here comes evil in assorted flavors! I couldn't cook up something like that in a hundred years.

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  25. Great story David! You are very creative. I like that. Thanks for reading mine as well :)

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  26. How deliciously disturbing! :)

    It seems we both went outside of our comfort zones. I normally write in 1st, but gave 3rd a shot this time. :D

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  27. It did work, except that the first and last bits are in past tense. hehe. I really liked this story of yours, take that stupid Candyman!!

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  28. Great story! Totally worked! I actually left and came back to be sure I had the same reaction. I really like it.

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  29. Creepy! And hilarious! Can't go wrong with that!

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  30. made me think of the candy man as a reference to drug pushers, made it even more creepy!

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  31. It's good to read another freaky story like mine! Glad I'm not the only psycho out there! Great job!

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  32. This must be the first time that I've seen candy as sinister.

    Great piece!

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  33. Eek! Boiling butterscotch...poor lady! That candy man is not nice! Not like the guy in my mom's ward at church, whom all the kids call the Candy Man because he gives them a piece of candy in return for a handshake. LOL

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  34. That was great! I kept picturing Johnny Depp as the the CandyMan....Great details. I also cruised around your blog a bit and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the quote at the bottom. I'm going to borrow it for my facebook today - giving you full credit. Thanks for starting my day with a smile!

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  35. I was scared just looking at the picture (one of our neighbours looks like the female version of the child catcher. No kidding). Loved this piece of flash fiction!

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  36. Hee hee. Loved that. But what a way to die. ;p

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  37. Creepy and rhyming! What else could anyone want? You could write a piece like this one for our Rule of Three Blogfest ---a month-long extravaganza in the fictional town of Renaissance this October, with some great prizes, comment love, and of course, a lot of exposure and constructive feedback for your writing :)

    Would love to see the Candy Man as one of the Three!

    My entry is scheduled to go up tomorrow, and now that I think of it, it has a similar level of creepiness!

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  38. Love the creative voice and characterization! Chalk up another vote.

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  39. This is great! Loved the imagery, very vivid.

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  40. Creep-tastic! This was great, but I agree with an above poster who noted that the photo is nightmare-inducing ;) Nice job!

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  41. As everyone here has said, that was GREAT! haha

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  42. Nice job! And yes, I think first person, present tense worked well.

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  43. I like the point of view and I absolutely giggled when he said, "My name is Marcus... you idiot."
    There are a couple of lines in the begining that seem passive and brought me out a bit. But overall fun story.

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  44. The picture is perfect! And the story is so unexpected. I LOVE seeing all the different directions writers take with one little prompt! This was a fun read for me, though I'm not sure that is how you intended it...

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  45. This was delicious in every sense of the word. Well done. Mine is #72

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  46. Loved this. What a wild sense of humor you have. And I have to say, candy will never look the same to me again!

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  47. That is freakin' hilarious!

    And, um, a little creepy.

    Which makes it hilariously creepy.

    Nice job, David. Very imaginative and unsettling.

    Great voice with the present tense.

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  48. That was so cute! And terrifying :P Good job with it!

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  49. LOL! Great descriptions of the rope of liquorice and the boiling vat of toffee. Such exquisite torture!

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  50. Excellent job! Candy has never been so 'bad' before!

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  51. Ha! Loved it. Terrific descriptions in here. And you did good with the person/tense swap!

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  52. YES! Finally a scene that doesn't follow the cliche "That's not my name" "Oh yes it is" formula. Kudos for the great twist at the end and the rhyming.

    But David, that picture is going to give me nightmares. I must frown at you for that.

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  53. The game as afoot. I have assigned your group a judge...may the best flash entry win!

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  54. Oh this packs more evil intent then dear Willy Wonka! I love the twisted rhymes and images of candy treats that will now cause harm. Great job!

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  55. Lol. It's both menacing and funny, but works on so many levels. Love it. :)

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  56. creepy! And the first person totally works in the body of the story, but you didn't successfully transition between the two tenses in the first and last lines, as pointed out.

    I'm kinda hoping the Candy Man finds the woman's real nephew, so that she has a chance to live. :)

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  57. Creepy and funny at the same time. I think you did a good job of first person present tense to say you haven't used it before (I've tried 2nd person present, that was strange). It worked for this story, in any case and I liked the twist at the end.

    Thanks for your comment on my entry.

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  58. A 'sweet' tale David, and definitely creepy.
    Reminiscent of "Something Wicked This Way Comes," but funny too! Quite a tidy little bundle of contradictions. I squirmed, but I loved it.

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  59. oh my lord. creepy dude. and then humor. i could see the little dude rolling his eyes like "My Bad" at the end. did not expect that one. like it. i think. yes.

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  60. Very creepy and clever at the same time! The ending made me laugh!

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  61. That was great! I like the twist at the end.

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  62. Loved it-- creepy, but good. Thanks for the follow-am following you, now.

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  63. Very surreal and creepy with a fun twist at the end.

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  64. Deliciously disturbing, yet funny too...oh and yes, it worked! Well done.

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  65. What an incredible day! Thank you all for commenting! I've enjoyed reading your entries, too. If only there was a better way to keep up with everyone. So much awesomeness to read!

    Newest members, welcome to The Cosmic Laire! You're in for a wild interstellar ride! :)

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  66. Lots of fun! Loved the humour and the ending. But then again, I can't resist the irony of killer candy. Cool! T #234

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  67. This was fantastic, David. I loved it. Creepy and funny all at the same time. Good job!

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  68. So The Candyman is a warped Willy Wonka? lol Present tense is very difficult to pull off, and I thought you did an excellent job. This is both twisted and funny - great work!

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  69. I loved that the Candy Man didn't even get the MC's name right. Too funny! Though I wonder what happened to the aunt...

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  70. Great entry. The first-person sounded natural to me.

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  71. Hahahaha, that was great! Totally wasn't expecting that, but thats what made it so good! :D

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  72. This had me laughing too! Great FF, David.

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  73. Hilarious! Very fun stuff, nice work! Yours is up there with my favorites in this challenge!

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  74. Ha! It works for me! Laughing and cringing, in turn. It's like you channeled a bit of my book, Erth Won, involving "just desserts". This is not your mother's Candyland, lol!

    You forgot to enter the contest farther down my blog. here: http://sherahart.blogspot.com/2011/08/want-some-free-chocolate-brown-nosing.html
    Might as well win some chocolate for following me. Following you too.

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  75. Creepy Candy Man. I think the only thing worse, would be an ice-cream man! Fun, outrageous, and I loved it! After reading it, I thought to myself, don't say his name 3 times, or the Candy Man will appear! Okay, now, I've really creeped myself out! Nice job!

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  76. Creep factor? Totally nailed.
    This was brilliant - the Candy Man is like my worst nightmare (right up there with the 18 wheeler from Maximum Overdrive) come true...that picture didn't help. :)
    I really, really enjoyed this, David - excellent job!

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  77. I usually find present-tense writing just weird, but in this case I think it worked. In fact, I didn't really notice it until you draw attention to it. I was focussing on the story. A rather fantastic setting with some interesting characters. Reminds me of a child's nightmare.

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  78. Wow....this thoroughly creeped me out! Loved it!

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  79. Very well done, and I love first person present.

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  80. I could see what was happening, then blanked out screen in my head. Have the creeps and was glad the MC was tossed out after calling the Candy Man an idiot. Didn't even notice the difference in tenses until I read the comment that pointed it out. [Getting here took a while.]

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  81. A little creeped out :shudder: I think you nailed the first person. Great job!

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  82. Definitely worked for me! (she wrote with trembling fingers)

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  83. Hmmm, so what happened to somebody's Aunt Crystal? or do we really want to know?
    Good Job, and thank's for stopping by my blog. You must be one very busy guy!

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  84. Love the twist! Guess since it wasn't the nephew he had to wait to continue his torture? lol. Great job!

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  85. OMG, that was creepy and scary and suspenseful and... WOW! Extra freaky points for using my name (even though I know you didn't do it on purpose... Lol)!!

    Good job!

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  86. So scary and then hilarious - great job!

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  87. Creeptacular! I didn't even notice the first person present tense, which I think means you nailed it! ;) Totally shuddered at that picture. *shudders again* I love the ending, perfect twist. Lol!

    Why am I craving butterscotch???

    ;)

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  88. I love first person but I know many writers don't. Great take on the theme, if rather creepy. Denise

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  89. Yes, I thought it worked well! I have to say that picture set the creepy mood for me, and I loved the description of the boiling butterscotch.

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  90. Oh my goodness, that was hilarious! I totally did not expect that to happen and that's exactly why I LOVE it. This is really well done!

    Samantha
    Writing Through College

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  91. I love this! The humor and the juxtaposition of candy
    And fear. And the child catcher image from chitty chitty bang bang
    Always scared the pants off me. Nice to meet you!

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  92. The end completely surprised me! And, egad, isn't that photo from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang? That little man horrified me as a child, so I was prepared to be horrified ... but wound up chuckling! Good job.

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  93. "That's not my aunt."- hilarious!. Great story. Vote from me.

    Stobby

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  94. That was so odd and good. Loved it!

    I'd prefer boiling chocolate, though it'd burn easily. Burnt chocolate is nasty.

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  95. Hilarious. What a weird twisted place your imagination takes you!

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  96. Oh man. Soooo fun. Enjoyed your entry so much. First for its original sense of suspension of belief, and for its wonderful farce. Thank you!

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  97. I love 1st person present tense and I thought it worked well for this story. I loved your ending. This was so fun to read!

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  98. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Very cool. Boiling butterscotch, indeed. Bad intelligence can be really bad if you're a villain, I guess...

    *snort*

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  99. I went from creeped out at the beginning to doubling over with laughter at the end. Oh. My. Gosh. That was funny. And you somehow made me love both Marcus and the creepy Candyman.

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  100. This is great! Some parts came across quite lyrical, creepy yet funny. You executed the first person really well -I love first person more than third. I'm glad I popped by :)

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  101. David--this is great! I really enjoyed the 1st person present. It felt like a natural read. Someone else already commented on your title conjuring memories of that scary movie! You had great word choice and the twist at the end was great. I'm glad I made it over (finally! Sorry it took so long!).

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  102. Made me smile ^_^ Now where's my stash of candy?

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  103. Fantastic! Made me laugh. Although I'm a pretty big fan of butterscotch. I might not mind hanging around a vat of it.

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  104. Amazing. Something very Stephen-King about it. Love the simple, yet witty, solution. Really enjoyed it.

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  105. Ha ha! Loved this. That photo gives me the creepers though. ;)

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  106. Nice one, David! I'm really enjoying seeing where all these doors lead. I think yours was the only one that was simultaneously hilarious and creepy. :P

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  107. Bring on the nightmares! Seriously, as soon as I saw that picture I knew I was gonna be creeped out. Great imaginative work though :-)

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  108. This is definitely one of the more original pieces I've read. Disturbing and creepy . . . but also humorous at the same time.

    Great entry!

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  109. It definitely worked. Great writing.

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  110. Very imaginative! I liked the twist, lol. Good job!

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  111. It was well done...if not disturbing...lol. Thanks for the nightmare fodder. ;)

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  112. HAHAHAHA...that would be so my luck. Not even the bad guy gets my name right.

    Tirz

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  113. Wickedly Hilarious! Seriously one of the best I've read!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my entry. I'm a new follower! See you around the campaign!

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  114. Yeah! Your first person present was fun!!! I tried flipping what I'm used to on another project,(same as you) and it was so hard! Very impressive!! Great job!! :)

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  115. Now THAT was a good one. REM sleep needs a check box for "No creepy Candy Man images."

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  116. David! Brings me back to our days of watching "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" when we were kids! Thanks for the story. It was a fun read. Oh and the flashbacks! haha! Love ya bro. Keep up the good work!

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  117. Chitty Bang Bang! The Child Catcher picture is perfect! I enjoyed the juxtaposition of sweet and horrible images. The twist in the story was unexpected. Great story.

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  118. Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight you turn things around and make me LOL so hard I woke the dog.

    Very well done.

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  119. I love how you gave a bad taste to butterscotch, licorice and peppermint!

    Funny, spooky, creepy! A great read!

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  120. That was some pretty crazy stuff. Great Halloween story.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  121. I love the twist of a creepy candy man! Fun ending, whoops! First person definitely worked, and now I want butterscotch.

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  122. I stumbled on your blog looking for books reminiscent of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and Charles Grant's "Black Carousel". I am glad I did. Your slant rhymes and cleverness immediately interested me. I hope you write more in this vein and maybe use this as an opening to a bigger story centered on the Candy Man. The picture really solidified a fully realized character in my mind, as well.

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