The Winner Of The 2013 Golden Donut Short Story Contest Is…

Golden Donut awards


The rules were simple—write a story featuring the image we provided. The catch—the story must be told in exactly 200 words.

As always, we received a mountain of entries. And, each story we received was a nicely-told tale. But there could be only one winner.

So, without further ado, let’s bring Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys to center stage to announce the winner of the 2013 Golden Donut Short Story Contest.

The Echo

by Nancy Sweetland

I told my psychiatrist I was coming back here to banish my demons, stop the bad dreams.

He said he’d come along.

I wondered why he cared.

Mama’s long dead, an unsolved homicide. But if I remember anything to identify her killer even after all these years, I know I’ll end my misery.

Inside the rusted, screechy gate, my psychiatrist says, “There’s nothing here to help you remember.”

But he’s wrong! I catch my breath. In this dingy, unkempt area behind the abandoned building the haunting memory of a deep, coaxing voice echoes off the stark cement walls.

I shiver.

“Look under the stairs,” I say. Someone huddles there, shaking, tears rivering down his face.


Six years old.

Hiding from the man that hit my mama, bloodied her face, twisted her arm, made her scream. I hear the echo of his voice, wheedling, “Come on out, Kid. I won’t hurt you.”

I know that voice, so familiar to me now. Fury boiling up from years of lies, I step toward my psychiatrist.

I know now why he cares about my memories.

Know who he is.

Know how I can banish my demons, make the bad dreams stop.

Nancy Sweetland

*     *     *

Rounding out the top ten were (in no particular order):

That Little Voice by Dave Swords

Snapped by Rick McMahan

Agony by Lynette Eason

Perfect by Rabbi Irene Schneider

The Elephant Trap by Kathy Kingston

Reunion by Ann Kellett

Number Four by Andrew Italia

Only A Dream by Lynette Eason

Closure by Gary Kassay

Congratulations to each of you!

*The Golden Donut contest is judged blindly, meaning each story is assigned a number and then presented to the judges without any other identifying marker(s). At no time do judges know the identity of the authors.

12 replies
  1. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Congrats, Nancy! I really enjoyed reading that.

    Will it be possible for us–here in cyberspace–to read any of the other top entries?

  2. Nancy Sweetland
    Nancy Sweetland says:

    Thanks to all of you! This is such a challenge – I think I counted my words at least 200 times to be sure I had it right. And Joe Bonsall’s intro was super, too. What fun, and what a great experience this year’s Academy was.

  3. SZ
    SZ says:

    Congratulations to Nancy and the top ten. Lee, are you going to put the other nine in the contest column ? Would love to read them. I was not sure what this was a picture off.

  4. Melanie Atkins
    Melanie Atkins says:

    Congrats, Nancy! What a wonderful story. Kudos to everyone in the top ten. Way to go!

    Writing something that short is such a great challenge. I always have fun doing it, even though I never come close to winning.

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