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Read "Demons & Detectives," our Novel Excerpt Contest Grand Prize Winner (age 14-18 group)!

In February, we challenged you to submit a 400-word excerpt from your NaNoWriMo novels. From over 650 fantastic entries, we chose two Grand Prize Winners and four Runners-Up. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! (For more excerpts, check out this forum thread.)

"Demons & Detectives" by Asenath W.

Phinsby was out the door in an instant. The shock of the cold, icy air outside made it hard to breathe, but he pushed himself as hard as he could, gaining on the man in front of him. Snowflakes swirled around him, stinging his skin, and people scrambled to get out of his way, their protests silenced when they saw his badge glittering on the lapel of his flapping black coat.

The man didn’t stop to look back, sprinting across the snow with frantic, muffled footsteps. Phinsby almost thought he could hear him gasping for breath.

He caught up with him by a snow-filled alleyway, grabbing hold of the man’s coat and yanking him to a stop before tossing him against the rock-hard snow with a growl. “Some way to treat the man who’s here to save your life,” Phinsby said, pulling his scarf down so he could gasp for breath. The frigid air nipped at his exposed skin with razor-sharp teeth, but he ignored it the best he could. “I’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

The man lay curled on the icy ground, his face bright red from the cold. He had a pox-scarred, thin face with muddy colored eyes and a pained, horrified expression. “You’re different,” he panted, trembling. “You don’t look like the others.”

Phinsby grinned like a hungry wolf. “Correct.”

“Were you the one who did this to me?” the man asked, his breath coming in quick puffs. He scrambled backward, slipping, shaking his head. “Were you the one who cursed me? Is that why your aura is blue instead of yellow?”

Phinsby tilted his head, gazing down at the man through his tinted snow goggles. The blue glow of the man shifted and wavered, like it was trapped inside him. “Not exactly.”

“What happened to me?” the man demanded fearfully. “Why am I seeing things? And—who are you?”

“I already told you who I am, my dear man,” Phinsby said, winding his scarf around his nose and mouth again. “I’m your savior.”

Guest author judge Tashie Bhuiyan had this to say this about Demons & Detectives:

"This story really painted the scene well, describing both characters vividly. The interactions between them were compelling and made me want to keep reading. The final line felt a lot like a mic-drop in the best way!"

author photo

Asenath W. is a junior in high school who loves to spend her time reading, writing, painting, watching old TV shows, and enjoying fresh air. Her favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and Regency romance, and she is constantly obsessing over her favorite characters. Although she spends more of her time daydreaming about her ideas than writing them, she hopes to become a published author in the future. 

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