• Victoria Nix

British Literature students participate in horror story competition

The contest students in Mr. Smith's class participated in was inspired by the real-life contest which led to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

Students in Mr. Layton Smith's Senior British Literature class recently participated in a horror story competition inspired by Mary Shelly's ‘’Frankenstein.’’ The stories were written in class on Monday through Wednesday, November 16-18, and the readings and contest were held on Thursday, November 19. Mr. Smith provided snacks and drinks for the students, who read their stories with the lights dimmed and the sounds of rain and wind - inspired by the weather at the time of Shelley's writing - playing in the background.

After all stories were read aloud, students voted to determine the contest winners; prizes provided by Mr. Smith included sweet treats and MAKERbucks. In the end, there was a tie between Noah Jones, who wrote a story entitled "The High Schoolers" and a group consisting of Kasey Taylor, Jack Strickland, and Alex Serrano, who wrote a story entitled "The Nightmare of 20." Mr. Smith cast his deciding vote in favor of "The Nightmare of 20," which he chose because it featured a very relevant current topic: a worldwide pandemic.

Please enjoy the winning story, which has been shared below. Congratulations to all participating students!

"The Nightmare of 20"

By Kasey Taylor, Jack Strickland, and Alex Serrano

It’s the roaring twenties a man by the name of Divoc Tuttle has just gotten out of medical school. He lived in the completive city of Baltimore, Maryland. He was top of his class in high school graduating early and finishing medical at the age of 20 to become a doctor. In 1918 when he first started medical school a new virus had just come out by the name of H 1 N 1 influenza virus also nicknamed the Spanish Flu. This was a virus spread from birds to people and lasted from 1912 to 1920.

It was his first day of residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital; he was excited but nervous. This was a well-respected hospital and was a forerunner dealing with the Spanish Flu. Thomas Tuttle was the main doctor trying to find the cure for the H 1 N 1 virus, ironically both of the men had the same last name but were not related. Divoc was an intern under Thomas and was on the front lines actively helping. After his first week of officially working, he started not feeling well but didn’t think much of it.

One day while he was at the hospital, he fainted. He was sent home to recover from the previous events and told to come back when he was feeling better. His symptoms were fever, fatigue, chills, coughs, sore throat, headaches, and trouble, breathing; basically, all the flu symptoms. While recovering he developed pneumonia and became ill than ever. He decided to lay down and get some rest; while sleeping he was having vivid dreams about a strange new virus similar to the H 1 N 1.

It seemed like a futuristic event. All he could see were shortages, overrun hospitals, riots, and widespread panic. The biggest thing he couldn’t understand was masks, every person he comes in contact with had on a face covering. People were locked inside with no contact with one another. He saw intense and dramatic adversity with a divide in unity. The first part of his dream he panicked. Everyone was worried about this new virus. Then he saw shutdowns; they were national wide shutdowns. There were shutdowns all across the world: schools, government, offices, restaurants, and business’ doors had to be closed.

This was in hopes to stop the spread of this crazy new virus. He saw looting and riots all across the United States.This caused people to panic and start hoarding all supplies they saw necessary. People going in and out of sores stocking up on their essentials causing a surge in cases of this virus. The hospitals were full and they had to stop accepting sick people.


There was a shortage of protective equipment. Divoc finally got to talk to a man and ask what was happening to the United States. There were finally headlines of this new vaccine to cure this virus, therefore this became mandatory to get this vaccine. Weeks after this everyone got this vaccine everyone started turning green and spasming. They started eating and chasing people.

The doctors realized that this new vaccine was turning people into cannibalistic zombies. Amidst this craziness Divoc finally found someone to ask what was happening. The man he got to talk to was a man names Trumphet. He was asking what this new virus was and the symptoms were. Trumphet said that it was a new virus that negatively affected the lung and caused trouble breathing and coughing. This was not the only symptom, it also affected the heart, stomach ( nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc), the loss of taste, sore throat, and fever.

It was also stated that the virus can be spread multiple ways and they are constantly finding new ways as well. Trumphet that he had been infected with it, but never named it. After this conversation, he slowly began to wake up, but everything seemed to be in a daze. Upon waking up Divoc was confused and flustered with his dream; wondering what he had just witnessed. He got up and started his day just as always did, but something seemed different, but he continued getting ready for work. When he got to the hospital, he knew something was different; all of his friends that were once there were not anymore.

He started asking where everyone was and no one knew who Divoc was. The technology was so advanced and when they looked at the calendar it was the year 2020. He immediately panicked, how was it 2020? Where has the time gone, what was he doing? He realized he is now living his dream.

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