Our 10-word short story winners


Back in January, we announced a short story contest in honor of our namesake, William Sydney Porter. As in, really short.

“Tell us a story in 10 words,” we challenged, adding that winning entries would appear in our 10-year anniversary issue.

And here we are.

It turns out you can say a lot with just 10 words.

Many readers responded with short stories that surprised and delighted us in ways we could not have imagined. Although it was nearly impossible for us to agree on winners (and please don’t ask us to rank them), the following are among our staff favorites. Thanks to all the clever souls who played along.

Figs bloomed. Leaves faded. Donating last year’s clothes. Contact Eve.

–Kathy Ross

Kathy Ross of Danville, Virginia, is a reading and English tutor who spends weekends with her husband in search of coffee, vintage books and issues of O.Henry in and around Greensboro. 

Froggie, arriving in a poinsettia, joined the church Christmas pageant.

–Tom Black

Tom Black lives in Southeast Greensboro, where he is spending his retirement reading and fishing. 


Sobbing, paddle resting on his lap; dark water, we drift. 

–McCabe Coolidge

McCabe Coolidge is a community potter in Greensboro who has given away hundreds of bowls to nonprofits during the pandemic. 

He looked, he lied. He never thought about it again. 

–Mia Malesovas

Mia Malesovas is a lifelong learner and educator who lives in Summerfield.


Dad loved sunny sides. Mom fried hard. Broken shells. Done.

–Mike Cecil

Born in Greensboro, Mike Cecil now lives in Summerfield where, retired, he writes and creates. He recently mastered the art of cooking in cast iron and says he can also make the perfect hard-boiled egg.

Green sky
Howling train
Closet quick!
No room for Lucky

–April Pilhorn

April Pilhorn of Browns Summit is an explorer who appreciates all things art and nature. She is a collector of moments, not things.


She smiles as her husband drinks. Poisoned tea tastes sweet.

–Kay Cheshire

Kay Cheshire retired from the medical field and lives in Greensboro.

She left the bear and her walking staff behind her.

–John Adamcik

John Adamcik lives in High Point with his wife, Jeanneen, and family. He is a part-time minister who works in HR for a nonprofit human services agency.

Recommended Posts