Contrast contest winner: ‘Into the Green Terror’

(Atticus Rice / McDaniel Free Press).

Congratulations to Maddy Lee, winner of last month’s Contrast contest. Below is her submission, in which she describes something ordinary in an unrelated genre style. 

It’s been over seventy-two hours since I left the faint and familiar landscape of the homefront. And since then, I have been met with chaos and conundrum and college. The new crop of fresh-faced greenies are as baffled as I, and in some I have found companionship. In others, I have found deep-ridden blood feuds. These tend to be the elite, experienced, and known owners of unspoken gold: air conditioning.

My entrance into their ranks has been slow, but steady. They often ask my name and age and numerical rank among them. Some offer advice. Some offer condolences. Most are harmless, I would say. I have had but one nightmarish encounter with the less than harmless of these locals.

Sleep had escaped me in the previous night. The call of the native insects as they burrowed into the trees had been omnipresent, and I laid awake to their arrhythmic melody. I was expected in the Hall of Hills at high noon, and they held no sympathy for my weary plight. As I clamored up the seemingly never-ending heights, I felt the pressure in the air decrease. Breath escaped me, thighs straining with this cardiovascular torture.

At last, I reached the summit of Everest and relished in my victory. All that stood between me and my station now was a singular doorway. I bested it in dramatic fashion with a flourish of the leg – though I lost a flip-flop in the motion. The first of many possible casualties over the next four years. I reclaimed the fallen soldier and continued on with the mission. I strode with pride, yet not arrogance. This land was a jungle. Anything could happen. I rounded the corner.

I was met with the locals. Foreign and red-eyed, weary from the early academic hours, and yet clearly well into this ritual of lecture and listening. They stared at me with contempt. Perhaps rightfully so. I surveyed my surroundings, strange coded symbols covering the walls in chalk and Comic-Sans font posters. Their stares became deadly. I had no choice, feet glued to the ground beneath me. The time for action was now. I was not certain if I would come back. Hopefully my comrades back in base camp would know I went down bravely – fighting till the bitter end. Hopefully they would think kindly of me. I was thinking of them as the locals began to grow more and more infatuated with my presence. I opened my mouth to speak. I prayed someone would tell my mother I love her.

“This isn’t Soc, is it?” I asked.


The Free Press is partnering with Contrast to bring creative writing contests to both of our readerships.

Read this issue’s prompt below, and feel free to contact Contrast Co-Editor Marya Topina at, or visit a Contrast weekly meeting, Thursdays at 9 p.m. in Hill 208 to workshop your writing and receive feedback from other creative minds.

This issue’s prompt: One day, when you’re bored in class, you start tapping your fingers on the underside of your desk. There, you find a taped note with your name on it. In up to 500 words of prose or up to 50 lines of poetry, write what happens next.