Monique Smith

smithMonique R Smith Haylock was born in Los Angeles, California, but her family originates from the only English-speaking country in Central America: Belize, formerly known as British Honduras. Her love for writing began at nine years old, when she entered and won corporate-sponsored speech and essay contests several years in a row. By the time she reached high school, she was well advanced in the area of non-fiction writing and took up creative writing as a hobby. Now currently a student at California State Long Beach, she is a major in Film Studies and Creative Writing and has spent the fall semester at West Los Angeles completing a lower division requirement for her B.A. in English. She received her Associates Degree from West Los Angeles College in 2008 with honors, and in the summer ’09 while completing transfer credits, she became a recipient of the Sony Diversity Fellowship awarded at West Los Angeles College. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting and directing.


Before Midnight

(300 words without title)

"[N]o moonlight and an absence of energy, the very thing that gave all those living a feeling of life."

Her room was still, quiet and dark. She lay there staring at the clock, fighting to keep her eyes open because she didn’t want to fall asleep before midnight. An old tale of superstition she’d heard said that if one began a dream sharply at midnight, evil spirits could enter the dream. It seemed an uncanny darkness to her that night, no moonlight and an absence of energy, the very thing that gave all those living a feeling of life. It was 11:51 p.m. and she would be damned if she was going to fall asleep before midnight even though her eyelids seemed to command every muscle in her face. Just then, she noticed that she did not close her bedroom door completely before getting into bed, and it hinged there, slightly ajar. She decided that she would get up and close it. Suddenly she felt a weight on her chest and a feeling of terror came over her. Something was coming her way from the outside and with every inch it was getting closer, and her fear, greater. With the feeling of concrete tied to her feet, she strained to make her way to the door with every step. Something was pushing her away from the door, and she could feel its strength through the darkness. She pushed harder and harder because the fear of relenting seemed worse than facing what was coming her way. Finally making her way to the door, she reached out and snapped it shut just before locking it. Instantly, the fear shrank away and she turned toward her bed, feeling it leave behind her. Getting back in her bed and closing her eyes, she popped them right back open and found the lights still on and her door still ajar. The clock read 12:01AM.


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