We issued the challenge—write your spookiest story. Authors Joel Sutherland and Angela Misri carefully reviewed all the entries.

This entry is from 10-year-old Cruz, one of the finalists.

Earlier today I went to the computer to play Roblox. I’ve always liked the game, but today something felt different. I decided I would play Texting Simulator so I joined the game and I had this error message:


I didn’t know what it meant so I tried joining again. This time it said something creepy:

Y̷o̵u̷ H̶ ̶ad̶ ̶ Y̵ ̶o̴u̶r ̵ T̶ ̷im̵ ̷ e̵

I didn’t know what to do! Was it a secret message? Was I being hacked? Was it a warning?

I tried to think of anything that would help. I thought of typing the first message in the game search bar and one game popped up. Considering what I typed into the search, the name of the game was strange. Life Or Death.

I joined the game and I would just say it wasn’t the greatest game. There were bare trees except for one. It was the tallest and it had black leaves. There was also a dark cave. I was curious about the cave so I walked into it and it took me to another game. That game was Texting Simulator. I sat in confusion and decided that it was probably just an April Fools joke. But then I heard footsteps behind the door in my bedroom. I turned away from my computer to see if there was someone else in my house, but there was no one. I looked back to my computer and everyone in the Roblox server turned to me and started to say Y̷o̵u̷ H̶ ̶ad̶ ̶ Y̵ ̶o̴u̶r ̵T̶ ̷im̵ ̷ e.̵