Hello everyone. I launched the first challenge (Nov/Dec) on 13th December last year and had just one entry for the inaugural competition… not surprising as the deadline was two days later! This time (Dec/Jan), there were ten entries from mid-December to mid-January, so much easier to pick three, and strangely, two involved teapots. Maybe the entrants know that I love tea! 🙂
Below is the ‘winning’ story where I picked the prompts (which are listed beneath the story in case you don’t want to know before you read the piece what’s involved) but I shall – in true ceremonial fashion – announce the third placed first then second placed.
But first, I’ve tweaked the rules slightly and decided that I will write all three stories but just publish the winning one here, with all three being eBooked so you can read the second and third-placed stories on Smashwords. When I have enough months’ worth (perhaps a year’s worth), I will eBook them all as a collection and add the link to all the relevant blog posts / pages.
So without further ado… drum roll please… the runners up are…
- Third placed (winning a 2,000-word edit of their writing and their story eBooked – which also contains a list of the relevant prompts): Tony Tibbenham.
- Second placed (winning a 3,000-word edit and their story eBooked – which again, contains a list of relevant prompts): Paula Friedman.
And the winner is (winning a 5,000-word edit and their story eBooked and published below)…
Susan Jane Jones. Congratulations, Susan. I’ve emailed you all with the news. 🙂
So, the story I’ve written using Susan’s prompts is the grand sum of 565 words. I know. I’ve gone over the 500-word count but hey I’m sure you’ll forgive me. An extra 65 words for your… er, non-money. 🙂 Susan’s prompts are after the story in case you’d like to look at those first.
A handle at one end, a spout at the other
“Oh, Danny, you are funny.” Penny Fruittle giggled as her friend Danny Boxtart polished the old silver teapot until it almost sparkled.
“Blinking. It’s really funny.”
Danny didn’t think it was funny at all. He couldn’t stop blinking however hard he tried. He did it when he was nervous and today, he was really nervous. It was Granny Boxtart’s will reading and he was worried he’d lose out on something he cherished.
As if reading his mind, Penny asked, “Why did you want that…” She pointed at the teapot. “…when there are so many other things your granny could have left you?”
Danny brought the teapot up to his face and smiled at his reflection. The smile wasn’t a sincere one as he thought he’d aged more than the three weeks since his beloved grandmother had passed away, a week since he and Penny had gathered on the cliffside facing Chicken Rock and sung ‘Danny Boy’ – Granny Boxtart’s favourite traditional song after ‘Happy Birthday’ – as Granny’s ashes whipped over the Irish Sea before finally settling on a discarded Gregneash Groceries shopping trolley half sticking out, one wheel running for its life but destined to never go anywhere other than the scrapyard if Mickey O’Flanagan got hold of it.
Danny looked up. “Huh?”
Penny giggled again, a giggle that Danny usually found endearing but today had tarnished a little, unlike the teapot that Granny had polished on the first of every month. Today, the first of February, Danny was continuing the tradition.
“Go on…” Penny sat on the sofa that Granny had hardly used, favouring the battered chair that her husband had watched ‘Pointless’ from every weekday afternoon until he’d died eighteen months before.
“We should go,” Danny replied as the clock chimed. “Half an hour. Don’t want to be late.”
They walked the ten minutes to the solicitors’ office in silence, the teapot left on the mantelpiece to keep the clock company.
Danny and Penny also returned to Granny Boxtart’s house in silence, the enormity of the previous twenty minutes sinking in.
“She left you her house too!” Penny squealed when they were standing outside, Danny stroking the key in his right hand.
He just nodded and opened the door.
Penny put on the kettle then went to pick a china teapot from one of the kitchen shelves but Danny put the silver one in front of her, in between blinks. “One last time?”
“Are you sure?”
Danny nodded again. “But be careful. The museum won’t thank us if we damage it.”
“Are you sure? I mean, about giving it away. It’s worth so much.”
“That’s why it should go there. It’s safer and I have the memories.” Like how Granny Boxtart had convinced a five-year-old Danny that it wasn’t really a teapot but Aladdin’s lamp. She’d shown him pictures, old faded ones, and he had to admit that they had looked similar; a handle at one end, the spout at the other. Of course the story about Granny’s maiden name being Badroulbadour and how she’d been married to an Arabian Prince many years before she’d met Danny’s grandfather Tommy Boxtart, had made Danny laugh, giggle even, and he’d dismissed it as another of Granny’s wild tales.
He smiled as Penny poured the tea into the two mugs he had bought Granny the previous Christmas. “Want to hear a story?”
And Susan’s prompts were:
- Character name/s: Danny Boxtart and Penny Fruittle
- Location: Isle of Man
- Object: 100-year-old teapot
- Dilemma: Do they sell it or keep it or give it to a museum
- Character trait / emotion / quirk: Danny… blinks a lot… Penny… giggles endlessly
- Colour / shade of colour: sparkling silver
- Other comments: A beach needs to be in there, and a harsh Northerly wind that almost blows everything away. A time slip would be good as well.
So there we have it… the ‘winning’ story and you can read the other two stories via the Smashwords eBook.
Do let me us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to have a go at setting me a writing challenge (with the chance to win some free editing), take a look at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/500-word-flash-fiction-challenge or if you’d like to write a story (up to three 100-word stories per author per month), with the chance to win free access to one or more of my Online Creative Writing Courses, take a look at 100-word (free) Comp.
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