Hello everyone and welcome to the forty-eighth month of this competition. There were 44 entries from 21 authors for the theme of ‘escalator’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
A record (I think) ten stories were disqualified this month. Two for only being 99 words – one had the same word written twice the other had an ‘a’ missing before a noun (t-shirt in this case) which was a real shame because it was the only submission from a new entrant. Another had a word missing (don’t come to grief) so would have been 101. And another had ‘rude’ instead of ‘ride’ so lost points. Please read your submissions carefully before pressing ‘submit’.
One for 98 words because a describing adjective (soon to be) was not hyphenated when it should have been. Sadly the only entry from its (regular) participant. Another was 98 words for no apparent reason but did include ‘five-year-old’ (correctly) which could have been manually counted as three words. Fortunately the (new to this competition) author submitted two other stories although sadly one of those was also short: 99 originally but had ‘the the’ incorrectly so actually 98. Another was 99 because a word had been split when it should have been one (mismanagement). It’s a shame because it was a great story but the author had submitted two others (both 100) so my favourite of those went through. Another 99-worder was downgraded from 100 words because an adjective (dark haired) should have been hyphenated. It’s only fair to all entrants to have the same rules apply to everyone.
If you’re not using Word, please copy/paste your stories into the likes of http://wordcounter.net to ensure your story is exactly 100 words.
Another (one of three from a new entrant) lost points because it referred to an elevator (lift) as an escalator, which was a shame as it was my favourite story up to that point. Another piece had ‘stories’ for levels of a building, which is correct in US English (which it was) but we say ‘storeys’ here in Britain so not an error but it happens a fair amount in the UK novels I edit so worth a mention here.
The winning stories are ones that I reacted most favourably to. They were clever, surprising, eek-making (in a good way),or gave me a warm fuzzy feeling (without being sickly). Sometimes a story beats another because it has a strong link to the theme so it’s worth writing a story to the theme rather than tweaking a story you already have to loosely fit it.
You may have chosen a different order or indeed not placed one or more of them so if you entered and didn’t find your story / stories here, don’t lose heart. You probably only just missed out so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like (but not in advance!). It’s an ongoing competition and free, so you could win at any time. There were new and familiar names this month so anyone could win… it’s all dependent upon whether your story grabs me, for whatever reason (whether it be clever, funny, unusual, quirky, or sweet).
Apart from the top three and highly commended, there are some ‘Honourable Mentions’. They don’t win anything but they were so close to being Highly Commended that I wanted them to know how close they came. It’s still something for them to put on their CVs.
*The theme for September is ‘conservatory’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Monday 30th September. Details and entry forms on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/100-word-free-monthly-competition. So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Laura Besley with ‘Ships Passing’
Ascending: a girl, eyes bright and blue.
Descending: a boy, tired brown eyes.
Ascending: she checks her phone for work emails.
Descending: he plays a game on his phone.
Ascending: she looks up from her phone, sees brown eyes. Smiles.
Descending: he looks up from his phone, sees blue eyes. Smiles.
Ascending: she gets to the top, turns and looks down.
Descending: he gets to the bottom, turns and looks up.
On terra firma…
Briefly she hesitates, but then her phone pings and reclaims her attention.
He contemplates going back up, but he’s worried he won’t know what to say.
Anne-Marie Latter with ‘Success’
Roll up! Roll up! Take a trip on the escalator of life!
That’s it, madam, step on at the bottom and hold hands with Davie, your perfect partner. Well, maybe not perfect, but you’re almost thirty and he will have to do.
Keep moving upwards because you have a wedding to organise and children to produce!
Now it’s time to sign these mortgage papers, don’t be shy! That house is all yours, as long as you keep paying the bank every month.
Throw your acting dreams over the side! You won’t be needing those anymore; dreams don’t pay the bills.
David Giles with ‘Harsh Lesson in Mortality’
Escalators used to terrify me. I was convinced that, should I make the slightest false move, I was liable to be sucked into the mechanism, dragged into some sinister underworld, and I would never get out again. One day I fashioned a little man out of a drinking straw and stuck him between the grooves, watching him disappear into nothingness. Where has he gone? I asked Mum.
To heaven, I expect, she replied.
When we went back down later, I saw him on the floor, all dirty and twisted, being swept into a dustpan. So much for salvation, thought I.
- Alan Barker with ‘Down the Up Escalator’
- Ez Baril with ‘A Swift Kill’
- Lesley McLean with ‘The Mean Machine’
- Paul Mastaglio with ‘Read Between The Lines’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Darren York with ‘The Chicken and the Fox Paradox’
- Valerie Fish with ‘Passing Strangers?’
Congratulations, everyone. The entries for this month are already drifting in. Remember, you can send up to three per month so rather than miss out on a chance by sending one story, do submit more.
If you’ve enjoyed these stories and / or just want to leave a comment, please do so below and / or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org., although I won’t (can’t) discuss forthcoming entries unless it’s a general query.