Hello everyone and welcome to the forty-ninth month of this competition. There were 34 entries from 19 authors for the theme of ‘conservatory’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
Two were disqualified for being 98 and 99 words. Fortunately both authors had submitted other stories… yay. I offer a maximum of three because I enjoy reading stories but also in case one or more is disqualified. Oh yes, always half glass full. 🙂 One was 101 because there was no space between sentences so ‘it.Mum’ had counted as one word but obviously aren’t. Fortunately the author had submitted two other stories of exactly 100 words so they were fine.
Three others, sadly all from the same author, were 99 (two words should have been one), 97 (don’t know why) and 101 (because there was a word missing). The author was a regular entrant so there’s always next month. Another ended up being 98 because mother in law hadn’t been hyphenated (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/mother-in-law).
One missed out because, however hard I tried, it had nothing to do with this month’s theme.
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 stronger 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. There are often stories similar in plot so some may have missed out being placed purely because there was another story that beat them purely for that reason.
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 October is ‘praise’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Thursday 31st October. 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.
David Giles with ‘Keeping Quiet’ – partly because I love inanimate objects being the main character
The conservatory is the place where things are kept, maintained.
It remembers things. Things that were meant to remain secret. It remembers the shouts, the kicks, the slaps, the curses, the mutterings, the shot, the slump, the sawing, the digging, the wake, the comings and goings, and the purposeful plod of Detective Inspector Sparks.
And, just as Mr Sparks is about to give up his investigation, it will reveal its secrets: the creak and warp of a carelessly replaced floorboard, the steady release of a suspiciously putrid tang, the previously unnoticed stray hair.
And then the search team will arrive.
Chris Tattersall with ‘So Close Yet So Far’
He sat looking through the glass of the conservatory, admiring the flowers beyond. The colours were vibrant, the smells he imagined would be a sensual bombardment. He craved to pass through the doors into Eden but alas his condition wouldn’t allow it.
He placed a gentle hand against the pane where millimetres away a lily rested its petal.
She didn’t see a man that cared, she saw a vagrant, dirty palm on the glass and peering into the conservatory of her lonely isolated existence.
She screamed, he ran.
Their mutual passion could save them both, if only they knew it.
Sophie Toovey with ‘Ruby’
He looked up at the clear panels of glass, held together by an iron web.
The stars were visible, though faint glimmers of light in the velvet sky.
The air was cold.
He brushed his hand against the rough carpet and felt the sharp pain sear his finger.
Sitting up, he retrieved the shard and pressed the wound.
There would be blood.
He looked down at the broken picture.
Ruby drops to mourn forty years he lost. He smiled at the grim irony.
Picking up a smooth stone, he raised his arm and watched the stars blink. Then he threw.
- Alan Barker with ‘Touch and Go’
- Anne-Marie Latter with ‘Home Improvements’
- Carol Allison with ‘Afternoon Tea’
- Laura Besley with ‘When the Muse Refuses’
- Valerie Fish with ‘Rotten Tomatoes’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Darren York with ‘Cold Caller’
- Isabel Flynn with ‘Those Who Live In Glass Houses Cannot Throw Stones’
- Katie Jones with ‘Top Secret’
- Paul Mastaglio with ‘Who Did It?’
- Rebecca Price with ‘In the Conservatory’
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.