Hello everyone. There were just two entries to this competition from 16th February to 15th March (inclusive). This isn’t as popular as the 100-word competition, probably because most writers like writing rather than getting me to write but you can win free editing (perhaps daunting for some) and they’re both free to enter so definitely worth it… I think, anyway. Do it now… or better still, read these stories then enter. Everything you need to know is here.
So, with two entries, we have a first placed and second placed so I have written and published both here and on Smashwords. The first story is exactly 500 words but the second has gone over a little (542). Do let me know what you think.
First placed: Jane Dutton (winning a free 5,000-word edit of her writing). The prompts Jane provided can be found after the story…
Wednesday’s child (500 words)
Peering over his John Lennon glasses, Byron Salisbury, of Salisbury, Peech and Talbot, studied the legal documents adorning his leather-topped mahogany desk, then re-read the birth certificate given to him by the young man sitting opposite. “Oh.”
George Foxbury edged forward on the Chesterfield visitors chair. “Oh, Mr Salisbury?”
“There is…” Salisbury scratched his right cheek. “There is a… er, bit of a hitch.”
“Just a small… very small…” Salisbury pinched together his right thumb and first finger then peeled them apart, leaving a miniscule gap. “Nothing that cannot be worked out, I am sure, Mr Foxbury. George.”
“Let me guess…” George sighed. “Grand pa pa Henry’s left all his money to a cat’s home?”
Salisbury shook his head.
Salisbury shook his head again.
“No, a dog’s home. It was Grand ma ma who loved cats.”
Salisbury coughed as he rubbed his hands.
George Foxbury looked from the solicitor, out through the window to the trees thrashing around thanks to Storm Katie, then back at the solicitor via the bland magnolia walls. “I don’t mind how much money he’s left to… whichever… but I’d really like the house.”
Salisbury frowned, pushing his glasses further down his nose. “I’m afraid it says here you inherit all of his wealth–”
“Yes!” George clapped his hands and leapt up, grabbing Salisbury’s right hand, shaking it vigorously.
Salisbury cleared his throat then watched George sit as the words “I’m afraid” sank in.
“Afraid of what?” the younger man asked.
“As his… legally proven next of kin, you are to inherit the estate of Henry Foxbury III, late of Foxbury Hall, Bumbington, Oxfordshire.”
“Yes, yes,” George chivvied.
“Yes indeed. You are to inherit the said estate on your eighteen birthday.”
“Right. The year after next.”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Because legally you are…”
George leaned further forward. “I am…”
“Sixteen, yes. I’ll be eighteen in two years.”
“What do you mean ‘no’?”
“You were born at the end of February.”
“The very end.”
“The very very end.”
“Yes. 28th. So?”
“Have you ever looked at your birth certificate?”
“Not really. Grand ma ma kept it with all the other official paperwork after my parents die… her, Grand ma ma, and Grand pa pa Henry’s driving licence, shotgun licences, other guff, you know. She kept them all together, our three, in an envelope marked ‘Birth Certificates’. I just pulled out mine. Opened it to check.”
“And you know what year it is this year?”
“Of course. 2016. What’s that go to do with–”
“A leap year, George. What day do you think you were born on?”
“I’m not sure. I think Grand ma ma said it was a Wednesday. Far to go.”
“Wednesday is full of woe. Let me just check…”
George pursed his lips as the solicitor looked up something on his computer.
“It was a Tuesday, George. Full of grace, and I hope you will be as I explain how this is going to go.”
- Character name/s: George Foxbury, Henry Foxbury, Mr Salisbury
- Location: Solicitor’s office
- Object: Henry’s will
- Dilemma: George is expecting to inherit on the 18th anniversary of his birth. He was born on February 29th.
- Character trait / emotion / quirk: Henry is dead. Mr Salisbury rubs his hands frequently and pronounces his words carefully.
- Colour / shade of colour: Magnolia
- Other comments: George is sole beneficiary.
Second placed: Ash Nazir (winning a free 3,000-word edit of his writing). The prompts Ash provided can be found after the story…
Number 18 (542 words)
Sébastien leaned into the microphone. “Hello. Good evening. My name is Sébastien Tellier. I am from France but I work here in London.” He waited for some kind of reaction from the small audience but none was forthcoming. He tried a wide smile as he announced, “I would like to start with one of my contemporaries. One of Shakepeare’s best known sonnets…” He ignored a groan from the back of the café’s audience. “Number 18.” Sébastien winced as someone nearby scraped back a chair, checking – louder than was necessary – their friends’ drinks orders.
Sébastien blew out a silent puff of air, coughed, rocked his neck around shoulders, then stepped closer to the mic. “I shall be playing one of my own melodies to this poem and in the key of C major… sorry, minor,” he blurted, then strumming his guitar, tilted it and himself further into the microphone. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temper–”
Someone giggled as something flashed on a screen behind him. Although he suspected he’d regret it, Sébastien turned round then blushed at a picture of a busty brunette inviting an oversized plumber into her kitchen.
“Sorry!” one of the café owners shouted then reverted the screen to the usual title of ‘Café Rouge Monday night Folk Fest’ accompanied by a dull logo of an orange sunset, an anaemic-looking cow, and an acoustic guitar.
Twiddling his handlebar moustache, Sébastien decided that Shakespeare was not the way to go. With most of the audience’s attention back on him, Sébastien announced, “This is a new song, with no help from Mr Shakespeare.” Sébastien’s upper lip twitched as a small cheer emitted from the region of the earlier groan. To a simple melody, he recited, “My girl she loved science-fiction…”
A louder cheer erupted.
“…but I could sense there was some friction.”
A boo replaced the cheer.
“And one day she said ‘enough’.”
Another boo emanated from the middle of the small crowd.
“To win her back, I knew would be tough. To win her love forever, I had to be clever. So I opened a love portal, for my love immortal. And while she went away, I vowed one day, to find another girl meant for me.”
As Sébastien took a deep breath to continue, a girl rushed forward, making him flinch.
“Oh, Sébastien, that was so romantic!”
Sébastien looked down at the girl, whose black t-shirt barely made contact with her tiny black and pink check pleated skirt. “Erm… thank you. I am very pleased you like it but I have not yet…” He squeaked as the girl jumped onto the stage.
“Eighteen’s my favourite number,” she sighed.
Sébastien frowned then remembered the sonnet. “D’accord.”
She held out a hand. “I’m Isobel.”
As he shook her hand, he looked closer at her t-shirt. It was black but with a small pool ball in the top right-hand corner, where a buttonhole flower would have been on a funeral suit jacket. The ball was pink, matching the skirt, with a white number eighteen. She had a beautiful smile and although she was much too young – about eighteen, Sébastien thought – he could see them as a couple. Sébastien and the eighteenth Mrs Tellier.
- Character name/s: Sébastien Tellier
- Location: Folk singers’ café
- Object: Guitar
- Dilemma: Opening a love portal
- Character trait / emotion / quirk: Eccentric, speaks poetry
- Colour / shade of colour: Pink
*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are just £1 or $1-2 each but just until April 3rd! ***
You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see right-hand vertical menu).
You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.
I now run online courses – details on Courses – and for anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.