Hello everyone. This month I received 20 entries from 13 authors, quieter than normal and I’m not surprised because I gave you the title of the story rather than a theme. Because of this, 10 stories were disqualified for not sticking to the title – unfortunately some by new authors to this competition. 😦 Another was disqualified for only being 96 words which was a shame as it was a really good story, and it had been correctly titled. Sorry to those folks but I have to be fair to everyone to stick to the rules.
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.
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 (there were originally eight highly commended then I whittled down to the maximum five) so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like. 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).
*The theme for February is ‘classical music’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Tuesday 28th February.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month, and for the first time ever, there are three joint winners who all scored the same, so no second or third placed!
Joint first place (winning free access to three of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £60 / $60) or a free edit and critique of up to 2,000 words (worth £14 / $22)… in alphabetical order:
The spreadsheet detailed their monthly income and expenditure; it didn’t look good. The reason it didn’t look good was slouched in the chair and went by the name of Carl.
She deleted the entries for her hair and nail appointments realising that would save a bit of money.
Carl grunted, gasped, gripped his chest and quickly expired as the remnants of his takeaway curry slid down his lap and his beer trickled on to the carpet.
After checking for a pulse, and finding none, she returned to her monthly planner. Well at least the accounts would balance now, she thought.
‘Dan, what’s the date?’
He glances at the corner of his computer screen and carries on typing. ‘The twenty-third. Why?’
‘That means we’re being checked today.’
The clacking of keys stops. ‘What? Today?’
‘Yes,’ I nod, ‘it’s the same every month.’
‘Damn! I’m not ready. Are you?’
‘Of course not. You can never be ready.’
‘What should we do?’
‘Just carry on working until they get here. And hope for the best.’
Silence descends. It is cold, like marble, with black lines of tension running through it. Everyone in the open plan office stands, heads bowed.
‘They’re here,’ I whisper.
M W Brown
The bell jingled. I didn’t need to look up; it was the first Friday of the month and the number twelve bus had rattled past only moments earlier. I looked up anyway. “Good morning. Just browsing?”
The familiar man nodded shyly and turned away to begin his monthly task of scanning the bookshelves.
I watched him for a while. “Maybe today you will find what you are looking for.”
I returned to my work until a polite cough disturbed me.
He slid a book across the counter: PLEASE COME TO DINNER by LIU QING YAN
He smiled at me. “Well?”
Yes! They all scored the same so three winners, no second or third placed.
- Emily Atkinson-Dalton
- Kathryn Baird
- Nick Nelson
- Renee Whittington
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.