Morgen’s 500-word competition Jan / Feb 2016 results

Hello everyone. We had just six entries this month so a less difficult (but still not particularly easy) decision. Strangely, four of the entries picked grey as the colour, and another picked silver!

So, I picked my favourite three (listed below) and wrote their stories (the first-placed below) which I eBooked on Smashwords where you can read the second and third stories… for free. 🙂

Without further ado… <clichéd drum roll please>…


First place (winning a free 5,000-word full edit): Katy A Lohman. Below is the story I wrote from her prompts…

The Maestro (564 words)

1-gangster car 740616 gill font (thumb)Joe ‘The Bricklayer’ Marsh swigs from the cask of Amontillado. He splutters as the wine gushes out but he doesn’t care. It’s not his cask and the owner is upstairs, oblivious to Joe’s actions.

The walls of the cellar are grey, the same shade as Joe’s wife’s ashes. He thinks of the royal blue urn on the mantelpiece back home, alongside the pictures of their children and grandchildren. Joe smiles as he thinks of little Bobbie Boo, the youngest of the brood, turning four in a couple of weeks. He hopes to see her again but he knows the chances are slim. Taking out the former boss of the Chicago syndicate isn’t the wisest thing Joe’s ever done.

Munro ‘Maestro’ Mandiani is the master of disguise, as his nickname would suggest. Joe had been hunting him since that fateful day ten years before. The internet had been helpful, and Joe’s eldest Frankie a whizz with technology. He’d tracked down Munro to the old stockyards but Munro had always been a step ahead, a sixth sense or habit, Joe didn’t know.

Then luck had played its part; Joe recognising Munro’s henchman Billy Fletcher’s southern Irish accent when Billy had been giving a taxi driver a rollocking – and beating – for charging too much… probably at all, knowing the syndicate. They were in everyone’s pockets, still are.

Joe had followed Billy into the building; Billy too angry to ensure the door was shut. Joe had hit him on the back of his head with his Colt .38’s butt then dragged him down into the basement then trussed him up with rope he’d fetched from his car.

Joe sat on an old chest until Billy regained consciousness. Joe smiled as the younger man begged like a dog. “Please, Joe. It weren’t me. It were… can’t say. You knows I can’t say.”

“Yes, you can. Maybe you don’t want to live. What do you have to live for? Another fifteen years working for Munro? Another stretch inside? You got family, Billy. Wanna live for them?”

Billy frowned as if Joe firing questions at him had confused him.

None of it mattered to Joe. All that mattered was getting revenge. Revenge for the fact that Bobbie Boo had never got to meet her Nanna Marsh.

Joe had got the information he wanted, hadn’t enjoyed what he’d had to do to get it but he’d found Munro and now was sufficiently emboldened to return upstairs, to wake up the Maestro, exact the revenge Joe had been waiting so long for.

Munro’s eyes dance underneath their eyelids as Joe approaches the bed, Munro a horizontal crucifix.

Munro’s eyes spring open as Joe pours the Amontillado over Munro’s face. He buckles against his restraints then screams as the chains fed through his palms rip open the skin further. Keeping his hands still, he gently wriggles his feet, relief flooding his face as it’s clear this crucifix hasn’t yet gone all the way.

Munro pants as Joe waits, looking down.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something. Which one are you, Munro?”

Munro growls then whimpers as he looks at one of his hands.

Joe knows what he has to do. It doesn’t matter if Munro admits what had happened or not. This will be where it ends. Joe picks up the cask and smiles.


Katy’s prompts were:

  • – Character name/s: Joe, aka, The Bricklayer
  • – Location: former Chicago stockyards
  • – Object: a cask of Amontillado
  • – Dilemma: when does forgiveness become folly?
  • – Character trait / emotion / quirk: quotes philosophers to be a smart alec
  • – Colour / shade of colour: ash gray
  • – Other comments: Always looks different in photographs. Chameleon?


Second place (winning a free 3,000-word full edit): Rosemary Pooley

You can read Rosemary’s prompts and my story from them here.


Third place (winning a free 2,000-word full edit): Lesley Middleton

You can read Lesley’s prompts and my story from them here.


Thank you to everyone for entering. The prompts certainly made entertaining reading. The competition continues so do enter (again) at 500-word challenge (free).

I hope you all enjoy the stories I wrote from the winning prompts and that you will take a minute to leave a review on the Smashwords page. Thank you.

*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each! *** Continue reading