Hello everyone and welcome to the fiftieth month of this competition. There were 41 entries from 20 authors for the theme of ‘a winter job’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
One was disqualified for being 102 words because there was no space between two sets of sentences. Fortunately the author had sent two other entries which went through to judging. Another was 101 because ‘apart’ should have been ‘a part’. Again the author had submitted two other stories but sadly both were only 99 words – one was short, the other had ‘every thing’ instead of ‘everything’, so none for that author went through judging. A couple of stories didn’t fit the theme (a winter job) so weren’t successful for that reason alone.
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. Alternatively there may have been several stories on with same topic so I chose my favourite of those. With any competition, much rests upon the judge’s preference.
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 January is ‘a second-person story’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Friday 31st January. 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.
Carol Allison with ‘The Christmas Tree’
He ponders the task before him.
He decides on the tinsel, that seems the easiest. Then he takes the colourful little wooden toys from the fragrant spruce and drags off the glass baubles. Lastly, the lights, always a difficult task.
There are a couple of chocolate tree decorations the children haven’t noticed and a sweet tasty gingerbread man which makes the job worthwhile.
Satisfied, he sits down to rest, it’s taken its toll on him. At twelve years old he isn’t as sprightly as he once was. Maybe he will just have a quick nap before his master gets home.
Lesley McLean with ‘A Nutty Job’
A rich year indeed, copious amounts of delicious beechnuts rest in heaps below her drey.
Nutty usually works alone but this is an incredibly generous year’s end, so she calls out to others. Nutty and her chattering friends busy themselves, gathering and storing the nuts before the wicked groundsmen come along with their rakes and brooms to rape the land and pillage the precious supplies.
Soon the earth is awash with furry rodents. A scurry has assembled with the sole aim of collecting and burying, hoarding as much as possible to keep themselves and their families sustained until spring arrives.
Sue Massey with ‘Under the Doormat’
Magical. Pungent. Alive. I have to be very careful that I don’t maim, or kill. That would be unforgiveable.
I peel back a soggy door mat. It’s redundant but serves this purpose perfectly, by helping to retain warmth.
In awe of what I might find, I slowly remove the cover. A field mouse leaps to safety. Wriggling worms burrow into the darkness. Tiny beetles scuttle and scurry behind rotting vegetation. Snails retreat into their shells. Butternut squash seeds have germinated. Slug-nibbled cucumber grows a fur coat. Tea bags disintegrate.
Today’s winter job? Turn over the contents of my compost heap.
Malcolm Richardson with ‘Afternoon Delights’
Since he retired, Fred found he had time on his hands. He’d met her Ladyship at the village post office; she needed a handyman at the Hall. He’d been active all his life and jumped at the chance. Two afternoons a week, the pay didn’t amount to much, although her Ladyship often had other requirements when his Lordship worked away. Digging the flowerbeds and vegetable garden, a cold and wet occupation in winter. The draughty greenhouse offered scant protection against the elements.
‘I say, Fred, any chance of planting some seeds upstairs this afternoon?’
A warm grin creased his face.
- Elena Canty with ‘A Necessary Errand’
- Isabel Flynn with ‘A Wombat’s Work is Never Done’
- Kirtan Savith Kumar with ‘Christmas Morning’
- Sophie Toovey with ‘Match Making’
- Valerie Fish with ‘All I Want For Christmas’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Jane Broughton with ‘The Bag, the Beard and the Wardrobe’
- Jennie Cordner with ‘Time to Give it Up’
- Lestie Mulholland with ‘A Seasonal Conversation’
- Paul Mastaglio with ‘Same Time Next Year’
- Richard Comerford with ‘What A Way To Spend Christmas’
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.