Hello everyone. This month I received 18 entries from 14 authors, a quiet month this time but you were all busy doing shopping, wrapping, decorating etc. I hope you had a lovely break.
One story was disqualified because it included the title put at the beginning of the story, which didn’t make sense in the context of the story and used up valuable words. It was a shame as it was the only entry from that author, and the first time submitting. Another was disqualified because it was only 99 words, or 100 including the one-word title, and a third because there was a word written as two when it should have been one. Sorry folks but there are comprehensive rules on the 100-word competition page and I did feel guilty at the disqualifications as they were all from new entrants but I have to be fair to everyone, and I’m an editor… I’m tough.
The winning stories are ones that I reacted most favourably to. They may have been 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 was only half a point between third place and highly commended, and half a point between those and the highest placed unsuccessful story.
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).
*For January, the challenge is to write a story (or three) with the title of ‘The Monthly Checker’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Tuesday 31st January.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Isabel Perez de Ayala with ‘Fade Out’
She walks through the crowd with a stiff smile on her face. Shrieking laughter cuts through her ears with hysterical precision. The extravagant silk fabrics and smooth velvet lapels are ornamental distractions, masking the stench of moral decay. Patchy clouds of cigar smoke bleed into the clear night air. Glasses clink, hips sway, lipstick smudges. The intense preparations for the night subside into drunken slurs and incandescent nothingness.
A feeling of loneliness overwhelms her body once again. She inhales a sharp breath of cold, dry air. “I never asked for this,” she whispers, “This is just what I never wanted”.
Kathryn Baird with ‘Enjoy Every Second!’
Emily pulled her greasy, uncombed hair into the rubber band. The concept of time had departed four weeks earlier. Washing, eating, and sleeping were luxuries. Her life now centred upon the needs of three tiny strangers.
She watched the squirming bodies on her bed. Six eyes screwed up in frustration. Their mouths opened hugely, expressing dissatisfaction at their mother’s parenting skills. The smell of ammonia and faeces filled the air. A card on the mantelpiece proclaimed, ‘Enjoy Every Second!’
Emily wished the two unexpected babies would disappear and leave her just one to love. The boys would have to go.
Simon Berry with ‘Peace and quiet’
Time passes. Time Passed. It moved on, inconsiderate, remorseless monster that it is. Pretty much indistinguishable from my ex-wife, ex-children and unfaithful domestic shorthair, all swept along, clinging to the beast. Hanging on as long as they can. Celebrating one occasion and ignoring another as the season dictates and conscience prefers.
No flowers lying frozen and lifeless by my tombstone this year. Dirty snow and the paw prints of a ferret my only visitors. I’d asked for peace and quiet that Christmas, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and had my throat slit under the mistletoe. Just what I never wanted.
Laura Besley with ‘Fallen Hero’
‘Complaints department. How can I help?’
‘I’ve been given the wrong superpower.’
‘Reference number, please.’
‘Delta Uniform Delta one, two, four.’
‘Right, I have your form here, sir. You asked for light.’
‘Flight. It says flight. All I can do now is turn lights on by looking at them.’
‘Not really. And not half as much as being able to fly.’
‘Yes, I can see that. You’ll have to make a formal complaint in writing. It can take four to six weeks to process. Until then, why don’t you lend Santa a hand turning on some lights? Merry Christmas!’
- Andy Morfett with ‘Heartfelt’
- David A Jones with ‘The Travelling Salesman’
- Joely Dutton with ‘The Motive’
- Lesley Middleton with ‘The Blessing’
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.