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Creative Writing/Short Fiction > Short fiction comp #3. Past entries

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message 1: by T4bsF (Call me Flo) (last edited Nov 23, 2013 04:24PM) (new)

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) Short Story Competition no.3



The Day Before Christmas
Christmas
The Aftermath
The Office Party

These are the topics for Competition no. 3
It was decided to leave the choice to the writers of the stories, so they could pick whichever title of the 4 inspires them the most.

There is a two week window to get your entries in so the closing date will be 8th December.
Entries can be sent directly to me in a PM and all entries will be anonymous, at least until after the voting poll closes. Then those who wish, can let people know which story was theirs (or remain anonymous, if they wish).
I will post the entries as I receive them on this thread, so people can read all the entries before they decide which one they would like to vote for. As the poll is also anonymous, no one will know who has written what and who you have voted for, if you don't want them to.
I apologise - as all this information should have been included in my multi-message - but I think I was just too enthusiastic to get the ball rolling.


message 2: by T4bsF (Call me Flo) (last edited Dec 07, 2013 03:26PM) (new)

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) Competition no. 3
Entry 1



Santa’s Cloud


‘Twas the night before Christmas and she sat all alone and dreading another festive season without him.
The children – if she could still call them children – were asleep in bed. She didn’t know where the years had gone, but Nicole and Christopher had passed through their teenage years and both were now “courting” or whatever they called it these days. She knew that they had both just said that they didn’t want to go out that night, so as not to leave her on her own with just the cat to talk to, but no amount of protesting could get them to change their minds. They claimed that the last minute Christmas shopping, fighting their way through the crowds in Cardiff’s busy shopping precincts, had sapped their last remaining shreds of energy. She wondered what the town lights were like this year, she’d been disappointed the last time she’d seen them and thought they had put on a much more cheerful display locally.
It was 18 months now since she’d lost Brian. She’d tried to get him to slow down and cut down on the overtime, as it seemed that she was seeing less and less of him. OK, so they were better off financially and it was getting easier to pay the bills but she felt so isolated since she’d been made redundant. Being 51 wasn’t a strong point in your favour when applying for jobs in this computerized age. She had just enrolled on an IT course at the local college to increase her chances in the jobs market, when Brian, working late and alone at the office, had a heart attack and died.
Her mother and elder sister had come over from New Zealand for the funeral but, when they went back, she felt more alone than ever. The children appeared to be coping with the loss of their father and were a great comfort to her, but they had to get on with their own lives. She could go out, if only she could lift the cloud of grief that was enveloping her. She was attending therapy sessions and was starting to feel more positive about the future but there were still a lot of hurdles for her to jump, the first one being this damn festive season!
Her mother would help her through it but there was no chance of scraping the airfare together. The offers of loans at ‘very competitive rates’, that landed on her mat on an almost daily basis, were very tempting. It didn’t really matter how low the interest rates were though, as she knew she couldn’t afford to pay off the amount she would need to borrow to finance the trip, let alone the interest on top of it.
The events of the past few weeks started creeping back into her mind. At first she thought it was just the usual secrecy of keeping ‘the present’ a surprise, but she had become more and more convinced that this didn’t really account for the air of expectancy that seemed to be affecting everyone around her. The children were up to something, she was sure of it. Several times when she’d walked into the room, telephone conversations seemed to take on a strange, contrived air and finish rather abruptly with an “I’ll phone you back later”.
She yawned, finished off wrapping the last of the presents, went through the usual ritual of locking up and went up to bed.
Christmas day started off in its usual way of the children bringing her breakfast in bed accompanied by the ceremonial opening of the presents.
Nicole had bought her a rather fetching outfit and instead of letting her get Christmas dinner out of the way, insisted that she try it on there and then. Once on, again at her daughter’s insistence, she was cajoled into leaving it on.
At 10 o’clock there was a rather loud knock on the front door. After the wait for one of the children to open the door didn’t appear to be paying dividends, she wiped her hands and went to answer the door herself. Outside, there was a television camera crew and walking towards her was a familiar celebrity face. She thought they must have the wrong house until she was addressed by name, and walking behind were two more, very familiar, faces – her mother and her sister!
The tears, smiles, hugs and laughter dissolved the enveloping cloud and as it drifted away, she noticed that the silver lining had been there all the time, she had just wrapped the cloud around her so tightly that she couldn’t see it.
She knew now that this was the turning point in her life and that whatever lay ahead, with the help of her wonderful family, she would meet it head on.


message 3: by T4bsF (Call me Flo) (last edited Dec 07, 2013 03:25PM) (new)

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) Short Story Competition no. 3
Entry no.2
Theme: The day before Christmas

The Teacher

I love my job as an English and Music teacher in a Junior school, each year I am given the job of producing the Schools' Nativity play, don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing it, it's bloody hard work but the results at the end make it all worthwhile, this year though, we have a new head Teacher, young and very enthusiastic, this year she wants a more realistic Nativity play, so it will be held on Christmas Eve, yes! I know it means disrupting the school holiday but the Head put forward such a good case for opening the school for rehearsals etc. during the holidays, that she was able to win everyone round, "it would stop the kids getting bored by giving them something worthwhile to do before Christmas, teach them what Christmas really is all about", she told them, anyway, her enthusiasm really rubbed off on people and in the end everyone looked forward to any part they could play in the production, helping out by making props, outfits, scenery, helping the children to learn their lines, all manner of things really, we are a multi-national school and the amazing thing was how the enthusiasm for this production filtered down through the whole school, even the kids of other denominations wanted to join in, besides Christians, we had Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, everyone wanting to be involved, there was something quite magical in the air.
I started by finding children who wanted to be in the play, then chose the kids who were good enough to play the 'main' parts, then, there was the choir who would do most of the singing, I wrote the script, chose the songs and carols, now we were ready to start the rehearsals, there was just one problem, the girl chosen to play Mary told me that her mother was heavily pregnant with baby due at any time, so if baby came the day of the play she may not be able to take part, I told her not to worry as I would find an understudy.
Everything begun in ernest, rehearsals, painting scenery, filling palliasses with straw for the stable scenes so Mary and Joseph had something to "sleep" on, one childs parents donated a pull along horse big enough for Mary to sit on, we disguised it to look like a donkey, the manger was built and made ready, the scenery for each set was complete, we were lucky that one parent was a master craftsman and he made a revolving centre to the stage which was divided into two halves, one facing front whilst a scene was being played there, and one half facing to the rear where the props for the next scene could be placed whilst the front half was in use, then revolved to the front when that scene was played, yes, things were looking good all round.
Christmas Eve finally arrived, the school hall was filling with kids relatives who would make up the vast majority of our audience, I was happy to see the parents of 'Mary' there, I had my leading lady, I glanced at the clock at the far end of the hall, time to begin, I gave the signal and the stage curtains opened to reveal the first scene which was the Angel Gabriel telling Mary that she would soon become pregnant, that scene completed, we revolved the stage to reveal scene two which was Mary and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem, then scene three which was the Inn front and the kindly Inn keeper allowing use of his stables, then back to the same scenery used in scene two, now used for scene four showing first the Three Kings then the Shepherds following the Star, then finally the Stable Scene, it was at this point that we heard a Man's voice shouting, "My wife! My wife! She's started having our baby" I immediately reached for my mobile phone but one of the parents seated by the imminent mother called out, "Okay! Teach, it's done, I saw her waters break", three ladies stood up each saying that they were a nurse, I cleared everyone from the stage and the three Nurses helped the mother to be to the stage and laid her on the palliasses from the Stable scene, we closed the stage curtains, I organised the kids into a choir and we all sang carols whilst we waited for the birth, or the ambulance, whichever arrived first, eventually we heard the sirens of an emergency ambulance drawing closer but then the stage curtains were drawn back and the scene we saw there was of a mother lying in a makeshift bed, the father had a baby in his arms and a wild grin on his face, then with a cheeky smile, the father placed the baby in the manger, how we all cheered with sheer delight, what a night, what an unexpected production.


message 4: by T4bsF (Call me Flo) (last edited Dec 14, 2013 10:47AM) (new)

T4bsF (Call me Flo) (time4bedsaidflorence) Short Story Competition no. 3
Entry no. 3

Techno. Church.

Christmas is here again, I really don’t know why we bother anymore. The congregation has dwindled to Mrs Jones, Bob Miller and Old Silas and I think they only come to save on their heating bills at home! What can we do? Even if we could tempt some of the flock of 10 years ago back to the services, we haven’t even got any decent hymn books to offer them. The covers are gone from about half of them and there’s pages galore missing from the other half. The coffers are bare, so there’s nothing we can do to replace them. The verger’s vestments are in tatters too! Ah well nothing more to be done tonight, so I’ll sleep on it. Tomorrow might bring some divine inspiration.

Well, at least our little Church is not totally forgotten, the Postman has just popped something through the letter box. A parcel eh! Ah well, I’ll just get the day sorted and I’ll open it when I’ve got two minutes later.

“Thank you for the tea Edna and would you mind passing me the parcel I received earlier, I’ll open it now.” I had to admit to a certain eager curiosity, and the brown paper was ripped off without ceremony. Oh my goodness, it’s full of money, there must be hundreds of pounds here. Where on earth could it have come from?? There’s a message too….

Dear Vicar Rias,
My mother apparently owed a great debt to the church. Before she died, she made me solemnly promise to repay this debt, out of her estate. I am unable to enlighten you as to why she owed this much money, as she would not divulge this information. However, a promise is a promise, so the money is yours. The only stipulation she made, was that it was to be spent in a manner that would benefit this church.
Yours sincerely,
A Benefactor.

After thinking all evening about a way to spend the money, and not coming up with any solutions, I did what I usually do and slept on it. That night I had a dream and woke up knowing exactly what I was going to do. My first job was to go to the nearest branch of Currys and buy 50 Kindle Fires. The next job was to visit a Carpenter friend of mine who owed me a favour and got him to come to the church with me, where he fitted the Kindles into the backs of the pews. The next job on the list, I just had to spend time downloading hymn books on to each of my marvellous little gadgets.

When all this was done, I felt quite proud of myself, as surely this would increase the congregation. I pinned all my hopes on the young and old alike, being curious enough to attend the services. Once there, it would be my job to make the sermons interesting enough, to make them want to keep on attending on a regular basis.

I put a notice on the board outside the Church, to let the people of the area know that this Sunday’s service was going to be special. Well it paid off big-time, I even had a couple of parishioners sharing the Kindles, as there was more than the 50 I had allowed for. Everyone seemed to master the art of finding the hymns in the downloaded books without any problems, and they all went home with smiles on their faces. They all complimented me on a lovely service as they shook my hand on the way out.

I realised that from now on, that part of my clearing up programme would have to include switching off all the Kindles. This was when the bomb dropped …….. out of the 50, only 11 of them were actually showing the hymn books. I found quite a variety of websites, ranging from Candy Crush Saga to Betfred, I even found 3 tuned in to porn sites!!!

Ah well…. they do say pride goes before a fall. Anyone want to buy 50 nearly new Kindle Fires???


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