And February’s winner is………………

wiinners cup

Congratulations to Vaibhav Hassija who has won February’s mini writing competition with ‘The Silence’.

As winner, Vaibhav is now entitled to set the writing prompt for March’s competition and I will notify you all once I have more information on this.

Thank you to all who took part this month and once again I enjoyed the quality and diversity of the submissions.  🙂

Voting for the February mini writing competition is now open!

girl crossing fingers

I hope that you enjoyed reading the entries for February and it was great to get such a diverse mix of stories.  Choosing just one winner will be difficult, as always.  The voting poll is now attached for you to cast your vote for your favourite entry from now until the end of this month and the winner will then get to set the writing prompt for March.  Once again, good luck to all who entered and thank you for taking part 🙂

Who will you vote for?  Remember, voting is open to all whether you have contributed an entry or not, so make sure that your vote counts.

‘Waiting…..’ by Tom F

Please welcome back Tom F with his last minute entry in to this month’s competition. Although we share a surname and the story is set in Glasgow, which is where my husband is from, I do not think that we are related……. although you never know.. – as we hear all the time, ‘it’s a small world’! 🙂 Anyway, thanks again to Tom for sharing his work.

artist

WAITING….

We had flown over to the UK for our anniversary. Ten days in Blighty, visiting kids, grandkids and an ‘aged parent ‘, before Christmas. I had arranged the surprise for her. A day trip on the train to Glasgow, breakfast in the city, a ride on the ‘clockwork orange’, first stop the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Her favourite artist, Jack Vettriano, was having a retrospective display of over one hundred of his paintings. A once in a lifetime event.
We had spent a couple of hours enjoying the works. I looked at them all, while she studied every brush-stroke. I waited for her at the end of each section, she ooo’d and aaah’d at every different piece. It was her day though, and the delight in her eyes was a joy to see. She had taken up painting when we retired, there was no time before then, always busy. Life, as they say, got in the way. Now there is lots of time.
My aching back was sending urgent messages, I needed to sit down.
“I’ll make my way to the souvenir shop. See you there.”
“OK, won’t be long “, she muttered as she studied a painting of a young girl stretched out on the beach. “ This is his later work. I’ll do this one when we get back home.”
“Good for you “, I replied.
She joined me within five minutes.
“Have you picked anything?” she asked as she walked past, her eyes darting round the shelves.
“I’ve only been sat down …”
“Wow, look at this stuff! “ Then she was off, scooping up post cards and calendars and trinkets ‘for the girls at the art circle‘.
I joined her at the till, her hands full, including one large framed painting.
“What have you got there?” I asked
It’s your birthday today, not just our day “
She turned the painting around, it was a framed copy of the Bluebird at Bonneville , prior to the world land speed record attempt in 1935. I was pleased, and felt guilty for all the negative thoughts I‘d had regarding the waiting.
She kissed me on the cheek, and we stepped outside of the exhibition. She let me know that he was coming for an interview within the next five minutes, and that I should go to the cafe and have a coffee.
“Won’t be long “, she called back as she hurriedly re-entered.
I sat for twenty minutes, just me, my back and my Americano. Then, there she was, flushed, tearful and bubbling with excitement.
She was waving her entrance ticket triumphantly, duly signed on the reverse by the great man.
“I’m so glad I waited “she gasped looking at her prize.
I took the last drops from my cup and smiled.

© Tom Frattaroli. 21/02/2014

‘Waiting In Advance’ by Jan Strickland

I would also like to welcome Jan, a regular contributor to the mini monthly competitions, with her own interpretation of ‘waiting for news’.  It is always a sign of a good writing prompt when the entries that are submitted are so diverse, and this is a short, quirky piece of writing.

earth shuttle 

  • Jan Strickland says:

    WAITING IN ADVANCE

    Work was really getting on my nerves!  These dam Robots were on my back morning to night. A robot for God’s sake!! I am good at my job.   I should be; l was top of my class in maths, right through school and university, so l know what I’m doing. But no, apparently old M.A.C.S knows best!!!  (For those of you who are not acquainted, that is our wonderful Machine Automated Control System). Have l made a massive mistake moving here? It’s not as l thought it would be, that’s for sure.  l had thought another planet might be better than over-crowded Earth. I had been told l would soon rise to a position of authority, that the chances here were going to be phenomenal. On this planet large cities had quickly sprung up. The space shuttles plied to and from Earth at an alarming rate bringing more people and advanced machinery to build even further on this alien planet.

    I had travelled here, hoping she was here.  I had heard she was thinking of coming so l thought l would get here first, decorate my living Pod, get a job and be ready for when she came.  Now I’m not so sure.  l haven’t heard.  l live in hope, but I’m still waiting for news.

(c) Jan Strickland

‘Vigil’ by mmpearson

It is lovely to welcome back mmpearson with her take on this month’s writing prompt of ‘waiting for news’. This piece drew me in and creates a distinct empathy with the narrator. Enjoy!

scrubs

mmpearson says:

February 19, 2014 at 11:08 pm

My father and I sit on institutional vinyl and stare at a beige wall. Neither of us knows what to say, and the silence crashes between us like a waterfall striking rock. My mother is under the knife. What else is there to know?

No amount of hashing over the “what ifs” will make the doctor’s hands any steadier or his methods any surer. So here we sit, in silence.

My mother is most likely lying there, on a gurney, cut open. I envision a discussion taking place above her abdomen. If I close my eyes I can see the lights blinking, machines beeping and the droll of voices surrounding her sleeping form. Life and death hang in the balance, a pendulum of fate, chance, or God.

The unknown petrifies me, but I cling to hope. My hope is like that of a small child as she waits for a favorite blankie to finish its mad swirl through the wash cycle. The child has laser-like focus on one moment in time. She yearns for the end, the point when she can clutch the blankie and run away with glee. She doesn’t care whether the dryer warms the wet fuzz to perfection, only that the blankie still exists when the washer ends its torment. My hope is similar.

I drum my feet on low-pile blue carpet and repeatedly read the variety of snacks visible in the vending machine that stands like a sentinel in the corner. I glance back at my father. He’s perched upright, staring through the wall, lost in his own reflections. His worry penetrates me. I look away and ease out of my chair to pace the hallway.

Time passes, though how much time, I don’t know. I do know that I have completed thirty-two laps when a “fwapping” noise catches my attention. I spot a person exiting a door down the hall.
Sea green scrubs, a dangling surgical mask, shoe covers – yes, I think this could be the one. Waves of numbness course through me.

I study the doctor’s approaching gait, trying to piece together the puzzle before he arrives. His stride is stiff, but his head is high and he is looking at me – a good sign perhaps. As he draws nearer, I stare into his eyes, hoping to find answers there.

I feel my father‘s presence join me, but I don’t glance at him. I might miss a tell-tale sign from the doctor.

I catch the tip of a smile, maybe? Yes, a half-smile. It tickles my hopes.

The doctor is standing in front of me and my father. His mouth is forming words. I’m suddenly not sure I can breathe, much less hear, but I strain to focus anyway.

As quick as a puff of wind, the doctor’s words are done. I feel my father’s arm around my side, and I don’t have to look at him to see the relief etched on his face. The same relief is etched on mine.

(c) mmpearson

‘The Silence’ by Vaibhav Hassija

Please join me in welcoming a new contributor to these mini writing competitions – vaibhav hassija – with his poignant story of missed opportunities …..

flower bouquet

THE SILENCE
By Vaibhav Hassija
I wasn’t sure if I was falling in love, but I hadn’t taken any sick leave for a while so I knew there was something wrong. Her shoulder length black hair, smokey tiny eyes and milk-like skin caught me unawares the second I saw her. Leaning on the wall, staring outside through the kitchen’s glass window as she waited for her lunch to be warmed up; I was mesmerized in that moment.
I knew a few managers at work so finding out her lunch breaks wasn’t hard. I bumped into her in almost every break possible. Having just a glimpse of her even for few seconds would make my day. This happened for a while until one day she finally said, “we bump into each other every time, isn’t that strange?” My reaction to this was going to be my first conversation with her, so I had to be careful with what I said next. “I think you’re following me’’, I replied smartly, just hoping the humour didn’t embarrass her. She smiled after a moment, which then turned into laughter. And that was it. I was relieved as it wasn’t a bad start.
‘‘Should I really tell her? I mean all we talk about are the shirts I wear, the brownies she bakes and the customers she comes across over the phone. That’s it. I mean what if I am just another guy she shares her laugh with? I used to spend half a day interrogating myself with these questions sounding like a retard. So I thought of just waiting for the right time.
Months later, I got an offer to work interstate for my uncle. I had no reason to say no as it was the only chance to start my career. But I knew I was losing my last chance with her as well after this. So I finally decided to tell her on my last day. I waited for that day with a feeling I can’t express. The day before I was about to leave, we left work together. I looked at her while we walked and she looked like the most beautiful girl I had come across. For a moment I thought maybe it was the right time to tell her. Or maybe I should stick to the original plan and wait another day. I guess I was just too scared and wanted to enjoy that last walk with her, in case she said no.
I came to work a bit early on my last day. I looked at her seat curiously as she should have started by then. Sadly, and to my surprise, she didn’t turn up that day. I spent the whole day looking at the bouquet I had bought and wondered if I should leave that with a message on her desk. Or maybe I should wait. As I finished my day I made myself a coffee before leaving, leaned on the wall, and stared outside through the kitchen window till the rain stopped.

(c) vaibhav hassija

‘Winner’ by lassfromlancashire

It is good to also see lassfromlancashire back with her amusing take on the writing prompt of ‘Waiting For News’ and I’m sure there will be a few wry smiles when readers get to the end of the story. 🙂

snail mail

lassfromlancashire says:

February 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Winner

http://wyrewitterings.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/winner/
Here is my entry for the February mini competition

‘The Welcoming’ by Andrew Geary

For those of you who have come across Andrew’s writing in the past, it is good to see another thought provoking piece from him for this month’s mini competition. So many unanswered questions…… Enjoy!

white picket fence

Andrew Geary says:

February 17, 2014

The Welcoming

The wife woke up in the early morning and waited for her husband to arrive. She begun making preparations for his eventual arrival. She scrubbed the kitchen floor and dusted-off the tabletops and cabinets. She vacuumed the carpet and gave the windows a remarkable sheen. The ceiling had never been so spotless. The garage was beautiful. Every object in the house was immaculate.

She cleaned the house three times over and moved-over to the neighbor’s house, crossing the white picket fence that divided their house with her’s. While she was rubbing each glass into perfection, the neighbor’s wife slowly entered. Their eyes met but no words were said. The neighbor’s wife held a strange sympathy for the woman who was preparing everything. The neighbor’s wife left her and retreated into the master bedroom, alone.

The wife continued until she had cleared the house of every dust particle and blemish. She then moved onto the next house, and the next. She crossed the street and mowed every lawn, vacuumed the sidewalk and repaved the road. The whole city block was coated with a fresh, lemony scent that resembled perfection. Everything was perfect and ready. Her husband never came home.

(c) Andrew Geary

‘Everything In Its Own Time’ by Carol J Forrester

This is an entry for this month’s competition from a new participant – Carol J Forrester – so please join me in making her feel welcome. Thank you for your entry Carol and good to have you on board! 🙂

bathroom sink

Everything In Its Own Time

She kept thinking about that infection she’d had a few months back, the one that had sent her sprinting to the bathroom every few minutes because the urge to pee just wouldn’t go away. It took two rounds of antibiotics and a small molehill of cranberry capsules before she kicked that little health snafu but now she could almost wish she hadn’t.
Bathrooms are cold in December. She hadn’t bothered switching on the heating with the living room log burner turning her home into a hothouse. If she didn’t have the touch of death for potted plants she might almost considered growing topical flowers in the kitchen, add a bit of colour to the magnolia paint she was too nervous to change. But knowing her she would probably buy the one exotic plant that would kill her, dramatically and painfully. Under no circumstances was she going to let her obituary read mauled to death by triffids.
She twitched her knees and tried to shift her butt into a more comfortable position. Perhaps she was dehydrated? When was the last time she drank a glass of water and did tea count? She was sure that there was something somewhere about tea not counting towards hydration, or was that an internet thing?
“Stupid tea.” she muttered, the pot she’d brewed earlier would be absolutely stewed by now and she’d only managed the one cup before the internet world had sucked her in. Common sense had told her that Web MD wasn’t a good idea, type in symptoms for diagnosis; enjoy the rest of your panicked day!
She’d been sure she needed to pee. She’d been halfway through one of her shows, distracting herself from the shopping bag stuffed into the desk drawer, and all the signs had been there. At least she assumed the signs were there, thinking about it, how did she ever know when she needed to pee? She knew it was a sort of… a kind of… it was a sensation of sorts, a sensation that didn’t seem keen to commit to a follow-through.
Staring at the slightly chipped tile by the shower she tried to relax, willing her muscles to loosen.
“Ten seconds, cap on, result pane up and a three minute wait. An extra minute if the result came through as negative just to be sure.” she whispered the instructions over to herself, finally feeling something give.
“Ten seconds, cap on, result pane up and a three minute wait. An extra minute if the result came through as negative just to be sure. Let it be negative, let it be negative.”
She clipped the cap back onto the stick and stuck it in the window sill.
“Oh god please let it be negative.” she begged. “Because hell knows how I’m going to explain otherwise.”
© Carol J Forrester

‘Waiting For News’ by Margie Brizzolari

Hello and welcome back to Margie with her hard hitting entry for this month’s competition. It doesn’t bear thinking about and is such a difficult subject to tackle, however I think Margie succeeds in drawing the reader in, and the twist ending is clever.

door

Waiting for News
It’s been three weeks. At night, I can’t sleep. Images run through my head: You with the kids, holding them as newborns, playing in the yard when they were older. Their squeals of delight echo in the emptiness of the house and my mind. It feels as if inside and outside my head have traded places and the memories are more real than the heavy, aching silence of each half-lived day. I can’t bear the sullen, tearful faces as the children trudge through their day. Mark is barely functioning, while Lissa, as always, makes a token effort to keep up with her schoolwork. I don’t have the energy to help them and I’m shocked to find myself wishing them gone, wishing them unborn.
The police are coming round less often than they did in the first few weeks. They say they have no leads. No one saw anything, no one knows anything. And I’m still waiting. I’m angry, no, furious. How could you? Why? I remember the week before all of this. We went to the water park with the kids – our first day together as a family in many months. I watched you playing with them, watched you holding Lissa tightly down the water slide, her young, slim body leaning against yours for protection. Watched Mark competing for your attention. And you giving his head a rub before going down the slide again. Was there even such a day, or did all time start from the moment you were gone, all else before wiped out like a picture deleted from my laptop? Oh God, I’m still waiting! Holding my breath in fear and hope.
There’s a knock at the door and I open it to find a policeman standing there.
“Mrs Jones, “We think we may have found your husband.”
My legs go weak and I clutch the door to keep myself standing. All I can do is croak out the word, “Think?”
“Yes ma’am.” He takes my arm solicitously. “Shall we go into the living room? Then you can sit down and I can explain. Would you like a cup of tea?” He sends his partner to the kitchen to make that eternal panacea. I sit on the edge of the sofa and watch the sergeant’s face. He’s speaking, but the world seems to have receded and his voice is distant and faint. I frown. I can’t understand what he’s saying.
“Mrs Jones!” He shakes my shoulder gently.
“I’m sorry, what were you saying?”
“Could you take a look at this photo, please. Is this your husband?”
I peer at the mugshot he hands me. Blonde hair, blue eyes defiantly looking into the camera. It’s you, but…there is something about the face. I hand back the photo.
“What did he say? Where did you find him”
“Well, that’s the problem. He says he doesn’t know who he is. And he was caught with an underage girl in what can only be called a compromising situation. I’m so sorry ma’am.”
I take the photo and look at it again, steeling my heart against those eyes.
“Yes, that’s him.” And I breathe again.
They’re gone now, and I think back to the moment this nightmare started. I came home early, excited to be able to spend some extra time with you and the kids. I opened the door and the house was quiet, deathly quiet. Then I heard a moan.
“No daddy!” Low and quiet and terrified, followed by soft sniffing tears. Before I knew it, I was at the bedroom door, blood running cold and a loud singing in my head. I remember your hands, huge and hairy against her pale skin.
And your eyes as you realised I was there, your pupils widening in shock. The bile rises in my stomach every time that image sharpens on the screen in my mind. How could you!? I don’t know how I stayed calm, but I managed to take Lissa to her friend’s house and they didn’t question my request for them to keep her for the night. I sent Mark to Peter’s house and then I came back for you. Why did you stay? Why did you try and justify what you did? You should have run while you had the chance!
The kids need me now more than ever. Just as soon as the court case is over, I’m going to get a divorce, sell up and move far away from that bog at the bottom of the hill. Far away from you, Curtis Jones, and your doppelganger sitting in prison.

Copyright M Brizzolari 2014