Thanks to our brilliant judge, Marvin Close, I can now reveal the winning stories in my Pam's People competition, which closed at the end of 2016. The winners received a book each, donated by Marta Cseh and a much coveted certificate.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners.
A Fresh Start by Mary Lowther – Wombourne Writers Group
The shuttlecraft lifted off leaving Shay alone with only his thoughts for company. He turned and headed out into the dense forest. The thick canopy of leaves soon hid any trace of the sky and the white contrail leading to the mothership. Shay grinned and took a deep breath, welcoming the change from the recycled air of the spaceship.
He shifted his pack on his shoulder and following the map on his Pad, headed towards the promise of fresh water and the colonial settlement. They'd only been planted here a year ago. He was keen to see how much progress they'd made. The promotional literature promised an agricultural and environmental heaven, with clean air and healthy living.
After an easy hour's walk through majestic trees with little undergrowth, he reached the edge of the forest. Stepping out of the trees to savour the open view ahead, his heart sank. Full of dismay, he surveyed his promised Utopia.
Instead of neat farmsteads surrounded by natural forests the scene showed all the scars he associated with Earth. Tall chimneys at the end of an industrial complex belched black smoke into the blue sky. Behind the unholy mess of pipes and silos the opposite side of the valley had been torn away leaving bare rock visible. Winding gear spun at what must be a pit head.
Shay turned his back and headed into the unknown. The shuttle would return in a month. He would make his fresh start somewhere else.
The False Note by Alan Dale – Woking Writers' Circle
"Are you going fishing tomorrow?" Carol smiled up at Tom, as they strolled in the darkening hotel garden.
"Yes, if that's OK with you."
"Sure; Moulderhope Manor are finally letting me see an ancient warning scroll." She looked away. "It's for my superstitions article. It's… not online."
"Warning? That sounds rather ominous."
"Yes; aren't these roses gorgeous?" She stooped, sniffing.
Distant thunder muttered. A breeze stirred.
Tom's heart thumped, his chest tightened. A window creaked shut. Turning, he glimpsed the receptionist behind the mullions.
The sound of horses clopping and jangling drifted towards him from the lane. Four snorting ebony animals loomed beyond the hedge, hauling a crimson landau. Perched on the coachman's seat, somehow brandishing reins and whip, was a caped, purple coaching coat, topped by a cravat and surmounting buckled leather boots. A tricorn hat hovered above the cape, with the landau's hood and window visible in between.
Freezing damp slithered across Tom's cheeks. The coach passed. Faint sobbing broke on the evening air. Carol, unaware, continued admiring the roses.
"You're quiet; anything wrong?" she asked, at dinner.
The candles flickered.
"No, love, it's nothing."
Next day, Carol rose early. "See you at eight tonight."
Ten pm passed. Tom approached reception.
"My wife's hours late. I'm worried."
"You saw the coachman," the woman whispered. "She'll already have been taken."
"What d'you mean? That was some joker in an old coat."
"No, I'm afraid not. I'm so very sorry. If we can help with the arrangements…"
↑ Third Prize Winner
Shared Smile by Helen Jane Somers – Writers in Somerset
Jodie and Jeannie were born minutes apart, they couldn't bear to be parted, even during the birthing process.
Identical, from their christening onwards even their parents couldn't tell them apart. They were equally good. And bad.
Their first nativity play. Nervous little Gemma was Mary, her face radiant beneath the tea towel. She'd carefully rehearsed her few lines and loved cradling the china doll which was baby Jesus. The sisters were shepherds.
At the dress rehearsal someone screamed. Gemma had picked up the doll. Its face was smashed. Her stutter returned worse than ever; Jodie took her place as Mary. Jeannie smiled.
Over Christmas dinner the twins' mother announced wonderful news. There would soon be a baby brother, a pair of blue booties were ceremoniously placed next to the candle. Jeannie knocked it over and burnt them. Jodie smiled.
Tommy was murdered in his cot. Not a mark on him, sudden infant death, it was later confirmed. When mother tried to waken him, his tiny body was cold. Hysterical, her legs gave way and she sat, rocking forwards and backwards, baby clasped to her chest, wet with tears. After returning the pillow to her own bed, one of the girls gently touched their mother's shoulder. The other. You know.
That's the way it is. They have one smile between them. I should know. Their elder sister, I died when mother passed out coming down the stairs. Her emergency scan showed two healthy foetuses. One looked to be smiling.
|Posted by:||Kevin Machin||Date:||February 15, 2017 10:42 am|
|Categories:||Members Only Competitions, Competition Results||Tags:||Pam's People, winners|
|Comments:||0 – permitted||Article:||5491 – public|