My Writers Circle

The Coffee Shop => Writing Games & Challenges => Topic started by: 510bhan on March 31, 2014, 12:15:57 PM

Title: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on March 31, 2014, 12:15:57 PM
Short Story #18

Any style/genre welcome. Happy, sad, natural setting, futuristic, historical – any and all options acceptable.

BUT

Your mc must be incapacitated or disabled in some way for the duration of the story. Your interpretation of this limitation is up to you.


1,000 – 1,500 words for a story including the sentences/phrases . . .



Please submit entries to me by PM before midday Monday 14th April 2014 and include Short Story #18 in the subject line.


Thank you – happy writing. :)



Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Dawn on April 02, 2014, 04:47:12 PM
May have to find time for this one. Thanks
Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on April 02, 2014, 04:58:40 PM
Ooh, goodie! :D
Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on April 03, 2014, 06:25:59 PM
First entry in -- thank you. :)
Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: epursel on April 03, 2014, 11:13:10 PM
I've been so dang busy with work that I've had almost no time to stop by here, but this might have to take some of my time....
Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on April 16, 2014, 08:53:10 PM
And as only Mrs N entered -- she wins!

Over to you Mrs N. ;)

Title: Re: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Laura H on April 16, 2014, 08:56:16 PM
Well, congratulations Mrs. N  :D
Title: Winner Announced: Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on April 16, 2014, 08:56:24 PM
And as only Mrs N entered -- she wins!

Over to you Mrs N. ;)



House Calls

He comes to me in the early hours, as night tips into morning, letting himself in with well-practised ease. The key is taken from under a flowerpot, and the latch makes a satisfying crunch, jolting me awake. I hear the tread of his feet on the stairs, the odd involuntary crack of the wood, and I’m comforted even before I see him.

A strumming of fingers on the wood before my bedroom door is shoved open and he brings into the room a waft of cold night air, and his own subtle tang of aftershave.

‘It’s only me.’ He moves towards my bed stooping slightly to avoid the slope of the ceiling.

Dressed as if going out for an evening’s entertainment, the theatre, a meal in town, his suits are a mix and match of grey, a safe colour, professional. Sometimes I smell the wool in the weave mixed in with the hint of the man beneath as he leans over me, but I’m too cautious to take the fabric between my fingers, or to stroke the lapel, straighten the collar, these little touches are forbidden to me.

Now overdressed, but not out-of-place, in my tiny bedroom he adjusts the dimmer switch on the lamp, and floods the room with light. I wince at the brightness and he dims it again. ‘Sorry.’

He sits down on the bed and I love the weight of him dipping the mattress. I shuffle over to make room for him.

‘Now Bun, what’s the problem?’

He calls me by the nickname I asked him to use, but I can see he feels uncomfortable with this break from convention. Yet despite this, and the name’s inherent sexiness, his kindness wins and I love him for giving in to my demands even though he does not want to. His own name is Tom, not one I would have chosen for him, it sounds too light, too boyish. Still it doesn’t matter, I never use it.

‘Oh Doctor, I can’t breathe,’ I say, knowing he is obliged to come house-calling with symptoms such as these. But when he is near to me it’s the truth. I am as breathless as a love-sick girl.

I have a photograph of him cut out from a newsletter; small, passport-like, worn thin. It shows him smiling. A smile I have never seen on his face for all my scrutiny. Who had been on the other side of the camera, a friend, his father, his wife? ‘Say cheese, Tom’. Jealousy eats into me fiercer than any cancer. . . .

He takes hold of my wrist checking my pulse. I wish he’d never let it go. I see my skin, papery thin, between his strong young fingers and I’m sorry this will be the only contact he will ever remember if he bothers to think of me at all.

‘Dying is such a nuisance, isn’t it?’ I say, and my voice creaks with age and I sound like what I am; a feeble patient, a querulous old woman who is used to getting her own way.

‘Nobody’s dying tonight.’ He pushes his long floppy fringe to one side, and the light cast from the lamp darkens the shadows under his eyes. ‘Right, let’s give you something to help you sleep.’

There are many nights I cannot sleep. Indecision can do that, but so can guilt, and sorrow.

I came to the village ten months ago when first diagnosed, but I had searched out Dr T. Morrison, long before he was needed. It was laughable registering as spinster, no next of kin, with this lone doctor running his last man standing kind of medical practice,

The village is a small one; more of a hamlet really, populated by a few scattered houses, and cottages like mine edging the manor farm. And, in the few months before I became house-bound, before I lost the use of my legs, I grew to know the place intimately. I revelled in walking the pathways he had walked, seeing the small first school he had attended, living the life he had lived.

The photo of him is in a drawer alongside another picture, equally precious. No one would see any resemblance between the two although they are both the same person. One showed the baby, smiling, chubby, clearly the past, the other showed the adult, hair on the brink of turning silver, and in between, a lifetime, two lifetimes.

I nearly told him of the invisible ties linking us together. He gave me the perfect opportunity a few months back when I was going through a particular bad patch of insomnia.

‘I’m taking on a partner. I need more time at home,’ he said, ‘I’m going to be a father.’

And I let the moment of revelation slip away. I have so little time left why waste it causing misery?

‘A baby? You’re in for some heartache,’ I told him, without thinking, and only just caught the querying glance, the ‘what do you know’ look he threw my way. Of course he disguised his thoughts immediately, but not quickly enough. His subtle shades of expression rarely go unmissed for I’m good at reading his face. I study him like a thesis I have to master, every gesture familiar, tucked away in my store of memories to replay on sleepless nights when I do not call him out to me.

Now, as he hands me two white capsules that promise sleep, I notice the little vertical line creasing his forehead, like a scar, has deepened. And his hand pouring water into a glass looks dry, and the veins pronounced.

‘Here you are.’ He waits while I swallow the tablets and sink my head back into my pillow.

Then he stands heavily, tiredly, and for a moment I feel a pang of guilt at dragging him from his bed. But he is smoothing the bedcovers, and I sigh savouring his closeness. Guilt be damned as I surely am. I put my hand on the warmth he is leaving behind.

‘Thank you, Doctor.’

‘Get some sleep,’ he says. ‘I’ll look in on you later, after surgery.’

He makes a thing of putting the glass and jug of water where I can reach it, and checking anything I might need is near to hand. My son is a fine man.

Then he is gone, creaking back down the stairs. I hear the click of the latch on the door, and he calls out, ‘Night, Bun,’ before pulling it shut.

And I close my eyes, and pretend he’s said. ‘Night, Mum.’
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 2par on April 16, 2014, 08:57:07 PM
Congrats, Mrs. N. You're a lot braver than the rest of us. Let's see if we can support your challenge. Go Writers!
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: heidi52 on April 17, 2014, 06:00:04 AM
Mrs N. What a lovely story! I'm sure you would have won anyway, but sorry you had no competition.

Well done, enjoyed the read.
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Mrs N on April 17, 2014, 11:07:02 AM
Ha ha, thanks for the congrats, and so glad 510bhan didn't place me second, or third!!! How embarrassing would that be?? :D :D.

Not much of an idea how to set up a new comp, so Laura, might be in touch!! But at least that will give people a chance to get their heads round giving me a bit of support, and entering...  ;)

Away at my son's at the mo', he's busy p***ing himself at my 'win', so will sort something out when I get home.

Thanks again for the kind words, and Happy Easter. :-*

Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: 510bhan on April 17, 2014, 11:08:41 AM
I could have flipped a coin! :o ;D

Will she, won't she? :D

Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Skylan on May 03, 2014, 05:33:39 PM
Mrs N, when can we expect short story 19?
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Mrs N on May 04, 2014, 11:38:08 AM
Hi Skylan, just popping in and out of mcw at the mo' so it's not high on my 'to do' list, got some dead-lines to meet.

Anyway are you telling me people are gagging for a competition?? Talk about you don't what you've got 'til it's gone...  ::)
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: bri h on May 04, 2014, 03:07:51 PM
Hello Mrs n. I have to tell you, regardless of who else did or didn't enter the comp (me included). I think your story woulda been 1st anyway. It's a marvellous tale, well told and well thought out. It has a subtleness about it that isn't in your face, but comes up behind and before you know it, you're bowled over. I loved this. Seriously. Well done. So deserving of our respect. Bri.
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Dawn on May 04, 2014, 03:35:22 PM
I agree with, Bri, Mrs N. This was beautiful, very poignant and just the kind of thing that I like.
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Mrs N on May 06, 2014, 04:23:26 AM
Dear Bri and Dawn, thanks for the read, and your very kind words.  :-*

Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Slow_Walker on May 15, 2014, 10:44:22 AM
I just popped in to see the sort of challenges that had been laid down for previous competitions...and loved and was impressed by your story Mrs. N.  Beautifully crafted and told.
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Mrs N on May 15, 2014, 05:16:00 PM
Thank you Slow_Walker, glad you enjoyed it. Why don't you give the next challenge a go, it's all good fun.

Oh, and welcome. :)
Title: Re: Winner Announced - Short Story #18 by Monday 14th April
Post by: Slow_Walker on May 16, 2014, 03:05:15 AM
Hi Mrs. N, thanks for the encouragement...it's a work-in-progress at the moment - just getting some of the details checked!