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WriteStars' writing competitions -

winning entries ...

 

LOVE IT! - the winner, and the shortlist ...

WINNER! 1st - Gail Wright, with 'I know there's a word'

Scroll down to read Gail's beautiful, evocative story ...

2nd - Julie S, Dorset, 'Hands across Time'

3rd - Val Melhop, New Zealand, 'Scarecrow Scenario'

Runners up: In no particular order ...

'Kisses for Maria': Sally Ann E, Berkshire

Love It! Beginning: 'She was already going grey ...', by Nicola B, Lincolnshire

Love It! Beginning: 'Two hundred and fifty words on love. The page mocked me ...', by Penny F, Somerset

'Love on the Underground', by Christine B, Dorset

'Monumental Meeting', by Janet W, Aberdeenshire

 

LOVE IT! Winning entry:

'I know there's a word', by Gail Wright ...

"Don't," she said.
"Don't what?"
"Grow it back"
"Why not?" he asked.
"Why would you?"
"Easier," he shrugged. "Have you ever tried to shave inside a dimple?" He put the tip
of his finger into the shallow crater above his top lip.
She rolled over, propped herself onto her elbows next to his shoulder. "It's not called
a dimple. There's a proper word for it."
"What is it?"
"I don't know. But I know there's a word. And in any case, I couldn't do this." She
replaced his index finger with her own.
"How often do you do that anyway?"
"That's not the point. I can if I want to. And this." She put her fingertip to her lips, kissed
it and placed it back.
"Well maybe I'm just getting lazy."
"No you're not," she said. "Not that lazy."
"Well I'm definitely getting older."
"So am I"
"Wouldn't you like it if I looked like when we first met?" he said.
"Maybe. I don't know. No."
"It might take ten years off me."
"Maybe," she said. "But I'd only just started loving you then. Is it not better now? Now
I've loved you longer?"
"There is that."

- The End -

Why did Gail's story win?

The judges were unanimous. We chose the winner and 2nd and 3rd places with a points system. Gail took the most points it was possible to get, from each judge. We loved the story and the way it paints an instant picture of two people who love each other very much. We don't even know their names, but it doesn't matter. We know the characters from our own lives, and Gail brought this touching scene to life in a warm and intimate and touching way. We know they've been together a while, and that they share an easy sense of humour. We know exactly where they are, well almost - it's either lying on a beach or cosy in their bed - and the intimacy of their conversation makes you feel you are with them, wherever they are (but not in a weird way!). It's a lovely story, with no words to spare - always a good sign. Gail has already pared it back to the minimum and it's all the better for that.

Thank you Gail, for giving us your permission to put your story up on our site.


'It's a Mystery!' - the winners, and the shortlist ...

Winners:

Tracy Davidson, with 'The Dare'

and

Ellen Evers, with 'The Girl on the Plane.'

The shortlist, in no particular order ...

Alan Tero, with 'Symmetry'
Linda Tyler - 'Off the Rails'
Steven Holding - 'Somniloquy'
Allyson Salmon - 'It's a Mystery'
Paul Fox - 'A Walk by the Creek'

 

*** Congratulations to Liz Andersen of Essex, who has won our Springtime! writing competition and a £200 prize with her story 'One Spring Morning'. More on this later ...

*** The results of our most popular contest ever - Love It! - will be out soon.

*** Congratulations to Anita Bodle, who has won our 'Season of Goodwill'competition with  ...

A Christmas Tale

by Anita Bodle

“Work over Christmas?” Amanda clutched the phone in her hand. How could he ask her to work at this the most magical time of the year. Lily and Henry were growing up so fast and she missed them so much as it was.

“I gave you this promotion because I thought you could handle it,” Jack Hayes' bullying voice delivered down the telephone. “If you won't do it I'll get someone who will!”

Steve had been made redundant and she really needed this job.

“I'll see you at eight. Don't be late.” The phone went dead. Amanda slammed both her hands down on the desk in an act of frustration. Now she had to go home and break the news to her family.

She watched the tears run down her children's innocent faces.

Saw the anger in Steve's eyes. One of her favourite Christmas songs was playing on the radio. And at that moment Amanda knew exactly what to do. She'd tell the mighty Jack Hayes she wasn't working his unreasonable hours.


By seven o'clock the next evening, two very excited children were miraculously sound asleep.  Amanda and Steve snuggled up together on the settee in front of an open fire.

Presents lay under the Christmas tree, waiting to be opened by eager little hands early the next morning.

“I don't regret what I did,” whispered Amanda.

“The thought of you working for that man makes my blood boil.” said Steve, holding her close, before
kissing her tenderly on the lips.

The doorbell rang.

Amanda sighed. "I'll go."

She opened the door.

Then gasped. Jack Hayes looked terrible. Red eyes, face grey, he had no coat;  his shirt and trousers creased.

A far cry from the company suits.

He shivered in the cold night air, his voice barely a whisper. " Can I come in?”

Amanda hesitated. Then stepped aside. She and Steve waited for Jack to say something.

Head down, he began.

Jack Hayes had lost his wife ten years ago.  On Christmas Eve. He missed her so much. So wrapped up in his own self pity he'd
worked himself into the ground ever since, taking everyone with him, including Amanda.

Jack looked at his ex employee, pain in his eyes. “Last night I had the most terrifying nightmares.I was made
to face up to how I've been behaving all these years. I got to see how I'd end up if I don't change.” He buried his face in his hands. “It
was horrible.”
>
Ghosts from Christmas past. Surely not, thought Amanda.

“Please come back in January.”

Eyes wide she turned to Steve. He took her hand in his.

“Okay. I'll give it a go.”

Christmas morning was filled with excitement and laughter.

At one o'clock the traditional turkey with all the trimmings was placed on the table.

Amanda, Steve, the children and both sets of grandparents cheered.
Including Jack Hayes.

“Merry Christmas.”

 

We loved Anita's take on a certain Dickens tale. She wins £100 and a WriteStars winners' certificate.

 

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Congratulations to Elizabeth Ducie - £100 winner of 'Manchester Madness' with her 300-word entry, 'Composition for Two Left Feet'. We really felt for her character, and loved the little duck image ...

 

Composition for Two Left Feet,

by Elizabeth Ducie


My 'Baby Diary' records me jiggling around to Tchaikovsky at the age of five months. At four, I attended my first dance at my aunt's wedding. When the band played, I bounced at the edge of the dance floor, until my father lifted me onto his feet and walked me through the waltz.

When my sisters took Irish Dancing lessons, I helped my mother embroider Celtic symbols on skirts and shawls; Saturdays were spent watching young hopefuls vie for medals. In the school’s short-lived contemporary dance club (five members; lasted only one term) I made long sweeping movements with my limbs to Holst's Planet Suite — Mars was always my favourite.

At Youth Club, I bopped around my handbag with the best of them — during the fast numbers anyway. One of my fellow University students was great at the Jive. He tried to teach me, but gave up despairingly.

Finally, aged 27, I accepted what my friends and family had always known. Despite my love of music, my classical training, my success as a composer; despite all this, I was born with two left feet and the sense of rhythm of a ruptured duck.

I moved on; concentrated on making music for other dancers. Tonight sees the premiere of my ballet Uncoordinated Melody at the Manchester Opera House, starring two of the biggest names in the business. Everyone in the dance world is here; I'm confidently expecting my usual critical acclaim.

But part of me would give it all up for the opportunity to float elegantly across the dance floor just once. During my interview on Breakfastthis morning, that nice Mr Stayt asked if I’d ever consider becoming a judge on Strictly.

A judge?’ I said, ‘Charlie, I don’t want to be a judge; I want to be a contender!’


 

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Congratulations Sandra Morgan, winner of our £100 'Scare Night' competition, with her funny and touching story, 'A Drop of the Hard Stuff'.

And to runner-up Uwe Schwarze for his ghostly and evocative tale, 'The Arrival'.

Scroll down to read both entries ...

 

A Drop of the Hard Stuff, by Sandra Morgan

Horace finished treating the hostas with his homemade slug killer, a noxious brew that smelt remarkably like whisky.  He screwed the top back on the bottle. "Zap the buggers. That's it."

Before going indoors, he stopped to study the star-studded inky sky, remembering how him and Daisy used to gaze at the stars.  She was gone now, his old gal, but he still missed her like a limb had been ripped off. My prince, she used to call him. Ah, happy days.

He closed the back door and shuffled into the parlour, returning the bottle to its usual home.  "Another day gone."  He often talked to himself, not expecting an answer.

But this time he got one and its sneering tone chilled him to the bone. “Could be your last, Grandad.”

Horace’s weak old ticker gave a sickening lurch as a coarse fleshy face materialised out of the shadows.  Before he knew it he was trussed up like a turkey.

“You squawk, sunshine, ‘an you’ll feel these round yer scrawny neck.”

The intruder held these up.  In the light shining in from the street lamp, Horace saw enormous fingers like bloated bladders.

“Where d'you keep yer cash, old man?”

Horace had never been one of life's heroes. “In a tin behind the telly.”

At the same time as wings began to thrash and beat in Horace's chest, he became aware of something glowing outside.  Down in the street, moving with measured dignity, he saw a haloed funeral procession, and more, the mourners smiling up at him were all his passed over loved ones.   Atop the burnished coffin HORACE lay spelled out in white crysanthemums, and sitting beside it was Daisy.

As his eyes dimmed, her soft words wrapped themselves warmly about his old bones, “I walked slowly, my prince, so you might catch up one day.”

The intruder failed to notice how Horace gave a contented sigh and breathed his last.

Oi, Grandad, what you got to drink? What was that bottle I saw you come in with?”

When Horace didn’t reply, the intruder prodded the old man's inert form several times. He grinned malevolently.  “Gone an’ croaked on me, ‘ave yer?  I'll toast yer passing then.”

In the twilight, he lumbered over to where Horace had placed the bottle.  He took it down, unscrewed the top and sniffed.  With a satisfied grunt, he threw back a generous mouthful.  His gurgling cry was instant. With his mouth opening and closing like a landed trout, he clutched his throat and staggered towards the window, trying to open it.  Gasping for air, his bulging eyes met the last sight they would ever behold: outside, down in the street, a cheering, exulting funeral procession of his past victims danced like devils possessed as they followed a bare old wooden box glowing an evil dull red.

And there strutting spryly ahead of it all was Horace, grinning up at him wolfishly with one finger raised.

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We loved this story - funny, witty and with a brilliantly satisfying end.

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Runner-up in our 'Scare Night competition is ...

‘The Arrival’

by Uwe Schwarze


Our ship had arrived around 10am, slightly later than scheduled, and was now firmly moored alongside the Ocean Terminal in Manhattan.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” I heard the captain’s drowning voice, broadcasting from one of the remaining loudspeakers. “Welcome to New York. As soon as US immigration has cleared the ship, disembarkation will commence...”

“Passengers travelling in first and second class, please use gangways: ‘A&B’, located midships on deck six. Guests in steerage, please be patient and wait for final announcements!”

I was in no particular rush to leave the ship, as my connecting transport to the future no longer carried a departure time, so I aimed for the open decks to take my final stroll and a last glance at the skyline. Passing by the grand lobby, where the clock, precariously hanging over the impressive, downward spiral staircase, was striking ‘time up’, I observed some lifeless passengers silently whispering their ‘farewells’.

Now staring in disbelief into a golden mirror, polished to perfection, as one would expect to find on a liner of this reputation, I couldn’t make out my own reflection. All I saw was just a hollow shadow of my former self, seemingly dripping wet and showing signs of complete exhaustion and fear. Panic set in and I tried to breathe but only water filled my lungs.

The ship’s never-ending corridors were almost deserted; an icy gust howling along its grey, ocean-deep carpets. A few stewards lingered about, pretending to collect unused life vests, now neatly storing them away, in readiness for the next un-scheduled crossing. A pale, translucent governess was panicking; in vain trying to catch up with an escaping toddler. A floating butler, struggling to deliver an empty bottle of champagne on a silver tray, was knocking soundlessly on the disintegrated, rosewood cabin door of his master’s vacated parlour-suite.

Finally on deck, glancing over the ship’s broken railings, I watched the first group of shivering passengers crawling over the gangway; heading for ‘arrivals’, where a mountain of decaying trunks and suitcases had been piled up. Then, suddenly, this mountain came to life, each item now flying; mysteriously steered, in search of its lost owners.

Looking around the decks, trying to absorb some warmth from the morning sun, shining straight through the hologram of my departed body, I noticed that one of the ship’s four black funnels was missing. On closer inspection I also realized that all the life boats had disappeared; no longer cluttering up the teak promenades. The steamer chairs had been re-arranged, now all neatly lined-up in rows; facing yesterday.

In the distance, on the quayside, I could make out a newspaper boy, distributing an extra print of the latest New York Times, shouting...

“Titanic sunk, most passengers feared dead!”

“No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong!” I screamed at him from the top of my lungs. “Just look at us, we are over here. Open your eyes, boy! Can’t you see?”

“We have arrived!”


 

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Winner of 'Summer Write' - September 2014 ..

 

Fourth of August

by Anna Mazzola

Everyone remembers where they were on that day. What they’ve forgotten, in the years that have passed, is that there wasn’t just one picture. There were many.

It had been a summer of fierce sunshine, of daytrips to Brighton, of parades and picnics, and fireworks in Crystal Palace Park. But simmering beneath it all was an undercurrent of violence: industrial disputes and protest rallies, suffragettes slashing paintings, the shadow of civil unrest in Ireland.

By that Tuesday, the first day back after the bank holiday, a new, greater threat was taking shape. On my way to work, I passed billboards shouting news of impending disaster and, at the station, I saw streams of people trying to board trains out of London. I was seventeen then and worked in the Army & Navy on Victoria Street. During our cigarette break, I stood with the other sales clerks in a close circle outside the back door.

‘They say they’re gonna march through Belgium,’ Ernest said. He was a thin boy with ginger hair that stood up in tufts.

‘But why should we get involved?’ The end of Edie’s cigarette glowed red as she inhaled. ‘What’s it got to do with us?’

‘Our chaps have to come to their defence,’ Ernest explained. ‘It’s a matter of national honour, that’s what it is.’

I nodded. ‘National honour.’

We felt that we were at the heart of it, being there in London where all the decisions were taken and orders given. Of course, none of us really knew anything.

In the streets, people milled about nervously, trying to work out what was going on, or queued outside the grocery stores to try and buy supplies for the weeks ahead. Ernest told us that the Stock Exchange had closed and that the bank rate had doubled.

‘You should see the crowds outside the Bank of England,’ he said. ‘They’re all trying to exchange notes for gold. It’s bedlam.’

During the afternoon, Edie managed to get hold of a paper and we crowded around as she read out the news:

‘England has sent an ultimatum to Germany, to expire at eleven o’clock, demanding the immediate withdrawal of her troops from Belgium.’

For a moment, we were all silent.

‘Eleven,’ Edie said. ‘That’s only a few hours away.’ She sounded frightened. ‘They’ll never agree, will they?’ She looked at me.

But I didn’t know. None of us did.

 

When we left the store that evening, we found Victoria Street was a one-way stream of workers making their way to Whitehall. We joined the flow of people: young men in straw boaters mostly, but also girls in calico dresses, their arms golden from the sunshine. At Westminster, they stood in groups, talking excitedly. Scores of motor-cars wound around them but the crowds had brought the trams to a halt. The air was full of rumour of newspapers closing down, of theatres shutting. I think we all knew that life might be about to change forever. We just didn’t know how.

As the warm evening darkened and lamps were lit, the mood of the crowd began to turn from anxious to jubilant. More and more people converged on Whitehall, many waving the Union Jack and Royal Standard. Occasionally, a group would burst into a rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’ and, whenever an ammunition wagon lumbered past, the flash of khaki would prompt a fresh surge of enthusiasm.

Ernest and I drank ginger beer and talked of joining up. We had no fixed idea of which branch of the army we wanted to join.

‘Come on,’ I said. ‘We’ll be lucky if we’re accepted anywhere.’

I had no military training, very little education and, like Ernest, was scrawny and pigeon-chested.

‘Yeah, you might be right,’ he said. ‘It’ll be over in a few weeks anyway. That’s what everyone’s saying.’

At around ten o’clock, we pushed our way up towards the Foreign Office in Downing Street. This was where the crowd was at its most dense as it was where they’d first hear of any German reply. The cheering and singing by this stage were near continuous, the excitement almost palpable in the smoke-filled air.

A few minutes after eleven, word began to spread through the crowd. The British demand had been rejected. Britain had declared war on Germany. First, there was shouting –‘Down with Germany!’ and ‘God save the King!’ Breaking through this came the chime of Big Ben and, as the first stroke of the hour boomed out, a huge cheer went up. We were at war.

 

When I look back now, sitting in my chair in my study, the scene seems ridiculous. How could we have celebrated the beginning of four years of some of the most terrible slaughter and suffering that the world had ever seen? But we couldn’t have known that sixteen million would be slain, or that another twenty million would be mutilated. That Europe would be blasted with revolution and famine, split apart by hatred, destroyed by debt.

In the glow of my desk lamp, I look at a photograph of that day, the 4th of August 1914. Thousands of men and women lift their arms and hats in the air, jubilant. That wasn’t the only scene. Across that hot summer night in London there were many others – mobs destroying German shops and restaurants; anti-war protesters mounting the plinth at Trafalgar Square; people weeping in the streets. But it was the pictures of crowds rejoicing that the newspapers wanted to print. And now they’re all that remains of that day, together with my memories, but they are fading. I put down the paper, reach across the table and switch off the light.

 

END

Winner of Chapter One, Cambridge - August 2014 ..


CROSSING  A  BRIDGE

by Frances Colville

 

Could she really be almost sixty?  How was that possible?  How could  more than forty years have elapsed since she first walked along Garret Hostel Lane, crossed over the Cam, disdaining, with the patronising condescension of an insider, the antics of tourists spinning their punts in circles amid squeals of excitement?  She had known then, as she admired the Autumn-coloured creepers on the walls of Trinity Hall, glimpsed Trinity in one direction, Kings in the other, dodged the cyclists heading with their baskets full of books towards the University Library intent on an hour or two of studying followed by tea and homemade cakes in the basement cafe; known without any shadow of doubt that this was where she belonged.  This city, this university was where she wanted to spend her life.  It was quite simply the only place in which she had ever felt comfortable.

Now as she stood on that same bridge, studying the same view, watching identikit tourists - a greater variety of nationalities perhaps than before, but still essentially the same - she wondered what had  happened to her former self; that young woman with her life ahead of her who knew nothing, who suspected nothing, of the traumas to come.  So very little had changed here, yet it could never be the same for her.  She could never recapture the essence of those early days as a student.  Too much had happened, there had been too much - she allowed herself a wry smile - water under the bridge.  Coming back was a mistake.  It had taken her all these years to pluck up the courage, and now that she had finally done it, she knew without a shadow of doubt that she should have heeded all the warnings and stayed away.

 

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Winner of Chapter One, Brighton - August 2014 ...

 

 

Somebody Somewhere (for DC)

By Marie Robinson

 

Somebody somewhere smiles. ‘You need to count backwards,’ the velociraptor told me. ‘It’s a great way of fooling your brain.’ We had just left Preston Park on a morning that was bright, fresh and, thank goodness, without any sign of rain. ‘He’s right,’ Spiderman joined in. I was surrounded by superheroes and heroines both real and imagined. ‘We’ve just passed the three mile marker so instead of saying to yourself three miles run, you tell yourself twenty three to go.’

Somebody somewhere cries. We were passing through the town, the road rising and falling at regular intervals, crowds applauding us. My legs were growing heavier, much sooner than expected. ‘I thought it was supposed to be flat. It said undulations for the first part of the course.’ ‘Yes well,’ a sugar plum fairy replied, ‘we lesser mortals call them hills.’

Somebody somewhere watches the chemotherapy squeeze into their veins. ‘I was beaten by a triangle once,’ Brighton Pavilion tells me. ‘The crowds were cheering me home, I could see the clock counting and I thought, I’m gonna beat my personal best then this streak of red races past me. A ruddy triangle. I laughed myself across the line and promptly puked up.’

Somebody somewhere takes their first steps on prosthetic limbs. ‘Is this your first time?’ asks the woman wearing a Mencap shirt. ‘Yes,’ I breathed. ‘You?’ ‘I ran my first marathon here three years ago and vowed I’d never do it again but, six months later, there I was in my trainers.’ Somebody somewhere reads their first words.

The sea was a wonderful sight along the prom and when the radio announcer called my name the crowd erupted in a cacophony of cheering. I felt I could conquer the world.

Somebody somewhere dies and somewhere…

somebody survives.

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Winner of Chapter One, York November 2013

 

 

The Memory Benches

By Melissa Talago of York - winner of Chapter One, York

It was a crisp Autumn day the first time Joanna met a dead person. The city of York was bathed in sunshine. The tepid variety. Not enough to create real warmth, but better than the eternal grey that moved in at the start of October and loitered for six months. The air had a freshly laundered cleanness to it, particularly up on the City Walls where Joanna was sitting. She'd chosen one of her favourite benches with its dedication, 'For Rupert - who loved this spot'. It faced the Minster whose spires and turrets were boastful in their grandeur. Joanna ignored the cold she could feel leaching up through her trouser legs as she lifted her face to the sun, her eyes closed against the glare. The tension of the last few months gradually melted from her shoulders as she relaxed into the solitude. At this time of day she had the Walls largely to herself. Most people were working. Even the tourists and their cameras were huddling inside Betty's Tearooms instead of sitting out in the chill. Joanna listened to the lull of the passing traffic with just the distant wail of an ambulance and an occasional chattering bird to add the odd melody. Her breathing steadied and slowed...

She wasn't sure if it was the mournful toll of the Minster bells announcing the half hour that nudged her from her doze, but she was suddenly aware that she wasn't alone. She opened her eyes, blinking in the sunlight and looked to her right. There on the end of her bench sat an old man, clutching a tweed cap in his hands.  A gentle lopsided smile crinkled his face making his eyes disappear into triangles beneath bushy white brows.

'Hello,' he said softly. 'I'm Rupert.'

 

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Melissa wins our first prize of £100.

 

 

 

Our National Chapter One competition ...

 

Kate McEwan won the first prize of £100 with ...

Learning to Swim

THE FIRST THING I REMEMBER is flying into the harbour. Flying down … down … through warm sunshine to cool water that soothes my skin as it seeps into my nappy. Seagulls laugh as they flap above me. I clap my hands and laugh, too, as I float on my back in the water, my head cocooned inside in the wide-brimmed bonnet tied under my chin, my sundress ballooning around me, the sea holding me, enfolding me. And then Cyril Fernandez scooped me up in his crayfish net.

Is that really my first memory? I was only a few months old. That’s how everyone said it happened that day, anyway. Even people who weren’t there. I was the baby who fell off her brother’s lap into Kalk Bay harbour and just floated, laughing, blonde curls spilling out of my sunhat into the oily water. My hands weren’t even wet when Cyril Fernandez leant over the stern of the Mary Jane, where he’d been helping Willy Clarence to mend his kreef nets, and gently fished me out. Boetie said I had just slipped out of his hands. Ma, who had been at church while Pa was looking after us, said it was ridiculous of Pa to expect a five-year-old to take care of a baby. ‘What would have happened to Mina if Cyril hadn’t been there?’

But Pa, who had been rod-fishing off the sea wall of the harbour, just laughed. He always said the same thing every time the story was told: “Fila is a Fischer. The sea is in her blood, man. She just wanted to show us she was a water baby.’

My name is Filamina, but Pa always called me Fila’, and Ma, ‘Mina’. Sometimes it felt as though I was tw o different people.

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We loved Kate's entry for the beauty of her evocative language, and the way she peppered her short text with surprises that pushed the story on.

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THOMAS

by Glenys Olley,

Winner of 'Chapter One, Stamford'

He was seven years old when I first met him. His brother owned a quaint, creaky old sweet shop, nestled within the cobbled passageways of Stamford , a majestic, Medieval  town, built of mellowed local stone. He and his mother came in most days after school. He crept in silently, a gangly lad, grey blazer, grey shorts, grey socks....grey. Mingling among the rabble of the other kids, all scrambling for penny chews, he fled to his usual place at the back of the shop.

His mother never missed an opportunity to tell newcomers to the shop, of the day, when just three years old, he picked up the newspaper and read the whole front page! She presented his paintings and people would wonder that the small child huddled at the back of the shop, would be capable of such beautiful work. Lighting yet another Marlborough , she would recite the same lines each time she relayed the story: “Don’t know where he gets it from, it’s not me or his dad,” and she would laugh, a hoarse, husky laugh.

He would sit, barely visible, his slight frame merging into the greyness of the walls, this awkward, genteel child, quieter than the mice that scampered across the stockroom floor. I never saw him smile, or laugh, he never eyed the sweets with delight like the other kids did, he sat, always, head down, engrossed in his book, far, far away.

I longed to see him run around the shop, grabbing for gobstoppers, picking at the liquorice pipes, and licking the lollipops, whilst his mother sucked on her cigarettes, and told the story of her child genius son.

I watched him, as I stood amongst the jars of Bonbons and Rosy apples, shiny jars of sumptuous sweeties, but I never knew him.

 

 

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We could almost smell those sweets! A lovely story; it reminded us of our childhood haunts.

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