Silverlink Writing Group: The Writers

 

 Jacqueline A

Here are some samples of my work.

Page last up dated 6 June 2011

 

SWG March/May 2011 Competition. Object: A Remote control... Location:... A shopping mall, late at night whien it is closed... You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 499

WINNER OF MARCH/MAY 2011 COMPETITION

STORY A:


Keeping Little George Happy

Although it was not an official duty for Mrs Lo she liked to ensure that Little George was always happy. Whilst she busied herself in scrubbing at the floor tiling of the shopping mall Little George sat at his security desk and watched the night time hours pass. Little George was an important man for he was the security guard and a very valued employee. He even allowed her to keep a small part of the meagre coinage that she found as she worked her way through the new indoor complex. Little George’s wife needed new things to keep her happy so Little George was very generous in giving her a portion of her findings. Of late Little George had not been as happy as Mrs Lo had wanted. It seemed that the newly affluent shoppers were becoming more wary and her rewards were getting less.

Mrs Lo was glad that Little George found some solace in watching the national ping pong competition on the television his wife’s nephew had so kindly provided for him. Little George’s wife does not like televisions. Little George would soon become mesmerised by the to and fro of the sport and it was not long before he fell into a deep snoring sleep. When the remote control fell from its perch of his large round belly, where Little George liked to keep it so that he did not have to stretch too far, Mrs Lo bend down to pick it up. It had fallen down into the corner of the security desk.

She had not expected to see three pairs of startled eyes staring back at her. She crouched back a little allowing her elderly eyes to focus. The three children huddled together waiting for Mrs Lo to make her next move. Little George snuffled loudly as he slumbered.

These were Mrs Song’s grandchildren who often roamed the streets at night time trying to find some way of surviving since their parents had died. Mrs Song was very frail now and relied on them to provide food for them all.

‘You must go. Now!. Little George will not be happy. He will call the police’ Mrs Lo said in quick hushed words. The children grasped each other more tightly.

‘My grandmother needs medicine. She is sick’ said the oldest boy. ‘We have come to find more coins’.

Mrs Lo looked at the three pair of eyes and knew now why it was that her treasured coins had diminished. She looked at Little George as his head lolled, resting on the cushion of his generous neck. She made her decision then.

‘Go now and do not come back’.

She buried her hand into the thickness of her work clothes and produced the tightly bound bundle of coins she kept hidden there. The eldest boy bowed his head as a thank you as he accepted them. The three children scuttled quickly past Mr George’s legs.

Mrs Lo reached for the remote and increased its volume.

SWG January/February 2011 Competition.  Your first line is: The box of chocolates was half finished...  Your middle line is:... All was not lost...   Your last line is: ...And so it came to be. You only have 500 words to tell your story.

Word Count = 499

RUNNER UP OF JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011 COMPETITION

STORY A:

The making of a House Husband.

          The box of chocolates was half finished where the kids had left them next to the soft cushions on the sofa.  They had sheepishly brought them in from the door step where Elizabeth had kicked at them as she passed over them in her fury.  The limp half beaten flowers lounging in the vase looked as sorry as I had done when I had sobered up.  I was surprised that Davie and Frankie had not finished off eating all of the chocolates. 

I moved into the kitchen to boil the kettle to use it for my shave.  I glanced at the unshaven scrawny faced man in the window.  It took a few seconds to realise that this was my own reflection.    I put the kettle down and rubbed at the stubble on my chin.  How many days ago was it that I had last shaved?  Too many.

          ‘Andy Jenkins.  You need to get yourself sorted’.

          I knew then why the kids had not finished the chocolates I had left for my wife as a means of an apology.  They didn’t have the heart.  Our continuous arguing was beginning to take its toll on them.  I had to find a way to keep my family together.

          I started to clear away the mess the kids had left last night as they had been told by Elizabeth to get away up to bed; we had not finished our argument.   I bent down to pick up the small black plastic wallet that Davie had left on the floor. The initials NCIS were clearly stamped on it.  The wallet was a replica ID of some television crime programme.  I could just recall some sort of quarrel about my cashing the cheque then stopping off for a drink at the pub.

Elizabeth had gone back to the door step and had come into me and tossed the flowers at me.  Then picked them up and beat at me with them.  I had laughed then and that had infuriated her more. 

          Then she began to cry.  So did I.

All was not lost.  I knew that much as I had sobered up. I had been wallowing in self pity for too long. 

Time had passed by too quickly and Frankie had already outgrown his hand me down Spiderman slippers. 

Elizabeth was right.  She had been all along.  She always is.  It’s not really that much of an issue that I’m not the one bringing in the wages.  

I was startled momentarily.  I had been deep in my own reverie.  Elizabeth had come downstairs and was heading for the kitchen.

‘Kettle’s boiled’ she said, her voice a reflection of the mood she finds so hard to hide from me.

‘I know. Thanks.  Just leave it will you.  I need the water for a shave’. 

I waited for her to respond.  Seconds seemed to drag on.  I could feel her move out of the kitchen and towards me where I sat next to the chocolates.

‘Good’ she said a smile lightening her face.

I knew then that things would be all right.

And so it came to be.

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition October 2009:- 500 words starting with:- "I think I'm losing my mind!  Please help me?"  said...

Word Count =504 [minus the title and opening line]

Runner Up of the Silverlink Writing Group

Competition April 2010

 

Election fever

 

‘I think I’m losing my mind! Please help me’ said Mrs Johnson in a voiceless panic as she allowed me to squeeze thorough her cautiously opened door.

‘Quick. Quick. Close the door. Don’t let him in’.

Though Mrs Johnson could not speak because of a small opening at her voice box which she had been given to remove a growth she could easily make herself understood to me.

‘Mrs Johnson, Maisie. What’s the matter?  Who are you talking about?’ I said to her whilst obeying her instruction to close the door hurriedly.

‘The man over there, the big man.  He’s watching me all the time. He’s telling me what to do’.  She said this in a heavily breathed way.

I took her over to the light coming in at her living room window.  It was easier for me to see her lips and read what she was saying if I could see them in a better light.

‘His face tells me I have to say yes. I must vote for him’.

‘Mrs Johnson there is nobody there. Who’s making you say things that you don’t want to?’  I was getting a little anxious myself now.

‘I’ve come by myself as usual.  You do know who I am don’t you?’ I had not, until now, seen this sprightly older women appearing to be so upset.

My heart beat fastened a little. I wondered if she was beginning to get confused.  Of all of my clients that I visited in my home help job I loved to visit Mrs Johnson the best.  I never seemed to have any trouble reading her lips when she talked to me voicelessly.  She loved to talk and especially about politics.

She took me by the hand in a firm but quaking grasp and led me to her kitchen window.  Carefully pulling the net curtain aside she looked around for signs of anyone lurking at the outside of her bungalow door.  She tugged twice at my arm indicating that it was now safe and then seemed to relax.  She turned around and smiled her usual smile.  She headed then to the kettle to turn it on.  The anxiety she had greeted me with seemed entirely forgotten.  We talked a while and I did her cleaning and helped her with some more chores.  As I went to put my coat on and to leave I hoped that she was not confused.  She seemed not to be.

Outside I crossed the road and headed towards the bus stop.  I passed the petrol station as I walked.  A waist high long advertising banner fronted the garage forecourt and displayed the face of a South African Football fan, his face painted in the national colours; a black, yellow and green ’y’ shape splitting the stark red and blue tones.  His larger than life face with its dark eyes seemed to follow me as I walked passed.  I glanced over to Mrs Johnson’s bungalow and smiled.  I knew now what she meant.  At the bus stop a brightly coloured election poster blazed out its election panic.


 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition October 2009:- 500 words starting with:- A bunch of flowers and a box lay on the doorstep...

Word Count =500

Winner of the Silverlink Writing Group

Competition October 2009

Doorstep Raid? 

A bunch of flowers and a box lay on the doorstep. The sound of a crackling radio pierced the cool evening air.  Davie the police sergeant glanced over his shoulder, eyeballing his junior officer and signalled with a mute toss of his head.  He was nervous and shuffled on his feet.  Besides that his bladder was getting full.

This new guy was good but not that reliable.  He wasn’t a hundred percent sure that this forensics officer had managed to secure the perimeter.  They couldn’t afford the general public to be allowed to contaminate the scene.  They weren’t quite sure if the box on the step had a bomb in it.  He glanced over his shoulder again and was shocked to see a women moving in from the pavement.

“Get that woman outta here Frankie, “he barked into the radio, “We haven’t secured the scene yet”.

His junior officer was slow to respond and was distracted by the spectacles slipping down his freckled nose.

“Em, Erh, right’, said the younger guy, but stumbled, falling heavily to the ground.  He cried out in pain as his skin scraped concrete.

The police sergeant looked down at his colleague and found it impossible to hide his disgust at this fool.  He glanced up as the women advanced further.   She seemed determined to get somewhere.

“Frankie”, he shouted louder now, waving his arms more quickly as he did so, forcing the youngster to begin to respond.

Before he could halt her the women negotiated the crime scene.  He felt a sharp hot pain on the back of his head, just at the tip of his ear.  The woman moved in down the path to the front door.

“Ouch, Mam, man we’re playin’ NCIS”, he said as he brought his hand up to his ear.  He followed his mother down the path, his water pistol now dangling by his side.  Frankie, followed them too but tripped over again as he slipped out of his Spider Man slippers.  They were getting too small for him to wear.  When he got back to his feet Frankie had a good scratch of his bum, his pyjamas bottoms were irritating him.

“Ah’ll give yu NCIS.  Not Come In Since his giro check was spend down at the pub more like”, his mother had said as she moved over the step.  “You’s two stay out here.” She kicked at her gift of flowers and a chocolate box.  The brothers could do no other than what their mother said.

They sat now on the cold step and listened for their parents to start their usual shouting at each other.  Things had not been the same since dad had lost his job.

The argument began and he could hear the sound of objects in the house being thrown around.  He jumped quickly to his feet, commanding his junior officer to stand back at his post.  This, after all, could turn out to be a hostage situation.

 

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition October 2009:- 500 words starting with:- A bunch of flowers and a box lay on the doorstep...

Word Count =500

Turkish Kebabs

A bunch of flowers and a box lay on the doorstep. Jimmy sat slumped up against his front door. His neighbour’s dog, Penny, sat on her hind legs moving her front paws in a paddling way.  She whimpered a little.  His vision blurred for a moment as the dog’s image separated into two.

“Tuppensh”, he tried to say, in a deep belly laugh.

He turned his face to his unblinking, stony faced doorstep companion.

“Itsa joke.” he said.

The concrete gnome did not reply.  He tried to swing the plastic fish dangling at the end of the ornament’s fishing rod, but kept missing it.

He used his elbow to bang on the door.  He needed to get into his own house and get himself to bed.

Nobody laughs at my jokes anymore he mused miserably.  He turned his spinning head to the other side and eyed a stray flower which had fallen from the step. It must have been one of those he had just picked from a nearby garden – that much he could remember.  The dog Penny had been there too and he had shooed her out of the way as he had stabbed, half bent, at the tulip collection.  There had been something else there too.  He had grabbed it, stuffing it back into the container.

He picked up the stray flower now and waved it around like a baton, conducting an invisible brass band.  He laughed again to himself and sighed deeply.  The pits had closed recently and the village band had gone. Damn the miner’s strike.  Life would never be the same. The dog whimpered again.  He banged once more at his door, muttering for someone to let him in.

“Ts’ not as if I can help it”, he said to the dog, “not my fault nobody else can get a job”.  He threw the red cupped flower at the dog.  She bent her head to sniff at it, “I didn’t finish the pits. Did Ah?”  He was sure now that the whippet was eyeing him critically.

“Shoo.  Shoo.  Shoo, go home. Get away tu ya own door”.  The sudden movement made him nauseated and he could taste the greasy staleness of regurgitated meat.

He laughed again to himself remembering as he had left the house by the back door to go to the pub that he had told his kids that kebabs came from Torquay.  The lads had laughed then and had run into next door’s garden.  They joined the others at the pet rabbit’s funeral, using a makeshift cardboard shoebox coffin.  He had whistled then at his neighbour, egging him on to come and join him in the pub.  He promised that he would stand the man a pint.

Now he could hear someone opening   the door. The dog barked, excitedly and stood up, licking quickly at her lips.  Jimmy grabbed at the box, cradling it like a baby.  He looked at it and slowly lifted its garden soil dirtied lid.

 

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition September 2009:- 500 words starting with:- The weapons hung on one wall of the room...

Word Count =518

The weapons hung on one wall of the room

The weapons hung on one wall of the room and hung above Conroy’s head like prize sports trophies.  They were encased in glass box.

“Those real or just toys?” she had asked the man as he sat at his desk striking a pose of ease.

She had been with him in this meeting for more than ten minutes now and she needed to get him off his guard.  This undercover case was too important to spoil now and so she knew she had to steer the conversation  towards his fraudulent tax dealings.

“What do you think Miss Dearham? Give me your guess.” he said as he took his feet from the desk and sat forward into it giving her his attention.

He continued though to twirl the elastic band between the two forefingers of his hands one rotating around the other and back again.  She knew then that he was trying to hide his agitation.

“Why so formal Gary?  After all we were partners last night”.  She said raising her eyebrows a little and giving him a smile.

It was best not to let him think that she was over playing it.  She had been warned not to entrap him – everything that he said at this meeting would have to be used in court.  They needed to find him guilty first then the other crimes would be brought into the sentencing.  Her inspector had been trying to get at this man for such a long time.  Her guise as a dishonest tax auditor with serious debt problems because of her gambling addiction was beginning to work. They had met several times in the casino and it had been him who initiated the meeting here after their game at the table the night before.  She had let him think that he was doing her a favour by offering to lend her money for her expertise of tax account movements.  It was he who had set this meeting up now.  She just needed to catch him out.

“Well then Pauline, what do you think? Live rounds or not?” as he asked this he leant back in his chair again. His feet were propped on the desk edge.

“Mmm”, she said, “I don’t know yet.  I’ll reserve my judgement if you don’t mind.”  She flicked through his accounts document s again giving the impression that she wanted to get him to focus on these.

“Speaking of judgement – what do you think about those then?” He asked this, as again, he twirled the elastic band in his hands.

“I think that there have been some ingenious movements of the accounts and it would be very difficult to prove anything to the tax man”.  She looked up at the rifle case hanging on the wall behind him.  “A bit like me not knowing if those guns are loaded or not I suppose. A bit of Russian Roulette.”

She picked up an elastic band herself now and began to twirl it as he had.  The opponents faced each other.  Each with their poker face set.

 

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition May 2009:- 500 words starting with:- The heat haze shimmered above the road, it had not rained in weeks...

Word Count =490

Winner of the Silverlink Writing Group

Competition August 2009 

The heat haze shimmered above the road, it had not rained in weeks

The heat haze shimmered above the road, it had not rained in weeks.  This animal trail was the only way in and only way out of the canyon.  A pack of coyotes slinked across the haze, breaking the illusion of shining water as they nuzzled in the dust.  They were hungry and looking for food.  Sharp Hand crouched in the rocks, his youngest son, Silver Fish by his side.  Neither made any noise or movement.  To do so would risk their lives.  The trickle of perspiration ran down his face, tracking into his tribal scars.  He was tempted to close his eyes against the salty sting of it.  A droplet of it hung off his eyelash before dropping into the red sandy dirt.  Sharp Hand kept his stare.  They were down trail of the scavengers but it would not be long before the animals would pick up their scent.   He could feel the heat of the child by his side, not yet thirteen summers old.  Skin touched skin.  The youngster’s flesh quaked though he tried not to let it show.

His sons had all been brave, as had his other tribe members.  They had fought against the white man with his fire irons who had taken the land which had belonged to his father and his father before him.  They did not cherish the buffalo.  To Sharp Hand’s tribe this was the most majestic and holy of all animals.  The white man had slaughtered them in their hundreds.  Now his tribe was mostly destroyed and they hid out in the rocks like the animals.  Sharp Hand sang a silent prayer song to the spirit of the buffalo who lived now in the skies.  He needed all the help he could muster.  His eyes moved downwards to the sand in which the two men lay.  He saw a black mite crossing over his son’s muscular arm.  Silver Fish did not flinch, though Sharp Hand was sure his son could feel it.

The coyotes gathered together, snarling and snapping at each other’s snouts as they too tired in the  drought dry earth.  The younger members kept a distance from their seniors they knew their order in the pack.  Long trails of silver like saliva hung from the corners of their jaws, belying the thirst and hunger the wild beasts felt.   Suddenly a large dog heading the hunt snapped his nose into the air.  He had found a clue to their next meal.  In a high pitched but almost silent growl he gathered the other hunters to his side.  The group all turned as one, bending their hind legs in readiness for to sprint.  Above the rocky canyon and standing on its jagged edge a lone buffalo stood looking into the basin below.    Sharp Hand now felt a presence on the edge above and behind  him.   A shadow cast across the road.  Without the passing of one more second the ravenous, furious wolves set off in their pursuit.  They made their way firstly through the rocks.

 

 

Silverlink Writing Group Competition May 2009:- 500 words starting with:- The door opened ... The door slammed shut.

Word Count 505

RUNNER UP of the Silverlink Writing Group

Competition May 2009

 

No exceptions

The door opened. My name was chalked on the board as I moved in and Alan Wilson followed. I didn’t look up. I couldn’t. There was nothing I could say.

“We’ll get somebody in obviously, perhaps from out of county”, he said to me.

Yes, of course I answered with a mute nod. It was the best thing to do.

It all happened so very quickly.

It had been a lovely sunny evening and we had been in party mode with the barbeque when I got the call to come in. It shouldn’t be long Alan had said into my phone as I held it and then I’d be able to get back to the celebrations. The birthday party was in full flow and I had to leave. I muttered about the inconvenience of it but had then added that I’d be in as quickly as I could.

I drove along the road that lead into the village with the sun was glaring into my eyes. I knew the road well enough and I had done this route so many times. It was also the quickest way in. If things weren’t too complicated at this end, I had thought to myself, I’d be finished in an hour or so and could head back. As I drove quickly around the tight corners my mobile phone and duty bag slipped around the passenger seat where I had placed them in a hurry as I set off. Alan had explained that it had been an outsider, a visitor to the village, who had got so drunk he’d fallen over and hit his head. The man had been in full throw of a fight and so had to be brought in.

If I was quick enough I’d be able to do a full head exam, take some bloods and fill in the paperwork. I was getting nearer to the village now and the setting sun was deep orange bright, shining, casting long shadows as I drove through. I remembered then about the barbeque sauce I had made and forgotten to get out of the fridge. I reached for the mobile and dialled home. Suddenly there was an appearance of a shadow and a gleam of bicycle metal and the sickening thud of flesh against my car. I screeched to a halt but knew even then it was too late. I realised I was still holding the mobile in my hand. The sun was still too bright, shining into my face

Back now in the police cell Alan, the duty sergeant, looked at me. I was completely mute. I also knew that there would be no exceptions. Turning to move out of the room he cleared his throat to speak.

“We’ll have to do bloods for alcohol levels and get the duty solicitor in.”

I nodded.

“Out of everybody in this village I thought you would know better. You should not have been using your phone. You were driving.”

He moved out of the cell. The door slammed shut.

 

 

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