Silverlink Writing Group: The Writers


Jo McCullough 


Here are some examples of my work:

Page last up dated 21 June 2010



Silverlink Writing Group June 2010 Competition: 500 words starting with one of four pictures: Doll & ball.

Word Count = 490

WINNER of the Silverlink Writing Group Competition June 2010



   RaggyAnnie lay on the rubbish pile next to Bertie’s old ball, the pair of them now destined for the sharp, vicious teeth of the bin wagon.

              It hadn’t always been like that of course.  In years gone by they’d been the number one toys for Elaine and Bertie.  Elaine had used RaggyAnnie as a comforter until well past her 16th birthday and even then RaggyAnnie had been regularly soaked in teenage tears bemoaning the unrequited love of a pimply youth.

              She bore the scars of traumas over the years; a hand missing where Elaine had thrown her across the room in a toddler tantrum; a clump of hair missing from when Elaine and Bertie had fought vigorously over her one day – Bertie wanting to use her as an ‘action man’ to add to his army.

              Now they were both all grown up, Elaine married to a kind but boring man, who wouldn’t cause her heartache; Bertie an Officer in the Army.

              Simone, their mother was recently widowed in her 50’s, Henry dying suddenly of a massive heart attack.  No longer in need of a four bedroom detached house, Simone was downsizing to a two bedroom apartment, closer to town and her middle-aged friends with their bourgeois hobbies.

              Simone was brutal in her stripping of the family home.  Paying no heed to sentimentality she filled bag after bag full of family trinkets and treasures.  Her emotions in check until she sat down, alone, in the de-cluttered living room with her head in her hands, sobbing bitter tears of loss.

              RaggyAnnie had wanted to reach out and console her, but how could she, she was only a doll, and in pain, having been impaled on a dated candlestick in the jumble and now leaking stuffing from her left side.  Berties old ball lying next to her had suffered the same fate and was now slowly deflating with a squeaking ‘hiss’.

              It rained overnight and RaggyAnnie at the top of her bin bag in the garden got soaked, her hair matted the green ribbon now dangling limp and loose.

              With a heavy heart she peered through the crack in the bag as Simone set her down on the pavement, the refuge collectors due at any time.

              RaggyAnnie heard the rumble of the rubbish cart as it trundled up the hill.  She muttered the prayers that she’d heard Elaine recite at bedtime over all those years.

              Unexpectedly a hand plunged into the bag.  RaggyAnnie gasped, fluffy stuffing erupting from her wounded hem.  She looked into the huge, black eyes of a small, dark-skinned girl.

              The girl spoke to her mother in a language that RaggyAnnie did not understand.  The mother shook her head but the small girl protested until the mother shrugged and acknowledged defeat.

              RaggyAnnie found herself tucked gently into the little girl’s pocket and later, restored to full health by the impoverished but kind-hearted Romanian mother, she began her resurrection.

Silverlink Writing Group June 2010 Competition: 500 words:Two objects: A wallet and a box. Location: A museum.

Word count = 500







A trip to a boring museum was definitely not Anna’s scene.  She could see in her minds eye the dreary old relics behind glass cabinets that she would be forced to look interested in.

It was all Toby’s fault, her little brother.  Why couldn’t she have a ‘normal’ brother who wanted to do ‘normal’ things on his birthday, like having a party or going to a theme park, instead of a ‘weirdo’ brother who loved ‘weirdo’ old objects.

She heard Dad’s car horn honking outside and looked out of the window in time to see him clamouring out of the vehicle with a giant box in his arms.  Toby’s present.  No doubt something utterly useless like a telescope or a chemistry set, these were the type of geeky gifts Toby liked.  She heard her mother yelling for her, “Anna, your father’s here!”

No doubt she couldn’t wait to get Dad out of the house; she made it obvious that she tolerated his presence only for Anna and Toby’s sake.  Her parents had separated two years ago and a bitter divorce had followed.

The cause of the separation was waiting in the car, all sugary lipgloss and flowery perfume. ‘Hi Anna, how are you’ Melissa said nauseatingly sweetly, as if she cared.  Anna just glared at her malevolently.

Simon and Dad chatted cheerily about boy’s things on the twenty minute journey to the museum. Anna sat scowling in the back seat, determined to make everyone’s day as miserable as possible.

Getting his wallet out at the pay booth, Dad asked kindly, ‘would you like a museum guide Anna?’ She looked at him scathingly.

Toby took his eagerly, pointing out the exhibits he definitely wanted to see.  Melissa clacked around on her six inch heels, reeking of Christian Dior and feigning enthusiasm.  Her ‘wow’s’ and ‘ooh’s’ were making Anna feel positively ill.

It was when the three of them were examining some foisty T-rex bone that Anna decided to slip away.  She retraced their footsteps back to the main foyer where she wandered down the steps into the cool afternoon breeze.  The queue had gone now and there was just a man sitting on a wall opposite the entrance.  Now that Anna had made her exit she wasn’t quite sure exactly what she was going to do.

‘Hi,’ the man said.  He was a stocky build, in his mid-twenties with scraggy brown hair tied back in a pony-tail.

‘Hi,’ Anna replied politely, scurrying past looking at the ground.

As she turned right out of the museum gates she realised the man was following her.  She quickened her footsteps and heard his speed up behind her.  Other than a few parked cars the street was deserted.  She could feel his breath on her neck as she started to run, hear his panting.  She was at the back of the museum when he dragged her down into the bushes, stifling her screams with a filthy hand, undoing his zip with the other.



Silverlink Writing Group Competition November / December 2009:- 500 words starting with:- The smell hit him as soon as he opened ther door...

Word Count =468



          The smell hit him as soon as he opened the door….the smell of decay; of rotting, decomposing flesh.

          ‘Get the flashlight Harry,’ he said, putting his handkerchief over his nose.

As Harry ran back to the van to get the torch, he peered into the gloomy darkness of the room.  He could distinguish the shape of disused furniture and could hear the gentle drip, drip from a nearby drainpipe.

‘Here guv’ I got the large one, who knows what we’ll find in there.  The council said this place has been empty for months.  God, that smell is horrendous!’

They moved tremulously inside the room.  These flats were due for demolition in a few weeks.  The last tenant had moved out only last week, stubborn old fellow apparently, had refused to be moved, his family had grew up there, his wife had died there.  He’d shuffled around these corridors with his arthritic old dog until the eviction notice had been forced upon him and the bailiffs had removed him kicking and screaming.

          The old fellow had called the police from his new, clinical room in the nursing home, intimating that there’d been a stench coming from one of those flats.  He knew that odour, he’d smelt the same putrefaction during the war.

         The two men edged their way into the property.  The door squeaked on its hinges behind them.  By torchlight the old sofa looked stained and filthy.  The sound of a rat scuttling across the floor made both men jump.

          ‘Don’t think there’s anything in here,’ Harry said, shining the torch into all four corners of the squalid room.  ‘Shall we have a look in there,’ pushing the door through into what used to serve as a bathroom but was now just a grimy, rusty relic.  Stale urine assailed their nostrils adding to the unpleasant fragrance of the flat.

‘God this place is disgusting.’

‘Yeah, Harry lets hurry up and get out of here.’

          A door on the opposite side of the living space led into a small chamber, empty except for a battered, single wardrobe.  The rancid stink was overpowering in there.  Harry started retching and vomited in the corner.

         They gingerly approached the wardrobe, both of their hearts pounding at what they knew they were bound to find.

          There was a key hole in the wardrobe door but the key was missing and the door was locked.  ‘We’ll have to prise it open Harry.’

          They managed to hook the tips of their fingers around the ridge of the doors and heaved, the sweat standing out on Harry’s forehead with the effort.   A loud cracking noise signified the breaking of the lock and as the doors flew open they both screeched in terror as the chopped up body parts fell out on top of them.


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