Competition winners

I am delighted to announce the results of my creative writing competition. Judge Kate Garrett has been very generous with her time, reading the anonymised entries, deciding on a winner and runners-up, and advising on which entries are worthy of a place in the forthcoming ebook, Broken Reflections. 

So here goes…

The OVERALL WINNER is Ethan Miller for his piece “Panic Slip.” Here’s Kate’s comment on it: “This piece freaked me out, the wet/dry contrast for the end of each of two halves of a body – it’s creepy genius.” Ethan wins a signed copy of Mono, plus the ebooks of The Mannequin and In the Dark Room

There are two RUNNERS-UP: Voima Oy (“Flowers of Alba”) and Ian Foulger (“End Game”), who win the two ebooks. Kate said of Voima’s entry, “The language in this piece is wonderful.” As for Ian’s piece, she had this to say: “Creativity and anxiety at their finest juxtaposition. I love this one so much.”

Kate also made special mentions of the entries by Marc Nash (“Love the language and the way it relates to the image on which it is based”) and Saxon Pepperdine (“This piece is disjointed, stubborn and bleakly wonderful.”)

Joining all of the above in Broken Reflections will be entries by Monsieur Mess, Anjvs, Sean Fraser, David J Wing, Daniel A Nicholls, Danielle Matthews, Pleasant Street, A V Laidlaw and Adam Wimbush.

Thanks to everyone who entered the completion. I shall be in touch with the winner, runners-up and everyone whose work has been selected for Broken Reflections.  In the meantime, here are the top three entries, as chosen by Kate. Enjoy. 

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WINNER: “Panic Slip” by Ethan Miller

It was draped over the edge of the well, flaccid and starting to tear in the middle. Its bones were broken trampled and the sharp edges only made further tears. Its batteries were charged with only enough power to send a tiny neon tingle up and down it’s length. It sang a tired beacon ping ping ping.

The half that finally, after millennia, fell on the outside of the well met the dry matted weeds with relief and a sense of closure. It would dry out there, it would be so much dust under the warm sun.

The half that fell into the well used what little strength it had to writhe in panic. It was not the death that had been washed clean and scheduled with the moonrise. It was darkness and armies that would march through tissue, merging and transforming to make swarms and matrices. Nothing there was just itself, nothing there could possibly recognize itself for more than an instant.

The panic lasted longer that it did; panic turned liquid and locked in cell walls, panic as molecular cogs turning sporadically. There was also panic turned into nocturnal birds that glided in the slippery moonlit atmosphere.

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RUNNER-UP: “Flowers of Alba” by Voima Oy

What fragrance is produced by the white flowers of Alba? It has been compared to the aroma of peonies blasting from a laundromat in November.

No. And it is not the smells of a seaside holiday, the ozone of an approaching storm, the petrichor of Paris, or fresh-cut grass. It is not the gasoline of a truck stop off the interstate, or coffee at 2 am.

But it could be a blend of these things.

It is gathered in the silent gardens where the flowers bloom among the vines of moonflowers and lilies.

It is gathered under the light of the waning moon by the widows of Alba.

It is a scent that never leaves them. It clings to them like dew. It lingers on their fingers, and they cry as if they were cutting up onions.

It is addictive, intoxicating–the perfume of nostalgia, melancholy, saudade.

The flowers weep, tears of snails for the sea.

—–

RUNNER-UP: “End Game” by Ian Foulger

Stereo is on max, Meatloaf screams about a fledermaus transcending from Dante’s inferno.

I sit pondering whether Mozart ever experienced the smell of bat guano?

Is it possible to push a needle into one’s eye without pain?

What does it feel like to inhale fire and let it cook your lungs from the inside out?

Soon I will know and with all the other questions of the universe answered, I may return to tell you or I may not.
Will you wait?

Fool.

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His house

His house incubates memories. As he sleeps, they hatch.

His house is neither here nor there. It occupies a space between watchfulness and insomnia. Grey birds nest on its roof.

His house is a refuge from everything except himself. The floor, walls, roof are fat with him. Water from the taps smells of him.

His house is his world, but he can’t articulate what that really means. Perhaps he doesn’t want to think about it too much.

His house is a little provincial theatre, in which he, his family and friends enact a thousand gentle farces.

His house is home to thoughts that scratch at the windows and gnaw the wallpaper.

His house has its Grand Guignol moments. Fortunately, he is always there with his marigolds on, to dispose of the evidence.

His house is more past than present and more present than future. Ghosts smile weakly from the mantelpiece.

His house is a menagerie, in which the big cats fight the apes. Most visitors don’t notice, sipping their tea while battle roars.

His house is a mirage. He climbs an air staircase, sleeps on cloud.

His house is a nuclear weapon, at the moment of detonation.

His house is a cage. He has given himself straw to lie on, a bowl of water, a car tyre to swing from. In the evenings, he reads Baudelaire.

His house is an alien world. Knives whisper in drawers. A cat activates and deactivates randomly. Rain taps importunately on windows.

His house collapses around him every time he goes to sleep. As he wakes up, it reconstructs itself.

His house is more than words, less than the ear that hears them, the eye that reads them.