Well. Wasn’t that fun?
As you’ll recall, this was this week’s prompt:
We asked you, as we always do, to write us a story about it in 250 words or less. We fully expected at least half of those to be Potter-ish. That did not happen. Instead, you went full-out inspired-to-the-max and came up with all kinds of things.
But we had to choose a winner so we could give them all of the books, and so choose a winner we did.
RUNNER-UP: Liam Hogan
It was plainly ridiculous. The result of watching too many sci-fi horror films too late at night. I should know; I was the one who’d been showing them to him.
“For starters, a house is not alive.” I told him.
He looked at me from under that daft fringe. “Even old ones? Even… Granddad’s house?”
I reddened, but refused to take the bait. The feelings you get as a kid are no basis for rational argument.
“They’re not alive, they can’t sustain life – “
“People live in them…”
“ – and even if they could, what sort of creature would burst out of a second story roof?”
“That,” he said, with a half grimace, “is what’s worrying me.”
I shook my head, an exaggerated expression I’d seen Mum do to much greater effect. “Come on, quit dragging your heels.”
The memory of the old house, its roof burst open, lingered even after it was out of sight. We walked in silence, until Tommy clutched my arm and pointed through a chain-link fence opposite our destination.
A digger stood at a jaunty angle halfway up a pile of bricks. In the low sun, it gleamed black rather than yellow, the swoop of its outstretched arm loomed over us, poised to strike.
I nodded in relief. This was safe, this was known.
I took a deep breath and straightened the sombre tie around his neck as we mounted the wreathed steps and rang the bell of our Granddad’s house for the very last time.
WINNER: Sharon Telfer
“Sorry, hard hats on, please.”
Their entrance had disturbed the air. Dust motes spiralled, a double helix in the shafts of sun.
“It’s actually much more structurally sound than it looks. But got to keep the Health and Safety chaps happy…”
She had expected damp and mustiness. Instead, warmth swaddled her. She thought she could smell baking bread.
“…once one of the most important houses in town… Oh, you’ve seen the Pevsner entry? That fireplace, of course. Magnificent.”
The leaded lights scattered the floor with diamonds. At the edge of her eye she saw something flicker, but when she turned her head, it had gone.
“Yes, we understand the council will be very sympathetic. All sorts of grants available…”
At each tread the wood gave a little, then rocked gently back. Nothing in the house was still.
“Do mind the stairs. The floors have all been treated but it’s still very uneven!”
There were wings around her head, a beating of wings up into the sun. She felt as light as air.
“The pigeons have made themselves at home, I’m afraid. Soon sorted, though, once the roof’s done…”
A down feather settled at her feet. Deep inside, she sensed something shift.
“I say, steady there… All right? As I said, the floors… All part of the charm…”
She would take the test when they got home but already she knew. Time opened up before her.
Congratulations, Liam and Sharon!
And thanks for all the brilliant entries. We’ll be back at ten to ten next Friday with a brand new prompt. Happy weekends, all.
If writing competitions are your bag and you can’t wait until next Friday, why not check out our Wednesday writing exercise? There’s no prize except productivity – but we’d still love to see what you come up with.