A while ago I posted my short story ‘School’, and hoorah and huzzah, it won the competition! I received some lovely feedback from the judges, and I have won £75 worth of books. It is the first 247 tales entry I’ve written that won, so I’m very proud 🙂 Here is the link to the competition page http://247tales.wordpress.com/winners-library/july-2013/ . Love you all lots and lots! Gertie xxxx
Your sad lonely eyes
stare up from the bin.
I’m too old for you now,
but this feels like a sin.
Teddy, oh darling teddy,
you always were the best,
but now I’m thirteen,
you must be binned with the rest.
I remember very well
how I took you everywhere
and at dinner, I insisted,
you simply must have a chair.
You were always there
when I laughed or shed a tear
and when I told my secrets
you always seemed to hear.
You had so many outfits
you sparkled head to toe.
As I remember, I wonder
where did all your clothes go?
Yet you must stay inside the bin,
I am much too old.
I hope, dear Ted,
that I don’t seem cold.
Why am I talking to you anyway?
It’s not as if you can listen.
But as I stare at your poor small face
my eyes begin to glisten.
I suddenly realise,
I really do need my bear.
Just because I’m thirteen
doesn’t mean I do not care.
I’m never too old for you,
I need you, I cannot lie.
I promise I will keep you
Right up until I die.
I put one foot in front of another, yearning to turn my head, just once, so I could see her face, so I knew she truly was there, and this wasn’t some monstrous trick on Hades’ part. However, I had to trust him; no mortal had ever escaped the underworld, and the thought of life without Eurydice was unbearable. I couldn’t hear footsteps behind me. I called her name anxiously- she shouted mine, but her voice seemed so distant; it echoed around the dark cavernous walls. But it was there, and how sweet it was! Sweeter still than my harp which lulled the guards to sleep. My eyes creeped sideways by their own will; many times I dragged them back. The damp walls of the cave seemed even more sorrowful and bleak when I knew the absolute beauty that walked behind me. I ached to see her face… Surely a mere glimpse couldn’t be noticed? I thought of Hades’ black, merciless eyes. Yes, he would notice. Tears dropped down my face as I thought of how long my love had spent in this terrible place. A light slightly illuminated the blackness ahead, shining off the river Styx. I crossed the river, praying that Eurydice would be able to cross. The light was bright now; I stepped out into it, until I was engulfed in light. Relief and joy flooded through me; I turned..
“Orpheus!” she shouted.
She was still in the darkness.
She disappeared in an instant.
It’s amazing the things you learn at school.
Louis learnt that you can always tell when a teacher wears a wig from the colour of their eyebrows.
He learnt that you could always get away with doing no History homework, because Miss Partridge believed the ‘I left it at home’ line every time.
He learnt that you must never, ever make friends with Joshua Mindles, because then nobody else would ever speak to you. Ever.
He learnt that the hard way.
He learnt nothing from his teachers because he didn’t listen to them.
They had nothing worth listening to, in his opinion.
Why listen to rubbish about Pythagoras when that bird soars so gracefully overhead?
No reason at all.
He learnt that if you assumed the correct blank expression and copied off the right people in class, you would never be stupid or clever enough to be noticed.
That was good, he learnt.
Being stupid meant calls to parents, extra tutoring and more attention.
Being clever meant teasing from classmates, extra exams and more attention.
He learnt that humans were stupid.
Animals were better people.
Can a human spin a web?
Does a human have beautiful feathers that gleam in the sunshine?
Will a human be his friend?
So Louis sits in Maths class, pencil behind ear, watching a rabbit edge gently by the window. The classmates don’t talk to him.
Louis is happy.
It’s amazing, the things you learn in school.
Benjamin didn’t cry, as his brothers did, when the cheetah killed the gazelle. It was beautiful how the blur of orange and black dashed along the grass of the zoo enclosure, and though the gazelle was fast and elegant, it had nowhere to run. Benjamin watched the hunt open-mouthed, face pressed against the bars. His mother struggled with his brothers behind him, not noticing the youngest child watching the predator catching its prey with such fascination. The gazelle’s legs were swift and willowy; it cantered across the grass, becoming increasingly agitated as it realised it was trapped. Its slender frame skidded to a halt as it reached another wall, and it frantically struggled to turn round but…
The cheetah approached. Its paws pounded the ground; they should have made a noise like the beating of a drum, but they were quiet as a whisper in the dead of night. The sun beat down on its lustrous tawny yellow fur, the spots like eyes against it. It moved more gracefully than the gazelle, like a the shadow of a swooping bird. Its legs were a blur of yellow, and the gazelle’s eyes were wide; it stuck out its small horns, and just as Benjamin’s mother turned round, unblocking the boys’ view, the cheetah ripped out the gazelle’s throat in a frenzy of blood.
Benjamin did not cry. He watched in silence, not in mourning for the gazelle, nor in shock, but in an odd reverence for the cheetah.
Does anyone spring to mind when you read this? I was thinking of many people.
Oh yes, they all said, she was a glamorous beauty. He blonde hair was always lustrous, silky and you could be certain, after a photo-shoot, all the girls in England would have theirs identical the next day. Her face was perfectly symmetrical, the souring contours of her face aloof and beautiful in every way, and her dresses sparkled almost as much as her blue eyes. She was hot, shocking, and amazing. And her role in Loved, Lost and Forgotten? Wonderful. She sang; she danced; she acted. A true star. Hollywood loved her; her face was plastered over the posters, the glossy editions of Hello!. She couldn’t leave the house those days; she’d be engulfed in a vast crowd of paparazzi, chanting her name, taking her photos, begging for autographs. Those were the days…
And then… it stopped. Everything. Her career in acting was over, they said. She wasn’t such a good singer as that. Nor a decent dancer. She was old. Where was the fresh meat? That was when she’d had her breakdown.To be expected, they all said, it’s what showbiz does to you. And she was off the radar..
Now she sits naked before her mirror, surrounded by photos of her youth. She looks so different. The wrinkles streak down her face like scars. The tattoos look so out of place on an old woman. The deformed, twisted face from a lifetime of botox…
She is a dead star.
I haven’t posted much lately because I have been writing my first novelette (it sounds too big-headed to call it a novel!), but now I have finished my first draft, I can start writing short stories again. I’m a bit rusty, so please give me some feedback so I can get back in check. Thanks 🙂 Gertie xxxxxx
“Getting along in school is complicated, but it’s okay- you have us. Stop looking at Josh; he’s like, so weird. Talking to him is social suicide. You want people to like you, right? Good. Okay, take down your hair. You look like such a geek with it scraped back! Wow, you need help. Take some of my lipgloss. First rule of school is stay with us. If you’re on our side nothing can happen to you. If you want to know what happens to girls who don’t stick by us, just take a look at Samantha Perks, over there in the corner. OMG, have you seen what she’s wearing? She’s really let loose since we broke friends. Anyway. Secondly, don’t be clever, but don’t be dumb. Clever girls have no friends, and definitely get no boys. And they smell of garlic. Don’t be stupid though; there is nothing more annoying. Just dumb yourself down a bit. Third. Take your tie off. Yes, I know, it’s uniform, but I mean, purple? It’s just not flattering for a girl’s complexion. You’ll get a demerit, but nobody cares, I mean not unless you’re a total nerd or something. Roll your skirt up, girl! What do you look like? Ugh, I hate girls who wear their skirts past their knees. Shh, we can talk later, Miss is here. Oh, and welcome to Greenhall High!” Ahana looked trustingly into Rhiannon’s eyeliner-rimmed blue eyes. She smiled. Everybody was so friendly at high school.
WOW I haven’t posted for a while! I can promise a torrent of writing soon though…
I was absolutely beautiful as I walked down the aisle, and I was certain of this. I smiled slightly as I walked, aware that all eyes were fixed on me, and only me, the women jealous of me, the men envious of foolish Edward. I heard gasps from the people I passed. I was sure they were noticing my elfin figure, my enchanting eyes, my Creole complexion. Edward was standing perhaps two yards ahead of me, but I didn’t let my gaze pass to the man I was about to enslave myself to. Instead I shot sweeping glances at my audience, who were all enthralled. Father was amongst the crowd. He looked slightly deranged, despite my best efforts, pleased to be rid of me and my ‘condition’ and triumphant on having fooled poor Edward. Edward. I looked into his eyes now; we were only a yard apart. Foolish Edward. He claimed to love me, and perhaps he honestly was under this delusion his father and mine had forced on him, but he loved my beauty and riches. I knew his father was aware of the Mason ‘condition’ and had been offered a rather large amount of money to bribe him to persuade Edward to marry me, and I also knew he had neglected to inform Edward of this valuable knowledge. Why should he find out? Our marriage benefited him as he would gain our riches; our marriage benefited me as I would not be forced to an asylum when the ‘condition’ struck. Of course when it did strike, I was aware that his love would rapidly wear off, but by then it would be too late. I felt no guilt about this because I don’t believe I was capable of it and Edward was so very foolish and arrogant.
I was quite lost in this train of thought when I realised it was my turn to proclaim ‘I do’.
“I do,” I said, quite without feeling, though of course, Edward did not notice, being incapable of noticing anything. He gave me a look that could almost be mistaken for affection and kissed me. It was all I could do not to slap him and retch from his lips touch. I was no longer Miss Bertha Mason. I was Mrs Rochester.
It was two weeks later when I had the first fit of madness. Edward ignored it. Then another. Then another. Then I was locked in my room with the wretched Grace Poole.
I will probably be here all my life.
I am an odd creature. I have an annoying habit of jotting down interesting conversations while people are talking. I use words that people have to look up in the dictionary when I’ve gone. I am always on the outside of things, watching, noting. I can spend hours obsessing over which word to use. I think about words as if they have character. I like the name ‘Malacky’. I use people I know and weave them into stories. I mentally correct people’s grammar when they are speaking to me, and then forget what they are talking about. I spend most of my life in front of a keyboard. I have never quite understood the concept of numbers. I often stare blankly into space, dreaming of another world. I read books and think ‘I could write that sentence better’. I fall in love with characters in books. I always have a pen on me. What am I?
I’m writing a Victorian story and this is the prologue. Enjoy! xxx
The man slipped through London’s murky streets, insubstantial as a shadow. Anyone who encountered him forgot him immediately; he was just a shadowy figure fading into the darkness. That was how he liked it. Men of his profession do not wish to be noticed. His knife did not glint in the moonlight; nor did his eyes gleam with anticipation. That was for amateurs. A true expert of his profession had to blend in with the night.
He grew closer and closer to the house. He permitted himself a grin, white teeth glistening. This would be the final job. Shuddering, the man forced himself into the dim light of the street. He glanced around. No peelers. Good.The house, despite its impressive size, was exceptionally easy to break into, he noted; he’d have to change that when it was his. The window round the side swung open easily. The man slipped inside.
Once inside, the man took in his surroundings with one sweeping glance. The floor, a grand marble affair, could cause some problems; every step a huge clattering cacophony- but then, his ears were good. They needed to be when he had as many enemies as he did. The room was very grand, gleaming furniture everywhere, and vases of expensive flowers. Soon to be his, the man thought, almost dreamily, although not quite because he was utterly focussed on the job in hand.
A beautiful winding staircase was in the middle room. The man padded up the soft carpeted steps, silent as a cat, not even his breathing was audible. At the top was the mahogany door. Behind it lay his prey. He slunk through the door, to see a man and his wife safely asleep in bed. No, not ‘safely’ he corrected himself, they were anything but safe now.
The sleeping man was identical to him in every way, save for a faint scar upon one cheek. The man advanced on the bed-and tripped over a shoe. That was his first mistake. The sleeping man jerked awake. Identical eyes bore into each other. The man in bed opened his mouth, perhaps to scream, but no sound came out; the only sound was the vibration of the knife, which was stuck in the his throat. That was the first murder. The murderer bit his lip in annoyance. There was blood on the nightshirt. He didn’t like mess. That was the second mistake. He stripped the corpse of its nightshirt and flung him aside, with only a muffled thump. The woman was still asleep. The murderer briefly stroked her cheek. She was very beautiful. It would be a shame to see that beautiful face pale and still but- he slit her throat in one fluid motion. Dead. That was the second murder. He threw her upon her husband’s naked body. The Thames would take care of them; its fetid waters concealed many of the murderer’s secrets.
There was a baby in a cot beside the bed he noticed. He didn’t know his twin had had a son. He leant over the cot with the knife, poised. The baby awoke and gurgled. Perhaps if he hadn’t seen the eyes, the murderer could have done it. But something in those steely grey eyes, identical to his own stopped him. He sighed and stashed away the knife. That should have been the third murder. It was also the third mistake. The baby arrived at the Foundling Hospital the next day, and was named by the nurses William Tulip.