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A View Across the Valley: Short Stories by Women from Wales c. 1850 - 1950£7.95
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Winner: Sally Mair Jones. prize £40
Runners up Vanessa Gebbie, Amanda Roberts prize £ 20 each
Highly commended : M.A.Price, Katharine York, Joanna John, Alex North
Before reading the stories printed below, our competition judge, Catherine Merriman,offers a few words on her adjudication...
"I'm full of admiration for what people can do in 100 words! There were lots of excellent entries. Some people perhaps tried to put in rather too much information â the best stories were really very simple â and some people over-compressed, presumably because they were trying to fit a slightly longer story into the word-length, and made the meaning unclear. Also a few didn't tell a 'story' â just gave a description, which wasn't what I was looking for. But most grasped the technique and did splendidly. The following seven â winner,runners up and highly commended entries â I think deserve warmest congratulations. I found it nigh impossible to choose between them. In the end, however, because it is such a cheerful, upbeat little number, I went for Red and Orange and Green and Blue by Sally Mair Jones."
Red and Orange and Green and Blue
by Sally Mair Jones
We are walking. It is 4.30 on Sunday. Every Sunday at the same time, come rain or shine, we walk this walk. It is a clockwork relationship. Even sex is regular. Fun, but you can set your clock by it.
Then out of the blue comes a rainbow and both our mouths curve upwards, mirroring its shape. It arcs out of the river, dripping watery colours.
I ordered it specially, he says. I just had to give them my credit card number.
I laugh out loud. I know where I'll be next Sunday.
All the Way to Barnsley
by Vanessa Gebbie
They told Tom his Nan had gone to Heaven. But they were wrong.
Nan said she was off to the fair, and St Peter would be at the gate on the heath, handing out pennies so everything'd be free.
She was going on the dodgems first. Then she'd ride on a golden horse on a carousel playing Greensleeves. Then the Ferris wheel, and it'd stop at the top so she could see all the way to Barnsley.
Tom could see her right now in the sky, high up, tiny, eating candyfloss.
by Amanda Roberts
Something strange happened to mother when she reached fifty she started wearing funny clothes and talking to herself and even shouting at other people on the road and getting a bit excitable generally and I became a bit embarrassed but now I'm nearly fifty I know just how she felt a bit out of control really and it's quite fun actually but there's still so much to do what with kids parents cooking cleaning shopping working e-learning it's OK but I just wondered is it alright if I have a bit of a rest can someone stop it please?
HIGHLY COMMENED ENTRIES
by Joanna John
He'd reached for my hand and I let it be taken. At our fastest I could forget I didn't love him. Forget the hardness in my stomach. We'll have to maintain this whirlwind though, if it's to last. When the ride stops we climb down. What next to keep us spinning â Dodgems, Big Wheel? He walks, wordless, and buys himself a hotdog. I'm walking after him now and the rock in my stomach speaks a little louder. He eyes me as he licks ketchup. I smile to please. Mum said till nine. I'll say it's eight.
by Alex North
I give all my lovers a colour. Red with splashes of plum are my favourite. I don't like Smarties-blue but I suppose they're OK on Tuesdays.
Today, I have yellow underlined in red. I woke up next to him this morning and I knew there would be soothing noises, fluid movement, comfort. Yellow lovers are gentle but they're not for keeps. I get bored with yellow.
I was overjoyed when an angry, red ex called me on my mobile. Everyone knows what red signifies so I needn't explain why I smiled when he unexpectedly underlined my yellow day.
By M A Price
They all bought tickets â it was her idea. The ride was called 'Earthquake'. But she had butterflies in her stomach, again.
They scrambled on and the guy checked the safety bar. She could feel his eyes on her legs as he leaned over her.
They all screamed when the ride started moving. She tried to join in but, like before, nothing would come out.
She remembered walking across the park that night. She remembered reading that there's no such thing as coincidence.
The butterflies in her stomach started to stir. One of them flapped its wings â and the Earthquake began.
By Katharine York
Skirts hitched high and socks shrugged low, two girls sneaked across the silent fairground. Last night's sham of adulthood lingered only in the illicit make-up applied on the bus.
'We'll be late.' The younger girl chewed at her hair. Daylight had stripped the site of glamour, made last night tawdry.
'Eleri! Mum'll kill me if I've lost my earring.' The blonde sister scoured strewn fag-ends and hotdog wrappers for a glint of jewellery.
Eleri wrapped her arms about her bag, her toe grinding bare soil. This morning an earring seemed the least thing you could lose at the fair.