Contest results


Contest results

I’ve not been terribly well and so I apologise for taking my time to collate the results of my little contest. The entries were as follows:

Now, I am adding both Ian’s new blog and Karela Split to my blog roll(as long as they behave) but the promise was that the story I felt I would most have liked to have written myself would earn an extra reward…of me writing something, a blog post, a poem, a story for the winner.

So…drum rolls…please…..

I enjoyed all the stories very much indeed but the one I felt I most resonated with was Shafali’s… over to you. What would you like me to do for you?

Ian’s entry for the short story contest: An Archaeologist’s Nightmare

As Ian, (aka The Eternal Omniscient Sage) doesn’t have a blog of his own, I am delighted to have his entry to the contest here. His lack of blog does rather concern me over what therefore I may do for his in return as blogroll addition and writing a guest post are not possible.

Everyone else who has written one will be linked here after the deadline, and prizes etc will be dealt with then.

Enjoy!  The blue is the story starter and the rest is Ian’s.

An archaeologist’s nightmare

Many years ago while Alex was a student, he spent some weeks one summer
helping on an archaeological dig. The weather was fine and while the work
was quite boring, the other people were pleasant and he found he was making

One afternoon, he was kneeling in a ditch with the sun beating down on his
back. He was slowly uncovering something buried in the earth but when the
piece of pottery came free, so did something else. Looking down with utter
horror, Alex saw poking out of the mud, the milled edge of a coin, it was
edge on and only half exposed, but he knew immediately what this meant.
Milled edges had not been used on coins until a couple of hundred years ago.
He was dumbfounded. But not only dumbfounded, he could see his future
collapsing. He needed his dig notebook to pass his final exams and this find
meant that all his careful scraping and recording of what he had thought
were the remains of a Neolithic round house were, frankly, rubbish. Nothing
above that coin could be older than, say, 150 years. 

What should he do? Alex stared long and hard at the coin, sticking
derisively out of the mud, shining like the tears starting at the corner of
his eyes. He found that he was seriously considering “losing” the coin and
he started at the thought. He had not been a diligent student; he had missed
lectures and turned up with a hangover at more than was the average rate for
archaeology students, but he had always refrained from borrowing others’
work or plagiarising for his assignments. Something always seemed to be
looking over his shoulder and he generally accepted that if he’d done wrong
then it was his responsibility. 

What should he do? And then a rush of relief came over him. Of course, the
whole team had been tramping around last night looking at each other’s work.
Somehow this coin must have fallen from a careless pocket. He chuckled,
bent, picked up the coin and laughingly flipped it in the air.

When he caught it with a flourish, it glinted again in the sunlight and Alex
lifted it nearer to his eye to examine it. Although it was dirty he could
tell, from his lectures, that it wasn’t British, which struck him as
peculiar. No student or member of staff had been abroad recently. In fact it
was one the major complaints among them that they never got to dig abroad
like many other universities seemed to be able to arrange. But maybe it was
a memento and meant something to one of the others. Alex realised that this
thought had swung the balance. He would play it straight and mention it at
the evening meal so that whoever owned it and valued it would be able to
reclaim it. What would happen next was anybody’s guess.

There was only an hour to go before it would be time to pack up and he
scraped desultorily at the soil. He would remove another layer before
collecting his things together, he resolved. Then he started again, his
trowel had begun to uncover sand and with a few more scrapes he realised it
was not just an odd pocket but that it extended and a quick trowel all over
his trench floor convinced him that it was a layer covering the whole of the
area he was digging and maybe across the whole site. His trench, after all,
was the deepest.

This day was full of puzzles thought Alex. He squatted back on his heels to
rest his wrists and picked up the coin again. Losing his balance he pitched
head first back into the trench, right onto the patch of sand. He just had
time to see that the coin bore the figure of a kangaroo, before a voice said
“Hi Cobber” and he was in bright sunlight.

Short story contest deadline approaching..

In case anyone was thinking of writing an entry and has yet to do so( three have so far notified me) get your metaphorical skates on. The final deadline is 7th September.

I am working on a number of things right now so hopefully I shall have a few ready before too long… Any of these whet your appetite yet? Tune in for more, or better still subscribe!

The Sparrowhawk and the creative soul…  

Dealing with grief

Subcreation and  the power of story


Dungeons and Dragons

This story is my entry for Shafali’s wonderful blog carnival. Enjoy!


Dungeons and Dragons

Like most things decided upon while half-cut, it had seemed like such a good idea. Gatecrashing his stepmother(to be)’s Hen party along with his mates really had seemed such a clever thing to do.

Adjusting the thin fabric under his bottom, he sighed and wished he’d not had that last pint. The chain around his ankle allowed him some movement but really he couldn’t get far enough away to have a pee without the risk of it leaking back to where he’d settled near the bars. The stone beneath him was, well stone cold and he could remember his grandma had always said that sitting on cold rocks would give him piles. However, if haemorrhoids were the worst and most lasting humiliation to come from this horrible night then he would count himself a lucky man.

He cringed to remember some of the things he’d yelled at the coterie of “mature ladies” who had been in the Hen group.

I’ve seen better looking drag queens,” he’d jeered and failed utterly to register the sudden drop in temperature in the snug. “I reckon Boris Johnson would make a better woman than most of you.”

His stepmother(to be) had simply ignored him but had made a small gesture at Brenda, one of her friends, who, in his opinion, was the ugliest example of womanhood he’d ever seen and all of a sudden, he was seized by two of them. To his utter surprise he found they both had hands of steel and he was suddenly powerless.

Well then,” said Brenda, “let’s see how well you scrub up then!”

He was lifted off his feet and in a frighteningly short time,they had transported him to Brenda’s house and he was stripped naked and was subjected to the severe torture of having pretty much every inch of skin waxed. His throat still hurt from yelling. Tied by tights to a chair, he was systematically made up and had his hair curled and fiddled with until he gave up protesting. The gang of dragons(as he now thought of them) just carried on regardless and finally, dressed him in a long pink evening gown, complete with matching pumps. The weird thing was that the pumps, supplied by Brenda, fitted his size 11s very well. But Brenda was a tall woman.

Now, what shall we do with him, ladies?”

His heart froze and they picked him up and bundled him into a taxi, wrapped in a big blanket and covered his head. When they took it off, he realised he was in a dark place and that they were placing a shackle around his ankle.

Blinking in horror around him, he saw he was in a cage, and beyond it, only darkness.

Enough’s enough ladies!” he pleaded. “You canna leave me here. It’s my Dad’s wedding tomorrow morning. I have to be there. Let me out, go on. I won’t say anything.”

But his pleas were unanswered and the laughing voices fade away leaving him in cold, silent darkness. That was hours ago now and he was desperate for a pee. He closed his eyes, hoping to drift off and lose himself in sleep. His dreams were haunted by visions of huge women with hands like navvie’s and Adam’s apples you could cut cheese with….

Laughter woke him.

My God, how did you get there?”

A security guard stood there and he could see now beyond his cage to the world beyond. Tableaux of unimaginable horrors surrounded him and he gazed stupidly at the guard.

Where am I?”

London Dungeon, lad. This is someone’s idea of a joke, no? Let’s get you out of there.”

What time is it?” he demanded.

Half past eight. We open at nine. You were lucky I had a look round before we let the public in,” said the guard.

It took a while to get him out of his chains and into some decent clothes. In the private toilets the staff used, he scrubbed at his face to try and get the make-up off but just made it smear worse than ever.

Pan stick,” said the woman guard, when he came through in despair. “Heavy duty foundation used by people with very bad skin. Trannies use it.”

I’m not a tranny,” he said. “Can anyone lend me a tenner? I have to get to my Dad’s wedding before it’s too late.”

The taxi ride seemed to take forever through the Saturday manic traffic and he knew it was too late. He reached the reception determined to find his Dad and set him straight but as he walked in the door, he knew the world would never, ever look the same again.

Sat at high table, resplendent with smiles were his father and his new stepmother. The groom wore a beautiful gown of pink silk, with matching roses and the bride wore a tuxedo in magenta with a rose-pink tie.

Oh you made it then, son,” his father said, pushing at his wreath of roses. “I wondered what had happened to you.”

Swallowing, he came to the table and solemnly, like all good Englishmen, shook hands with his father. He nodded to the bride who raised her eyebrows in query.

You’ve got eyes like piss-holes in the snow, son,” his father said. “Whatever did you get up to last night?”

I drank too much,” he said, eyes still following his stepmother. “Slept in too late. Sorry. But I’m here now.”

Aye, that’s the main thing, you’re here,” said his stepmother. “I guess you’ve learned a valuable lesson, eh?”

Oh yes,” he said, with feeling.

edit: these are the other wonderful entries; go check them out!

Short Story competition- an archaeologist’s nightmare

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing a story is getting started…..

For my students I often use a short piece of writing to get them started, to get the creative juices flowing and to limit the time spent biting the end of the pen.

I thought the other day that this would be a great way of encouraging other people to have a shot at a tale or two and so I decided that a little contest might be fun.

The rules:

Taking the following short passage as a starter, write the story this inspires you to write in as many or as few words as you like. Copy and paste the text below as your starter; it’s not to be changed in any way. The rest is up to you but no smut please. And definitely no pornography. I have some tolerance for strong language but only when it is in context.

Then what? You have two choices at this point. You can either post the story on your blog, and put a link to the contest here(and encourage your visitors and friends to have a try too) or if you don’t have a blog, either post the story in the comments section for this post or email me the story and I will include it in a follow up post which links all the contestants together so everyone can have fun reading what the others have written.

The reward:

Apart from the satisfaction of writing a great story? OK, you mercenary lot….if you are not already on my blogroll, I shall add you. If you are, I will plug your blog here.

As an added incentive,  I will write either a blog post (as guest blogger) or a short story or poem, on a subject of your choosing (within reason; I have limits….) for whoever writes the story I would most like to have written myself. Yes, I know this is entirely subjective but hey, I have to decide somehow.

One other thing: the archaeologist in the starter is almost certainly Alex from Strangers and Pilgrims…..

Over to you.

An archaeologist’s nightmare

Many years ago while Alex was a student, he spent some weeks one summer helping on an archaeological dig. The weather was fine and while the work was quite boring, the other people were pleasant and he found he was making friends.

One afternoon, he was kneeling in a ditch with the sun beating down on his back. He was slowly uncovering something buried in the earth but when the piece of pottery came free, so did something else. Looking down with utter horror, Alex saw poking out of the mud………

© Vivienne Tuffnell 2008