1st Prize goes to Christine Genovese
Christine wins a Creative Inspiration for Writers course.
Becoming an aunt at the age of twelve is the proudest moment of Sylvia’s life. Her niece, Alex, grows up idolising her aunt. She’s like a fairy godmother waving a magic wand for her favourite princess – straight out of the fairy tales they both love.
Three events teach Alex the difference between their dream world and reality.
Aged six: She opens the forbidden door.
Alex’s parents go away for a weekend, leaving Sylvia to babysit. Alex is delighted when Sylvia’s boyfriend joins in the fun. Sunday morning Alex wakes up too early, eager for breakfast. Eventually she goes upstairs and hearing groans from the spare room, she thinks Sylvia is in danger…
Lies, sweets and cajoling patch up the damage – more or less.
Aged thirteen: She learns that sworn secrets aren’t sacred.
Sylvia goes to drama school and Alex to grammar school. When Alex starts going to parties, her parents put up barriers. She becomes defiant and sulky. She writes long, impassioned letters to Sylvia, laying bare her teenage angst.
Discovering one of these letters in her mother’s drawer causes Alex more pain than any of her other youthful troubles. She decides to avoid Sylvia’s company.
Aged eighteen: She suffers a furious outbreak of jealousy from her 30-year-old aunt.
During the summer holidays Sylvia invites Alex to join her at a stately home where a film company is making a film in which Sylvia stars. Alex accepts. She loves the atmosphere, the sumptuous buildings, the groomed park with the idyllic lake… where her light-hearted fun with the film crew is cut short when Sylvia suddenly orders her to leave.
Seven years later: An unexpected invitation to Sylvia’s wedding is accompanied by an emotional letter.
Alex is now old enough to understand how precious the bond between them is.