For this writing competition, we asked for memorable stories using the photo for inspiration and written in 500 words or less, as usual, we received some fantastic submissions and we are delighted to announce the winners.
1st Prize: £190.00 Becky Waters
2nd Prize: £150.00 Ben Reed
3rd Prize: £95.00 Lee Bailey
by Becky Waters
It had been one hell of a year. I couldn’t believe that I was finally here, walking barefoot along the beach, the sand soft beneath my toes. It brought back so many childhood memories, happy times when both my parents were alive and my sister and I would play chase with the waves, squealing in great excitement when the waves lapped at our feet.
I wrap my cardigan around me as the cool sea breeze whips by, the sun was setting now and immediately, the temperature was beginning to drop, but no matter, it helped to clear the grogginess in my brain, the result of so many tears. If someone had told me it was possible to cry so much I would have refuted them, but I was living proof that emotion could take over and once the valve was open, tears could pour like a mountain stream. Crying was supposed to be a release, but I could only think that crying could also overwhelm and with so much raw emotion, I wondered if it were possible to ever be the same again.
I glance at my watch reluctantly, it’s almost time to turn back and face the rest of my life. It felt strange thinking this way but it was true. Everything that had happened in the past year had been leading me towards this point, ushering me forward, pushing me into making snap decisions when I really prefer to mull over dilemmas and procrastination should have been my middle name. It’s the reason why I am stalling now, to go back means taking one step towards the future, but like everything else this year, it is impossible to avoid.
I turn back, retracing my sunken footsteps; they look so tiny dotted along the smooth sandy beach as if I am the only one who has dared to mark the beauty of the untouched shore. Many of the houses nestled along the edges of the beach are still shuttered, too early for the summer visitors to have arrived. There is so much peace here, I can feel it. As I near my own new residence, I feel a strange peace settle over me. The log cabin was mine, finally. The summer home that my parents had been forced to sell when my father lost his job and only five years later, both of my parents had died. Now this cabin was home for me and my sister, newly divorced and heart-broken after an unhappy marriage, this home would be our sanctuary to allow time to heal. I had worked so hard to get this place back, to steer my sister back from the depths of despair, once suicidal, now hope was beginning to re-emerge. Where better to start the recovery process than in the home that had been filled with so many wonderful family memories.
Note: We only publish the overall winning submission to enable the other prize-winners to use their submissions elsewhere.