We asked you to write a story in a maximum of 600 words based on the photo. As always, we had some amazing submissions but we are pleased to announce our winners. Congratulations to Jan Cross who took the 1st Prize.
1st Prize: £500.00 Jan Cross
2nd Prize: £300.00 Tim Stevens
3rd Prize: £200.00 Jen Baker
by Jan Cross
Lydia’s sudden silence was ominous because she was never quiet and watching from the bedroom window, Ali noticed Lydia as she slipped out the gate. Wearing a long dark coat and her hat pulled low over her forehead as if trying to hide the splash of vibrant red in her hair, she was gone in an instant. Frowning, Ali hurried down the stairs, forcing her arms into her coat sleeves, she needed to know what was going on.
The damp, afternoon air greeted her. Mist, patchy in places. She wrapped her thick scarf around her neck and pulled her hat lower. Why was she following like this? It was crazy. Yet, her feet refused to stop. She trailed miserably behind Lydia keeping to the over-grown hedgerows that lined the street as if sentries on duty. They’d only just arrived back from holiday and already, her doubts were back. There had been too many secrets of late. She shivered.
Dark clouds scurried overhead, a storm was brewing, or was that the ominous feeling in her heart? Doubts tugged at her sub-conscious mind. What had she missed? Turning the corner, and now, slightly out of breath, she watched as Lydia hurried past local shops, lights through expansive windows blazing out into the gloom and turned into the café on the far corner. Ali followed cautiously on the other side of the road, hiding behind the ornamental rose garden, watching as Lydia sat by the window. Who was she meeting? It didn’t take long.
Her blood turned to ice. Her heart, pounding, she cried out in pain. How could Lydia do this to her? How long had this been going on? Grant, oblivious to her presence hugged Lydia. There was obvious affection between the two of them. Their embrace seemed to last forever. Was this why Grant had told her he couldn’t be with her? That he wasn’t ready for love? A solitary tear burned a trail down her cheek. After Grant had ended their relationship, she had struggled on, denying her pain. As the weeks had passed, she’d known she was kidding herself. The pain was still raw and intense. He’d messaged and she’d ignored each text. Her anger only grew. Eventually, she’d booked a two-week holiday to Mauritius for her and Lydia hoping that the lazy summer days, blue skies and rhythmic ocean would heal her emotional wounds. It hadn’t. She’d loved Grant for so long and now, the sight of them together sickened her. He held Lydia’s hand across the table. The ultimate betrayal.
She walked away, uncaring that the tears were falling and was oblivious to the strange looks from passers-by. She was half-way back to the house when her phone rang. She ignored it. It cut off and then rang again. She peered at the display. Grant. She debated calling him back but couldn’t.
“Go to hell.” She said loudly, startling a man walking his dog.
Her phone bleeped with urgency in her pocket. A text. Steeling herself for the worst….
Lydia tells me you still love me. Do you? I’ve been a bloody fool. An idiot. I thought you hated me, I deserve it. I was a coward. Just was scared. Tell me you love me. I’ll do anything. I just want to be with you. Xx
The drizzle stopped and her heart swelled. Above her, a rainbow, leading a glorious multi-coloured trail from the café to her house. No betrayal. Relief swelled within. With her tears falling, she hastily text back.
I love you too xx
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