We would like to offer our congratulations to our writing competition winners. We had some inspiring and highly creative stories but we loved Joe White’s submission. Thanks to all who entered, this really was a difficult writing competition to judge.
1st Prize: £500.00 Joe White
2nd Prize: £300.00 Sam Telford
3rd Prize: £200.00 Mel Walters
by Joe White
His head hurt. She wouldn’t damn well die. Greg groaned loudly. It was supposed to be a sign of great writing when characters came to life but this one was plaguing him. He hated her with a vengeance. Feisty, unpredictable and disloyal, Hannah was a character destined for death. First, it had been a shovel to the back of her head. Her red hair bloodied by the force of the spade, he’d left her draped by the garden pond, green with algae. It was an artistic scene and he could picture her all too clearly and had smiled as he’d written the scene. But it hadn’t been enough. She’d been revived by her lover, the dashing William Granthorpe, just in the nick of time.
Greg rubbed his eyes, they burned. He’d been writing for too long and his fingers had cramp. But, he had to wrap up this chapter. The tension and pace was growing but so was the word count. He just wanted her to die. Why couldn’t she give up the will to live and go gracefully? Was that too much to ask?
Next, he’d had her lose her footing as she’d walked with her jealous husband along a cliff top. An evening stroll watching as the sun set. Pushed, aided, whatever the cause, she’d stumbled and had plunged head first towards the rocks below. He’d made James St. Mellor step cautiously closer to the edge to check. There was no sign of her on the savage rocks but, the ocean was raging. Even the warmth from the sinking sun could not penetrate those angry depths. No one could survive. Greg had written this scene carefully. James St. Mellor had fallen to his knees and cried. His emotion genuine. Anger, relief and remorse. Enough to be able to show the bumbling cop who would come to investigate that it had been a terrible accident. Greg didn’t want his main character to be found out.
But then, as if with a life of her own, Hannah had clawed her way back up the cliff. Apparently, she’d not fallen far enough to really hurt herself, and had pulled herself onto a hidden ledge and waited before attempting the climb. Greg had been beside himself. Why the hell had he made her athletic? What could he do to get rid of her? She mocked him with her beauty. Flaming red hair that flowed all the way down her back, piercing green eyes and alabaster skin, she was both beautiful but evil. He’d created her that way. But now, she was haunting him. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her. He could hear the heavy fabric of her dress as she breezed past him, and smell her evocative scent. She was manifesting into something very real. It was as if she was stepping out of the pages of his story and taking over his life.
Greg placed his head in his hands. He had to finish this book. His publisher was waiting. He couldn’t let him down, he was damned if this fictional creature was going to stop him from getting paid for his efforts. Resolutely, he walked to his bookcase, and scoured the hundreds of books that lined the shelves.
“Poison” he murmured. “There must be something undetectable.”
He flicked through the pages of one book entitled Deadly Poison. “Cyanide.”
It was so often used in books but he didn’t care. Desperation was rising within him. He returned to his typewriter with eagerness.
“Die you bitch” He muttered.
Obediently, James added a drop of cyanide to his wife’s glass. It would be quick, he didn’t want her to suffer but he couldn’t bear to be ridiculed by her. Loyalty was everything. She’d flaunted her affair enough. He left the glass by the side of her bed and made an excuse. She would drink it and be dead by the time he returned to their room.
Greg paused. How long should he give before making James walk back to the death scene? Her face would be distorted and ugly surely? Cyanide poisoning was a horrible way to go. He smiled. As he wrote the next scene, it was as if an unknown force took over him. He typed that Hannah was sat up in bed apologising to her husband that she had spilled the drink.
Greg stood up staring at the typewriter in disbelief. How could he have written those words? Maybe overnight, his subconscious mind would stop trying to save her and she would be written out of the story once and for all. He was so tired. He needed to sleep. It was all getting too much. The deadline, his need for money now, the pressure and that damn woman.
His dreams were cruel. She was bending over him, whispering in his ear, touching him. She was trailing her pointed nails over his skin, he could feel them, sharp, even in his slumber. She licked his face. Taunting him. She whispered all that she would do to him if he let her. Greg struggled against her touch but his body felt heavy. Had she drugged him? He remembered the sip of drink he had taken from the nightstand. It was real. She was fighting to live and by doing so, she was going to make him suffer. He felt her weight crushing him, even though her body was small, she was muscled and well-defined. He put his hands up frantically trying to push her away.
‘Wake up! Wake up!’ He screeched at himself and lashed out at her, throwing her to one side. His hands tightened around her throat. She fought back for a minute or two and then nothing. Peace. Finally.
He opened his eyes. Light flooded the room. He was awake. Groggy from the deepest sleep and yet, those disturbed dreams had shown him just how difficult he was finding his writing. It was crazy. His mind was losing the battle against what was real and what was not. But at least he knew now how to dispose of her. He would write the strangulation scene and have the pleasure of watching her last gasp of breath. Standing, he turned to tidy the bedding and then, saw her. Hannah, the character, dead, tongue sticking out the side of her mouth as she had fought to breathe. Eyes wide and accusing. He stumbled backwards, gasping, crying out in horror.
It wasn’t real. He was still asleep. He had to be.
“It’s a dream. It’s a terrible dream” He cried. But there he remained, trapped in the pages of his own book………