Woven With Love – Jan Baynham
When Eduardo leaves on a long fishing trip, Madalena presents him with a token of her love which it is said will protect him on his voyage, returning him to her safely. Having had to keep their love a secret, can the young couple overcome opposition to be together forever?
‘There, all done,’ said Madalena, as she knotted the last stitch. She turned the small piece of cloth over, smoothed it out with her hand and admired her handiwork. She carefully placed in the chest drawer where prying eyes would not see it. Madalena was nineteen, the youngest in the family and the only one still living at home. She had lost her job when the local canning factory had closed and the loss of her much needed wages had plunged the family into further hardship. Her dingy room at the back of the cottage was the only place where she could have any peace.
Yablonski’s Two-Step – Peter Lingard
2250 words Romance / Feel Good
An ostracised teen invents a new dance at the junior hop and becomes the centre of attention.
This story is included in the collection By My Side
The Yablonskis lived in a three-bedroom structure that housed Levy, his four siblings, their mother, her partner, Jack Ballack, and his three children. Five boys shared one bedroom and the three girls crammed themselves into a room meant for one. Levy was the eldest of the combined offspring and acted as household manager whilst his mother and Jack went to work, or otherwise escaped the antagonistic atmosphere of the cramped home. The two adults went on drunken binges that often ended in them purchasing the privacy of a cheap motel room where they ran the risk of creating a ninth young mouth to feed.
Yara – Anita Louise Jay
1100 words General Fiction
When Karam, a Syrian refugee travels across the sea in an overloaded boat to escape the fighting in his country, a tragedy occurs which will change the course of his life.
“I remember the day that photo was taken…” I looked up at the officer with tears of exhaustion in my eyes. He gave me a puzzled look and I realized that I had spoken in my home language and he did not understand a word I had said. Looking down again at the damp, creased photo in my hand I pointed to the boy seated on the wall, then to myself. “Me, Karam,” I offered in English, for I spoke no Italian or Greek. I wasn’t even sure in which country we had landed.
Year’s Midnight – Rebecca Holmes
2000 words Feel Good / Romance / Christmas Story
Jenny’s first stay at her fiance’s parents’ large house in the country coincides with the winter solstice, a turning point in the year when the earth starts tilting back towards the sun. Coming from a more ‘humble’ background, it’s also a turning point for her, as she wonders how she’ll fit in.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly I didn’t think people did this in real life, but Tom’s family seem to go the whole hog on these traditions, and his father has dragged us out on a walk to gather holly. I say ‘dragged’, but I didn’t really need to be. I love walking on the moors near home. I love their wildness and bleakness. When you look down and see the rows of terraced houses, it isn’t what you’d call pretty, but I don’t mind. I know it’s full of life. The countryside here is gentler, green and rolling, with hedgerows and patchwork fields, and a church spire in the distance.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Hilary Forrest
2000 words Feel Good Story
Izzie, for all her life treasured by her father, has had an equally difficult relationship with her mother. In their family garden, her father’s favourite tree, the Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow tree, seems to have the power to reflect their changing – blossoming or fading – relationships.
I’m resting in the garden in Pop’s wicker chair, my pallid skin warmed by the afternoon African sun. I’m surrounded by bursts of colour from anthuriums, agapanthus and proteas, though the grass is parched and feeble. It’s only been 3 months since my operation. I feel good, but things could still go wrong. So the medics, and Mom, are keeping a watchful eye on me to make sure there are no setbacks. She’s already called from the kitchen window to make sure I have sunscreen on.
You Melt My Heart – Michelle Martin Dobbins
860 words Romance
David has been helping out in his friend’s tanning salon during his slow season in construction work. Will he work overtime in order to find the girl of his dreams?
“Excuse me, but that’s normally my spot you’re standing in,” said a pretty brunette with sparkling, blue eyes. She had just entered the salon and walked up to the counter David was behind. “I’m Rachel. I’m the night staff around here, but I don’t know you. Have I been replaced and no one told me?” “I’m David, and I’m filling in for Brad.” David smiled.
Youthful Enterprise – Roger Noons
3800 words Teen / Historical
Set in the 1950’s, we find out how a teenage boy is inspired to earn money so he can contribute towards the cost of a new bicycle.
“Colin’s got a new bike.” “Oh yes.” “It’s maroon, with dropped handlebars.” Rob’s mother looked him in the eye, her head on one side. “Has he had a birthday then?” “No, his Gran died and left his dad a lot of money.” “She always looked like she didn’t have two halfpennies to rub together.” “Well, she left over two hundred pounds. His dad’s had a new bike as well, and he’s going to extend his pigeon house.” “I think it’s called a loft, Rob.”
Zizel TTog – Jon Elliott
1000 word Science Fiction
Clayton Barrel accidentally achieves a major breakthrough in cellular genetics that will change his world, forever.
The blast buried Clayton Barrel. Several hours passed before he regained consciousness. It was so dark he had to use his cell phone flashlight to see where he was. Assorted debris, supported by his lab bench, surrounded him. He crawled to the end cupboard and opened it. Sunlight streamed on to his face. The Lab had been levelled. He crawled through the cupboard.