Goldie – Catherine McArdle

1800 words Feel Good

An uninvited visitor brings hope to a young family faced with a frightening medical diagnosis.

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When Linda heard Frank walk into the kitchen, she tilted the box as if she wanted to read the instructions without the glare of morning light on the glossy packaging: Approximately half a cup of oats, add three quarters of a cup of water. Reaching up to the cupboard above the bench, she grabbed a red plastic measuring cup and poured oats into it, the soft sound of the grains loud against Frank’s silence. He was still angry. Finally he spoke. ‘You’re not making porridge for me, are you?’

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Love in the Old Melbourne Gaol – Catherine McArdle

2000 word Teen / Romance

Stumbling into a darkened prison cell to be confronted by a stranger with a knife is not Maddie’s idea of a perfect Australian vacation. But all is not as it seems.

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As Maddie slogged up the city street towards The Old Melbourne Gaol, she wished she had never come to Australia. Hot wind rushed past and tugged at her long hair, and she reached up to twist the knot tighter at the back of her head. Bored with small town life in the foothills of the Adirondacks, dreaming of kangaroos and idyllic afternoons on sunlit beaches, she’d jumped at the chance to spend a semester on the other side of the world.

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Ron and the Professor – Catherine McArdle

5000 words Feel Good

Life isn’t kind to Ron. He’s out of his depth most of the time. Mum’s constant criticism doesn’t help. But on a golf course? A different story. There, Ron can hold his own, even playing with a university Professor. And perhaps she might open up new possibilities for Ron’s future.

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On a golf course Ron was just as good as anyone, even Dorothy, who was a very important Emeritus Professor. When Ron had asked her what ’emeritus’ meant, she laughed and said it meant she was old, which he should be able to tell from looking at her, and it meant she knew a whole lot more about designing smart cities than she did about playing golf. Ron didn’t know big words, or talk quick, but he only had to look at the lie of a ball, feel the weight of the club in his hands, and know where the distant hole would be. It was a song, like those long pieces of music his mum listened to on the radio. Dorothy said Ron was a ‘natural’. Mum had frowned. ‘Are you sure she’s not having a go at you?’ she said. ‘Calling you a natural fool?’

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