Ready or Not, Georgie? – Elaine Chong

2000 words Ghost Story

When the council closes a community centre in an old schoolhouse, only the caretaker, George Atkins, knows that there are ‘other children’ still playing in its echoing corridors.

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I was kneeling on the floor of the office, packing up the last remaining toys and books into boxes, when I heard the front door slam shut. The sound echoed eerily along the corridor. It was followed by the tread of heavy boots. A wave of sadness washed over me, but I managed to fix a warm and welcoming smile on my face before an asthmatic cough announced George Atkins’ arrival. “Come to have a last look round, Mr Atkins?” I said.

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The Robins’ Nest – Elaine Chong

General / Historical Fiction 

Artist Ellie McBride travels from Melbourne to an Essex canal where her grandmother grew up. Ned Robin’s family once owned a barge on the same canal. When he and Ellie meet, they uncover a piece of the past that links them together in a way they had never expected.

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I’m trying to capture the light reflecting off the water. I’ve been painting since I could hold a brush, but the colours on the palette refuse to blend into something I can use. I’m here because my gran was a bargeman’s daughter and grew up on the side of this river. Back home I like to paint wild, blue seascapes with broad sandy beaches; it’s familiar territory for an Aussie girl with an artist’s eye, but today I’m in another, very unfamiliar world. I’m gazing down into the water in search of inspiration, when a spectral figure floats into view.

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The Search for A Santa – Elaine Chong

2000 words Christmas / Humour

Janie and Ali are on the search for someone to play Santa at the nursery school Christmas party. They struggle to make a shortlist of likely candidates. Who will be persuaded to wear the red suit and the white beard in time to save the day?

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I stood at the kitchen window and watched the snow slowly cover the back garden. It drifted down noiselessly like white feathers of ice from a cloud-encrusted sky. The part of me that would forever be Janie O’Sullivan wanted to race outside and make snow angels. I reminded myself in a stern voice that I was a grown-up with a nice husband and a small child. Throwing myself backwards into a snowdrift could only result in wet clothes and a slipped disc. Still… I was weighing up the possibilities when someone began to hammer frenziedly on the front door. I made a mental note to put a new battery in the door bell, and rushed to open it.

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