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Archive for the ‘Short story competition entries’ Category

“But is it art?” she paused, peering through narrowed eyes at the abstract in front of her.

“Do you like it?” I countered, knowing where this was going. She took a step forward and examined the price tag.

“Not at that price, or any price.” She moved on to the next painting.

“Now this one is more promising.” She took a step backwards and continued to gaze.
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Merlin watched over affairs of the court from afar. Camelot fared well under Arthur, Guinevere and his knights. Long may it last, but Merlin knew that how easily the peace could be shattered.  As long as Arthur and his knights observed the Rules of Courtly Love and the Code of Chivalry Merlin’s tragic prophecy would not be fulfilled.  Guinevere, so skilled at chess – the mistress of the bold move, was the wild card.  He watched her play carefully, and so far she had not misstepped, but the game continued.

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My childhood was pretty normal  although I wasn’t in the best position to judge. It was the only one I’d had. I remember happy times: we lived in a nice house. I don’t remember any arguments: my parents were good people.  They told me they loved me. My siblings, a brother and sister, were a bit older so I was the baby of the family. An afterthought, and as I learnt later, adopted. So far, as I said, all pretty normal.

So really it’s hard to imagine that my parents, or rather the first parents I recall, would be the first of many.  So when did it all go wrong?  I’d always known I was adopted but it wasn’t until I was in my early  teens that I found out a little more about the real circumstances of my birth. my mother abandoned me shortly after I was born. I was  then adopted when I was a few months old.  That’s it – nothing more was known.

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David, my seven year old was chattering as usual as I changed his sister’s nappy. We’d just got back from visiting my father-in-law and the baby needed her nap.

“So why does Grandma look so sad today?”

I tuned back in to the conversation, looking through to the kitchen where my mother was singing as usual as she unloaded the dishwasher. She liked being busy when she came to stay with us.

“I don’t think she does, David. She seems happy enough pottering around in the kitchen.”

“No, Grandma Brown, I mean. She looked unhappy today.”

Since my mother in law had been dead for two years, I was somewhat startled by this observation.

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Jed’s eyes glazed over. He sat up straight as he pulled his stomach in. Dennis looked surreptitiously behind him and spotted Nadine through the window. She was leaning elegantly against the wall, phone in one hand, and a glass of Prosecco in the other. Jed’s eyes narrowed as he picked up his pint. It was empty again.

It was Den’s shout so he made his way over to the bar. This obsession of Jed’s with Nadine was doing his head in. She showed no romantic interest in him at all. He was also drinking too much. Just one more he said, but it never was.

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Too big to fail? Well here is the truth. It started a month or two before Christmas and nobody knew until it was too late. One hacker, who to this day, remains at large and whose identity has never been known,  single handedly brought down the giant Amazon.com. It was thought by some his intentions were benign but somewhat misguided. To others, however, he was evil incarnate. But was it even a person? We may never know. Some maintain that out of control Artificial Intelligence was responsible, or maybe the Chinese.

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Yesterday was a bad day. Mum was late. This was my fault. I got up early but I needed to sort out my cars. I have fifty four cars, I can tell you how many of each colour and the make but then this story would be too long. Mum asked me too many questions about things to take to school so I put my hands over my ears and didn’t look at her. She started to shout so I counted the cars again. She shouted louder. Then she tried to hug me and I wriggled away. I started screaming and then Mum made a sad face again. We did a High Five when she said goodbye to me at the school gate. Mum loves me.
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