Arthur shivered, drew his crimson cloak over his shoulder and looked once more over the Plains of Avalon. Although it was mid-morning the sun was still unable to break through the wet, damp, pestilential mist. He knew that less than a league away the Viking warband would be making ready for their final assault. If his small band of warriors, brave and skilled fighting men, though they were, were unable to beat them back, all of Wessex would be lost. The pagan hordes had subdued the whole country to the North of the Avon and only he and his followers could prevent the subjugation of the whole land under the barbarian yoke. He had dispatched a small group of men during the night to find how near the enemy had advanced but they had not returned and he feared they may have been taken or lost in the seething bog that was their strongest defence against attack. Not even he could find the safe pathways in this murk. A familiar voice called from behind and he turned to see his kinsman Aethelfled. They clasped hands and without speaking both understood that there would be no battle today and they would all have to go about their business, preparing their weapons and armour in almost silence. The fog that surrounded them would magnify any sounds they made but would also act to their advantage as they would be able to hear the approaching foe thus denying them the element of surprise. If the mist cleared they would be ready but if not then tomorrow was another day.
“Yohoho,” he tried to smile, practising the words that accompanied his attempt to ring the large handbell. It just didn’t sound right.
The little boy turning to his mother exclaimed, “He’s a funny old Santa, and he smells. Uggggh!”
“It should be hohoho, but he does smell of rum, perhaps he’s right.” (52) words
High above the deck
while watching the rise and fall
of the cold, dark waves
below, the deep throated gong
measures each hour completed
The countryside chimes
are now only memories
for peace in our time Continue reading
Good old Auntie, with her massive influence on the arts in Britain, contrary to trendy belief, here’s one for the notebook, the ever increasing interest in the short story encouraged and rewarded handsomely.
Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog
Award of £15,000 for the winner
£600 for four (4) further shortlisted stories
Submissions for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018 with Cambridge University will be accepted from 9am (GMT) Monday 11 December 2017.
The deadline for receipt of entries is 9am (GMT) Monday 12 March 2018.
How to Enter
Applicants are encouraged to make their submission using the online Entry Form as early as possible before the deadline. If applicants are unable to access the online Entry Form, entries can be submitted by post.
Read the full post and see the Instructions for Entering
The Award is open to British nationals and UK residents, aged 18 years or over on the submission deadline (9am GMT Monday 12 March 2018) only, who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom (see clause 2.8).
Proof of nationality and/or residency may…
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“Look mummy the note says to make a wish, it’s signed Jeanie.” “Make a wish then dear.” “Ok mummy done.”
High above their heads the cliff started to crumble and a rock fell, knocking the woman, head bleeding, to the ground.
The girl smiled. 137 ch.
Each night the sun’s flare
is baptised in red oceans
but no steam rises
I took a look round the small, cramped room, no bigger than the average walk-in wardrobe and tried hard to picture how I would feel shut up in there for an indeterminate time. I shuddered at the thought. Having introduced me to the Priest’s hole, John led on and I followed him along a passageway towards a welcoming looking doorway. On my right was an opening which appeared to be illuminated from above.
“Look up,” instructed John. I glanced up to the source of the light in expectation. Above me was a dark-wood varnished platform consisting of two short planks with a hole cut about the size of a washbasin. “A couple of hundred years ago you wouldn’t like to have been standing there, “ John said with a smile.
“Go on, tell me why?” I asked.
“Does that bit of wood look familiar?” John replied, “think about the size and shape.”
”I could only think of it as a medieval lampshade but that is obviously wide of the mark.” a remark I immediately regretted.
”Well I could say, ‘here’s mud in your eye’ it’s the garderobe, the forerunner of en-suite bathroom facilities, amazing eh!”
”Brilliant, “ I replied, with more than a hint of jealousy, “are there any more features you want to tempt me with.”
”Wait until tonight, you’ll be well impressed I guarantee but that is something for later, meanwhile it’s nearly time for a drink.”
The story continues…….
I replaced the lid on the pot and taking my wooden bowl and spoon chose a place to sit cross-legged on the blanket laid on the ground by my kindly hosts. Their droning chants added a taut background to the calm, warm evening. I started to spoon the broth into my mouth, it was lukewarm and although not unpleasant tasting it had a faint wooden smell infused with how I imagined raw, wild mushrooms would taste. I was eagerly look round and watch the expressions on my companions’ faces but my eyes were drawn to the six totems that surrounded the slow-burning fire. The smoke drifted upwards seeming to form humanlike, silent dancing figures. The owl God totems in order from right to left started to turn to face me. I placed the now empty bowl upon the ground and tried to clear my mind in expectation of my promised message from the Gods.
“You don’t believe that will be enough to hold him do you, remember it’s a full moon tonight and if what we think is true he won’t be able to control himself.” I said, after he told me that John was chained in the barn for his own safety.
“I’m sure we will have nothing to worry about from him tonight,” Adrian replied.
He turned to me with a strange look in his yellowing eyes and to my horror his lips curled back, saliva dripped down his chin and throwing his head back, gave a blood-curdling howl.