Monthly Comp – March 2021

About Forums Den of Writers Monthly Competition Monthly Comp – March 2021

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  • #9851
    Janette
    Participant

    I’m mesmerised, at this time of year, by the sudden appearance of bright spring flowers, transforming seemingly barren ground to a show of life and colour. So this month’s competition is about TRANSFORMATION. Any kind – winter garden to spring; person from human to angel. Whatever your imagination comes up with, in 400 words.

    #9976
    Janette
    Participant

    Now our winter comp is over – may I remind all of you wonderful story tellers that the monthly ones are still running, March already half-way through.
    At present no contenders.

    #9983
    Sandra
    Participant

    Catalyst

    Despite the haste of his extreme, and unavoidably, late arrival – ‘Sorry, sorry, bastards took my phone so no way to warn. I’ll be fine, just need to wash the blood off … nose, yeah. Not broken. No, it’s fine, Alix paid my cab off at the door. And yeah, the police took witness statements.’ – he’d caught a glimpse of her as he hurried past the half-open door. Knew her straight off, even though, visually, she nothing like … like how he remembered.
    No surprise there. Especially as the last time had been … necessary to forget.

    What was surprising, least at first and speedy glance, impossible to say whether change for better or worse. (Change since the first time, of course; anything would’ve been better than the last.) God’s sake, it was years! – How many? He’d have to count.

    Uni they’d met. Both first year. Which would’ve been October ’77. She’d been … he’d noticed her, straight away. (Wanted her, intended to have her, soon as he laid eyes on her.)
    ‘Gamine’ a much-bandied word at the time. Long-legged and impish certainly applied. That witchy cloud of black hair. (That obviously much changed. He now wanted to say spindrift except that applied to sea-spray whereas the whiteness of it fresh-fallen snow. Snow drift of course.

    It had been thirty years.
    But what was she doing here?
    Same as him, she must’ve been invited.
    Same as him, she’d must’ve changed her name. Otherwise the invitation would’ve given warning.
    And, similarly warned, she’d not’ve come within a hundred miles. But why was she here? Attending his publisher’s literary event?
    As one of five short-listers?

    Quietly returning, he slipped in to stand at the nearest end of the announcement-poised line. She at the far end. Relief across the face of the compere, envelope in hand, ready to pull out the list and do the dramatic thing of opening and acting surprised even though he must know the name of the winner.
    That they’d waited … could it be it was him?
    No.
    It was her.
    Stepping forward. Long sleeved, scarlet linen dress. Scarlet as the blood he’d just washed off his face. As the blood she’d last time lain in … Sleeves still necessary to hid the scars?
    Blue eyes as remembered. As was the transformation from gratified to gut-sick horror as she turned to congratulate her fellow contenders. Saw and recognised him.

    [400 words excluding title]

    #10057
    Janette
    Participant

    One week left for the March comp, with one excellent entry as yet.

    #10072
    Seagreen
    Participant

    UNTITLED (as usual!)
    89 words, so a bit on the short side, and I don’t mind if this makes no sense to anyone but me 🙂

    I saw the prompt and thought I would
    Write a poem, if I could,
    I took a vintage text (or two)
    And tried to fashion something new,
    Nothing worked till I caught sight
    Of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight
    And so my Transformation piece
    Are august words condensed to these

    Clear grey eyes
    as still as stones
    Seek out a place I do not know

    Pain
    Yellow and withered
    Whirled the dust that the drought had made

    Grief
    Fierce and fell
    As white as snowdrifts on the hills

    #10097
    Janette
    Participant

    last (24hr-ish) shout for the monthly comp (do we still want to keep this going in its current form?). Already we have two excellent entries, but one or two more would be lovely.

    #10102
    Daedalus
    Participant

    Transformation

    It’s easy to transform. You just change, from one state to
    Another. Nothing much to worry
    About. Examples are (quite literally) everywhere you
    Look. Consider the universe. Just
    Took the universe a picosecond to drag itself
    Out of an incomprehensible
    Mess, shrugging on the laws of physics, sorting
    Its chaotic nature into four fundamental
    Forces. (Put aside for
    A moment that some of them don’t
    Line up terribly
    Well – the universe was doing its
    Best. I’d like to see
    You turn things around in a
    Picosecond without
    Leaving a boson or two unaccounted for).

    That’s self-confidence. And if
    Things have been
    Downhill since then (in terms of the
    Conservation of energy) what
    Of it? You might see an expanding girth. Others
    See new horizons. Just
    Pull yourself together and be your
    Best. The universe
    Didn’t exactly have it easy. But it
    Got through the
    Planck Epoch at 1.417×1032K
    And look at it
    Now. And butterflies. Who doesn’t
    Love a butterfly?

    Each one transformed, from a
    Dull larva to
    A glorious fluttering being. That
    Could be you too
    You know. Just takes the courage to
    Fix your pupa and
    Change. That’s it. Just wait while
    Your organs liquify
    And rebuild, while on the surface scales
    Erupt, each expanding
    From a single cell, and vestigial flaps flare
    Into vivid wings,
    Tearing your new self from the
    Shrivelled old.

    Does it hurt? I can’t imagine
    It doesn’t. Does
    The butterfly remember what
    It was, while
    It flits and wafts among flowers, drinking
    Nectar and living
    Its best life? Perhaps it’s better
    Not to.

    261 words

    #10103
    Athelstone
    Moderator

    Rose the Cat

    One day when I was seven, my sister Rose turned into a cat. I expected it because Rose had said ‘You won’t catch me here much longer. Not like this.’ Mr Cobden, the old man at the end of the road next to where the people had little walls all over their garden that my mum said were ‘common’, said to us that we would both live long and happy lives. And Mr Cobden knew about everything. I wasn’t sure whether Rose was happy being a cat or not, but I did know that cats live about fifteen years if they’re lucky and the very old ones as long as twenty something. And Rose was already seventeen. So, no, Mr Cobden, not a long life after all.

    Mum didn’t seem surprised, but she cried loads. And Dad did when he drank his whisky which was when he thought nobody was watching like in the kitchen when he had his back to me and was taking great big swigs out of the bottle, and later I heard Mum say that he shouldn’t be necking booze like that and it wasn’t going to help anybody.

    Rose was a very furry cat, and her fur was the same colour as her hair had been, which is obvious, I suppose, but she didn’t seem to know us. I imagined she would sleep in her own bedroom as usual but she never came closer than the garden. She meowed but wouldn’t come through the door when I opened it.

    I’d seen somebody change before. When I was six Mum and me visited Mrs Foster at number twenty-eight and went to her kitchen door like normal but she was down on her hands and knees with a razor blade like Dad’s and it looked like she was trying to scrape the pattern off the lino and she was crying and said, ‘Oh God, Oh God, I can’t do it anymore.’ Mum took me straight home.

    Later when I looked across the gardens, Mrs Foster had turned into something growing off a tree and I told Dad and he said ‘Oh God, Oh God,’ and Rose said, ‘No, she turned into a ghost.’

    After a while, I didn’t see Rose again. I said to Dad, ‘Rose has gone, hasn’t she.’ And Dad looked at me and said, ‘She changed, sweetheart.’ And I said, ‘I know.’

    398 ex title

    #10104
    Sandra
    Participant

    I’m thinking Janette should be careful what she wished for – I guess her task has just quadrupled!

    #10105
    Janette
    Participant

    Wow, who would have guessed that no take-up would transform into four superb entries that I can’t fit a gnat’s wing between. I’ve read and re-read, and gone out for a walk – and here are my conclusions, before I change my mind:

    Sandra – Catalyst

    A gritty, rich voice taking us through a concise, gripping read and an unexpected but brilliantly thought out transformation – that twist at the end finished it perfectly.

    Seagreen

    Another unique twist – this turning words into poetry, inspired by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Another concise, rich read, making the most of every word from a very canny wordsmith.

    Daedalus – Transformation

    Another oh-so clever piece that had me drawing breath – nature and all things natural, a topic close to my heart. It takes us from the transformation of our vast universe down to the smallest, most fragile insect – in verse. Ingenious.

    Athelstone – Rose the Cat

    Really touching, young voice, telling us of the transformation of her sister – or was it? The clue near the end, perhaps, of the old lady scratching at the floor; like the little girl making sense of a passing kind of transformation? An absolute delight of a read.

    Yeah, how to choose from those? But I have to, and so I’m handing next month over to Sandra.

    #10106
    Sandra
    Participant

    Wow. Thank you Janette, I’d relaxed, confident of having been entertainingly pipped at the post. Will drag myself from editing and see what I can come up with.

    #10108
    Athelstone
    Moderator

    Smashing story, Sandra. Very well deserved win!

    #10109
    Seagreen
    Participant

    Congratulations, Sandra! 😊 And well done to Ath and Daeds. All brilliant entries!

    Thanks for the prompt, Janette, that encouraged me to try something completely different 👍

    #10110
    Sandra
    Participant

    Thank you @Athelstone and @seagreen. Also thanks @Janette for a prompt which enabled me to try out a reason for a murder.

    April’s competition might do the same for someone else …

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