We asked for stories of exactly 100 words, and here are the submissions. We are posting them anonymously, in order of receipt. You can vote for as many stories as you like, but only vote once, please!
Voting closed on Sunday at 5pm the winner was announced as Story 5.
How can you not know your season?
Last year you were so bitingly cold that I spent sixty two pounds on warm slippers.
This year you blame October. Oh yes, we know it started cold but it quickly warmed. The wasps buzzed and grew flabbily indolent and seriously argumentative.
Now we rely on you to freeze them, to seal them in their many layered homes.
I had no use for my slippers in the spring, nor in the summer. Now November, you decide. Are you autumn or are you winter? When can I brush the dust from the Harris Tweed?
Cervelaf sprawled on his mossy woodland throne. An empty tankard dangled from one finger, his great antlered head lolled.
The doe-woman, Devnet, emerged from the forest edge, bow in hand. Graceful as ever, she crossed the clearing and bowed before Cervelaf. ‘The Marasmus has returned.’
Blood surged through Cervelaf’s heart. At last! He leapt to his feet, seized his hunting horn and gave three blasts.
Echoes of the horn faded among the trees. Cervelaf drove his fist into his palm and paced the clearing. Finally, the seasons turned. Boar-warriors, fox-people and collared men gathered around.
It was time to hunt.
“Penny for the Guy,” I called from the doorway of the laundrette.
10p would get us a Wham bar. 20p would get a Texan. Anything else would get cola bottles or gummy bears in triplicate.
“You going to burn it, then?” asked a man in a leather jacket, pointing with his cigarette at the bundle by my feet.
I nodded, feeling shy.
“Do it now and I’ll give you a tenner,” he said, pulling a half-full can of lighter fluid from his pocket.
I just hoped my little brother would stay still long enough for me to get the money.
It was night in the countryside; there was no light, not from moon or house. Reaching out a hand I switched on the lamp. It gave a dull click but nothing happened.
A power cut.
Across the ceiling an unearthly light painted a geometric and random pattern. Its very nature made me afraid. Quietly, as if there were company in the room, I went to the window and peered out. On the hill opposite a light danced.
I huddled awaiting my fate, but nothing happened. All night I sat until the morning revealed the truth; a harvester on the hill.
What is the late November doing? Spring was disturbed; the summer was hot; November terrifies.
The shining woods with their gold-brown light have tempted me out, against my better judgement. Perhaps this time it won’t happen.
And then it hoves into view: a ghastly half-rotten face with staring holes for eyes and a jagged, open mouth. It is laughing at me!
Charred twigs form a sinister circle at my feet; footprints in the mud remind me of a teasing, jeering mob.
The remains of a spiked wheel hang forlornly on a fence. It’s the 25th and my name is Catherine.
Every month has its own flavour : February – chocolate, July – raspberry, October – apple; November is treacle. Burnt sugar, molasses, toffee it doesn’t matter how I come by it, so long as there’s that bitter dark sweetness – toffee apple, parkin, stir-up Sunday; the air is constantly full of that scent, sticky with the feel of winter: dead leaves, fireworks and fires. My earliest memory is of sticking my baby-teeth together with treacle toffee, wielding the little hammer that was meant to break the slab apart. I hit more than the toffee, and ever since, treacle has been the flavour of guilt.
For the past three years, Anna had tried to imagine that November wasn’t going to happen. The kitchen wall calendar remained stuck on October until the 1st of December, when she would turn two pages at once. Guy Fawkes and St Andrews Day were passed over, and she pretended that the birthdays and anniversaries that she would have previously penned in didn’t exist. But every time she dated a document, or picked up a newspaper, or checked an email she couldn’t avoid the countdown to the only important date in November – the anniversary to her husband’s death on 30 November.
That Friday was our first taste, although not the expected exotic Spaghetti Bolognese. We’d giggled, anticipating our big sister’s bubbling pot, the whole sixty mile bumpy bus journey, but were met by Bobby unsmiling at the bus stop, “Quick, into the van.”
Margaret tensely smiled as we whirled to Foresterhill. Bobby paced outside, “Your dinner? Here.” We raced into the dark but, no chipper, only an offlicence offering us the new flavour, roast chicken crisps, with liquorice Toffos for dessert. Sated, we returned to Bobby’s mixed delight and denial at “It’s ANOTHER girl”, much too young to be our dad.
My father was a cross in a field, with a red flower in the centre, like his heart was pinned there. It was cold and damp so I wrapped him in my jumper; but my mother told me off and I put it on again. We left my father standing there, one cross among hundreds; a tree in a forest of stumps.
My father had fallen, they said: I wondered how far he’d fallen and how he had turned into this tiny wooden fork with a heart pinned to it.
My father was a cross in a field.