We were genuinely overwhelmed by the amazing response to our first microfiction competition. Of the 1,200 entries we received, the Stylist editorial team selected five daily winners, published below, along with an overall winner who wins a place at the London School of Journalism's famed creative writing programme.
Sue Moorcroft - novelist, short story writer and tutor at the London School of Journalism - judged the final round of entries and has selected Matthew Richardson as the winner for his entry House Number 1284. Sue said: "All the entries contain every ingredient of a micro story. The winning entry created a lasting image in my mind, of the situation, the plot and the character. I count that a triumph."
Read House Number 1284 below, along with the runners up, in no particular order.
House Number 1284 by Matthew Richardson [WINNER]
He squeezed down the overgrown path to the door, and called out, just loud enough for anything inside to hear him. Only silence came. He walked down the short hallway on rich paisley carpet, mottled with damp patches and leaves, glancing into tired looking rooms with peeling wallpaper and sun-bleached photographs. In the kitchen he found enough to stave off his hunger. With a tin of peaches he perched on the sofa. He ate slowly, ignoring the leathery corpse of the old woman in the armchair. He couldn’t sleep here, that was certain, but he could rest until daylight returned.
You're Invited by Gemma [surname withheld) [RUNNER UP]
New York, New York had done it. Sweaty armpits, misjudged high kicks and surging drunken bodies had been the last straw. It was the ninth this year (twelfth if you counted the evening onlys). They were all starting to merge into one - the conveyor belt of taffeta, melon followed by chicken and beige buffets. "Damn," she thought, "I should have brought a sausage roll out with me.
Waiting For The End Of Love by Sian Bevan [RUNNER UP]
As soon as he walked in, I knew her heart would be skipping to the stars on that clouded, shrouded night. He was everything she’d sing about over the morning chores: towering tall with a jaw built for truth, love and ravishing sex. She smiled, as practised, when he strode past. Soon he was getting her coffee topped up and feeding her delicate treats I was sure she’d worry about tomorrow. An outstretched hand swept her off into the night, leaving me behind with my lead still wrapped round the chair leg. A loyal friend panting the hours away.
Labour Of Love by Jill Prewitt [RUNNER UP]
The plaster cost two hundred; only the best for her. She took me eighteen months to finish. The mannequin mould was the easy part, set in three weeks. But attaching her hair, finding her clothes, sewing them on, painting her face, nails, mouth – it takes time if you want it right. If you want it real. And all I had to work from were pictures in the paper. Tonight, under the lights, my beautiful girl sat upright, waiting for me. A perfect likeness, frozen in time. Kneeling, I put the ring on her lifeless finger and cried.
Time in Rewind by Matt Caruso [RUNNER UP]
Two seconds ago; the dull pain in the back of her skull and the force that sent her tumbling forward. Fourteen seconds ago; the hurried cadence of the footsteps on the wet pavement behind her. Two years ago; her trembling fingers interlocked amid the sweaty hand of her groom. Sixteen years ago; a first kiss, sloppy and awkward, behind the school, after prom. Twenty-eight years ago; the gentle roar of the ocean and the feel of the sand in her fingers. Her first memory; counted backwards from her last. Then, her mind’s montage complete, darkness arrives.