Authors can share a link to their short stories (less than 2000 words please) or poetry, and it won’t cost you a penny! The deadline is 31st August. Stories or poems can be on any subject, but please keep them reasonably family friendly – nothing too graphic! On 1st September I will pick a winner and a runner up and share the links to the stories on my website, MeWe and Twitter pages. The winner also has the choice of their story being included in an anthology of winners that I will compile when I have enough stories.
Please ensure that you add the link to your story to August’s submission page and not any previous month, or it may be missed.
I look forward to reading your efforts. The winners can use these laurels below to add to their story:
Here’s a 1300 word taste of my novel ‘Partners in Time’ for your delectation and delight…
Extract from ‘Partners in Time’. Copyright Stevie Turner 2019
John could almost hear the design team rubbing their hands with glee at the expense of the task in front of them… to work with Kay on refurbishing the glut of empty rooms. He was happy to leave it all to them with one exception – his study. He wasn’t sure what the 7ft by 8ft room had been used for in the past, but now it was his and his alone. He wanted his handiwork spread all over that study like a rash; plain plastered walls painted in duck-egg blue to show off his certificates and trophies to start with. Then would come the matching vertical blinds he could angle to follow the sun, a dark shaggy carpet averse to showing any dirt, a huge Victorian desk with hopefully a secret drawer or two, and a long Chesterfield taking up one wall where he could imitate Wordsworth in vacant mood.
Simon, his agent, was working on his first million and sending ever-increasing emails. However, John knew he could never settle until his writing area was just so. This was why he found himself up a ladder painting the high ceiling instead of starting Series Two of Love’s Tangled Web.
“Percy reckons yellow crushed velvet curtains in our bedroom would set off the grey carpet beautifully.”
He laughed as Kay stood in the doorway, hand on hip, in perfect imitation of Percival Ye Myint, the unusual-looking interior designer from un-exotic Hackney Wick.
“Is that his real name?” John slapped on a liberal coating of emulsion. “Anyway…I’m leaving it all to you. Just don’t send him in here.”
“So this is where it’s all going to be happening?” Kay walked towards the ladder and ran her hand up one leg of his trousers. “Will Ethan finally give Annie one?”
John shook his leg free and prepared to flick the paintbrush in his wife’s direction.
“You’ll have to wait and see. Will you stop that? I’ll fall off the bloody ladder in a minute.”
“I’m out of this man-cave!” Kay retreated backwards, her eyes following the paintbrush. “I’m running off with Percy.”
He stepped down off the ladder, pleased with the outcome. The plasterer had taken out all the lumps and bumps in the walls, and they were now painted just the shade of pale blue that Percy disapproved of. John folded up a dust sheet covering the Axminster and prized Chesterfield, and lifted up the sash window to open it fully, taking care not to leave his fingerprints in the still-wet paint. Rays of afternoon sun warmed his face and to his great surprise illuminated transparent contours of a young woman wearing a kind of lacy neck to ankle smock lying prone on the Chesterfield when he swung back into the room. John blinked twice to ensure his imagination was not playing tricks. Sure enough the woman, unaware and fading slightly on his prized sofa as he watched incredulously, slumbered gently on.
“Fuck-a-doodle-do!” He whistled softly through his teeth and stuck his head out of the door. “Kay! Come and have a look at this!”
Deciding not to call again on hearing his wife in conversation with Percy on the top floor, he gently pulled the door to and studied the countenance before him in repose. It was a young face, no more than twenty four or twenty five. A dark brown plait of hair contrasted with the pristine white smock and fell over one shoulder. Black lashes fluttered against a pale, somewhat wan and sunless skin. A thin, noble nose and full red lips completed the most bizarre sight that John had ever seen in his life.
Footsteps sounded on the bare boards of the mezzanine corridor, and the door flew open. John turned towards Kay, still with his mouth open in astonishment and with one finger pointing at the Chesterfield. Kay shrugged.
“Did you call?” She followed the direction of his finger. “So? It’s a Chesterfield! Fancy a quick one on it then?”
John twisted around in alarm as Kay took a running jump towards the sofa and landed square on top of its three squashy cushions, flipping quickly over to lie seductively with a shapely leg draped up along its back. The woman in white, whoever she was, could no longer be seen.
“Well? What are you waiting for?” Kay laughed and undid another button on her blouse. “I haven’t got all day!”
John managed a nearly normal chuckle.
“Steady on, Percy’s still prowling about. Do your button up.”
“Oh God, I left him in the top bathroom when I heard you call. He has a friend who can get us a good deal on one of those long Victorian gentleman’s baths with the claw feet.” Kay leapt up from the sofa. “He’s probably more likely to be looking at your chest than mine, anyway.”
“Who, the friend?” John, bewildered, checked the Chesterfield for any sign of the woman wearing what he supposed must have been a nightdress. “Or Percy?”
“I’ll meet you on the sofa later.” She gave him a brief kiss. “Tie a knot in it for now.”
As his wife ran back upstairs, John sank down onto his office chair and gazed long and hard at where the woman had lain. He had a thumping headache. He rubbed his eyes, wondering whether he had inhaled too many fumes from the gloss paint. He swivelled around in the chair, folded his arms on the desk in front of him, and momentarily laid down his aching head.
A ten minute power nap eased his symptoms somewhat. Coming to with a start, he remembered the vision he had seen and swung around in the chair.
There she was again…as white as her nightshirt but definitely breathing.
John, heart thumping, crept over to the woman and touched a couple of the cool, soft fingers on her left hand with his own. Her lashes fluttered, her body solidified, and he found himself looking into two eyes of a rather unusual cobalt blue. A voice, rather shaky, whispered a question as their owner looked down at her nightshirt in horror.
“Where am I?”
John bit the side of his mouth to confirm he wasn’t still asleep and dreaming.
“You’re in my study.”
The disbelieving woman was close to tears.
“But how did I get here? Did I walk in my sleep? Who are you?”
Her form began to fade. John screwed up his eyes and then opened them again in disbelief; she had become translucent. He touched her hand, and her body reassembled as the energy flowed between them. He kept hold of her fingers.
“I’m John Finbow, the owner of this house. What’s your name? What year were you born?”
Emily’s voice shook as she got to her feet.
“Emily Cuthbertson. I was born January the twenty eighth in the year of our Lord eighteen and forty two.”
Warmth from her hand spread into his own as John recalled a quick perusal of the deeds and several generations of Cuthbertsons.
“And I was born September the fifth nineteen seventy seven.”
He looked at her features for the expression of surprise, which arrived with some alacrity.
“But that cannot be! Queen Victoria is still on the throne! How can she still be queen in nineteen seventy seven?”
He wanted to wipe away a tear that ran down her cheek.
“It’s nearly forty years on from that. “ John shook his head. “If I remember rightly, Victoria died a hundred and sixteen years’ ago.”
The woman stared at him open-mouthed, and the door flew open. John instinctively let go of Emily’s hand on seeing Kay’s eyes darting about the room.
“Who are you speaking to?”
Men in white coats with jackets that fasten at the back were never far from his mind.
“I’m going over a scene I’m writing. It’s better if I talk it through.”
“Oh.” Kay, mollified, shot him a smile. “Do you want me to help?”
“I’m done now.” John took a quick glimpse to his right. “Let’s go and talk claw baths with Percy.”