Thanks for coming out and sharing your stories with us. If you missed either entry, go read it here. Finished? Great! Here's what the judge had to say:
Special Challenge Champion:
by Geoff Holme
A very bad pun to end with, but I will allow ‘Walking in the Ayr’. I think this story should also get a special award for introducing our friends across the pond to Leyton Orient. As a child of the Midlands originally, even mentioning this name takes me back to Saturday afternoons when the Football Results were read out. This writer really took the special challenge seriously and cleverly paved the way for incorporating them by using coincidences to generate “And to top it all, We Three Kings Of Orient Are all Driving Home For Christmas!” There were a few other spooky coincidences for me – my Dad’s name is Alan, and his parents lived in Coventry for many, many years so again I took a slight nostalgia hit. All I needed was for the story to be written in Black Country dialect! (Yes, I know Coventry is down a bit from Birmingham but it’s all pretty much a variation on the accent, I lived on the edge of the West Midlands in Shropshire and that could be just as bad!).
So for bad jokes – “You looked out and the pavement was covered in Black Forest gateaux and the road in sherry trifle… The street was desserted!”, corny lines incorporating Christmas songs, nostalgia and for seriously getting into the Festive Spirit, this story truly deserves the Special Challenge award.
by Audrey Weinberg
A story of two halves. Starting off with a woman, apparently being ignored by her partner and thinking she is hearing things but needs to find out if she is crazy or not. Taking the advice of neurologist Oliver Sacks she goes for a run, testing her voice, testing her hearing. All is normal. Until she gets home and then we realise, as she enters the cold, dark and empty house that the Joe she mentioned at the start of the story does not exist, is not there. But is she mad? Pulling out a missed envelope she reads the lines that tell us why her house is in its mournful state, why Joe isn’t there - a ‘tragedy’ befell her on Christmas Day; it goes some way to explaining her mental state. Using the sound of breaking glass to symbolise her shattered life was a nice touch and the beautiful finishing lines effectively underlined the tragedy she had experienced.