Celebrations by Zita Fogarty

Prompt: A celebration | Word count: 2500 words | Genre: General Fiction 

The younger nephews and nieces hit balloons at each other, pale pink and powder blue. It’s 47C outside. The pool on the property is out of bounds today – it’s too far to walk in the heat. So everyone is staying in with the air con on, the thick curtains drawn.

I peep out the window between a slit in the cream coloured fabric. The Liquidamber trees look anorexic in the shimmering haze. It’s brother Gus’s birthday and the family has gathered to celebrate. Though there is a palpable weariness in the room – post-Christmas exhaustion, the weather. Polite conversation is going to be more difficult than usual Continue reading

The Baby shower by Donna Woodhouse

Prompt: A Celebration | Wordcount:  2504 | Genre: contemporary

Warning – profanity.

It’s not safe I say
I tell her twice.
It is not safe. I do not want to go.
I turn away and do not look at her. She knows what I mean. Knows how I feel. Continue reading

Eritque Arcus by Ellie Grace Hegarty

Prompt: The Celebration | Word count: 2500 exactly| Genre: Fantasy (Occurs *well* before “In Memoriam“)

Content Warnings: References to being followed and very mild imposed homophobia

A disappointing breakfast consisting of a bowl of soggy cereal and a lukewarm cup of tea met Quentin on the kitchen table, alongside Victoria Trask, his beloved mother. She had busied herself with her laptop, checking emails and replying to them, her fingers deftly tapping the keyboard. Continue reading

The Verdict by Savannah Fortis

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Realistic Fiction

“But we have valid visas! The sticker is on page seven and the stamp is on page six. It should say October sixth. Or fifth. But it’s there and it’s December now and it hasn’t even been three months yet. These are valid for six months. There’s still four more… ”

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Our Own Version of Inferno by Patty Panni

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word count: 1,000 | Genre: Realistic Fiction

It was a heavy, humid night with no breeze stirring. Dan drove through the streets of Memphis, his brow creased with worry, in neighborhoods he would rather not have known about – had not known about until recently. His wife Sue sat in the passenger seat, face glued to the window, keeping a watchful eye on all they passed. Broken down houses, empty storefronts, vacant lots, a woman walking slowly while looking over her shoulder at them as they passed, crumbling walls, broken bottles. Broken lives. At 3:00 am, this part of the city was shockingly awake, alive with people on the streets watching the SUV watching them. Clusters here and there, voices raised, pipes and cigarettes glowing in shadowy faces.

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The Yellow Sweater by Orli Yatziv

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word count: 963 | Genre: Modern fiction

Warning: Death and violence.

My clothing was never my own.  One would think that as the oldest of four girls, I would have a dictatorship over the clothing that entered the house. I would be the benevolent ruler of fashion and the others would have to scrounge in my leavings for their paltry coverings.  This was not so; my wardrobe instead became the battleground.  Clothing picked and purchased by me would be ransacked the moment that I left my bedroom or the house.  As an early riser I was always first to eat breakfast and then the parade of my own clothing would make its way down the stairs.    First my new blue dress with the long flowing sleeves, then the black t-shirt with my latest band obsession blazoned across the front and lastly, the yellow sweater.

That accursed yellow sweater.

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My Friend the Selkie by P Naidoo

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word count: 1000 words | Genre: Fairy tale / Folk tale

My icy heart was gripped by fear as I swam  towards the Sea Witch’s lair. She lived in a large cave, well beneath the choppy waves, which was cloaked by her magic. As I approached the entrance my heart began to race and my mind was flooded with warnings from the elders. Merfolk who sought the counsel of sea hags often found thesmelves in worse situations than they were before. A sea witch is a choatic and unpredicable force who delves in “grey magic”. I was fearful of what I would find inside and my tail quivered as I plucked up my courage and entered the gloomy cave.

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American Student by Hannah Hassler

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Social Commentary

The individuals were silent, lined up in ruler straight rows, faces blank.

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M.A.D. by JM Barrie

Prompt: Desperate Times | Word Count: 1000 | Genre: Pre-apocalyptic fiction

‘Launch confirmed, sir! Multiple warheads inbound, all on different trajectories.’

Malabryn President, Sylah Jonas, stopped pacing. ‘Alert Status One. Put it on screen.’

‘Yes sir.’ The sensor officer linked his screen to the wall display. It showed seventeen Eradication Device warheads, on target to different Malabryn cities. At least three targeted the capital, Jaxa City.

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Desperate Times by Franciska Merrick

Prompt: Desperate Times l Word Count: 1000 l Genre: Fiction

Desperation, in many customs, manifests itself in overtly exaggerated actions. When we are on the verge of losing what we value, we take extreme measures to regain a semblance of control. I find mom in her customary post-spat state, elbows flying and hands scrubbing the sink. There is nothing left to clean.

“Mommy, your hands,” I gasp bewildered as I grasp for them, “Stop, Mommy. You’re hurt,” lips trembling I grasp her hands in mine.

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