Brighton Festival, nabokov and exclusive short story writing competition based on the Brighton Festival 2017 theme of ‘Everyday Epic’. Competition entries extracts.

It was just one of those things   

She tipped the contents of the barrow into the English Channel, and smiled: Nobody could find him now! The police could investigate, and the media speculate as much as they liked; in a couple of weeks no-one would give a damn about the disappearance of a guitarist in a boy band. She’d got away with it!

The barrow was easier to push now that it was empty, but a small plastic sandwich bag remained in the bottom. Helen stared at the bag; damn I’ve forgotten his bits and pieces after all! Oh well, they can go in the fridge. I’ll go to the pier and feed them to the seagulls tomorrow

The voice from behind her came as a surprise, ‘Allo. Allo. Allo. What’s nice a girl like you doing in a place like this in the middle of the night?’

Helen turned slowly, ‘Oh hello officer! I’ve been taking some rubbish to the dump.’

The police officer looked into the wheelbarrow, where at the bottom, Justin’s sad looking bits and pieces along with his fingers and toes were clearly visible in the transparent sandwich bag, ‘What the f***…’ he said and stared at Helen in disbelief.

Oh well you can’t win them all.


Protected Housing

‘It really was the most marvellous garden,’ she said. ’Not that I had anything to compare it with.’

He tried to recall it. ‘It smelled so beautiful. No chemicals of course then, and it rained only when you needed it. I remember a tree,’ he said. ‘Because I used to sit in the shade and make up names for things. Then you came along, and you thought of miraculous names. Like Flutterby.’

‘You improved on that one.’ She smiled. Although her skin was so wrinkled these days, she retained a smile to charm the birds out of the trees. They seldom spoke of those days because they seemed not only to belong to a different age but to two different people entirely.

‘Would you like to go back?’

‘Well, we couldn’t, could we? For one thing, we’ld never find it.’

‘There’s a few clues. The Land of Nod.’

‘But what’s that mean? It’s just a metaphor. It means you might see it in your dreams. You might. I haven’t had a dream for months.’

They were sitting either side of a plain oak table on which lay the remains of a frugal lunch; soup and some unappetizing fruit. Their conversation was interrupted by power drills and the cheerful blasphemies of workmen for whom every day was predictable. The village was being reinvented.

‘I did dream about the snake once. He was an old charmer, despite everything.’

‘It must have been part of a plan,’ Adam remarked. He wanted to continue talking and to leave the dishes till later. ‘And when you consider all the aspects of it, it was a weird kind of plan, because I don’t believe we had any choice. It would have been helpful if we had some record of it all; photos maybe.’

(David, Hove)

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