Each year a crime writing festival (Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival) is held in my home town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire and in conjunction with this our local paper holds a short story crime writing competition. I’ve entered for the last 4 years and up til now have never won.
But this year it’s different. There were so many entries of high standards they decided to have 3 runners up as well as the overall winner.
And yes I managed to find myself in this category!!
The competition was judged by this years reader in residence, writer Ann Cleeves. Who as a member of ‘the murder squad’ promotes crime fiction and has published 5 novels of psychological suspense and is also the author of the Inspector Ramsey series.
I have won tickets to the opening night and the awards ceremony, which will include crime writers such as Frederick Forsyth and Mark Billingham amongst many others!
Ann penned the first paragraph of the competition story and then the rest is up to the entrants. The story has to be completed in 300words or less!! (Very difficult)
This is my entry…
The stranger looked up from his pint of Old Peculier.
“I knew her,” he said. “That lass who died in the Crown Hotel.”
He’d been in here for half an hour and this was the first thing he’d said.
“I went to school with her…she was my first love, my only love.” I stopped wiping the bar down and listened as he continued.
“I would’ve done anything for her.” he wasn’t talking to me, just to anyone who’d listen.
He looked sad and tired, I felt sorry for him. He rubbed his forehead, then washed down some pills with his pint.
“I hadn’t seen her in a few months, I was working hard for this.” he reached into his pocket and produced a small box, he opened it and carefully placed a ring next to his drink.
“We were going to be so happy.” his eyes glazed over and I looked away, I’d read the story in the paper. It was tragic. She’d gone out for some air, when she tripped on the hem of her wedding dress and broke her neck falling down stairs. He looked more tired than ever and I became concerned when he swallowed the last of his pills.
I said “I don’t think you need anymore of them, friend.” his head had become heavy and he looked up at me with his sad, tired eyes and said.
“It doesn’t matter anymore, nothing does. I ruined everything and I can’t go back.”
“Don’t blame yourself, friend. It was a tragic accident, there was nothing you…”
He collapsed onto the floor, I ran round the bar and tried to keep him awake. He moved his head slightly and whispered.
“You don’t understand.” he said as his head slowly fell to the side and his last words were…
“It was my fault, I pushed her. You see friend…she wasn’t marrying me!”
Its not the best stuff thats ever been written, it’s hard to write a story with less than 300words and alot of detail had to be cut out. But I did win runner up and I’m very pleased with that!