Writing resources

‘8 Unusual ways to boost your writing productivity’ – NY Book Editors

As a writer, you’ve probably experienced ebbs and flows in terms of writing productivity.

Some days, no one can  rip you away from your notebook or computer. You’ll write so much that your fingers will cramp, your eyes will grow tired and your stomach will growl– but none of that matters because you’re in “the groove”.

Then there are times…

You spend all day looking for inspiration. You’ll embrace all distractions, and then lament the fact that you haven’t gotten any writing done. You’ll feel stressed out, disappointed and in “a funk”.

What if I told you there’s a way to boost your daily writing productivity and then keep it on an even keel?

For more information click here

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Rambles – Miguel Trindade (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: Story cubes – peek (by a door), paper and scissors (cut), pointing and directing (two people walking, holding hands, guy pointing in front of the girl)

Rambles – Miguel Trindade

She rambled around the room, rambled and rambled looking at clothes and objects lying here and there, on the floor on the couch, on the table, under the table.
The place was a mess. Not chaotic but definitely not comfortable as she’d like or expect.
Until nine there was some time to kill, but she couldn’t find how.
“In order to organize the room, one first has to attain a clear mind.”
at least these were the teachings of the spiritual leader and yoga teacher, friend of a friend.
So, no room cleaning this time.
Her little brother pecked on the door, looking for something. His small and lively animal spirit always wanting to know what was happening, interrupting studies and sneaking at not the best moments, made her happy.
She really couldn’t imagine her life without him.
He had some thick papers in his hand to do some drawings, origami and stuff.
Fair enough.
Crossing the park, at eight fifty was just in time to arrive where he was waiting. Some kind of surprise, he took her hand and led her through the streets. Noises mixed together, passerbies passing by.


Prague Microfestival Poetry Competition

Attention all aspiring poets!

Have you heard about the PrAgUe MiCrOfEsTiVaL pOeTrY cOmPeTiTiOn?
It’s the only open poetry competition in Prague, so a great opportunity for all the creative writers in Prague. Extra bonus – there are great prizes up for grabs. Give it a shot!

Some more info:

• Up to 2 poems per person
• Written in Czech or English
• All poems must be 16 lines or less
• We want new work. Poems must be unpublished.
• Submission deadline: 12 noon, Sunday 14 May 2017.

• Read your poem on stage at the PMF finale (21 May)
• Literary translation of your work into Czech or English
• Publication in the PMF9 zine
Winners will be announced at PMF9 finale (21 May).
Poets must be planning to attend.
This prize aims to discover new talent, so please don’t enter if you are already well-published.
Email your poem entry to
pmf.pfp@gmail.com or message it to us on Facebook

More info is on the Facebook page of the actual event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1831301150527009/. Thanks for sharing and see you at the next meeting!


Horror story competition results

I recently finished reading Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing: A memoir of the Craft.’ Instead of giving my adulatory, gushing review I’ll give you some of his words instead:

 “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:                                                                                            read a lot and write a lot.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Scribbles & Giggles encourages writers to do exactly this, read a lot and write a lot, and our competitions are one of many opportunities for writers to practise their skills. 

In our latest competition, Scribbles & Giggles writers were asked to write a 200 word Horror Story and the results are finally here!

Thank you to every writer who entered this competition and thank you to our judges for their valuable feedback. 

Note that the judges had no idea who the writers were. They were asked to give feedback on every story and the feedback was given to the writers privately. The judges were also asked to choose their top three entries and points were allocated as follows: First place – 3 points, Second place – 2 points, Third place – 1 point. 

Alas! There is only one winner…

                          …but before you find out who that winner is, enjoy reading all the entries below (and feel free to share your feedback in the comments section):


— The Entries —

Entry 1: The Only News that Matters – Roderick Mitchell

If you’re reading this, I have some unfortunate news: you’re going to die.
Now, now, don’t be alarmed. Everyone dies; it’s a natural part of being alive. Depending on your worldview, the explanations for how life begins and what happens when it ends might differ from one to the next, but that’s irrelevant for the point at hand: your death.
You can try to delay it, people certainly try, but in the end, the only thing left to do is face the end, and pass into the great unknowable where faith is either your salvation or a salve to obscure oblivion.
“How soon?” you ask.
You don’t expect a reply, which is fine. No one ever expects a reply, but they get it all the same.
In the quiet hours of the night as you lie in bed before sleep fully consumes you, listen to the whispers you pretend aren’t there. You know the voice. It only ever has one thing to say:

Entry 2: Fear- Jakub Dohnal


It was all that Pauline could feel. Everything else seemed to be a bizarre dream. Even the gun tightly gripped in her hand. It had to be.

Wet, smooth asphalt turned into crunching gravel and blinding headlights were replaced with striking darkness. She tried to speak up, but the fear took over her voice.


The car came to a stop at a tall metal gate, gnawed by rust. She has seen this place before. Thirty years ago. It’s where she had secretly buried her stillborn son. She stepped out into the mist and the fear guided her through the gate.

A battered tombstone with one lit candle emerged from the darkness. The faded inscription was still visible.


The grave was open. Inside, a glimpse of a rose coloured blanket. She fell down on her knees and a whimper pierced the silence.

“Come to me, mom. I have been lonely.”

The gun in her hand cocked.
Entry 3: Lucifer – Anton Popov

Dark be the eye which stares from deep below.
Into the night, the solemn one, it shines
And leads the way for angels – full of lies –
To where nine circles, like nine fires, glow.

Black be the wing which covers nighttime skies
And hides the stars of galaxies unknown;
Upon thy cloth, o Night, His breeds were born –
All of false pride and darkness, blind yet wise.

Old scars wide open, burn and prickle cruelly,
As frozen planets in the space watch out –
For a black dragon, crucified in moonlight,

Who raised his flame to light the path to doubt –
And praise the grace of discord and a sin;
Who dreams of love, forever lost to him.

The dark is blind, and blindness is the key
To what lies hidden in his fallen reign.
The Morningstar glows still – and speaks his name
In a thousand tongues, unknown to Man.
His ashen throne is paved with golden flame
Of the hand-made suns that light the night,
Reaching for dimensions so up high –
A promise to return to whence he came.

Entry 4: The Creature – Anna Marie

It is past midnight and my work is complete, but unsatisfying. I rub my burning eyes, then open them… and see three men:
One is sea-foam white, water drips from his wavy hair.
One leans on my desk, fresh blood on his handkerchief.
One wears an olive garland and a white toga is stuck onto his feverish body.
I am amazed – they are the ghosts of Shelley, Keats and Byron! Suddenly, they exclaim:
‘Thy Creature holds thee in thrall!’
Loud footsteps. I turn around: a horrendous monster – flaming red eyes, decaying yellow skin, Satan’s wings. It howls:
‘I am thy Creature.’ I flee into the darkness; the Romantics and Daemon all pursue me. I stumble and fall. The poets cackle and the monster growls: ‘I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel.’ It sinks its pointed teeth into my throat. The men just watch…
I awake, shaking and sweating. Birds chipper outside; it’s daybreak. I instantly begin improving my Creature.

In my next dream, there is no monster, but a beautiful muse and rosy poets. She tells me:
‘We will stand by your side at the thesis defence.’ And they smile.

Entry 5: Picturesque – Andrew Jan Buring

I can’t quite remember when the itch started. Sometime in the last decade, I think. Or maybe even earlier. There was darkness. I lost myself in it. And before that…a party? There was a flash, I remember that. And a baby crying. I can still hear it, but it’s wrong. Like it’s coming from a million miles away. Wait…it’s getting closer. It’s louder now. Around me. No, below me. I’m holding a baby. How long have I been standing here? It’s all coming back to me. The pain! My feet! I just want to sit down. How long have I been standing here?! My arms scream, as I’m holding the baby. I want to shout but I can’t. My face is frozen in an awkward grin. I want to go back to the darkness. There I could forget…here, here I remember. On top of this mantelpiece I stand, babe in hand. I look out and see a slab of glass. I look past it, and see a world that’s been moving away from me. The pain and the crying are building. I feel my brain jolting. There’s a flash and I’m back in the darkness.

Entry 6: Thirsty Youth – Adam Hughes-Buchanan

The local hump dump where hook ups go to drunkenly fumble in the dark; Alex and Katy lurch between the trees behind the Rusty Spoon nightclub. Gnarled branches claw at Katy’s hair. Roots seem to flex around Alex’s swift ankles in the pale moonlight. At the waterside he pushes her up against a trunk leaning over the rippling surface.
“Careful. We could fall in.”
“I got you.” He pulls her closer, starting to tug at her miniskirt.
Katy pulls away from his ardour. “You know I hear they never find the bodies.” Nodding pointedly to the murk below and biting her lip.
Alex laughs. “I said I got you.” He cries out. “Something bit me.” He shivers, gasping in pain, unable to move. Katy backs away. His face bloats brown. His hands reach out to clutch her shirt. She tears away. His bulging eyes are the last she sees of him as she careens between the chestnut trunks. Her ankle snaps. She falls to the ground and roots wrap around her screaming, writhing body. Soon her shrieks subside. Only a wooden husk remains. A crimson liquid floods the hungry veins of the nearest oaks, yet the forest thirsts for more.


— The Judges —

Before I reveal the results I’d like to introduce you to our judges:

From left to right, top to bottom we have Bonay, Devon, Jamie, Maie and Brendon.

Bonay Van Der Schyff is a Test taster for dog food , moonlighting as a teacher of English to fund her cloth nappy addiction.  Her greatest fear is that ‘Donald Trump will become Leader of the Free World – oh wait!’ Her hobby is pretending she has read really intellectual books like War and Peace but then reading Young Adult Fiction instead.

First –  Entry 3: Lucifer, Second – Entry 4: The Creature, Third – Entry 2: Fear

Devon Maloy is a Business Applications Analyst hailing from Texas. His interests include weird metal music, warhammer, comics and writing. Devon can’t think of the time he was most scared – he screams often.

First – Entry 2: Fear, Second – Entry 6: Thirsty Youth, Third – Entry 4: The Creature

Jamie Morgon: Community Projects and Collaboration Manager. Obsessed with Nintendo and secretly feels Princess Zelda is the only woman he will ever truly love. The scariest thing that ever happened to him was getting sleep paralysis at age 5.

First – Entry 6 Thirsty Youth, Second –  Entry 2: Fear, Third – Entry 4 The Creature

Maie Crumpton is a content and digital marketing consultant in Prague. She is a big fan of hitting and kicking things in a variety of different styles including (but not limited to) Krav Maga and Muay Thai. She also enjoys ceramics and embroidery – balance y’know. Maie is terrified at the thought of coming home at night and finding the house door has been jimmied.

First – Entry 2: Fear, Second – Entry 6: Thirsty Youth, Third – Entry 5: Picturesque

Brendon Robinson is an English teacher in the United Arab Emirates. He likes ancient blues music and when asked what he fears he said ‘being blind to the beauty of life…and rats, heights and crowded shopping malls.’

First – Entries 3 Lucifer and 4 The Creature, Second -, Third – Entry 1.


— The Scores —


Entry 1: The Only News that Matters – Roderick Mitchell

Entry 2: Fear – Jakub Dohnal

Entry 3: Lucifer – Anton Popov

Entry 4: The Creature – Anna Marie

Entry 5: Picturesque – Andrew Jan Buring

Entry 6: Thirsty Youth – Adam Hughes-buchanan


— The Winner —

And the winner of the 200 word Horror Story competition is Jakub Dohnal!!

Congratulations Jakub, your creativity never ceases to impress us. Your prize will be delivered to you soon.

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Upbringing – Miguel Trindade (40 minute story)


Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on a writing prompt which is the photo that can be seen above. 

Upbringing by Miguel Trindade 

I’ve met her some years afterwards, but her schooling and some manners particular of her education still prevailed.
She was timid and apparently mostly subdued. But strong inside. You could see that.
She did not shiver or tremble easily.
The monastic school where she grew was situated, in my opinion, in a great place, four miles at one side until you reached the river, six miles from the left corner until the next town.
But the look on her eyes, the quiet eagerness, she told me, might come I mean be caused by the room where she spent most of her idle time, her room. She shared it with classmates.
The windows of the building were tall and projected light in every direction, but the room faced north, and they came to believe this detail made them always miss something.
The light from the sun that reached them was indirect light, and so to see the sun they had to go outside.
True that during the week they always got up early, before seven or six, and that was no issue, but on the weekends, there was no morning with its [the sun] rays entering the room and enveloping the bed and the couch with warmth and light.
Sadly the sunset had also to be appreciated at the nearby hill.
All this could be her imagination, but it was a good pick up line, or I mean, a good follow up to the pick up line I blurted the twelfth time I saw her, at the local bakery.
We were young at the time and don’t ask me why, I always would come up with some excuse to not talk to her, besides the simple “hi” and “thank you”.
Eventually I felt sorry for myself and decided to talk with someone, and got to know her story. But this card has not enough space to write it all.

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Donald’s Discombobulation – Lenka Dvorakova (40 minute story)

Photo prompt Ladies with knivesNote: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on a writing prompt which is the photo that can be seen above. 

Donald’s Discombobulation  Lenka Dvorakova 

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, with blue skies and a gentle breeze, and Donald thought life couldn’t get any better.

And then the murders started.

The pharmacist was the first one. They found him behind his desk, a knife sticking out of his back. Then the schoolmaster, with his head almost separated from his body, found by the janitor in the hallway. When they discovered the corpse of the bookstore owner in a puddle of blood, the town started to panic.

A serial killer, obviously. But why? Why here? Why now? And most importantly, who’s going to be next?

The next one was the notary.

All of them killed with a knife, and there was a clear pattern: all victims were middle-aged, married, respected and well-off. But the murderer never took anything. Except for their lives, that is.

The murders stopped with the butcher. Five crimes, five victims, five knives.

The police closed the case after some time without ever finding who did it.

The life in the town was never the same. Even years later, the air smelled of blood and people feared to look each other in the eye. The bookstore never opened again, and the new pharmacist never understood why people preferred traveling across the river to get their medicine.

All these years, Donald wondered why he was spared. He always suspected he was supposed to be victim number six. He was just like all the other victims, a wealthy doctor, middle-aged, respected. And his wife was in the picture, too.


40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Tyler – Anna Marie (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: The words ‘jump’, shout’, ‘dig’

Tyler – Anna Marie
Every family has a black sheep – not the woolly, bah-bah-ing kind, but a member who sticks out. And in my family, I’m that black sheep, because I hate heights. In fact, I can’t handle it. My family, on the other hand, lives in heights: My grandfather was in the Air Force. My grandmother was a sky-diving instructor. My father is a long-distance pilot. My mother is a stewardess on long distance flights (that’s how my parents met).
And then there’s me – the only child who hates flying, catapulting, bungee-jumping, sky-diving, you name it. It’s okay to like your job, but it’s different when you impose your passion to spend a few minutes in mid-air every weekend on a child who cannot handle it. When I confided in my friend Mei, she told me that there is a Chinese saying that if the mother eats an excess of something, the child will reject it – and this only validates my theory that even though my parents contradict that my mother sky-dived or even bungee-jumped when pregnant, my fear of heights is only the result of their excessive passion. I’m so sure they’re lying.
There was no way of me escaping from our family weekends out in the countryside where everyone (except me, of course) would have a grand time performing sports that require a large amount of space between land and person. My grandfather would pilot our small family plane while my grandmother would make sure the parachute vests were intact on my parents’ bodies. Then she would slide open the side door and on her count, my parents would dive into the sky. I was too scared to jump, or even stand next to the open door, terrified that the baby blue air will suck me out of the plane like dust from beneath a couch. I felt increasingly as worthless and unwanted as dust on these trips, especially when my family insisted on me joining them in the sky, but always giving me a disappointed look when I whimpered and hid in the corner, refusing to get off the plane.

Everyone believed that my exposure to heights would eradicate my fear, but it did the opposite as I instead crouched in the corner and embraced my knees, imagining that I am a rock on soft grass, growing out of the sweet, sweet earth.
I remember the first time my body found itself in the middle of the sky. I was about 6 years old when my grandmother tied me to mother’s aerodynamic body that was shaking in strong anticipation of the fall ahead.
“Good luck, darling baby, I’ll see you down there!” my grandmother caressed and kissed my head, inside of which was an innocent mind that believed my parents’ words that the “flight” will be fun.
“We’ll be like birds!” my father said and I felt my mother’s chin lift as she smiled. I think I giggled in excitement, picturing us roaming the skies horizontally like the parrots in the Rio movies. My mother leaped forwards into the sky and I was suddenly facing yellow wheat fields. After a while of falling, I screamed:
“Fly left! Fly left!” My mother didn’t reply, unable to hear me through her laughter. “Fly! Fly!” I shrilled at the top of my poor lungs and still we were heading downward in the same direction. I imagined my 1.30cm-tall body hitting the ground and my legs, arms and head flying out in different directions – and that was enough to make my brain shut down.
My parents found their child sleeping on my mother’s chest.
“How cute!” my grandmother laughed.
“She’s a natural!” my father exclaimed joyously. They all thought it was a successful first trip, but it didn’t take long to realize that I was not asleep from adrenaline overdose, but unconscious from the shock. When my family became aware of this, suddenly I wasn’t cute anymore – I was the family embarrassment. Really, how can the daughter of a pilot and stewardess, the grandchild of war aviators and sky sport enthusiasts, be afraid of heights? No one could understand. My parents took me to a psychologist who listened to their complaints with a slightly amused smile and then gave them the following advice:
“Get Anna a dog.” My father almost spat out his tea and my mother stopped him from bursting words by placing her hand on his knee and squeezing it. She then calmly asked:
“A dog? How would that help?”
“Animals have therapeutic powers. If you get a dog that is into such… high-adrenaline sports (my father sneered, whispering under his breath “it’s a lifestyle”), chances are that your daughter will feel less stressed and see the dog as her companion.” My parents looked down on me, a blonde 7-year old drawing whirly green trees and colourful lines representing flowers while the skies were black and full of sad/angry faces. “Give it some thought, thank you for coming in today.”
My parents didn’t need much time to think – they are very determined, highly productive people and immediately they began their research on adventurous dogs. On my 8th birthday, I received a sibling and my family a new member – a French bulldog named Tyler.
At first I was thrilled about Tyler – until he became the new family favourite when he literally jumped off the plane the first weekend we took him sky-diving. Grandma had just finished dad’s parachute vest check-up when Tyler leaped off the plane.
“Tyler!” my father yelled, the rest of us just looking down at the shrinking dog silhouette. My parents nodded at each other and dad immediately took off, using his post-Easter body weight to navigate through sky in direction of Tyler. We cheered when we saw my father expand his arms and catch the bulldog.
I expected everyone to teach the dog a lesson – he did jump off the plane intentionally, it wasn’t like the air sucked him out of it! I thought the dog was suicidal even. But the rest of my family? They thought Tyler is a hero!
“Such a cutie!” grandmother said.
“He’s a natural!” my parents laughed as they strongly patted and caressed Tyler’s head, his already loud breathing intensifying from pure joy of being the centre of attention. Everyone loved him, but with that leap, he became my nemesis, my enemy. And right there and then, I no longer found him cute and I began constructing a revenge plan.
[The following section is added after the writing session]
On a Sunday afternoon, my family was showing Tyler various photos and videos of sky-diving. I found them ridiculous, talking to a stupid dog as if he was a person! I escaped into the garden and hid behind the tree. I crouched down, my hands searched for rocks to throw while my eyes were blurred from frustration and heavy thought. My left hand finally grasped a stone that I then threw into the earth right in front of me. The collision left a small hole – and in that instant, I realized: dogs are diggers! How about I convince Tyler to have a passion for digging that would make him no longer interested in the skies? My 8.5-year old mind was ecstatic and I congratulated myself on such a brilliant idea. I decided that I must have the dog only for myself to carry out my plan that I obscurely named “Make Tyler a Digger so I Am the Family Favorite Again”.
The next day I returned home early when my grandparents were still out playing bridge and my parents were abroad. Tyler was chewing a bone in the living room. In the midst of this activity, I snatched the bone away from him and ran into the garden, hearing the dog nails tapping against the wooden floor right behind me. I reached the flowers and crouched down, looking into Tyler’s shiny eyes. I lifted the bone into the air and asked:
“Would you like your bone back?” The remainder of Tyler’s tail wriggled. “Then dig it up!” I threw the bone into a prepared hole in the ground with one hand, the other sweeping the prepared pile of dirt over the treat. I immediately threw myself back, expecting the dog to push me aside to access the covered pit, but… nothing happened. Confused, I looked at Tyler – who wasn’t there! I was alone in the garden. Bewildered and constructing another plan in my childish mastermind, I heard approaching pawsteps. I turned my head in direction of the sound and faced Tyler and a half-eaten chocolate bar in his jaw.
“Hey! That’s mine!” I complained and automatically reached for it – but Tyler growled and galloped around me with unexpected speed. Before I knew it, he began digging a small pit behind me and he dropped the treat into it. I was about to tell him off, but he looked at me with narrowed eyes and that’s when I realized that he’s proving his dominance. We stared each other dead into the eye for a while, but then I felt something land on my nose, something with small feet that were moving upwards – a smudged, small entity that I could only identify when I crossed my eyes… A spider! I was about to scream when Tyler jumped on me, pushing my body back, and licked the 8-legged insect off of my tickling nose.
I laid there in a trance until I realized that Tyler saved me. I looked at the bulldog who now just watched me with kind, shiny eyes. I smiled at him and he wiggled his body, jumping towards the buried treats. Together, we dug up our bone and chocolate bar and with our hands and paws greasy from dirt, we consumed the treats, sitting next to each other.
And that’s when we became real friends.

Short Stories

Mary – Debbie Liebenberg (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: Picture 1: Pink, Blue and Purple pencils; Picture 2: Wedding couple

Mary – Debbie Liebenberg

In his darkest hour the only thing John could think of was his unconditional love for his wife Mary.

They had been married for ten wonderful years. High school sweethearts and inseparable from the first moment they saw each other. He remembers that day in high school: He wasn’t the smartest boy or the most handsome, so when Mary gave him the gift of ‘hello’ John felt special. He didn’t want much in life, only to make sure Mary was happy and never wanted for anything.

He remembers how she looked on their wedding day: He never imagined she could be anymore beautiful than before. The wedding photo he kept in his pocket simply didn’t do her justice. Then he thought about the day their daughter Lily was born, his eyes filled up with tears as he remembered his pride. His little daughter was the second best thing he had done in his life. Convincing Mary to marry him was the first of course.

As he wiped the tears from his face he looked down to see the students’ lifeless body lying in front of him. He was struck with pity as he bent down to close her eyes out of courtesy. ‘Why did you have to fight back,’ he whispered to her.

John’s mind quickly jumped back to this morning. He was going to tell Mary that he had lost his job at the factory due to downsizing. He didn’t know what that meant and it didn’t help him to find the words to explain it to Mary either. They’d been living off credit cards for months and now the bank wasn’t willing to help John anymore. He decided to tell Mary this morning but before he began to speak she said ‘Sweety, I need to buy some pencils for Lily’s first day at school.’

Johns heart sank,’ Mary I need to…’ before he could begin to explain, Mary jumped in with ‘oh John, they’re only pencils.’ John couldn’t bare to disappoint the love of his life so he said, ‘I’ll make a plan Mary’.

A few hours later he found himself following a well dressed student on her way to campus. She was talking loudly on her phone, and it was an iphone therefore John assumed she must have had a couple of spare coins for pencils. He tapped her on the shoulder as he said, ‘excuse me, do you have a few coins for me…’ and she shoved him away before he could say please.

His desperation and frustration took hold of the knife in his pocket and eventually, she stopped screaming.

And now he stood above her lifeless body.

He put his knife in his mouth as he searched her bag for her purse. He tasted her blood which made him gag and choke up but he kept searching. Finally a purse! He zipped it open to find…nothing.

His heart began to beat in his throat, and then it dawned on him…
what was he going to say to Mary?

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Young & Beautiful – Lenka Dvorakova (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: Picture 1: An attractive young woman wearing glasses; Picture 2: A pot of tomato soup

Young & Beautiful by Lenka Dvorakova

“Ok, 7 PM at your place 🙂 CU then.”

She keeps staring at the display, the text burning into her brain. Her heart skipped a beat, and her palms suddenly get sweaty. She knew this would eventually happen, but now that it’s here, she doesn’t feel ready. She checks the time. She’s got 4 hours to go.

“Evelyn? I have to leave now. Would you reschedule the afternoon meetings?” As she passes through Evelyn’s office, she can feel her disdain.

“I need to find a new assistant,” she thinks, “this is never gonna work. It never did and it never will.” Evelyn, the best assistant ever, that was what Mr. Parks told her when he was retiring. Yeah, sure. To him, certainly. The always loyal, trustworthy, discreet Evelyn, who was probably in love with Mr. Parks for the whole 25 years that she worked for him. Could they have had an affair?

The elevator opens, and she presses the lobby button. Why are there always mirrors in elevators? She looks at herself. Oh, yes, she does look good. Perfect hair, perfect makeup. She doesn’t really need glasses, but she got them when she was promoted. She thought they would make her look more professional. Now that she looks at herself, she realizes she might have chosen a different type. She admires her reflection. Damn sexy, she thinks, and then she smiles. Nothing that Evelyn, the spinster, can ever appreciate.

As she leaves the elevator downstairs, she realizes that she doesn’t have a plan. Being young, beautiful and successful is not enough today. Today she needs more than that. Today she needs perfection, and not only in the beauty department. She needs to show that there’s more to her than her looks and her successful career.

When she had people over for dinner before she ordered pizza and everybody was happy, but that obviously wouldn’t do today. She has to cook. Something special. Something… home made. Something that shows who she really is.

She stops at the supermarket and walks aimlessly in the aisles for a while. She checks the lobsters (no way) and the artichokes (fancy, but … no) and then, as she sees an old lady picking tomatoes with her shaky hands, it strikes her. Her grandma’s tomato soup. That’s it! That’s the perfect dish for tonight, traditional yet surprising, spicy and refreshing at the same time.

The rest is easy as pie. There are not many meals she can make, but this is the one she could make blindfolded, although she hasn’t prepared it for … how long? A decade? Or two?

The clock chimes seven, the soup is bubbling, and as expected, the bell rings. She drops two basil leaves in the pot for decoration and opens the door.

“Hey, mom! So glad you finally get to see my new apartment!”

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Red – Maria Karamanoglou (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: A picture of a red ruby and a picture of a woman holding a syringe. 

Red – Maria Karamanoglou

Red as blood.
Red as rubin.
Red as passion.
Red as your hair, spread on my pillow.
Red as your lips, that left a mark on mine on a Wednesday afternoon.
Red as an apple, Eve’s apple, for which I longed and which you never gave me.
And then the red became pale, worn, tired.
As your cheeks out in the cold.
As your eyes, after so many tears.
As the blanket I used to cover you with on the couch.
As the candy you liked and that I brought you when you could not go to the shop anymore.
And then white.
White like your skin the last time I saw you.
Like my house, without your red in it.
Like the harsh shine of the needles you would try to hide.
Blinding white, like the light you followed never to come back.