February: Theme - The Contract

Winning Entry:

Pen poised, ready to sign, doubt was creeping in. 'Come on, what you waiting for?' he barked. That was it, he could stuff his pre-nup. The wedding was off.’

By  Val Fish


Val Fish does it again and wins our February competition which had the theme of  Val Fish  The Contract. Val is a regular entrant to our Txtlit competitions and says how thrilled she is to have won for the second time in a just few months. Val confesses that on the first of each month she's logging in, eager to find out what the latest theme is. She relishes the challenge of coming up with a different or unusual angle, something to make her story stand out and uses a spidergram to generate ideas, something she tells us she learnt whilst working as a primary school teaching assistant. This is Val's third win in total and she has also been a runner-up on several occasions. Clearly Val has a knack for flash fiction and realises that you've got to be in it to win it.

With the theme of "The Contract" for our February competition we received quite a few entries that centred around making a contract with the Devil and the selling of souls. The concept of a contract killing, not surprisingly,  also featured a number of times. Val Fish's entry was awarded the win because it describes a contract within a contract and still manages to tell a story. We know the theme is The Contract so we're thrown straight in with the words "pen poised", as clearly someone is about to sign. But they haven't signed yet and we quickly learn that something is holding them back. We loved the use of the adverb "barked" to describe how our protagonist's prospective husband tries to hurry her into signing, and this is the final straw. Not only will this contract not be signed, which turns out to be a prenuptial agreement, but the contract to which it pertains, the wedding is also abandoned.

Other shortlisted entries:

Ed couldn't sue the optician who said he didn't need glasses. Apparently the contract he signed absolved him of all liability. It was in the small print.

By Paul Gledhill  

Yes it was a shock, her face sweaty. I'd had enough, she would sign on the dotted line. It was to be a clean bedroom twice a month or no pocket money!

Awaiting author's details   

And someone had some fun with this entry...

A tangential Pythagoras sined the contract, before passing it to his wife and mistress to cosine it. He couldn't be too careful when in a love triangle.

By  Christopher Melhuish 





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