300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #6
Writer Anna Dickinson, (known to members of these forums as Hex) has won our July 300 Word Challenge. She wins a £10 voucher to spend at Amazon or The Book Depository, our quarterly prize. As always, the challenge that participants faced was to write a story of 300 words or less, inspired by an image selected by our moderators. For July, this was the inspiration, and Anna’s story appears below.
The Dream Factory
The wires hum against my forehead, burning out the first time she kissed me. After school, lips liquorice sticky — always afterwards, the taste of astonishment and lust.
Ah, Lisa. I never deserved you.
* Account credit: £30 *
They offer £60 for our wedding.
Cider and sunshine and the fat seals on the Tay. Later, in the slick darkness, giggling at the noises the old iron bed made.
Regret closes my throat, but the gas bill’s due. “Aye. Take it.”
The chimney where the dreams burn looms over the city. Only the desperate go there.
But we’re all desperate now.
The house has just two rooms, but she loves the garden. We drag the iron bedstead down the path; it catches in the fence and knocks her onto the grass. Her hair tangles black among the dandelions. Her skin tastes of salt and rain.
Lisa’s breath purrs in the darkness. She’ll never forgive this. When I’m finished at the chimney, she’ll be a stranger.
I want to wake her, tell her what I’m doing. But this is all I have left to give her.
She’s mopping the kitchen floor. Her hair tied back, sweat shining on her neck. When she looks up, her smile punches through me.
I have to tell her the mill’s closing.
£5. Holo-dreamers don’t want unhappy.
# # #
She’s standing outside the chimney, a black-haired woman so lovely that for a moment the world fades.
“I’m empty,” I tell her, and turn to go.
“Jamie.” Her fingers close tight round mine. “Come home with me.”
“You don’t understand. I sold all my memories.”
Her grip tightens. “You don’t understand. They’re my memories too. We’ll share them.”
When she kisses me, her mouth tastes of liquorice.
Photo provided by Sephiroth
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