Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition
I was trawling through my Google Drive trying to tidy it up a bit and came across this story I wrote back on the 3rd August 2018. Given that that was a “First Friday”, I can only presume I wrote it for an Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition.
My suspicions were confirmed after searching through their archives, where I discovered that the prompts for that month were:
each story had to include the following three sentences:
- The door was locked.
- She laughed.
- It felt familiar.
I can see now that although I included the words, I did not include them as stand-alone sentences which means I did not fulfil the requirements. I guess that’s why I didn’t win! 🙂
The closest I’ve got to winning so far is this entry where I was longlisted.
The Erikson Case
As she fumbled in her bag for the keys, she came to grips with the fact that this time, he had, in fact, meant it. The door was locked, she was late, and her resentful husband was on the other side of that thick piece of wood and glass. She turned the key and pushed. Nothing. She pushed again this time with her shoulder. She laughed! Oh, how she laughed.
“Cunning bugger,” she thought “He’s gone and locked the deadbolt as well and I don’t have that key.”
In the morning, when she was leaving for work, shuffling with the stilettos half on and the toast clasped between her teeth, he had asked her not to be late.
“If you are late again. I’ll lock it! I mean it!”
She grabbed the toast and pecked his cheek.
“Yes, darling, of course you will.”
“No, I mean it! I really mean it! You said you’d be home by seven last night and you didn’t get home till 10:30. I cooked…”
She cut him off with another kiss, this time full and passionate. To distract him. To try and convince him that she was sorry. It had become their daily routine, and it felt familiar. Too darn familiar.
She pulled the door shut and wriggled her foot completely into the shoe.
“I mean it” she heard him yell through the door.
She pulled a face “Yes dear!” she mouthed and started the car. It wasn’t as if she wanted to be late! It came with the job. The long hours, the high stakes.
“Are you having an affair?” he had asked on Tuesday.
“No! Don’t be silly” she replied without thinking more of it. She wasn’t, and it didn’t occur to her that he needed more than a quick reassurance.
Truth be known she was. Not with another man but with her work. It absorbed her. Took all her energy and gutted her soul. It drained her every day, and she felt like a battery with only 5% charge. A thin red line.
“What is it exactly you’re working on this time?” he asked on Wednesday.
“The Erikson case. Very tricky commercial law” she said, a little too quickly. They both knew she was lying. She changed the subject ineptly. That was something she needed to work on – lying.
The locked door was no obstacle though. Not to her. She took the little tool case out of her handbag. The one with the tiny little lock picking tools. The lock clicked, she stepped inside. He was on the couch, the sound of the TV muffling his quiet snoring. She kissed him gently and covered him with a blanket. The air smelt of pizza.
One day, maybe one day, she’d be able to tell him, but right now she remained in her Majesty’s Service and her code name was classified.
She dragged her tired body up the stairs and winced at the bruises she gained in today’s “tricky Erikson case”.
A post on a Wednesday? “That’s odd”, I hear you say. “Don’t you normally post on a Friday and Sunday?” Yes! I am experimenting with posting days to see if there is much difference in my “view” count.