April 2014 writing challenge

Write a short story of no longer than 250 words. The only restriction is that the last line should be the same as the first line – but mean or imply something very different.

Winning entry: congratulations to Margaret Place!

I should have taken a jersey.  It was chilly and the wind cut through me.  I lifted the strap of my bag on to my shoulder, and wrapped my arms around myself in an effort to keep warm.  I stood back from the bus stop, trying to shelter against the wall.  Others had been caught too, and were rushing past, looking to get home or at least somewhere out of the wind, which was more determined than ever to slice our bodies into icicles.

I saw Jonathan Ridgeway sauntering along, periodically sucking on a can of coke, the front his anorak showing streaks of that and previous cans of whatever.  I kept as still as I could, trying hard not to shiver so he wouldn’t see me.  He did.  His yellow smile did nothing to light up the fading light, and, everything lost, I allowed myself to shiver again.  He came to me and still smiling, took off the anorak, and offered it to me.  I didn’t say anything, and he was not shy this time either.  He threw it over my head in an effort to get it between my back and shoulders and the wall, and I held my breath against the record-breaking time since the last wash. I said I was fine, but he said my arms had goose bumps not a rash.  I let him put it round me and I was warm and angry.  I should have taken a jersey.

A special mention to Marilyn de Villiers  for The Littlest Seagull 

The littlest seagull screamed and screamed and screamed.

“Hey dad, this is fun,” he screamed as he swooped down. The air current caught him and the looming cliff rushed up at him, faster and faster. He flapped his little wings frantically, screaming loudly as he twisted and rose up and up, following the black shadows of his flock, silhouetted against the pendulous sky.

“Hey dad, wait for me,” he screamed, flapping harder. “Hey dad, what’s that?”

The littlest seagull almost stalled, startled by the human standing near the edge of the cliff. He turned and swooped back to inspect the unusual sight: long, dark feathers blowing wildly around its head; strange, featherless wings folded around a bony body covered by a flapping grey cloth. White legs. Feet covered by bright pink – shoes, if he remembered his lessons about these funny-looking creatures correctly. Odd. Humans seldom ventured up the narrow path to where the flock nested on the cliff.

The littlest seagull swooped around again, far too close to the human, but it ignored him and wobbled in the wind.

“Get back,” the littlest seagull screamed. “The wind is too strong. It will blow you off the cliff like my brother before he learned to fly.”

But the human ignored him. It unfolded its featherless wings and launched itself into the air. It hovered on the current for a heartbeat; then hurtled down, down, down and smashed into the raging sea.

The littlest seagull screamed and screamed and screamed.

And congratulations to Megan Terpend for deftly meeting the challenge

He was higher than he had ever been. No way was he going to wait for the rest of the pack. He was the Alpha Male and he refused to slow down for inexperienced climbers. He hadn’t made his millions by pandering to the weak and the needy. His thoughts drifted to his step son Troy, and his face flushed with anger. Troy had refused to come on today’s climb, bleating about a fear of heights. He had had no option but to beat the boy again. He would teach that child some manners and some discipline. It was up to him to turn the boy into a man, and he wasn’t scared to use his fists to do it.

Troy lazed on the sand dune, using his back pack as a head rest. He scooped up a fistful of sun baked sand and allowed it to trickle through his fingers. Life was good.  Yes, his body ached, but it would heal.  Finding the old man’s list of passwords had been a stroke of luck. And he would never have imagined that internet banking was so easy.  He had been a bit nervous pressing “enter” on the transfer, but everything had gone smoothly. He smiled as his girlfriend passed him the zol skyf. He had the money to travel anywhere, do anything. He inhaled deeply and filled his lungs with dagga.  Life started to seem really funny. He was higher than he had ever been.

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