A friend of mine gave me a writing challenge. Thank you Elizabeth Horrocks. It was to write a story or poem including the following:
I’ve completed this challenge and will post my writing within the next week. Why don’t you give it a go as well? Send them to me in the comments and I’ll upload so that others can read them. Obviously I won’t publish any that are unsuitable. It’s a great challenge and certainly makes you think.
I’ve left it a few days before posting my attempt. It is a work in progress. I hope you enjoy it.
The Winter of 1942
Tommy let himself into the house after school. His mum thought that he went to Auntie Vera’s down the road and that she fed him a sandwich, but she said she wasn’t wasting her rations on him. At such a tender age he didn’t realize that his mum was paying Vera to keep an eye on him, so at eight years old he was quite resourceful. He had to be.
In the Summer it wasn’t too bad. He passed the allotments on the way to school and often went in and helped himself to a few carrots or runner beans. It wasn’t hard because the gates and most of the fencing had been taken away. In the Autumn there were apples to scrump and blackberries growing in the hedges. In Winter things were tougher. He didn’t like doing it, but sometimes he pocketed a bun from the corner shop. Bread wasn’t on ration and he’d have paid for it if he’d had any money. He wondered what would happen if Mr Jones ever caught him.
Tommy’s mum worked at the factory and although she didn’t earn much, some of his friends were worse off than him. One of his friends didn’t have any shoes. Dad was away. Mum never talked about him and if his name cropped up Mum would start to cry. She also cried when letters arrived from Japan, with big black lines on them. He didn’t know what they said because they were in a scrawling, spidery writing.
The war had been going on for as long as Tommy could remember. They lived on the outskirts of the town and Tommy knew that when the big sound sang its ugly song, he had to go into the shelter at the bottom of the garden, whatever he was doing. He didn’t like it in there, especially on his own, because it was cold and dark and had the most awful smell. Mum had put a blue blanket in there to keep him warm but it was damp and rough.
One day Tommy was very hungry. He’d given his lunch to Daniel, who hadn’t had any breakfast and was sitting crying in the playground. Daniel’s feet looked a mixture of blue and mauve. Tommy pulled up his warm, long woollen grey socks. They may have lots of darns in them but he didn’t care. Some of the others had been picking on Daniel, and Tommy had felt sorry for him.
It was cold and after school it started to rain. He slipped into the corner shop to keep dry. He was standing just inside the door when he heard Mr Jones being threatened by a young man.
‘Give me the money in the till or I’ll beat you up,’ said the man.
Tommy saw Mr Sikes, the local policeman, on the other side of the road. He slipped out of the shop and ran over to him. Soon they both returned, and P.C. Sikes arrested the young man.
‘Well now Tommy, you must have a reward,’ Mr Jones said, handing him a bun. ‘You can pick anything you want.’
Tommy saw a pair of soft red woollen gloves on the counter. They were on a pile of gloves in a box marked for the Land Girls.
‘My mum would really love those red gloves. They’d keep her warm when she does her volunteer work at the soup kitchen. I could give them to her for Christmas.’
Mr Jones hesitated for only a moment and Tommy sunk his teeth into the bun he’d been given.
‘Well, Mrs Jones knitted them with her special alpaca wool which she’d been sent by her brother, who was travelling in Peru, before this awful war. I’m sure she won’t mind my giving them to you after what you did today. I never thought they were suitable for the Land Girls anyway.’
‘Oh, thank you,’ said Tommy. ‘I hope they’ll make Mum happy until Dad comes home. She cries whenever his name is mentioned.’
‘Hmmm,’ said Mr Jones, not looking at all confident about the gloves keeping Tommy’s mum happy.
‘You know young man, if ever you’re at a loose end after school, I’ve always got a few jobs you can do in exchange for a mug of tea and a bun. We need smart young men like you around.’
Tommy left the shop almost skipping home. The rain had stopped. He had a lovely gift for his mum for Christmas and he could earn his buns in future
Comments on: "Writing Challenge (including short story)." (5)
The mind boggles as to “unsuitable”, but I’ll see if the prompts jump-start an idea. 🙂
By unsuitable I just try to keep the site safe for everyone. E.g. I wouldn’t publish a story that promoted suicide or cruelty to children or animals. (Wouldn’t want my grandchildren to read.)
Reblogged this on and commented:
I can think of several authors who might accept this challange.
Thank you Sarah. It would be lovely to read other writer’s versions from this challenge.
I’m still thinking.