​The Lottery

 

My homework set for week 5 was to have my story following on from the first paragraph of a short story called.

The Lottery   by   Shirley Jackson.

       The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely, and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank around ten o’clock; in some towns, there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th. But in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

 

Continuation by Gary Oldmeadow

      Mac was standing in his small shack.  Now Mac, or James McKenzie to give him his full name, turned 50 last week, He looked pretty good for his age, and these days 50 was a damn good age to reach. The average age for most citizens was about 35, it’s been this way ever since the great plague had wiped out 50% of every living creature on the planet, it happened the year before Mac was born.

‘I’m sick and tired of living off bloody scraps, I’m the oldest in the village now, it’s my turn to win the chance to go to the citadel, eat good food, drink fresh water’. He shouted to nobody as he set off for the square.

On the other side of the village, Magister Jayna Kovac, the youngest and first female Magister the village had appointed, was putting on her ceremonial robes for the drawing of the yearly village lottery. She knew the lottery was rigged; she knew that certain citizens would never be allowed to win and leave the village, and anger was growing amongst those people. She also knew she would not be one of the lucky ones that got to stay in the village.  Little did people realise that the blood tests they all had to have on the 1st of each month would make the ultimate choice of who would win the lottery, nothing to do with the luck of the draw.

Mac was one of the last to arrive in the square, he spotted one of the few people he trusted and walked over to him. His name was Steve Sutton, Steve was around 4 years younger than Mac and saw him like an older brother.

‘Hey Mac, how’s thing’s? What do you think the chance is of one of us winning the lottery this year are?’

‘There’s more chance of seeing a squadron of pigs doing a flypast Steve’, Mac joked,  ‘We still buy our tickets though, just in case it isn’t a fix, after all, you gotta be in it to win it’ Mac said cynically, ‘anyway we’ve literally paid for the chance with our blood each month’

‘Are you still having the blackouts Mac? I’ve had two this month alone, the Doc says he still can’t figure out what’s causing them’.

‘Same here’ Mac uttered back.

Suddenly the atmosphere changed, and a hush fell over the gathering, the town Cryer was announcing the Magister and the beginning of the 45th undertaking of the Citadel Lottery. As he finished his announcement, the large ornate black metal box came into view, carried at shoulder height by 6 Box Bearers.

Waiting in her office on the square, Jayna was feeling nervous about delivering her first lottery, she dashed to the bathroom whilst having a fit of coughing, she spat in the sink, more blood she thought, she washed her face and placed the ceremonial black cap on her head.

As the box was placed onto the stone table, the Magister stepped onto the square and made her way toward the podium to carry out her duties. Almost everybody clapped and cheered, even Steve, only Mac stood stony face hands in pockets. Then the speech was over, time for the Lottery to begin.

‘Citizens, as is our custom, I will draw the first ticket blindfolded, then as each of your names is called by our village Cryer, you will make your way to the box and draw your ticket, remember there will be no looking at your ticket until all have been drawn.

A little over 2 hours later and the lottery draw was complete, once again a hush falls over the crowd. The Magister speaks again.

‘As you, all know the one who has the ticket marked with a ‘C’ will have won the prize of going to live in the Citadel, so without further delay please look at your ticket, then hold it aloft for all to see’.

There was a loud gasp, then everyone began to cheer and clap, ‘it’s the magister, she’s won’. Jayna feigned shock and embarrassment then thanked the crowd for their good wishes. Steve turned to Mac to ask what they should do about it, but Mac wasn’t there. Where the hell’s he gone? Oh God, I hope he isn’t doing anything stupid.

As Mac came too, he wondered where he was, he didn’t recognise the room, he’d never seen anywhere this fancy, then he heard the Magisters voice. He turned, his face red with anger, Jayna asked him to listen to what she had to say. He nodded.

‘Mac, I’ve decided to name you as my successor. In 3 days, I will be leaving for the Citadel’, she started to cough, Mac saw the blood in her handkerchief. ‘I’ve got the plague’ she a tear in her eye, ‘the citadel is really a hospital, the monthly blood tests are to find those who are immune, we take blood from those of you who have the unsolved blackouts and use it to try and find a cure, this happens in every village, town and city around the world. This is why you and anybody over 40 has never been picked’ another coughing fit more blood.

‘As Magister you will need to keep the pretence going, if we don’t find a cure then you and those like you will be the last of the human race’ Mac slumped back, struggling to take it all in.

‘You will need to choose an advisor, someone you can trust, someone to share the heavy burden. I chose you to succeed me as I think you have what it takes to make a good, kind leader for our village, I think you have the strength to conduct the lottery in the way it needs to be. So tomorrow I will announce your appointment. This is how it must be; I am sorry Mac but now we must go and prepare for the future’.

 

Cinderella

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This is the story I wrote last week for creative writing. We had to choose from a collection of pictures, then write a description of the character, and finally, write a story using both.

It’s a cool summer night at the Barcelona School for performing arts. Tonight 5 of us pupils will be auditioning for the lead role in the schools Christmas production which will be Disney’s version of Cinderella.

As I’m preparing myself for going on stage. The girl before me is just finishing, I know the girl has played the lead in other productions, so I’m convinced she’ll get the part.

On my resume that the judges have, it says, Anna Sanchez, 11 years old, long black hair, brown eyes and 4 ft tall. In the notes I wrote, I have never played a lead role before, I love to sing, and I have played a few minor roles, but I didn’t mention that I use a wheelchair as I didn’t want to be pre-judged.

I’m startled as the director calls out my name. I wheel myself out to centre stage and sit nervously looking at my hands. “What if I forget the words, what if I mess up my lines, what if, what if, what if… Finally, I lift my head and look to where I know the judges will be sitting, the spotlights are on my face yet mask the faces of the judges.

The auditions are being videoed tonight, which worries me, as the judges may be able to see the huge spot on my chin on replay,

‘why today’ I think to myself, the makeup really doesn’t hide it. After a long uncomfortable pause, I faintly hear the judges muttering amongst themselves.

Then the director says,

‘I understand this is your first time auditioning for a lead role, so, deep breath, compose yourself and when you are ready to begin, I would like you to state your name, and your reason to audition for the role of Cinderella, for the camera’.

I sit up straight, focus on what I have to say and smile.

‘Hi’, I say nervously, ‘my name is Anna Sanchez. I love to sing, but my passion is for acting. Cinderella is my all-time favourite Disney film, and Cinderella is my favourite character, it’s been my dream to play her’.

‘Ok’, I think to myself so far so Good.

‘For my audition, I will sing the song called. “A dream is a wish your heart makes”, from the movie.

Just a second my mind goes blank. So, I take a breath, cough then carries on.

“My monologue is where Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, is helping Cinderella to prepare for the Prince’s ball.’

The music for the song starts up, and I begin to sing, I’m a little nervous at first, but by the end, I feel that it’s the best I have ever sung, I feel so happy I could burst.

It’s time for me to start my monologue, I make a mistake then hesitate, and by the end, It feels like I’ve been talking forever. So, I’m just relieved when it’s all over,

‘Thank you, Anna’ the director says, “can you wait with your parents and the others in the foyer’s café. We’ll be along in a while to let all of you know what our decision is’.

I take my time going to the café, replaying the audition in my head, but all I can think about is that huge spot on my face. By the time I arrive I’d convinced myself I wouldn’t be getting the role, then when I see my mama and papa sitting at the table I almost burst into tears, we hug for what seems like forever, between the sobs I tell them why I think I won’t get the role.

Three of the other girls who also auditioned are friends, they’re also in my class at school, their names are Rosa, Sienna and Lauren, they’re also sitting with their parents and they have exactly the same look on their faces as I do.

The fourth girl, the girl who auditioned right before I did, I think her name’s Jess. She’s explaining quite loudly to her parents that she is the favourite to get the role because the rest of us were boring and looked very plain, then she turns to look at me and says with a smile.

“Anyway, everyone knows that Cinderella isn’t a cripple’.

I just sit there feeling even more sorry for myself, (if that’s even possible), just wishing the judges would hurry up and put us all out of our misery, they seem to be taking forever.

Just then a staff member walked over to our table,

‘Miguel and Rosa Sanchez?” He asked.

‘That’s us’ replied my parents.

‘Would you come with me please, the director would like a word with you both, in the foyer’.

I was about to follow when another staff member cleared his throat and asked for all of the performers to come to the front of the cafe, and await the judges, my friends and I looked at each other nervously, whilst Jess stood there sneering at us.

Then in walked my mama and papa, they had tears in their eyes, I didn’t notice as the judges walked in through the other door at the same time, what happened I wanted to ask them, Then everybody started applauding and cheering, who got the part. I looked at my friends and their parents who were all smiling and clapping furiously. Mama and Papa were also madly clapping and crying.

Suddenly I realise it was for me, the cheering was for me, I’d got the role, I burst into tears as my friends rushed to congratulate me, I felt the hugs of my mama and papa.

The director came over to congratulate me, that’s when I saw his white cane and realised he was blind, he didn’t see my spot after all.

‘Well done Anna, you sang and spoke beautifully, although you may want to oil your squeaky wheel’ he said with a smile.

The picture you see is of me celebrating at the waterpark the day after my audition.

 

 

​My first short story

so I started my creative writing course last week. This is my first short story.

the brief we had was a man tells his wife he is leaving because he has a terminal illness, and it’s there 35th wedding anniversary.

My daughter thinks I’ve watched to much Mindhunter.

if you like it, give me some feedback, if you hate it give me some feedback, all feedback is appreciated

Goodnight Sweetheart by Gary Oldmeadow

        In a week’s time, John and his childhood sweetheart Stella, should be celebrating 35 happy years of marriage.

Now John was a guy who’d do anything for anybody, he was seen as a fair, honest guy who loved his wife, and his job. He worked as a scene of crime officer for the Metropolitan Police, and was considered to be one of the best in his field

Stella, John’s wife was a beautiful woman and well liked. She loved working as a volunteer at the local ‘Cancer Research Charity Shop’, at weekends she would help out by volunteering as a befriender at the local Hospital in the mornings. She was definitely what you would call a people person.

Tonight, John had finished work late at the crime lab, which in itself wasn’t that unusual, as there was a big case on at the moment. The person they were after was a serial killer who removed the liver from each of the victims, the police think the killer is eating the livers none were found. He took the tube home as usual, as his house was only a short walk from the station. With all that was going on at work, his health issues, and his anniversary just around the corner, it meant he had a lot on his mind, and, he knew he would be delivering some devastating news to Stella, which would destroy her world.

Two weeks previous to tonight, John had gone to get the results for his yearly police medical. He knew the doctor he was seeing, a Dr Jim Steven’s, Jim was a good guy, always had a smile on his face, but told it to you straight.

So today as John walked into the examination room, he knew something was up. Jim, was sitting behind his desk, and he nurse standing beside Jim was desperately trying to avoid making eye contact with John

‘Hi John, take a seat’.

John sat down; a feeling of dread washed over him.

Jim was silent for what seemed like an eternity.

‘I’m sorry John, it’s not the news you were hoping for, the MRI you had last week, has shown you have a large mass in your brain, a tumour’.

‘Cancer, you mean I have cancer don’t you Jim. Can anything be done? How long do I have?’

John sat in silence, he seemed to be looking right through Jim.

Jim turned to the nurse and told her to go and get John a glass of water from the kitchen, she left feeling relieved at being able to get away, she hated these moments.

‘Yes, it’s cancer’ was Jim’s reply ‘and due to where it’s positioned, it’s inoperable’, Jim paused for a moment. ‘It’s terminal John, the scans show you have week’s rather than months left, go home and talk to Stella, you have a lot to discuss, I’ll wait for you to get your affairs in place before I contact your inspector’.

Without another word John got up and left . He didn’t go straight home though, instead he walked around the streets for hours. The following day John went into work, to but told nobody about the tumour…

The noises and smell’s of the city that night brought John back from his thoughts of the last two weeks, he was sitting in the bus shelter opposite his house.

After sitting for a while, he crossed the street to his house. He was about to put the key in the door, when it opened and there holding the rubbish bag was his beautiful Stella.

‘Hello love’. He said, ‘let me take that for you’.

Stella kissed him and gave him the bag.

‘I’ll make you a cuppa and warm your dinner in the microwave’. She turned and went back into the kitchen.

John put the rubbish in the bin, paused for a moment, then he pulled himself together then went indoors, in the kitchen Stella stood with her back to him, she was humming a tune whilst finishing making his cuppa.

‘So how was your day? It was so good at the charity shop this afternoon, I do so love volunteering there, you get to meet so many interesting people, there I go again chattering on, anyway as I was asking, how was your day?’.

Listening to Stella talking made him feel more relaxed, it always did. He loved the sound of her voice

‘Work was ok’. He said ‘I’ll really miss it though; you see I’m leaving’

‘What do you mean you’re leaving John? why?’

Stella looked worried; how can this be happening? She thought.

John looked deep into the eyes of the woman he loved, he had just sent her world crashing around her, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her forehead. He could feel her hot tears on his chest, as he held her tight and whispered that everything would be alright.

‘It’s over Stella, everything is over. you see two weeks ago I was told I had a brain tumour that’s killing me, I know I should have told you then, but I couldn’t, there were too many loose ends at work that needed fixing, and they’ll know what’s happened by morning, just believe me when I say that none of what’s happened is your fault’.

‘It all started because of feelings I had for other women, though I only ever loved you, I couldn’t bring myself to cheat on you, so I had to remove temptation, I killed them, and ate there livers, they’re what caused the cancer. Stella I’m the serial killer the police are looking for, my job has made it easy for me to cover my tracks, but now it’s all over and it’s time to say goodbye my darling’

John lowered Stella’s limp body to the floor her blood pooling from the knife he had pushed into her heart.

‘I’m sorry sweetheart, forgive me, I couldn’t face leaving this world without you, we’ll be together soon’.

 

take care

Gary x