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writing competition

The Gauntlet #2 “SUMMER”

The time has come to throw down another challenge to you, our favourite readers and authors. This time we want you to write on the theme of ‘summer’.

Let your pens run riot! We want to see the magic of solstice celebrations, sip an ice cold Pernod in the oppressive heat of 1920s Paris, and remember the eerie lure of ice cream vans.

What does summer mean to you? The curl of a vengeful mermaid’s fingers around your oars? Twilight which lasts forever while the hours draw longer and the dark never truly sets in? The scents of pungent elderflower and sickly sweet rose masking decadent decay?

“BUT WHAT WILL I WIN?!” We hear you scream, and you are well within your rights to scream it. The winner will receive a rather fetching Murder & Glut t-shirt, have their story published on our site ( accompanied by an illustration created for your story ) and potentially feature in our first ever physical release, an anthology, we’re releasing at the end of the year! We will also have two runners up positions who will also have their stories published on our site.

Send your entries to editor@murderandglut.com marked ‘COMPETITION’. Entries should be no longer than 500 words. Closing date is Friday June 3rd ( MIDNIGHT ), with the winners announced on the 6th.

As ever, your obedient servants,

Murder & Glut

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Short story, writing competition

His. Him. He. ( Runner up- The Gauntlet )

Author: Matt Kirby

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

Ah, shit, I forgot all about it, his Rubik’s cube.

I wonder if I could kill him with it. I’ve never seen one looking broken, worn or old. Is it sturdy enough to crash into his head over and over and over again? Maybe. Probably.

I couldn’t figure the thing out, only picked it up so I could fiddle with something to relieve the tension. My first visit to his flat, streams of anxiety pulsing through my veins. He told me I should take it home. How could I refuse him when I’d yet to figure out if he was for keeps?

That was the second present he gave me, the first was the DVD. There were two ladies in the pub, one selling roses for some obscure charity, and the other flogging dodgy copies of films on the cheap. Can’t say I’d spotted him but he bowled over and sat right next to me. He said pub flowers were too tacky for his tastes as he handed me a DVD; The Wedding Singer. He can’t have known that I already loved the film any more than he knows that I now hate it because of him.

It was only three days back that I put everything I could find that had any association to him in a black bin bag. Left it outside a charity shop, one I never normally visit, to be long forgotten. Only the underwear couldn’t be recycled. I felt like burning it out on the balcony in the vague hope that he might be driving past to see the flames but I resigned myself to throwing them in the neighbours’ bin where I would never have to see them again.

That stupid bra didn’t fit anyway. Stupid men always assuming they know the answer to such an easy question to ask. But as he’d gone to the effort of buying it I wore it for him anyway and fucked him like I imagined he had intended the scene to play out.

It took a drunken tip-off from a friend of a friend, the latter deeply concerned and the former an apologetic messenger, for the truth to hit home. It’s not so much that I didn’t want to believe what I’d been told, more that I didn’t want to think I could been a part of his games. I can’t help but wonder how many others went the same way? Maybe there was a woman for every square on this cube, the fifty-three of them, and me, all played the same way.

The purge had to happen. He went first, closely followed by his lies, then his truth, then the multitude of his excuses, and then the bin bag of memories. I forgot about this cube though, hidden away in this draw I rarely ever use. This fucking cube. His fucking cube. What’s the point of them anyway? No use to anyone except maybe, just maybe, for caving-in his skull. Maybe.

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Short story, writing competition

The Yoga Guru ( Joint winner of The Gauntlet )

Author: Alberto Furlan

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

This is not what I had in mind when my friends recommended Kinziak the “amazing yoga guru.”

“You just have to try it,” they said, covered in suspicious bruises.

I’m looking up into the thatched roof of a mongolian yurt just off the M25 near Slough, breathing incense, London’s daily offering of smog and what is likely marijuana.

“Let my voice guide you” says Kinziak with the annoying voice ads use when they want to sound like they’re sharing a secret. Like they’re post-coitally telling me where the family treasure is buried in between Agents of Shield on a Sunday night.

“Picture the first thing that comes to mind when you hear me.”

Christ how long is this going to – did that clock just appear out of thin air?

Yep, a clock is hovering above my head. Whatever Kinziak’s burning with the incense, it’s good.

“You’re a natural” says Kinziak like I didn’t just break the laws of physics. “Now, imagine something you want to get rid of. It will bother you no more.”

I nearly sneeze. Hay fever. Mother nature’s special gift. A rose materialises. Am I totally off my face?

“A rose” Kinziak says in a non-chalant tone. He must be higher than me. “Let’s continue. Keep breathing. In… aaaaaaaaahhhhnd out.”

I want to murder – oh look a knife. I should keep this in check.

“Be careful where your emotions take you.”

What if I drowned him? There, a fish.

“Now, imagine something that you love, but hurts you. Something you know you should get rid of.”

He hasn’t even finished his sentence that a bottle of wine appears above my head. I could do with a glass of wine right now. How is this happening?

“Finally, imagine something that you miss, that you’ll never get back. Something you need to let go.”

Before I can think of anything other than calling the guru a tit, my sub-conscious kicks in and I conjure the notes of Bowie’s Starman in my mind.

Obviously this isn’t magic, so David Bowie, who admittedly I will miss on occasion, does not resurrect. However, I have wished for a starman, waiting in the sky, so I get Tim Peake. Tim Peake is now hovering above me in his space suit, and I can see his eyes through the tinted visor. He looks confused.

Kinziak does not.

“To end the ritual, think of something that you have wanted to fix for a long time.”

I’ve never tried very hard, but all those people who say it’s easy can fuck off. I hate the Rubik’s cube.

Tim Peake looks panicked.

“To finish the ritual” Kinziak inhales “this might be painful, but you need to let these things go from your mind. It’s you keeping them up there. Let go.”

“Are you seri-” I begin, turning to face this idiot with the powers of a shit Green Lantern. But then Tim Peake and everything else comes crashing down.

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Short story, writing competition

JOINT WINNER OF THE GAUNTLET- SCARS

Author: Guy Phillips

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

Four o’clock. She’ll be here any second now. Four o’clock she said so four it will be. She’s never late. Strange certainly, but never late.

I remember the time she took me to the Spanish Main and we sailed with a privateer. The golden age of piracy and they were our prey, just for a few hours. That was the most terrifying thing we ever did, that I’ve ever done. I kept the dagger the captain gave me, and I still have the scar. A chunk blasted out of the mast by cannon destroyed my trousers and gouged a piece out of my arse, but I held that rope and the whole crew loved me for that. It saved the day.

Four o’clock and another adventure begins. She took me to Paris, to see the Revolution. I still have the scar. A graze from a musket ball across my wrist as we stood outside the Bastille. The madness of that day had really been something to see. The passion of the mob. The odd apathy of the dragoons.

The possibilities are endless.

She took me to see a play once. Shakespeare. Shakespeare was in it. Juliet threw a rose into the crowd during the famous balcony scene and I leapt to pluck it from the air. It was like no Shakespeare play I’ve seen before or since. I still have the scar. An ale mug broken across the back of my head when the afternoon descended into a riot. Best not stray too far from her this time.

All of history is open to us to explore. We met Darwin and stood on the deck of the Beagle; we saw the Galapagos Islands. The finches, tortoises. Animals she told me are extinct now. I still have the scar. That weird fish that clamped on to my hand. It wouldn’t let go even after I beat it against the bulkhead repeatedly. We had to pry its jaws open with a knife.

What shall it be today? I remember she took me to see my five year old self.

“Don’t get too close,” she told me. “Don’t let yourself be seen.”

I saw how happy the child me was. I remembered even as I watched, the hours spent puzzling over that Rubik’s cube. It took me months to puzzle it out, but it’s a great trick if you can manage it. I still have the scars. I forgot that when I was five we went to see the London marathon. Then I staggered across the race, running from my child self. Security beat the shit out of me. Four o’clock and another scar to add to the collection. Maybe we could stay in this time? Just the two of us. I’ll cook maybe. For a change. The trips are fun but… I don’t fancy more injuries. I peruse my scars. I look at the clock.

Four o’clock.

I look up. I see her. She falls.

“Shit.”

I still have the scar.

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writing competition

THE GAUNTLET

Murder & Glut presents… The Gauntlet

Murder & Glut are throwing down a gauntlet to you, our esteemed readers and authors. The Gauntlet is a creative writing competition – each edition will challenge you to come up with a short story inspired by a title, an object, an illustration or anything else that we think will inspire you. The top three entries as judged by the Murder & Glut editorial team will feature on the website, with the winner potentially being published in full when we publish our book ( end of 2016 ) and receiving an earthly delight in the form of an exclusive Murder & Glut t-shirt!

The first edition of The Gauntlet features a magnificent illustration by Christopher Harrisson. We would like you to write a story based on this illustration, using as many or as little of the objects in the image as you wish. Perhaps you’re a regular contributor or you’ve been following our mindbox of chilling escapism but haven’t yet put pen to paper – this is your chance.

On this occasion entries must be no longer than 500 words and submitted to editor@murderandglut.com by Sunday 20th March. Please mark your entries with ‘COMPETITION’ in the subject line.

Winners will be announced on our Facebook/Twitter pages the following week, so please make sure you have liked/followed the respective pages and keep an eye out!

As ever

Your servants

The Murder & Glut Team