The Liar’s Key Writing Contest Winner Announcement & Shortlist Feedback

that thorn guy

the liar's key new

I am very pleased to announce that the judges have come to a decision, 5 independently selecting the same winner and the 6th awarding it 2nd place!

I can now reveal The Winner of The Liar’s Key Writing Contest to be:


E.F. Russellfor the entry The Electric Heart Cannot Bleed.

Many congratulations!


With the overall high standard of the entries I would also like to give a special mention to the runners up:

First runner up:Peter,The Liar in the Cellar

Second runner up: A. S. Moser, Shadows


Once again thank you very much for taking the time to enter and submitting so many excellent works.

Special thanks to the brilliant judges panel: Mark Lawrence, David Jackson, T. Frohock, Myke Cole, T.o. Munro and Marc Aplin, for considering the entries and providing much appreciated feedback on the shortlisted pieces, that you…

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Music to my ears

Please feel free to comment on this.  Your feedback would be appreciated.  Thanks.

“She’s catatonic. We’re not quite sure why.” Disembodied words drift into my mind.

For those around me, I am to all intents and (medical) purposes locked into a vegetative state, brain-dead. Inside I live. And listen.

Music plays in the background. Someone has brought in my iPod and speakers, thinking to soothe me. But I listen for something – to something else – just beyond the music. I listen to the cue. Click.

“There’s no response. We’ve done so many tests. No response from her whatsoever. I’m so sorry, there’s nothing more that we can do. Perhaps we should consider switching…”

Eyes flicker behind shadows, belying the diagnoses of doctors. I am condemned by those who will soon know better.

“Should we consider moving her to another hospital? We can afford to pay. We have insurance that will cover it.”

My father’s strained words reach me. I hear him breathe heavily, trying to control himself, to hold back the tears.

“Well there is a place, I’m just not sure they’d take her. I’ll make a call and try. If you’d like to wait here, I won’t be long.”

Click. A door closes.

Again I hear the subliminal sound. Minutes pass as it bores its way into my brain until I hear the final note completing the sequence. The call to battle.

Click. A door opens.

“Yes, you’re in luck… they said they’d take……”

The words falter and stop.

In the room there is silence. The eerie silence you get when the monster within finally explodes out and kills.   The silence of shock and horror that is unable to utter a word or scream.

Game Over

“You gonna eat that?” He eyed my food greedily.

“Yeah… maybe… no… you want some – all of it?”

I’d been pushing my food round the plate again. I was thinking hard about my next move. Best restaurant this side of Tixlit, best meal on the menu and all I could do was prod it from one side to another. Not that it was still moving or anything. Elena’s Exotic Eatery was famed throughout the universe for the best food going at the best prices.

Yet here I was, undecided about whether to take a mouthful or do whatever I needed to do next.

My table companion’s heavy hand reached across and grabbed the meat. He bit into it, slurping down the juices and chewing in a way that left me no option but to see everything churning in his mouth, like some human shaped washing machine. His mama had obviously never bothered to teach him table manners. I don’t think I would have either, he was one big boy.

“S’good… you shoulda ….” The big man’s speaking and chewing was interrupted by him pulling out a bone which he threw over his shoulder. The enormous dog sitting behind pounced on it quickly, sliding under the table for safety.

I was still undecided what to do. It shouldn’t have ended like this. I had loved that woman more than anyone else I had come across. She was everything I needed: sassy, kind, moneyed. I could’ve moved up in the world, leaving my past behind, started afresh. Then her smart-alec dad put a tail on me and all my secrets came spilling out.

It’s hard when you’re on the run. People start to avoid you: things become much more expensive, money becomes scarce. I ended up on the dark side of every planet I landed on, always one step ahead of the bounty hunter. Until I reached here: too tired to eat, too tired to make a decision.

A blast of cold air, the door had opened. This time I knew it was too late. I turned and faced my nemesis.

Game Over.

#fp Transformation

This is something I tweeted today as part of the Friday Phrases genre.  This expansion is for @bobbibowwoman

The itch was unbearable.  She scrabbled at her body, pulling off skin as it puckered and swelled.

More scales patterned her skin?

Scales?  What the heck….

Her legs started to blister, her feet ballooning like they were filled with water.  She couldn’t look as they popped loudly, leaving only the bones behind.  Only scream again.

Now the pain in her back was driving her crazy.  Right in the place she couldn’t reach with the scaly hands that were elongating as she looked.  She was pushed to the floor by a sudden weight. Unable to move or breath for a moment, it was a chance to rest.

The weak sunlight warmed her as she lay there.  A slight breeze tickled her nose.  Opening her eyes, her vision was dazzled by a new focus.  Everything was clearer, brighter, more colourful.  Things smelt so much better – tantalising her, teasing her to come and find out why.

Raising her head, she tried to get up only to find she rose into the air.  The transformation was complete.

In the garden a butterfly flew for the first time.

#writing dare – 99 words ending … well you’ll see how it pans out

Mary wasn’t very good at anything he decided.

The house was a tip. Dust everywhere, even under things like drawers! The hoover never seemed to be used and papers piled up on every surface. Nigel, of course, pointed out her failings to her every day, mentioning his numerous allergies in glorious monotony. Mary smiled and carried on doing what she always did.

After 45 years of this, Nigel decided he’d had enough and told her he was divorcing her. Enough was enough.

She nodded agreement, then handed him a cake containing nuts.

And smiled as he choked to death.

Who left the flowers?


It was some days after the funeral, when all the flowers had been gathered up and put on the compost heap that I noticed a new wreath had appeared with a card next to the simple grave marker. It said “with all my love”. I didn’t recognise the writing, but then it might have some florist’s careless scrawl, hastily done with the phone in one hand, scribbling a quick message to fulfil an order.

Still, I was intrigued. I had been to the graveyard every day and had seen nobody. Then again, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, focusing only on my own grief. The truth was that I… the truth was that I was devastated by my own loss. I didn’t care about anyone else and how they might be feeling.

The flowers withered and died so I carefully tidied up the grave. The next day another fresh wreath appeared with the same cryptic message. Again, I had seen nobody approach. The funny thing was the flowers were some of my favourites, in the colours I love. Someone had impeccable taste.

I started appearing earlier and earlier to see if I could catch the mystery donor. I sat on the bench from dawn till dusk, in rain and shine but still didn’t find out who it was. The flowers were regularly replaced and the message never varied: a veritable lesson in constancy. I would have liked to meet the person who cared so much and yet, our paths never seemed to cross.

It was only after a year that I finally found out the truth. The gravestone was replaced on a cold, damp morning. I had forgotten that you have to leave the earth to settle before doing this. On this day a yearning had come over me, a yearning to be close so I hung around, hoping against hope that I would finally find out who was leaving the flowers.

Yes! Someone was coming along the path. A man who looked very familiar, very familiar indeed. He was carrying a wreath which he placed carefully on the grave, touching the headstone gently. He looked unbearably sad, then he spoke.

“Well darling, it’s a year to the day that I buried you. I brought the flowers like I said I would. You know, I miss you so much. Even though we spoke about this when you were in the hospice, I still can’t get over how hard each day has been. If only you were here, so I could hold you once more.”

I wanted to comfort this man and reached for him. Stretching my hands out, they passed right through him. I turned and looked at the headstone in a state of shock. There, in solid black letters was my name and the date of my death.

He shivered, wiping his eyes, turned and walked away. Now it was my turn to cry.

Lies #short story

“You’ll always be beautiful” Momma said when we talked on the phone. How she knew that, I don’t know, for she hadn’t seen me for a while. She didn’t see the bruises that distorted my face where he’d hit me.

“You’re so clever” she said. How could I be clever when I stayed with him after he broke another promise not to hit me again? I wish I had her belief in me, so I can break free. I wish I had the courage to stop this once and for all.

“I love you” she said.

“I know, Momma, I know. I love you too. It’s all good.” I whisper back.

That’s the hardest thing to bear when I end the call and drag myself back into the house where it starts all over again.

That I have to pretend that all is well with me, when really it’s not.

Missing you day

Today is one of those days when I have become unmanned by the very fact of his absence. It gets easier after a while, and then along comes something that trips you up and makes you realise that there is a hole in your life that someone pretty damn important used to occupy. The grief you think you’ve worked through suddenly throws you a curved ball.

So I sit here, with memories trickling down my cheeks as I find myself missing the wisdom, love and caring that my father brought to my life. And it hurts that I can’t have that chat about work and how to approach things, that the years of experience have gone and I can’t get access to that one thing that might make sense of complicated issues. That I used to resent (mightily) having to go and help him out with things that had just become too much in the later stages of his life now shames me and I wish it didn’t. I know he felt he was a burden and hated how his frailty stopped him from maintaining independence, yet he never once complained. Maybe he did, in the quiet hours, but never to me.

It’s a different country now when you’ve lost that person forever. Treasure those hours where you are on call. Once they are gone, you’ll never have that problem again. One day, you’ll be sitting as I am now, just wanting one more hug, feeling very sorry for yourself.

Missing you days are the hardest.