Thanks to everyone who entered a story this fortnight. Jessie, Sarah and Tom certainly got up to some adventures! I had a hard time picking a winner, and there were several stories I came back to many times before finally deciding.
Before I announce the winner, I have a few honourable mentions.
Nella Thomson and Anna Duff had some lovely descriptive language throughout their stories – good use of metaphors and similes!
Adele N had some great humour, with the kids mailing themselves to Paris in order to get the money to fly to Japan. One small problem with that – they then also had to raise the money to get home from France!
Grace Moodie and Adele Stack created fascinating mythology behind the origins of the coin. Grace with three imagined ancient coins, and Adele with an Inca Temple at the heart of her story.
Zhongheng Wu and Caitlin Young took the story down a sci fi track, Caitlin with Sarah turning out to be an alien, and Zhongheng with the inventor of Bitcoin and an intriguing secret project called Oasis 9.
Bill Kelly had a great adventure story, set in a museum, with our heroes getting themselves into a bit of trouble… or not as it turns out in a clever twist at the end.
Niamh Murray’s story was thoughtfully written, telling us two sides to the story – Sarah’s and the story of a supposed villain who had stolen the coin. Villains aren’t always what they seem, and Niamh gave this one a fascinating backstory.
And the winner is…
Indigo Tomlinson. Indigo’s story particularly appealed to me because it felt like a complete story, with interesting descriptions – I loved the line about the anxious typewriter! The dark twist at the end was creepy, but fit the story well, and made for a satisfying conclusion.
My story starter: The Garage Sale
“Is that the best price you can give me?”
Jessie glanced between the man and the $1.50 price tag dangling from the necklace held between his fingers.
“Well … we’re fundraising for our school trip to Japan,” she said, hesitantly.
The man’s arched eyebrow told Jessie that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. His piercing stare reminded Jessie of the ones her teacher gave her when she’d forgotten to do her homework.
Her shoulders slumped. “One dollar, okay?”
The man’s face softened, and he dropped two coins on the makeshift counter. He started to turn away, then glanced back. “Good luck with the fundraising, kid. Perhaps you’ll reach your goal faster than you think.” He winked, then walked away, taking the necklace with him.
Jessie swept the coins into the cashbox without looking at them. She couldn’t help thinking they would make the goal faster with that extra 50 cents!
“You’re such a soft touch, Jessie.” Sarah grinned from behind a rack of second-hand clothes.
Tom shook his head. “Not her fault. Some people will haggle over any price.”
Jessie sighed. Tom was right, but they were never going to raise enough for the trip if people kept asking for discounts. This was the third garage sale they’d held, and they were still nowhere near meeting their fundraising target.
“How much have we made today?” Sarah asked.
Jessie opened the cashbox, tipping the money out to count it. The rattle of coins stopped disappointingly soon. Sarah and Tom both groaned.
“We’ll never get to Tokyo at this rate!”
Sarah started sorting the coins into piles.
“Hey, what’s this one?” Tom held up a large bronze coin. It was bigger than any of the others, and it had a strange spiral symbol in the middle. “I’ve never seen money like this before…”
Sarah’s face paled. “I have,” she said. “But you’re not going to believe where …”
Before Sarah could continue, Tom spat on his thumb and started rubbing the surface of the coin idly. An electric shock ripped the air apart and an urgent “ding” like the sound of an anxious typewriter reaching the edge of the page, evaporated into the air. Jessie felt her body fragment into mist, and she was slurped up into the atmosphere like the last dregs of hot chocolate in the bottom of the mug.
They were standing in an abandoned courtyard. Above them the sky was the colour of tea-stained paper, and in front a cracking marble fountain stood, bubbling dejectedly like half-flat lemonade.
Slowly, Jessie walked towards the dribbling fountain. It gurgled anxiously as she approached. At the base of the fountain thousands more unusual coins created a crazy-paving pattern.
“It’s like a wishing well!” Sarah exclaimed, “That’s where I’ve seen a coin like that before.”
“Maybe that’s what the man meant!” Jessie exclaimed excitedly, “He knew we could use the coin and make a wish to go to Tokyo!”
Fingers trembling with anticipation Jessie released the coin into the fountain. As it tumbled the surface caught the light in odd and unknowing contours of strangeness, and winked at her, as though they shared a secret.
The fountain began to shake at the sides, and from the water rose a terrifying figure. As they watched the man seemed to morph and change shape subtly, elongating shadows filling the empty grooves on his forehead and the wasted hollows of his sunken cheeks. Where his right eye should have been, a silver coin gleamed menacingly.
Jessie gasped and took a step back, heart pounding.
The man’s nails, stained with murky verdigris, tapped impatiently on the rim of the pathetically pouting fountain.
“Ahhhh….” his voice rang out like the chink of coins in the bottom of a wishing well.
“Uh, hi!” Jessie gave him the blatantly cheerful smile she usually reserved specifically for visits to the dentist.
“I see you made a wish….” the man reached out one spindly arm, and Jessie noticed tattoos running up and down every inch of exposed skin, embossed like indents in metal.
“Well…” Jessie felt her merry-go-lucky fairground facade falling away.
“Who are you?” Tom asked, no trace of fear in his brash voice.
The man gave a wide smile and Jessie saw that his teeth were made of coppery bronze.
“I am the Wish-Granter, boy.” The way he said “boy” sounded like an insult, spat from his mouth like something distasteful. “The wishes give me life, and in return I make them come true.”
“So we can go to Tokyo?” Jessie asked hopefully. The man gave a bitter little quirk of the lips,
“Be careful what you wish for.” He melted into the shadows like a dying candle.
Jessie raced to the fountain and scrambled to retrieve the wish coin. But it was lost amid the others. The man’s final words had been a warning. The sky darkened…..
Three newly polished coins chinked into the wishing well of Tokyo airport, as though dropped from an invisible hand. If anyone had looked closer, they would have seen the faces of Tom, Sarah and Jessie, engraved in harsh lines on the silvered surface.
But no-one did.
Be careful what you wish for indeed.