Recycling a Winner! - Sarah Nicholson

Bury St Edmunds has just held the very first fringe literary festival - the Foreword Festival  - which took place on 7th and 8th October. Do click on the link to find out more, it was a marvellous weekend.

As part of the inaugural event they held a flash fiction competition, winning stories would be read out at various locations in the town by professional actors. Never one to pass up an opportunity, especially when it is local, I decided I really MUST enter.

But what do you do when a deadline is looming? You are running out of time and can't get the creative juices flowing.

With the sound of a ticking clock getting louder and louder in my ear I decided to recycle a previous idea and scrolled through my old blogs searching for a suitable story I could tweak. I used to follow a lot of sites that regularly posted writing prompts, the trouble was most of my stories were under 150 words and this one had to be 500, certainly no less than 450.

Eventually I found one that was 300 words and I set about adding a bit more description and content. I really was pushing it but with an hour to go I was satisfied and got my story submitted - phew!

And my revamped, twisted fairy tale has a happy ending - I was chosen as one of the TEN winners and I spent a delightful morning walking around Bury St Edmunds in the sunshine listening to a fabulous array of stories being told.

So once more with a deadline looming I am recycling and sharing my winning story with you - I hope you enjoy it...

Cinderella’s Legacy

Tess had been dithering all week, undecided if she wanted to take part in the arcane ritual.

Her sensible head told her this was all a silly tradition, what was wrong with swiping on your phone to find your soulmate? It worked for many people and at least you could retain some control, have a choice rather than just waiting to be chosen.

However, her foolish heart had been filled with romantic stories of true love since she was a small child. It couldn’t hurt to join in - she just needed to find the right shoe.

Her friend Marcia had been the very first to place her snow-white satin pump in the town square. Chloe had added her favourite kitten heel beside it, after embellishing it with turquoise gemstones to make it sparkle.

Tess needed something magical to add to the mix and that is why she was frantically searching for her grandmother’s wedding shoes in the dusty attic. After all this fuss she hoped they fitted her when she found them.

Her indecisiveness had cost her dearly, it was already gone eleven and her shoe had to be in the town square before the last stroke of midnight.

Behind the spinning wheel and the magic mirror of her childhood she finally found her grandmother’s ancient trunk. The lid opened with a creaking yawn.

Carefully, Tess lifted out the ivory silk gown and there underneath, on a bed of rose petal confetti, was a pair of glass slippers; they glittered in the silver moonlight that shone through the attic window almost on cue.

She tugged off her trainers without even undoing the laces, but it was already apparent that her feet were far too big to squeeze into the dainty slippers.

What prince would marry a girl whose feet didn’t fit her own shoe? She sat back heavily in a puddle of ivory silk, resigned to her fate. It was far too late now to run down stairs and get to the square in time.

But when the clock started to chime it ignited a spark of an idea.

Picking up a laced and slightly grubby trainer Tess ran to the window and opened it wide. Her aim was straight and true, the shoe landed alongside the thousands of others that had been accumulating all day in the square.

All waiting to be picked up by a prince.

As the clock struck its final note Tess looked down at the glass slippers. She thoughtfully placed them back in the trunk with the dress once more carefully laid on top. They would never have survived being thrown out of the window. In the same way she couldn’t survive being a pampered princess with expectations of elegance and grace.

Her handsome prince would be fit, active, love sport and wild outdoor adventures. She had chosen the perfect shoe to reflect her personality.

Time would tell if she would find her match.


With actor Georgie Matthews who performed my winning story


Umberto Tosi said…
I enjoyed your playful variation on the theme of Cinderella. Just right. Best OKCupid as a way to find your mate. Good luck in the contest.

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