Ross

Here A um! Feast yer een, ladies! Painch stawed wae wurms an berries, thrapple throbbin wae seelie sang! Whit a specimen, eh?

Haud oan! Wha’s this baloo? Sum full-throatit joker’s edged intae ma patch. Och, A cannae ootdae that…

Sae be it. Time tae pit ma yella neb tae wurk.

Written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Blackbird” March 2022)

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Body swaddled, blanket tucked under heel to trap the warmth. Only my face exposed — how it radiates. I am safe here, content. I feel a change from within. A shift in state. Drifting.

Then, harsh sounds from outwith:

‘GET UP, YER LATE FOR WORK!’

My cocoon is pulled apart.

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I clutch teddy to my chest with both hands, transfixed by the fortification towering above, a patchwork of many colours.

Dad pokes his head out of the fleece gateway.

‘In ye come, let’s coorie doon, darlin.’

Stage 1: Complete. I have gained entry. Too easy. Now, to seize control.

Two stories written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Blanket” February 2022). I submitted the first one.

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Bha oidhche dhorcha ann agus bha na reul-bhadan a’ priobadh. Faisg air làimh, bha daoine a’ bruidhinn sa Bheurla mu Orion, Ursa Minor, agus Polaris.

Nuair a choimheadas sinn suas ri na speuran, chì sinn An Sealgair Mòr, An Dreagbhod, agus An Reul-iùil.

Chì sinn gu math eadar-dhealaichte.

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It was a dark night and the stars were twinkling. Nearby, people were speaking in English about Orion, Ursa Minor, and Polaris.

When we look to the heavens, we see An Sealgair Mòr (The Great Hunter), An Dreagbhod, and An Reul-iùil (The Guiding Star).

We see quite differently.

Written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Starry Night” December 2021/January 2022)

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‘Gey dreich theday!’

‘When’s that ever stoapped us?’

We pull oan oor wellies — mine bricht reid, yours spreckled wae glitter — and see whur they tak us.

Knee-deip in a burn, powheid huntin. Slungin through sookin mud. Twa-fittit dub lowps.

We heid hame wae seelie grins, grey hair darkened fae smirr.

Written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Wellies” November 2021)

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‘Thur’s a dug in the gairden!’

A young pup. Hyper, excitit tae huv a freen. Nae collar. Nae owner doon the street.

‘Comin inside while we decide whit tae dae?’

Ah froze, gliskin oor cat at the windae — hiss readied, claws premptively extendit.

‘Oan secont thoats, better wait oot here.’

Written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Puppy” October 2021)

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Ah Googult ma surname an it turns oot it means ‘key bearer’. Ma ancestors cerried aboot castle keys fur aw the high heidyins. Clavigers, they cawed thum.

The Queen goat gied the keys tae Stirlin Castle the ither day. Ragin. Ah’m away doon tae Buckingham Palace tae claim ma birthricht.

Written for the Scottish Book Trust’s 50 Word Fiction competition (“Key” September 2021)

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Thur wis still a cauldrife air quhen Montrose resortit tae chaulin the leather ae his gloves, finghers lang fundit and uselesse. It hud been a week syne the rout at Carbisdale and he wis sair hunger-bittin.

He wischt he’d worn his suskit auld shoes tae battle. Efter aw, a worn-doon bauchle is easier tae chawe than a new pair ae brogues.

Written as part of #Scotstober on Twitter (28th October 2021 — ‘bauchle’)

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