Well done to all of those who entered the BBC’s 500 words short story competition. Overall the judges received over 120,000 entries and we would like to congratulate Eleanor and Faber in Year 6, Jack in Year 4 and Sylvie in Year 3 whose stories have been picked – with just 3,800 others – to go to the Reading Agency for the second round of judging. Have a look at the comments below to see the stories they entered. We will find out how they get on in May.
Well done to everyone who entered as we are told the competition was fierce. The overwhelming response was that the standard was extremely high this year. The judges had a GREAT time marking the stories, so our writers should feel very proud.
500 Words Short Story Competition
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Underground By Eleanor
She crept towards the gaping hole, clutching her reddish, leathery manuscript to the crisp, clean folds of her snowy white pinafore. Taking an ancient-looking rag from her pocket, she unfolded it to reveal a couple of smooth round stones, glowing weakly in the half-light of the tumble-down forest that seemed to close in on all sides. The strong beams of sunlight had now grown faint and irregular, to the point where they were hardly there at all. Hesitating at the edge of the steep slope that led into the cavernous opening, the girl placed her old (yet well-cared-for) volume upon a natural ledge that protruded out the side of a strong branch, just above her head. She made sure that it was well wedged in before turning to the business of stripping off her smart, neat clothes, right down to the much more practical, if slightly ragged, plain under-dress.
Soon she was ready, and – still gripping the pebbles in her sweaty, and slightly sticky, palm – she entered the opening. Taking one last glimpse of the outside world, where a misleading ray of sunlight was filtering through the gaps in the higher branches, she plunged into the never-ending maze of passages and underground paths that lay before her…
It was darkness such as she had never seen before; it seemed to swallow her forcing her to go on. The roots of the variety of oak, beech and willow trees seemed to be emitting a strange glow that gave no light. Giant millipedes and woodlice crawled up her arms, producing a small shiver that travelled down her spine, leaving a long trail of mud and slime on her once clean skin and shoes. She stumbled on. Now striding along open passageways and caverns of the greater kind, now crawling along on her hands and knees her head bumping along the top of the tunnel. She began to go slower, and slower, and slower, stumbling, her eyes half closed, not even bothering to wipe off the slime that now covered her face and body, coating it in an uncomfortable, crusty outer skin. She just wished that it would end. She just wanted to lie down and go to sleep…
“GRRRRRRRRR!” a rumbling noise flooded through the miniature passageway that she had forced her way into. It seemed to be coming from behind her. It seemed to be coming from the enormous cavern that she had just, that second, left. Twisting into a painful, barely possible position so that she could see behind her, the girl let out a tiny shriek. Staring back at her, was the most enormous eye that she had ever seen. It was a pale, watery, film-covered eye, orb-like in shape. It belonged to a very formidable, very forceful, very ugly toad.
Spider Fear By Jack
Tom was standing shivering with fear. There was a man in front of him, forcing him to hold a tarantula. Tom couldn’t though, he was too frightened to even touch that monstrous beast. He was desperate to conquer his phobia but he was too afraid to hold that hideous spider. Tom’s legs felt like jelly and his arms felt like they would fall off. ‘Will that spider bite me? ! What will it feel like?!’ Tom thought to himself. Tom didn’t know what to do. Should he touch his worst nightmare or leave it?
Tom’s face was sweating as he saw that wicked man hold that big brown spider. Tom tried to remember what he had learnt at school. He was taught a spider would rarely bite people, but that didn’t help Tom feel any braver. The word spider and bite just made him feel worse. That spine-chilling spider was looking at him menacingly.
Tom looked behind him and looked back the spider but it had disappeared. Tom looked around himself frantically. “Where has that tarantula gone?! ” Tom thought in his head. What would Tom do to find it? When Tom had calmed down, he saw that the spider was climbing up his leg and he screamed.
The spider was clambering up his leg with its multiple eyes staring right at him in a way that made the spider look even more deadly than it already was.
Eventually he gained confidence and he reached out to hold the spider…
Friends with William by Sylvie
On my first day of school I walked into the stuffy classroom. Everyone pushed and scrambled in. A boy walked up to me and after all the commotion was over he said, “Hello.” I wasn’t sure if I should answer so I shrank away into the corner of the classroom. After a while we made friends. He told me his name was William. I said mine was Richard.
At first we used to give each other marks out of ten for our stories. For some reason, William’s always got better marks. But the more friendly we became, the less I cared because I thought they were as good as any my parents read me at bedtime.
The next term there was an outbreak of plague. It spread quickly like an army charging and leaving the dead behind. It captured my mother and father. I grieved for them, but I couldn’t stay alone. The only place I could go was William’s house. They warmly welcomed me.
When I entered the house clouds of sawdust and loud banging noises came from the cellar. There was a quill, a tree that looked as if it had come from the woods (I later discovered it had come from the woods) and piles of pins.
“I’m trying to make this stage,” said William jumping from behind the tree.
Picking up the quill and a handful of pins, I asked, “What are these for?”
“Well, the quill is a makeshift screwdriver, the pins makeshift screws.”
That afternoon we spent our time planning and building.
We performed puppet shows on the stage. They were made of sticks and strings. As William’s father was a glove-maker we used his scraps of fabric to make their clothes.
As we grew up our puppet shows grew up with us. We performed in the living room, but soon we moved to the yard and friends watched. Then we had to move to the lane so all the village children could spectate.
We moved to London and our shows moved too. We performed at fairs, popular landmarks and eventually we were invited to noblemen’s houses. But one day, when performing at Lord Hamlet’s house, he quietly said, “There is a company that has room for two more. I think you two are just right.”
I could tell by his expression that William wanted to be the playwright, not just a player.
“One day I will write a play and the hero shall have your name,” he replied.
We went home, this thought lingering in our minds and it seemed as if this thread would stitch our lives together.
Years later I strode on stage and I could feel William watching me, as if his eyes were magnets and I was iron. As I said “To be or not to be,” the groundlings cheered.
After the final curtain I ran to hug William.
“That was the best acting you’ve ever done, Burbage!”
“And that is the best play you’ve ever written, Shakespeare!”
It lay deserted on the frosty window ledge. The bottle was filled with strange blue dust similar to sherbet; it had been sealed with a small cork. On the side, written in swirly, black letters, were the words ‘Fairy Dust’!
Hazel raced down the cobbles, hands in the air (she was three). Suddenly, her hand collided with the small bottle that consequently exploded into a mass of shards which scattered across the floor. At first, the dust simply settled but then little specks started to rise in hypnotic swirls from the ground. The fairy dust suddenly massed into a huge ball in the centre of the alleyway and then as quickly as it formed, it swiftly fell and disintegrated, coating everything in a glittery blue powder. Then gradually, everything that had been sprinkled with the dust began to ascend into the wintry air, including Hazel. “I’m…I’m flying like a fairy!” she gasped with a delighted smile but then a strong gust of wind roared through the air, blowing Hazel into the unknown…
Hazel floated above rooftops of all shapes and sizes, the wind gently lapping around her. In what seemed like a fleeting moment, she was wrapped in a blanket of fluffy white snow and emerged into an incredible landscape. The aura of the Northern Lights was all around her; she was in awe of the glowing colours. But soon she had gone past them and was gliding over snow-topped mountains and white hills. The stars were glittering like jewels spilt over inky blue paper.
Hazel had never seen anything so mesmerising but still she was struck by a desire to go home. “Mummy…Daddy…” she whispered, looking all around and longing for a warm hug.
Suddenly, she was hurtling towards the ground, the powdery snow getting ever closer. Down and down she went. Hazel closed her eyes but she never felt the thud of the snow as she landed. Instead, she fell onto her cosy, familiar bed with the pink spotty duvet wrapping itself around her.
“MUMMY! DADDY! I just flew to the Northern Lights and back!!!” she yelled in joy.
“Really? Was that fun?” said her mum with a sceptical glance at her husband.
“Oh yes!” Hazel shouted and bounced away. Then she felt something in her pocket. She pulled out a small glass bottle with a tiny smidgen of blue powder in.
“Mummy? Daddy? Do you want to go and see the Northern Lights?”