420 Characters Tiny Story Contest Winners

Posted on December 5, 2016

We are pleased to share with you the teen and adult winners of the 420 Characters Tiny Story Contest. Judges had to choose among an incredible 225 entries. We congratulate all participants for their creative and entertaining stories.

This was the first year GVPL hosted the 420 Characters Tiny Story Contest, inspired by the Powell River Library and held in conjunction with IslandLink libraries. GVPL’s winners and participants were celebrated at a special reception on November 24 at the Central Branch.

Scroll down to read GVPL’s winners and honourable mentions. You can read also read the award-winning stories from other library systems in the province.

Teen Category

First Place

By Jas Wong

The widow looked up at me through her voluminous eyelashes, her unforgiving stare piercing as ever. “What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same,” I feigned confidence, clutching my terrycloth bathrobe around my bare body. “This is my husband’s room.” I was clothed, but I felt so exposed. Vulnerable.

“Invalid.” She chuckled elusively. “I will return him when I am finished.”

I wait for him every night.

Second Place

By Maggie

I’m running as fast as I can, but it’s not fast enough. My breath is running out, becoming more and more ragged, but I can hear her breath behind me, still strong and even as can be. I chance a glance at her, and see she is just as I remember; silken long hair, flawless skin, tattered white dress. She would be beautiful. If it weren’t for her thirst for blood.

My breath catches, and I trip.

Second Place

Regaining His Independence
By Jas Wong

There was a time when everything felt wrong and he felt out of place, like everyone was wearing the same black clothes and he was draped in traffic-cone orange. The ones he thought were his dearest confidantes avoided eye contact at all costs and pretended he didn’t exist. They hadn’t said a word to him since the beginning of summer. He didn’t think it affected him anymore. He doesn’t think they affect him anymore.

Second Place

The Tantalizing Train
By Jeet Ajmani

A man boarded a train at 11:21 PM. As soon as he got in he fell asleep. Three hours passed and he awoke. To his surprise, he wasn’t on the train, but on his bed in his room. The clock read 10:48. He thought he had been dreaming so he got ready and went to the station. He heard the train coming but it didn’t stop. As it went by, he saw himself sleeping. Puzzled, he went home and saw someone in his bed. It was the man.

Third Place

The Story of Mankind
By Maia Looi

There were once castles of gold with shining butterflies drifting on clouds, little cloud men that frolicked in the mysterious dawn of tomorrow. There were blue skies and pure water. But then came people with pollution, and evil, and as now, the cloud men have vanished and the butterflies have fled. There used to be many beautiful animals but now many are extinct And that is the story. But there still might be hope.

Third Place

Mnemosyne’s Jar
By Anonymous

Dave putters about the workshop, grumbling. His eyes land on a dusty jar. On any other day he wouldn’t give it a second glance, but today he takes it carefully into his hands, marveling at the glittering, translucent scales in the jar, too large to be from any fish or reptile.

Hundreds of miles away, on a jagged rock of an island, a mermaid pulls herself onto the rock. Her gurgling laugh is ripped away by the wind.

Third Place

Headlines and Horror
By Julius Edwards

Decaying newsprint brought him by chance to a meeting with fate. His interest piqued, Oliver Jones later realised the meaning behind the intersection between decades and seemingly remote lives. Discovering the mystery of a boat’s sinking and the not-so-accidental drowning of a beautiful girl, both his and Eva Young’s stories soon overlapped – a death dance of fate belying the truth linking them forever across time.

Adult Category

First Place

By Janis La Couvée

You could only beat your fists on the wall of the undeniable for so long. Joan remembered—Ivy as a small girl, impish grin, pigtails flying. She pushed “play”—how many times now? “Happy Boxing Day Mom. Sorry I missed calling yesterday—haven’t figured out the time zones. Phuket’s been so much fun—we were invited for dinner last night. It’s a beautiful morning for the beach.  I’ll call again soon.  Love you.”

Second Place

Queen of the Ferry Pickup
By Laura Elvie Simons

I lost my mother. She’s somewhere here at the ferry terminal, but she’s not answering her phone. She was supposed to pick me up, her last text said she took a wrong turn. My mother is eighty-two and I should have taken the bus.

The next load of cars flows toward the ramp and I catch a flash of her purple-grey wig. From the boat, she texts: wrong turn off to van sorry I missed you.

I expect she’ll be gone a while.

Third Place

Altered Reality
By Terra Hawk

The child wailed in terror from his booster seat. There was no answer. Clammy and pale, the four-year-old stared at his mother. What remained of her face hung in meaty flaps. Blood and gobbets of flesh spattered the Cadillac’s interior like a gruesome tapestry. The bullets had pierced the driver’s side window with expert precision.

The boy whimpered, “Mommy?

Sirens shrieked in the distance, growing louder.

Honourable Mentions

Teen Category

The Reality
By Savannah

I can teach you things beyond your wildest dreams. Show you things that will shatter your world, expand your mind till your bonds are limitless.” My eyes flicked open, above me stood a woman. Her hair was the color of lighting and her eyes pools of light. Her hand was stretched out to me, her smile welcoming and inviting. I grasped her hand as she drew me towards the light.  “Welcome to the Reality.

By Raven Castle-Griffey

My hands shake with hunger as I try to complete my math homework. Jerky hand movements create messy writing, but all I can focus on is food.

Emerging from the flashback, my rigid body relaxes. Memories of my eating disorder rarely haunt me these days, but today marks three years of recovery and they keep popping up. Sitting back, I smile softly and continue my math assignment, the writing neat once again.

My Amy
By Raven Castle-Griffey

Her eyes flew open, a faint gasp escaping her crimson lips. The monitors went wild, beep, beep, beep. Our hearts soared, relief washing over our drained bodies. The tired eyes of family who had not yet given up filled with emotion, pooling out of some in the form of salty tears. I gripped her hand tighter as she croaked out the first word we had heard from her in six weeks, “Hey.”

My Amy had woken up.

Adult Category

By Mary Griffin

4,496 kilometres of asphalt, 9 pages of Google maps, 7 states, 8 days, 4 tornadoes, 93 baseball-size hailstones, 5 drag queens at the Super8, 2 hallway fights, 1 cop car, 16 muffins to go, 9 cowboys in 10-gallon hats, 8 horse trailers, 4 Mount Rushmore presidents, 6 wrong turns, 7 spilt coffees, 3 do-not-stop-under-any-circumstances towns, 19 pit stops, 582 billboards, 27,921 dead bugs in the front grille.

By Brianna

Crushed in the heat of the market, her kanga stuck with sweat, she tries to remember why she made herself leave.

Sellers hawk cheap beads and woven bracelets, and as she drifts past, it is only by chance she spies it – a scallop shell.

She stops dead in the street, struck by the memory of a rocky beach, a house hidden by ferns. Seeing the shell is a sign, she thinks: permission to return to this house, to home.

Help Needed
By Anne Spencer

A snackbar  volunteer, I’ll meet folks with ‘issues’, here for  free eats and coffee. I’ll smile; keep doughnuts coming, help with problems. I feel warmly benevolent. So when Pat, thin, downcast eyes, stained fingers, takes six sugars in her coffee, this is my chance. Make contact – that’s the key. “You have a sweet tooth,” I smile.

“I don’t have no teeth,” she says. She moves on.

I go back to pouring coffee.

Read more 420 Characters Tiny Story Contest award winners from around the province.