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Mike Scott Thomson & Chris Fielden, looking devilishly handsome (hmm...) after undertaking the long and arduous journey to Hull
Welcome to Mike's Not-Entirely-Serious Wantonly-Rule-Breaking Adverb Writing Challenge. Like its creator, it's very simple (sorry, Mike...). And fun too.
This is a flash fiction challenge. Here are the rules:
So far, we're received 195 entries. We need 5 more to publish the next anthology.
The first anthology – Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 – was released in November 2016. It contains the first 100 stories submitted to the challenge. Volume 2 will be released when we've received 200 stories. Mike and I would like to thank everyone who has submitted stories for their support – it is very much appreciated :-)
Proceeds made from anthology sales will be donated to First Story.
First Story supports and inspires creativity, literacy and confidence in UK secondary schools where over 50% of the pupils are considered deprived. The charity helps young people nurture and develop their creative writing skills.
Below, is a letter received from First Story after we made the first donation payment to them in January 2017. I'm sharing it here so that all the writers and readers who have contributed to this project can read it:
Dear Chris and Mike,
I am writing to thank you for your donation of £101 towards First Story’s programme, made following the impressive sale of 101 anthologies. It is incredibly generous of you to donate the proceeds of Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 sales to First Story, and we are delighted to hear that you have already received many entries for Volume 2. Your support will make a significant difference to our work with young people and we are truly grateful.
As you know, First Story aims to bridge the creativity gap by bringing writers into schools serving low-income communities.Through participating in writing residencies and other writing activities, our students are flourishing in confidence and creativity, developing key skills that will underpin their future success.We’re presently running 70 writing residencies, working with 1,500 students in the East Midlands, South West, London, Hull and West Yorkshire.
The impact First Story has on students is truly extraordinary and it can enhance the quality of their lives. Our work simply would not be possible without those, like you, who share our vision and ambition for young people.
Executive Director, First Story
An adverb is a word that is used to describe an adjective, verb or another adverb. They are commonly referred to as 'words ending in ly', although not all of them do.
Adverbs are often overused by amateur fiction writers. Hence, a common writing tip is 'don't overuse adverbs'. For example, Stephen King advises this in his book, On Writing, A Memoir Of The Craft.
I made the mistake of overusing them when I started out in writing and learnt the hard way that editing most of them out of your prose can vastly improve your writing. That said, don't feel you can't use them at all. You can, just don't over do it.
You can learn lots more about adverbs in this very useful resource by Your Dictionary.
Mike and I first met through the To Hull & Back humorous short story competition. Mike won the inaugural contest and travelled to Hull when I made the first winner's video.
Mike & Chris at the To Hull & Back anthology book launch
About a year later, Mike wrote a post for my blog, featuring his short story Me, Robot which was published by The Fiction Desk. Part of the post talks about the 'rules' of best practice for fiction writing, one of which is
you guessed it
don't use too many adverbs. While we were discussing this by email, we thought it might be fun to create a challenge that wantonly breaks this rule. We're such
And so, the Adverb Writing Challenge was conceived and born. Originally, the challenge comprised part of Mike's post.
We decided that if we received 20 entries, we'd create a dedicated page to the challenge. We hit that milestone on 24th June 2016, hence this page exists.
We decided that if we received 1oo entries, we'd release an anthology. We hit that target on 3rd August 2016. The anthology – Adverbially Challenged Volume 1 –was released in November 2016 in print and eBook formats.
If we receive another 100 entries, we'll release Adverbially Challenged Volume 2. Again, all the proceeds will go to charity. If we don't receive another 100 entries, it's a bit of fun, you can read all the stories here on the site and you now know about the fabulous First Story charity and might donate to them in the future.
Win, win, win.
Below are all the stories that have been submitted, crammed to exploding point with unnecessary adverbage. They are published in the order in which they were received.
The first 100 stories submitted to the Adverb Challenge were removed from the site on 1st October 2016. They are now available to read in Adverbially Challenged Volume 1.
You can learn how to buy the book and support charity here.
Profits from sales will be donated to the First Story charity every 3 to 6 months, depending on the volume of books sold. You can see how much has been raised by all the challenges run on this website on the main Writing Challenges page.
You can read the current submissions for Adverbially Challenged Volume 2 below.
An opening note from Chris Fielden
Sadly, the legendary Allen Ashley regrettably missed out on the deliciously tempting target of submitting story number 100 to the Adverb Challenge. Ironically, his delightfully entitled story will open Adverbially Challenged Volume 2. Somehow, I feel this is fitting for this splendidly silly test of tantalisingly titillating adverb usage.
And from Mike Scott Thomson
So, we made it to 100 (and beyond)! Thanks so much to everyone for contributing to this undoubtedly daft, but indubitably satisfying challenge - and I'm sure First Story will be pleased too. Very much looking forward to Adverbially Challenged Vol 1 being released in November, just in time – hopefully – for the filling of stockings (Yulely).
And as for Volume 2, in the spirit of wantonly-rule-breaking, I couldn't think of a more appropriate story to kick things off than one called "The Final Word". Verily, I see great things ahead.
The Final Word
by Allen Ashley
In the nick of time, I roused myself slowly and sullenly, complete with a good talking-to, knowing instinctively that the job would never get done if I simply passed my days lazily and carelessly or instead left the task to be completed finally by one of my peer group when instead it behoved me to focus diligently and claim the last spot which I would make rightfully mine even if what I had to say had been said better and more succinctly and intelligently long before my time in the spotlight that lingered briefly. Spot 100 would be mine. Totally.
by Mel Ciavucco
I tightly hold in the bubbles of air annoyingly edging through my rectum. Not in downward dog in a full yoga class, I think, nervously.
Anxiously, I wonder if maybe I can unobtrusively slip it out. Just a little whoosh, inconspicuously.
I very slightly release my clench. Steadily, gradually, slowly.
And unintentionally let out an enormously huge fart.
Everyone's obviously silently disgusted. We're coyly moving through another round of sun salutations quietly. Then we're in downward dog again, and suddenly – another fart. This time, not me. Perfectly and loudly rumbly, beautifully ringing in my ears, I happily come to standing.
by Mark Rutterford
Jonno confidently walked towards Safia. He falteringly asked her out.
Unequivocally, Safia said, "No."
Jonno made the toe-curlingly embarrassing walk back to the bar. He hastily downed a glass of beer and energetically downed another.
Jonno drunkenly resolved to not take 'no' for an answer.
Safia patiently waited.
Jonno teeteringly swayed towards Safia, irresponsibly waving yet another glass of ale before him.
Safia, pre-emptively and forcefully shook her head.
Jonno, balletically pirouetted and then unstably pirouetted and then ill-advisedly pirouetted some more. Jonno spectacularly fell to the floor and refreshingly bathed in his spilt drink.
Safia enigmatically smiled. Jonno too.
by Michael Rumsey
He'd waited anxiously to hear from his normally actively and engagingly helpful Agent and now a glorious glittering opportunity for an ambitiously minded aspiring actor had arisen.
Painstakingly he'd written a dazzlingly attractive script. He'd patiently and studiously practised making hand gestures flourishingly sincere while skilfully controlling breathing in order to emphatically produce every syllable accordingly.
Brightly, confidently he stepped into the Casting Director's splendidly furnished office and began his sparkling speech.
"Refreshingly, eloquently, cleverly delivered," she acknowledged as he brilliantly ended a positively glorious audition, "but the part we are casting is that of a deaf mute unfortunately."
by June Whitaker
Obviously, driving one-handedly, albeit unhurriedly, while pleasurably licking a Double Choc Delight on a sizzlingly hot day could regrettably earn me a toe-curlingly painful fine. I've already hastily but reluctantly thrown it to the floor, but the policeman officiously stops me.
"What's wrong, Officer?" I querulously ask, while winsomely fluttering my eyelashes and desperately wishing I were 20, or preferably 40, years younger.
He purposefully lifts his sunglasses and lecherously ogles my cleavage. "Drive carefully, Grandma," he growls, casually waving me on.
My sundress clings uncomfortably. Briefly glancing down, I see I've incriminatingly dribbled Choc Delight. So embarrassingly geriatric.
Going for Gold
by Allen Ashley
Suddenly inspired childishly.
Back lawn re-enactment Olympically.
Running and jumping breathlessly.
Wishing and dreaming tentatively.
Outlasting classmates classily.
Focused on fitness physically.
Attending trials hopefully.
Winning contests joyously.
Being coached regularly.
Training daily and rigorously.
Starting to improve noticeably.
Setting personal bests frequently.
Lagging at top level nationally.
Considering approaches tactically.
Seeking advantage surreptitiously.
Bending the rules covertly.
Supplementing diet miraculously.
Making great strides suddenly.
Seen to achieve visibly.
Hauling in medals greedily.
Progress considered questionably.
Investigations conducted thoroughly.
Reputation tarnished permanently.
Facing the music dopily.
Struck from the record books shamefully.
Give A Bag A Second Chance
by J. Rosina Harlow
There is, undoubtedly, life beyond one fleeting, obligatory, hasty trip to the gargantuan supermarket.
Fresh and feisty, you unfurled joyfully and selflessly accepted the heavy tins.
Now you lie, regretfully, scrunched forgetfully into the corner of the capacious boot of a shiny car.
You had thought, foolishly, that a bag might be for life, but for whatever flimsy, insubstantial, thin and easily torn reason, you are lonely, neglected, unloved.
You wish fervently that someone would kindly adopt you, oh misunderstood plastic miracle, to let you tumble and fly with your cellophane friends across their unspoilt and verdant gardens, forever.
by Joan Withington
She gingerly made her way to the front door. Annoyingly, it was locked.
Falteringly retracing her steps, she suddenly leapt up the stairs. She hurriedly made her way along the landing. Surprisingly and, quite unexpectedly, the bathroom door was invitingly open. She crept in. The smell of perfume hung in the air, overwhelmingly revolting and powerfully pungent. It filled her lungs. She felt sick.
Her pathetically highly pitched meows failed to attract anyone's attention so she had no option but to bravely leap through the window on to the invitingly low branches of the stunningly blossoming pear tree.
by Alex Wilson
I always hear him come home. The front door bangs loudly, angrily. I hide under the duvet shivering quietly, breathing rapidly, lying rigidly. I imagine him stumbling blindly, recklessly in the kitchen. My heart thumps frantically.
Carelessly I have left Bear somewhere. I want him desperately, but more than that, I want to be elsewhere, anywhere. I hate the nightly hands roughly coaxing me to behave reluctantly but obediently.
The bedroom door opens quietly. Foolishly I move. Numbly I wait.
He speaks softly, "Are you going to be friendly tonight? Daddy's home."
The Gig Was Up
by Diane Caldwell
She stepped quietly, carefully, trying desperately to be utterly silent. Each step landed stealthily as a totally absorbed cat slowly stalking its completely unaware prey. She instinctively knew that absolutely everything depended wholeheartedly on her ability to unabashedly surprise her victim. She silently crept up step by step, holding her breath, intrinsically using the martial arts skills she so painstakingly developed. And then suddenly and utterly unexpectedly her quarry turned screaming piercingly, like an extremely over-excited rooster, rapidly flailing her arms higgledy-piggledy, and excitedly kicking her legs about like a high-steppin' cakewalker. She knew then unmistakably, the gig was up.
by Joan Withington
Like a bird of prey, slowly, silently and serenely the tiny plane cruised high in the cerulean sky.
Unexpectedly, a seemingly badly timed turn sent it plunging towards the mountains, downwardly spiralling in a dizzyingly, dangerously dramatic dance.
Wide eyed, I held my breath, fearfully anticipating a potentially disastrous ending.
Suddenly I heard an expertly engineered full throttling of the engine. Abruptly the plane levelled out and quietly disappeared from view over the snow capped peaks.
I realised, alarmingly, I had developed cramp in my neck and unfortunately, I could no longer look down at my skis.
by Jerry Wilson
"Dad," Hopefully whined, annoyedly . "Loudly's name was tastelessly included in Chris's wildly successful adverb anthology. Why wasn't my name respectfully mentioned?"
"Son, I've recently been meaning to tell you, although reluctantly," his father, Stoically, sighed remorsefully. "We're nouns. Loudly, regrettably has no cause to confidently crow. He's a noun, too."
"What? Are adverbs unreasonably deemed better than we judiciously and properly used nouns?"
"To people like the estimably regarded Chris, they assuredly are," Stoically said, facetiously.
"Why did our author use our names, then, if adverbs didn't really count?"
"He muddleheadedly assumed that we were adverbs."
by Joan Withington
He cautiously prised open the large pot of paint. Disappointingly there was an oily yellow slick lying supinely on the surface. He gently poked it with a spoon to reveal the astonishingly whiter than white colour beneath.
Breathing a sigh of relief he swiftly stirred the buttercup oily slick into the depths of the pot. Unfortunately the enthusiastically delivered movement was overwhelmingly over the top. Literally.
Slurping and sloshing over the rim of the can, the paint, tantalisingly and tauntingly flowing like lava, crept on to the kitchen table and slowly, downwardly onto his left foot.
He Was There
by Tracey Maitland
She sat patiently stirring her cup of tea. As she methodically, rhythmically pushed the teaspoon around the teacup she deliciously devoured the thought of seeing him again. She thought longingly of his eyes, beautifully framed by wonderfully long eyelashes. The contour of his lips lovingly shaped like those of a cherub. As she remembered his kiss the teaspoon whirled around the agreeably melodic teacup evermore rapidly as her body tingled with an anticipated passion.
She closed her heavily made-up eyes to savor the rapturously remembered moment; the silver teaspoon suddenly missed a circuit around the teacup. He was there.
Speaking From The Heart
by John Notley
"However," said the Chairman cheerfully, even boyishly, launching his annual speech, "I can happily inform you confidentially," eyes glinting roguishly, "this has been financially, our best year ever. Moreover undeniably by unstintingly and loyally supporting me we eventually, admittedly barely, exceeded our target. I can reliably notify you that you will be amply rewarded accordingly."
After listening patiently for two hours to the Chairman's verbosity, Frank the Sales Manager, pleadingly raised his eyes upwardly, gratefully and thankfully aware that the end was nigh. "God Bless the Chairman." At which the Chairman clutched his heart and sank gracefully to the floor.
So How Now
by Rebecca Henderson
Well, probably when we're still there we'll also definitely never again really be going to that place. Today we went, but not for long. After all, it's perhaps a little childish. Maybe we actually mean the best. Sometimes, of course, everyone has to be a tiny bit of a kid. It's always better to be rather goofy than particularly gruff. Eventually the world, indeed life, will inevitably catch up. Before then, however, before suddenly and irrevocably snuffing out, we certainly wish to finally mean something. Or, quite simply, nearly change the world around us. Together, it is enough.
by Mike Scott Thomson
The neatherd's wife dutifully attends the cattle whilst The Great King – anonymously, surreptitiously – refuges cosily in her cottage.
Hotly the flames flicker. Dimly he watches the dough rise, anxiously evaluating how history will immortalise him: famously formidable, or infamously ineffectual? Aggressively the invaders advance, a rash across the shires. His next course of action shall – crucially, decisively – determine what thusly befalls.
The loaves rapidly blacken as the neatherd's wife returns. Angrily she admonishes: "Thou halfwitted knave – to err the simplest of tasks."
"I apologise fulsomely," he replies remorsefully, furiously fanning the fumes, yet assumes – erroneously – this mishap hath no import.
Missing the Point
by Peter Collins
Earnestly, eloquently (and perhaps even egotistically), I was explaining to Lucy, my lamentably literal life-partner, about my elegantly effective entry to the Adverb Challenge. She was undeniably unimpressed.
"Add verbs," she cheekily chortled. "A child could do it. Freeze and frame equals freeze-frame. Flash and flood equals flash-flood."
"That’s not quite how it works…"
My ineffective intervention was imperiously ignored.
"Jump-suit; drink-drive; train-ride…" and on and on and on for the rest of the distressingly distraught-filled day.
It's Funny How These Things Come About
by J. Rosina Harlow
Tremulously, Mike turned the cold metal torch in his hands and waited expectantly for the familiar strobing signal.
From the starless black sky came brilliant bolts of light, blinking fiercely in rapid, seemingly random, patterns.
The night split thunderously and the air rippled, softly.
"What do you want me to do?" Mike asked, hoarsely.
The answer came presently, conveyed telepathically as he lay nervously back in his warm bed.
The tall one moved forward imperiously and blinked it's almond shaped eyes thoughtfully. Then the bulbous grey head began to pulse, ominously.
"You must instigate the adverb challenge," i t replied, inscrutably.
by Judith Wolfgang
I am lovingly thankful for new beginnings. I have always loved writing and now a little at a time I'm faithfully writing more and more. Parts of speech used outside of English 101 are exciting and positively delightful.
Many are the varied kindly helpful people who successfully decide to encourage and help new writers.
New beginnings are made with the first step, however slowly made. Who knew that those parts of speech so tedious and challenging would safely guide us on new and exciting paths.
New ideas and bettering our world can be particularly helpful in undertaking new beginnings.
Ghostly, Tickly Fingers
by Chris Fielden
"Tickly wickly woo."
"I beg your pardon?" said Maud, ill-temperedly.
"Tickly wickly woooooo," said the ethereally wispy apparition as its ghostly, tickly fingers sneakily snuck into Maud’s armpit.
"Stop it immediately, Harold." Being rudely awakened in the incredibly early hours absolutely definitely annoyed Maud deeply. "You know I can’t feel a thing and your 'wooing' is… frankly, it’s absurdly irritating."
Dejectedly, Harold stopped. "Terribly sorry, dear. Being deceased is deadly boring."
"When you’re being despicably haunted by your decidedly dead husband, being alive is doubtlessly worse."
"Goodbye, dear, permanently."
"Finally." Maud went to sleep, rapidly.
by Judith Wolfgang
It was my second attempt at making that angel food cake that looked so good in the cookbook. I wanted to faithfully and lovingly give to my mother a beautiful birthday cake. I hesitantly threw all the batter into the garbage because I had put in salt instead of sugar and it could not be lovingly saved, even for the kindest of mothers. So, on to my third lovingly-crafted baking attempt.
Mothers are so special and kind. This angel food cake for my mother had to be perfect. I would faithfully try again.
by Ros Byrne
Mr Bingley, wealthily and Mr Darcy, proudly ride into Netherfield. The news rapidly reaches shabbily chic Longbourn where Mr and Mrs Bennet react neglectfully and rose-coloured spectacledly respectively; the girls embroidering tiresomely. Mr Bingley unerringly admires Jane as she dances beautifully while Mr Darcy is condescendingly unimpressed as Lydia carries on sluttishly; Mary embarrassingly and Mrs B ridiculously.
Add wickedly deceiving Wickham and self-importantly pedantic Collins obsequiously venerating the haughtily horrible Lady Catherine and the plot thickens complicatedly.
Eventually Elizabeth topples Darcy from his ungentlemanly high horse directly to the altar and they all reside happily ever after.
by Judith Wolfgang
It is good to get up every morning and wonder what exciting adventure might be available for the day. Isn't that what children lovingly do; look at each day as an exciting adventure?
A chance to thoughtfully sell lemonade for a worthy cause, always with kindness and consideration for your thirsty customer? Willingly help mom or dad with their many household chores.
Our loyalty and dedication to being as humbly receptive to life as children is important. To embrace life as the gift that it is. And ask ourselves; what is actually next in my life?
by Lesley Truchet
Feeling fiercely frisky, I prepared punctiliously, patting my pulse spots with a profuse patina of perfume. I carefully clothed myself in a scarlet skirt, fastidiously fabricated to scarcely secrete my charming confidentials and mischievously matched it with a skin-tight see-through top.
Bereft of a brassiere and briefs, I slipped on some sensual stockings and suspenders and roguishly released my tawny tresses. I winkled out a whip from the toy trunk and cracked it carnally as I jumped jauntily on to the bed, waking my weary wonder boy.
He fuzzily focused, muttered "Oh my God," and callously continued to snore sonorously.
by S.B. Borgersen
Freshly published colourfully jacketed novels were totteringly stacked ready for the ferociously advertised launch; the author deliberately positioned for the precisely timed reading.
In the shufflingly slow line-up, Fiona opened her copy excitedly, hopefully, to find it shockingly, horrendously peppered liberally with adverbs.
Exasperatingly, screwing her puckeringly pretty face, gritting perfectly pearly white teeth, she unwittingly muttered, "How can this famously well-published author stupidly think this will be unbeatably successful?"
Hearing her voice, Fiona's slobberingly loving hound Titus, enthusiastically bounded bouncily to his mistress, sending the precariously balanced book tower multi-directionally across the book shop floor.
The Rejection Diaries
by Maggie Davies
Excitedly, expectantly, eagerly, I snatch the brown envelope from the doormat with trembling and sweatily nervous fingers. My breath is pounding crazily and my heart racing feverishly in my fluttering chest.
Fumblingly, I ease out my lovingly crafted pages, spread them tenderly on my lap, and disbelievingly scan the hurtfully callous words on the carelessly attached compliment slip:
REGRETFULLY WE MUST REJECT YOUR SUBMISSION
Keeningly, savagely, vengefully I screechingly call down curses on the heads of these ignorant twats and their cruel and foolishly short-sighted response.
How can such obviously ignorant brutes stomp so savagely on my hopes?
The Phone and Wind Coincidence
by Meredith Schulhof
It was a ridiculously windy day outside. I anxiously paced my room waiting for the wind to stop so that I could continually help my best friend with homework. I was hopeful that she was waiting calmly and comfortably. I knew that she would be abnormally mad if I wasn't there soon. Coincidentally, my phone rang when my mind processed that thought. Instinctively, I picked up the phone. I was sure it would be my friend who was calling me angrily but when I picked up the phone I was bewildered to hear an annoyingly loud advertiser on the phone.
What Everyone Must Know About the Beautifully Lit Sky
by Meredith Schulhof
I was carefully watching the beautifully lit sky to make sure that nothing harmfully passed my view. I had to spend the whole annoyingly long night carefully looking up into the sky full of sparkly stars. Apparently, I fell asleep under the sky when I was annoyingly shaken roughly. I reluctantly got up. I knew that my friend would yell angrily at me for me being lazily sleeping. Luckily, nothing happened while I was sleepily sleeping the night away. The next night, the same thing happened and it turned out that the sky was magically making the guard fall asleep.
The Mysterious Object
by Meredith Schulhof
The lights suddenly went completely dark and I frightfully waited for the beautifully colorful lights to come back on. I wanted to sneakily continue on my mission. I was supposedly alone but I jumped frightfully when I heard something rustling quietly alongside me. I carefully took out my obnoxiously big phone. The object was bewildering me by literally and skillfully knowing my next move. There was no hope in unpredictability so I literally ran as quickly as I could past the object. I had no hope in outrunning it. It was flying smoothly straight past me to block the entrance.
Deliciously & Outrageously Overwhelmed by a Significantly Beautiful & Glamorous Witch
by Richard L. Moriarty
I quietly and anxiously awaited her, obediently and coyly leaning awkwardly and nervously against the lavishly and ornately decorated fountain. Fortunately, she dutifully and quite dramatically arrived astride her elegantly designed and magically powered broomstick.
She was alluringly dressed in a sharply and bravely cut, elegantly styled dress. She dismounted gracefully and gleefully; silently and deftly crossed to my side, unexpectedly took my limply dangling hand and vivaciously pulled me wantonly into her embrace. Innocently I warmly and excitedly kissed her perfectly formed and beautifully full lips and she obnoxiously and somewhat irritatingly turned me into a grotesquely malformed frog.
by John Galloway
It was literally a posing pouch. A barely there token of glossily, irridescent nylon worn to ensure the maximum exposure of his overly pumped body. He flexed his muscles outrageously, bringing coquettish coos from the fawningly fantasising frauleins watching admiringly.
The other boys watched sulkily, jealously wishing that as he strutted arrogantly along the searingly hot sidewalk he would inadvertently catch the sloppily flip-flopping toe of his sandal on the edge of a poorly maintained paving slab and land embarrassingly on his surgically sculpted nose.
They roared victoriously as he carelessly fulfilled their collectively held fantasy.
He skulked off gloweringly.
He Made Me – Honestly
by Richard L. Moriarty
I was writing inadequately but passionately about an intrinsically difficult topic, that I remarkably and sensationally scripted in lavishly, artistically decorated, beautifully, irrationally coloured script.
I decidedly, overwhelmingly, outdid myself with extraordinarily and ridiculously phrased, insignificantly thought through sentences, that unequivocally proved that I am uninspiringly endowed with a remarkably unexplored ability to uncomfortably waffle, which could undoubtedly send any rationally and sanely motivated person to consider me positively and undoubtedly out of my interestingly unexamined, fractionally endowed tiny insignificantly minuscule little brain.
My only vague attempt to rationally and honestly excuse myself – he told me to do it!
The Unintentionally Absentminded Shepherdess and Her Mischievously Hungry Sheep
by Valerie Griffin
Dreamily, Little Bo Peep herded the woolly sheep safely into the grassy meadow. Unfortunately, she was behaving distractedly and unsuccessfully failed to notice the surprisingly large gap in the quirkily built fence. Opportunistically and adventurously, the sheep gleefully escaped into the adjoining field where the grass was lushly greener. Sleepily, Little Bo Peep took a nap, blissfully unaware the sheep were actually gone. When she woke the field was conspicuously absent of sheep. She frantically searched around and saw them greedily eating in the next meadow. Swiftly and successfully, she rounded them up and sheepishly herded the flock back home.
Visions of Middle Age Lethargy...
by Nige Street
Whilst rigidly supine, horizontally in the confines of the bath – the watery glove snuggly encasing my torso which once was historically and, rightly so, a deliciously blinding vision of all things Godly – I was beginning to softly yet noticeably acquire the annoyingly shapely characteristics of what could describedly be observed as an overly vacuumed and disproportionately sized duvet sealed within a vastly undersized bin liner.
"Welcome, middle age," I churlishly rumbled.
Dangerously Delicious Delicacies
by Laura Besley
Patrick was walking to work briskly, whistling softly (and not uncharacteristically out of tune). He stopped abruptly at the pristinely clean window of the baker's. He stared longingly at the beautifully decorated cakes. His perilously rotund stomach began to growl loudly.
Ted the baker, an exceptionally thin man, waved his hands extravagantly and raised his eyebrows invitingly.
Patrick's ridiculously weak resolve crumbled immediately and he pushed open the door forcefully, causing the bell to ring noisily. "Give me a cake," he said, quickly.
"Of course," the baker replied, gratefully.
Patrick smiled widely and announced joyfully, "The diet can start tomorrow."
by Frances Leggatt
Eventually, I get my chance. The Jailer is in the doorway of the apartment, chatting interminably with a neighbour. Slipping surreptitiously off the sofa, I saunter casually towards them.
Recklessly, I plunge through her legs. Then I'm racing frantically down the stairs into the hall. Incredibly, the front door is open.
On the street, I look round warily. Cars shoot past threateningly. Instinctively I dart daintily towards a narrow alleyway and – yes here's a rubbish bag. It's spilling open untidily, and the stench of yesterday's sushi is beckoning me seductively.
Words from My Guru
by Allen Ashley
Tread the path lightly.
Keep the faith faithfully.
Support your family supportively.
Cherish your friends amicably.
Deal with your demons diabolically.
For we are less than pawns
in a game played cosmologically
and though we try dutifully
to understand the pattern
knowledgeably and empirically,
we are but bubbles of nothingness
dissipating fizzily into the cold,
flat cola-ness of a universe
Does the field mouse comprehend
the nature of the quasar?
Is the tapeworm distracted
by Freeview television?
Tread the path blindly and silently
and you shall be rewarded.
Thus Spake Zara
by Bartle Sawbridge
"Tell me sincerely," Charles said, "are you coolly, dispassionately, going to leave me thus?"
Assertively, emphatically, almost aggressively, Zara replied that she was, finally. Slowly, deliberately, Charles picked the tightly-sealed, recently delivered letter from the stickily crummy, rarely cleaned, tablecloth.
"Divorce papers," said Zara calmly.
"But why? I have nearly always cared for you attentively," replied Charles, incredulously.
"'Thus', mainly." Zara rose, straight, from her chair, walked directly from the room, rapidly but quietly along the carpeted hall, and closed the front door behind her for the last time, firmly but soberly, just so.
At Home, Darkly
by Linda Tyler
Smiling secretly, she crept silently into the dimly-lit room.
He fidgeted restlessly in the greasily-covered wing-back chair by the flickering firelight, his sparsely-haired head visibly bobbing over the top.
Closing the door quietly behind her, she moved slowly towards him.
Unaware of her presence, he was moodily reading.
Behind the chair, she leant forwards carefully and placed her smoothly-white hands over his eyes. "Guess who?" she said.
Sighing deeply, he put up his own arthritically-gnarled hands to remove hers. "It's you, Madeline," he said sadly to his skittishly-younger wife.
How Did You Do That?
by Rebecca Henderson
Lee precariously pilfered the decadently smothered cinnamon bun from the abnormally-shaped window. Bravely he coolly scampered up a tree, the considerably large bun clenched daintily in his hands. Presently and methodically, Lee lazily licked the exceptionally-iced treat, eyes closing jubilantly.
Ordinarily he would have thoughtfully left a pretty penny, but zealously and recklessly he had snatched up the sweetly-flavored savory dessert. Oddly enough, he was consequently licking his fingers of the sticky residue. Fervently he raced down the tree, leaping incredibly from the sugar. Eagerly he bounded towards the window...
She waited, eyebrow arched brutally. "Lee!"
At the Dance
by Sheila Gray
She gazed speculatively at the dance floor. Would he tentatively ask her to dance? Would she boldly ask him? Her rose pink shawl was draped loosely round her shoulders in the chill of the October evening. She concentrated avidly, trying to see him among the dancers. She felt the shawl gently lifted from her from behind and laid softly on the back of her chair. She turned expectantly. He stood beside her, his hand extended invitingly, smiling shyly.
A Christmas Miracle
by Deborah Price
Frozen lake in depths of winter, ice white, glistening, beautiful but cold so very, very cold.
Fox has cubs to feed, late litter, tiny, starving. No choice, she scampers across, skidding wildly, legs askew. Her destination, island of tasty ducks, firm and plump. Crack. The ice below creaks and groans, merciless. Scared, stops, thinks she's doomed. But no, silvery snout emerges beneath moon's soft glow, shiny scales flop onto glistening glassy surface.
"Take me," fish mouths.
Shocked, Vixen refuses. "No, don't sacrifice yourself."
"It is my choice," says selfless soul. "Live on, feed your hungry cubs and remember me."
by Jade Slee
She drummed her fingers impatiently against the table. No, she thought dismissively, I can't check my phone again, it's only been a few seconds since the last time. But she stared longingly at the blank screen, praying desperately.
Seconds agonisingly turned to minutes until finally, the phone rang loudly. She speedily picked it up.
"Hey, hon," the voice on the other side drawled lazily. "I'm really sorry, but I'm going to be stuck at work for a while. Go ahead without me."
"Okay." She hung up reluctantly and looked at the meal she'd painstakingly prepared.
"Happy anniversary," she murmured, tearfully.
Hayle Stone and the Seven Adverbially-Challenged Diminutives
by Valerie Griffin
Merrily singing a woodland ditty, Hayle Stone and the seven adverbially-challenged diminutives - Hopelessly, Obnoxiously, Unabashedly, Scarily, Queasily, Joshingly and Majestically - squelched wetly along the terribly wet path through the trees. Majestically knowledgeably led the way whilst Queasily, feeling anxiously poorly as usual, brought up the rear. Eventually, they reached the mine shaft. Hayle Stone handed out the lovingly prepared lunch boxes which Hopelessly, Obnoxiously, Unabashedly, Scarily, Queasily, Joshingly and Majestically accepted hungrily. Hayle Stone wished them all a wonderfully good day then set off skippingly to her physically demanding aerobics class.
In Which Pooh and Piglet Arrive Apprehensively at the Stream
by Margaret Edwards
Pooh sighed wearily. "Now for the Adverbial Stepping Stones."
"What?" gasped Piglet anxiously. "You mean those huge, beautiful, shiny stones?"
"No, little numpty," said Pooh smugly. "Not those redundant Adjectival Stones, these Adverbial Ones here. Allow me to demonstrate."
Pooh jumped across boldly but heavily, splashily, and ultimately utterly soddenly.
"Bother," said Pooh. "You'll need to be brave, tiny Piglet."
Piglet, however, bounced over lightly, nervously, then increasingly gracefully, daringly and confidently until, gloriously triumphant, he soared rapturously onto the bank.
"Hm," said Pooh as he squelched off humiliatedly. "Where's that Christopher-Mike person? I need, expletively, a word with him."
by Sheila Gray
I entered the room timidly, anxiously. The members of the interview panel rose grandly and proffered their hands politely.
"Why do you want this job? What can you bring to this post?" they asked mundanely.
Then, "What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?" one asked intrusively.
I wavered sorrowfully between the death of my mother when I was 17 and my recent divorce.
"Will you take this job if it's offered to you?" they asked cheerfully.
"No, I won't," I replied unhappily.
Jack and Jilly's Goodly Deed Ends Disastrously
by Valerie Griffin
Jack and Jilly obediently went up the hilly hillside to fetch sparklingly clear water. Gladly, Jack carried the pail as they strolled, seemingly slowly up the terribly rocky, windingly steep path.
At the top, Jack hitched the pail securely before lowering it smoothly into the darkly well. Finally full, Jilly keenly helped Jack turn the handle and they hauled it up easily. Carrying it between them, they walked meanderingly down the hill. Jack unexpectedly slipped on the loosely lying scree. He fell, hitting his head clumsily. Unbalanced, Jilly dropped the pail noisily before somersaulting tumblingly down the hilly hillock.
The Forced Landing
by Sheila Gray
The light aircraft flew serenely over the countryside, the engine throbbing gently. Suddenly, the engine stopped. I looked up worriedly. The pilot was obviously going to land in the field beside me. A few innocently grazing sheep were about to get a nasty surprise. He was close to the ground now and then he was down. The wheels rumbled noisily along the rough grass. Would he stop before the hedge or would I have to bravely pull him from the mangled wreckage?
Happily, he stopped in time. As I approached, he climbed out, smiled boyishly and said, "That was fun."
by Sandra Orellana
He wanted a kindly gesture from the lively party. Usually he sat quietly, but this time he behaved as normally as he could to be noticed. People didn't.
Quickly, he entered the restroom and sadly saw himself in the mirror, asking himself, "Is it my ugly face or my awful taste in clothes?"
He walked out bravely, towards the people, but they hardly noticed him again. He asked God, "Why do you make me feel so terribly bad? They think I'm not lavishly important, with no title or money." He finished dejectedly, saying, "Yes, people can make you feel uncomfortably inhuman."
Off The Wagon
by Glen Donaldson
It had been kookily named 'Pistachio Cusperson's lifelong wish to personally witness a proton aurora in the night sky'. Now, with that moment properly upon him, he was foolishly, inauspiciously and some might say downright pathetically passed out on the backseat of his car with only his loyal frenemy Jack Daniels next to him for company.
It was a soberingly considered thought for the unemployed bartender that the next time the electrically-charged, magnificently-coloured and rarely- glimpsed sun-particles light show came to town, he'd need to be off the wagon rather than numbingly blacked out in the back of one.
by Merryn Byrne
The young man unhelpfully gestured instructionally to the map with irrevocably irritating smugness. His painstakingly maintained fingernails infuriatingly tapped the smudgily, badly printed, undesirably illegible surface. Upon further maddeningly useless, unintelligible yet artfully executed gesticulation, we abandoned our poorly constructed attempt to communicate for help.
Uselessly and directionlessly wandering, hopefully searching for our seemingly impossibly and unappealingly misplaced destination was our only sanely viable option. So, unwillingly, we tiredly and frustratedly undertook it. Eventually defeated, we grumpily found an alternative, cheaply dirty hotel to temporarily house us as we depressedly admitted we were hopelessly lost and absurdly monolingual.
The Macbeths Take Delivery of a Flat-Pack Bed
by Margaret Edwards
Lady Macbeth (uneasily): Read the instructions carefully this time.
Macbeth (insouciantly): So how desperately difficult can it be? (Nonchalantly discards the instruction sheets.) Four strong planks, 26 wooden slats... it seemeth All Birnam Wood is bubble-wrapped in here. And Duncan imminent, expecting a bedroom ready. Ha. Only 18 dowels and, crucially, no allen key enclosed safe in the box - I said: NO ALLEN KEY.
Lady Macbeth (exasperatedly): Here it lies plainly under the instructions.
Macbeth (incredulously): Oh. (Curses.) But it fitteth uselessly. AARRGGHH... Woman, why bring you that knife?
Lady Macbeth (dangerously low): Just do it. Now. (Blade glitters merrily.)
Love vs Money
by Glen Donaldson
"Unlike your naively-intentioned good self, I'm in this for the money, not the applause," caustically retorted Jim the avalanche insurance salesman to his regrettably, lawfully-acknowledged half-brother Cedric the circus clown on the occasion of Cedric annoyingly presuming to give him inappropriately and inopportunely unsolicited career advice.
"Applause is a receipt, not a bill," replied Cedric enigmatically, honking his oversized red nose cartoonishly for effect, yet unable to disguise the traces of anger and indignation hissing revealingly from him like a hot air balloon.
"While you may measure success in money," Cedric added quotationally, "I measure it in non-receipted, unaudited love."
Lee and Friends
by Zaheer Babar
The mothership loomed largely above the small hero spaceship, firing deadly missiles randomly. Manoeuvring spritely in-between the oncoming death-traps, the heroic spaceship fired a thin, bright laser beam, hitting the mothership in her vulnerable middle. The mothership exploded violently.
Lee top-scored on the arcade 'Space Outvaders'.
"Yes," he shouted loudly.
"Yeah," chorused his friends triumphantly, fists pumping the air ecstatically.
In the bar the crowds were chatting noisily. The group of friends sat down at a nearby table. Pints were spilled carelessly and crisps stuffed in mouths greedily. The night ended quietly as the group headed home.
Happy-Lee the end.
by Glen Donaldson
Hapless Jim Burgundy had neglectfully failed to notice the additional 't' in the spelling of the word 'buttler' when he unwittingly replied to a job ad for a live in male servant.
Regrettably only later was he to discover that his uniform necessitated the wearing of a hospital-gown-like 'open back' onesie that not only unequivocally put the 'butt' into buttler but also somewhat absurdly provided a literal interpretation of the age old adage 'nothing good happens in the basement'.
Tropeingly, the buttler did do it, but only up until the first pay-cycle fortnight, whereupon he tactically tended his resignation.
Hillary and Donald
by Stephanie Sybliss
Hillary and Donald smiled, while viciously and sweetly he played gamely on his trumpet, luring all to follow, jovially.
"Dear Hillary, show us your lightly jolly speech."
"Not likely, she apprehensively spoke carefully. I see how bullishly you have forced the world to see how brutishly you can sickly glide."
"How dare you speak so wrongly of my wily wiles and my charmingly, handsomely, devilishly, dealings with people?"
"Dear Donald, you're competently, brilliantly clever," Hillary said happily.
Hillary crossed her fingers secretly and left the podium unfortunately.
Funnily ironic, how trumpery is often appealingly bright but usually not for long.
Marriage in the Cross Hairs
by June Lee
"Anything for my hubby wubby teddy bear," rapturously enthused newly married Rachel Cornrows, not fully realising the intolerably demanding extent of the hair-cutting duties she had just agreed to for her husband, who unbeknownstedly to her was a direct descendent - genealogically speaking - of the Blackwoods Werewolf clan and therefore regrettably carried the active XY chromosome that predisposed him to hirsuteness.
Fatefully, their week long honeymoon on Lake Strand freak-of-naturedly included four consecutively spaced full moon nights. For innocently intentioned Rachel, marriage would indeed spell 'transformation' and seriously bad hair days would feature all too prominently.
Strictly Edward's Dancing
by Stephanie Sybliss
Edward strode proudly, masterfully onto the perfectly, sparkly dance floor. He began to shake and shimmy. With his hands he purposefully made shapes that constantly transformed him into a mincing, tremendously, broadly, bellied bean of a man.
His costume glittered brilliantly, with buttons gaping dangerously while scarily they pointed directly at the cameras. His partner smiled enthusiastically, the audience giggled insanely, joyfully waiting for the madness to be over. Edward lifted her swiftly and she nearly fell at a height so terrifyingly hazardous.
The ballsy balls, eagerly awaits the verdict, hoping he will be able to shine next week again.
Writing By Rote
by Kathryn Watson
Click. Tentatively she selected words and arranged them on the page. Scanning from abnormally to zestily. Mustn't forget her favourites. The seductive onomatopoeism of cheerfully, blissfully, daintily and owlishly. And the luscious silkiness of smoothly. Her mind wandered. Words swam joyfully before her eyes. A stirring breeze drifted through the open window, dozily she lifted her chin from her hand. But where to start? To list is not enough - the words need a home, a story. No, she couldn't do it. This wasn't a good idea. After all, what is an adverb?
by Kathryn Watson
She caught the eye of the customer, a chill ran down her spine. Bitter memories flooded back and cruel images swam before her. This was her chance.
He drank greedily as he talked boastfully. Lazily taking in his surroundings he mockingly glanced in her direction. So much time and so many changes; had he recognised her? He left without a backward look, his step faltering.
Victoriously she swiftly slid the glass from the bar and washed it zealously. She smiled inwardly. Rightly or wrongly, finally she had triumphed.
Lady In Waiting
by Kathryn Watson
Stealthily she moved forward, the morning dew soaked deliciously between her toes. Usually she was the last one out but this morning she had eagerly awaited the click of the lock. Quietly and carefully she crossed the lawn barely leaving a trace. Sleepily she settled into her special spot. Lazily she slowly stretched and yawned, her heart pitter-pattered in her chest.
Soon, she knew it would be soon.
Suddenly she heard the sound she had been anticipating. She sprang forward gleefully. Her earnest wait was rewarded - the butcher's van always came early on a Tuesday.
Police Line: Do Not Cross
by Verity Hemp
"Well, well, well," he barked loudly, as always, inserting himself forcefully into the situation.
D.I. Parker squinted curiously, crouched knee-crackingly and suddenly hissed excitedly, "Come quickly."
Disappointingly, she wanted (and rightly so) to look carefully at the body.
He thought inwardly and secretly of how in television dramas, female partners flirted brazenly, kissed passionately and often followed obediently. D.I. Parker conversely talked cleverly, worked unceasingly and drank heavily, but never acted seductively.
She continued heatedly, 'The man fell heavily."
He pulled on his gloves reluctantly. Another night spent sleeplessly.
Little Lazarus Cat
by J. Rosina Harlow
Yellow eyes stared listlessly, unblinkingly. We rushed him in, sorrowfully, cradled carefully in a towel.
Painkillers were administered intravenously, blood tests taken tenderly.
In the brightly lit consultation room the vet quoted the emergency fee almost imperceptibly gleefully (so now all of us are poorly).
As the rain came down lashingly we headed back home sombrely and, wakefully, lovingly, we watched.
18 years reached miraculously, we both agreed, tearfully.
Morning came rapidly and we awoke nervously to hear a cat scratching delightedly, destructively (and really quite cheerfully).
He sneaked up on us snoopily, playfully.
Our little Lazarus cat.
by Namita Mukherjee
You are always trying to dominate everyone confidently, pretending to be very happily married, but you are not.
Now you lie regretfully that you had thought foolishly, that you are cleverer than everybody, but you are not. You fearfully denied that you are isolated, unpopular and neglected. You‘re trying to ruin other people’s peace of mind cleverly but you fail – unsuccessfully. You put other people down gladly. You want recognition for your work greatly. You insult yourself unconsciously when you praise yourself proudly. Your mind always thinks about yourself joyfully, you do not look at yourself when you criticize others jealously.
Advice For Passengers
by Florence Caplin
Intentionally avoiding eye contact, Sam surreptitiously curls her fingers around a slightly damp newspaper. Her vision dashes deftly from the tram window to the boldly printed 'Chilli Likely Causes Cancer Experts Say'. Anywhere but the other passenger.
After fidgeting uncomfortably for a while, she glances uneasily up at the Greek man across from her. He quietly sips from a water bottle. As the maddeningly noiseless compartment rolls on, Sam considers something carefully.
Smiling triumphantly, her eyes meet the stranger's. He smiles back. Politely. Swallowing a tankful of air, she speaks deliberately, "You might want to cut down on Thai food."
by Joseph Hancock
Brandy Lee boldly assuredly, yet delicately, compassionately keeps the peace in the outrageously occasionally shamelessly eerily spasmodically diverse city of Los Angelesly. She successfully righteously stylishly applies the law ethically intelligently. While helpfully amazingly remaining agreeably, always consistently kindly non judgmentally, justly delivers the law to the unruly.
Brandy Lee occasionally stealthily, especially after a stressfully tremendously vigorously challenging day, indulges in violently wickedly recklessly ferociously sounds of unabashedly loudly played heavy metal. And what I knowingly ask mysteriously adorns noisily supremely systematically brutal sounds better for Brandy Lee other then sushi, splendidly appropriately covered in? Joyously lovingly intensely jubilantly consumed wasabi.
Procrastination Can Stunt Your Growth
by Lesley Truchet
I'm blatantly procrastinating again. Instead I could visit my mother in law, reluctantly. Read a novel, indulgently. Pay some bills, grudgingly. Take a bath, crucially. Weed the garden, laboriously. Clean the car, aridly. Go for a walk, breathlessly. Watch television, detachedly. Tackle the washing up, apathetically. Cut my pudgy toe nails, problematically. Re-decorate my kitchen, abhorrently. Defrost the freezer, tediously. Make some coffee enthusiastically. Take a nap, willingly. Do some laundry, essentially. Perform some housework, dismally.
I settle down instead to write this adverbially abounding autography. Today I will grow a little.
Just Making It To The Shower
by Bryan Smith
He stood wearily and impatiently, as sluggishly she dragged herself slowly out of bed and reluctantly and falteringly made her way to the shower. Having drunk excessively the night before, she was incredibly hung over.
Unenthusiastically, and somewhat miraculousy, she completed the journey. Suddenly, she stumbled and fell heavily. Uncrontrollably, she sobbed out the pain experienced.
"I need help," she cried pathetically. "This is excruciatingly painful."
He laughed relentlessly, as unsympathetically, he eventually helped her out of the shower. "Just desserts for a frequently practising alcoholic," he declared scathingly.
Staring venemously, she said, "I love you passionately too."
His Favorite Monster
by Mark Johnson
He voraciously watched them all: the enormously powerful King Ghidorah; the eternally victorious Godzilla; the tremendously worthless Gigan. Through them all, he ultimately chose Mothra as his favourite. Violently attacking with hurricane-force winds, flying easily over and away from his enemies, Mothra zestily seized his imagination. Unfortunately something of a pervert, he oddly imagined himself six inches tall, lustfully spending his time knavishly attempting to seduce Mothra's twin fairies as they lovingly sang the Song of Mothra. Churlishly imagined.
by Betty Hattersley
Normally, eccentric, her gardening idealistic was ordinary on an every day basis.
She spent numerous hours on her project.
Endeavouring, I politely asked some informative questions (obviously without sounding too inquisitive of course).
Astounded as dusk was falling, I immediately visualised a magical, delicate illumination appearing from a tree stump in the centre of her elegant garden.
"Why are those colourful, reflecting, flickering illuminations glowing from your garden?"
Casually she informed me that fairies had taken residence in the tree stump and were having a party to celebrate their new abode.
What more could one say?
Happily Ever After
by Lorna Gillies
Breathtakingly beautiful in her gloriously decadent couture gown, face gently covered by a delicately laced veil, she elegantly and gracefully glided down the aisle. Her dazzlingly silky hair was swept up in a carefully created array of curls, creatively festooned with deliciously vibrant coloured crystals. Her devilishly handsome, ridiculously wealthy and incredibly, undeniably faithful groom lovingly gazed at her as she moved gently towards him.
It was all so sickeningly perfect and with every bone in my body I secretly despised them both and all they stood for.
Graciously, however, I opened my bible and brought the congregation to attention.
by Paul Phillips
Currently rapidly expanding, our client is actively seeking to permanently appoint a dynamically, demonstrably effective individual to smoothly and harmoniously manage change immediately and, eventually, going forward.
Probably already working impactfully in a closely related or similarly associated sector, you are quantifiably capable of thinking deep, acting fast and seriously making a difference. Additionally, you should be highly able to communicate extremely clearly, confidently and professionally - verbally, orally and literally.
Finally, however, we are no longer entirely able to promise that you will be generously rewarded for your commitment, only that remuneration will typically be received, sometimes.
Deftly Moves The Night
by Ellena Restrick
Softly softly catchy monkey. She knew she just had to be patient as she moved slowly towards the target. Gently. Not long now. Quickly in and out. The blade shone splendidly in the pale moonlight, glimmering like a slowly dying star. She stared contemplatively at the sky; seldom were there such utterly beautiful nights in London town. It pained her to have to perform such a heinous act against this canvas; she would paint the stars with the blood of the dead.
She suddenly felt cold metal against the back of her head. Quickly she turned.
"I'd stop right now if I were you."
by Helen P Stephens
The quietly dormant TV in the corner, suddenly burst into life, garishly bright with a thunderously deafening soundtrack.
Two overly smiley celebrities walked purposefully onto a stage. Their widely grinning faces were soaking up the unnecessarily persistent applause from an audience that was obediently following their cues from a group of absurdly eager runners, enthusiastically wielding oversized cards with instructions for appropriately reacting to everything that happened on stage - like they couldn't realistically be trusted to appropriately emote.
Len's brow furrowed deeply as he instinctively recoiled in horror and quickly picked up the remote control and deliberately pressed the off button.
by Daniel Prestwich
At last, the master's delightfully dulcet voice sang through the early morning's crisply cold air. "Mutley, walkies." Mutley energetically and enthusiastically ran past his despairingly patient master in a bid to get outside. Embarrassingly, he trudged back, waiting, tremblingly agitated. The lead clicked satisfyingly onto the collar.
At last, they were outside. The overwhelmingly, invitingly teasing smells came from every direction. Left or right? Right. How satisfyingly, predictably prosaic. Fabulously empty fields stretched before them.
At last, the lead was worryingly removed, and Mutley joyfully bounded off to explore the timidly waiting world.
He would grudgingly return, at last.
A Cry For Help
by Michael Rumsey
Painstakingly, I completed the lengthy intricately designed Census Form. Jokingly, under Children In The Home, I wrote two – soon to be three. I sat back with mighty relief.
Unexpectedly, my satisfied calm was suddenly and thoroughly shattered. My normally serene, highly-pregnant wife gushed piercingly from the bathroom.
"Water's broke. Call emergency."
Madly and frantically I made a dash for the phone. Actively Alert Ambulances would hastily respond.
"Quickly," she continued imploringly, "phone Pete's Permanently Prompt Plumbers. Our wickedly woefully installed centrally heated radiator has annoyingly and menacingly sprung an alarmingly large leak."
by Mumtaz Waliat
Standing in front of the sink and mirror readily, Mr Akabaka washed his face energetically, brushed his teeth rigidly, and combed his hair imperatively.
Finished, he went hurriedly into the living room where his wife was waiting impatiently. "Who's going to shave that beard? Your Dad?" she said arguably.
He went back into the bathroom obediently.
He winced melodramatically as shaving began. It was over before he knew it and he rubbed his hand over his smooth skin contently.
His wife looked at him attentively, "Who did you shave for?"
"Well there's this young lady at work," Mr Akabaka retorted swiftly.
by Sarah Aston
"Emphatically, unequivocally, categorically my answer is no," I blithely told him. He reacted sanguinely, calmly, proudly, yet with a hint of frailty visibly evident.
I remained resolutely independent, yet mostly polite, at least in company where this was socially necessary.
He asked again, more nervously yet earnestly. Naturally I did not reply afïrmatively.
He went away, periodically. Surprisingly, unexpectedly I found I missed him, albeit occasionally.
Irritatingly, time passed more slowly when he was absent. I passed my days interminably in fïttingly womanly distractions.
Eventually, quite remarkably, he asked again. Immediately my heart leapt.
Reader I married him.
Heaven In A Glass
by Jamie Caddick
The pint of real ale sat dutifully on the bar. There it rested beautifully, and there I watched it expectantly.
The glass was refreshingly cool, almost sensuously so. Occasionally, a drip would cheekily trickle down the glass as if to tease me in an erotically-charged exchange of blissfully enticing promise.
I seriously considered a packet of pork scratchings. Nope, I reproached myself scornfully. Indubitably, that won't do. To obscenely ingest those marvellously indulgent and hedonistically sublime crunchy pig rinds would be sacrilege.
I scolded myself censoriously - then enthusiastically wolfed back a liquid mouthful in all its lubriciously, gratifyingly pleasurable glory.
In The Corner Office
by Kate Vane
Silkily whispering into the phone, she's opaquely distant in the darkly cool light at the achingly vast matte desk. He listens closely, crisply silhouetted by the cleanly sealed plate glass, glancing unseeingly at the indifferently continuing city.
"It's done," she says emphatically. She wipes the phone and the desk fluidly, erasing her fingerprints irrevocably.
He pads imperceptibly across the opulently austere flooring. They close the door softly, after she mists the air briskly to delete the scent of their memory.
"They are sending premium paper towels urgently." They take their brushes and their buckets determinedly and continue their work, stoically.
by Lilian Indombera Musundi
The crickets sung sweetly, melodically lulling the night creatures to sleep. The night leisurely set in; the dogs barking gladly and gratifyingly, played ready for the night watch. She ardently patrolled the homestead intensely reciting the Rosary, making sure the back and side gate were closed and the front left open. Morning gradually but avidly kissed the day goodbye.
The dogs barked fiercely announcing his wee hour's arrival. Staggering, soothingly puffing an embassy.
"Baby, baby," he called hesitantly. When there was no reply, he bellowed, "BABY," loudly, firmly and unfalteringly.
She jumped promptly, abruptly from the bed, as if it contained safari ants.
by Jenny Gaitskell
The day after his breathtakingly narrow escape, Trevor received an ostensibly official letter. It was painfully verbose and initially baffling, but he eventually understood that a hitherto obscure secret service branch confidently expected that he would freely, voluntarily and unquestioningly abstain from any further attempts to fly, or immediately and summarily receive something obliquely described as trimming.
Trevor's earlier experience had felt distinctly and terrifyingly like falling uncontrollably, but the letter inevitably made him irresistibly curious. He began modestly, jumping from chairs, adding height progressively until finally climbing his roof, only to discover a darkly uniformed visitor waving shears menacingly.
by Sarah Wilde
He roared fearsomely, the bitter wind tearing at his straggly blonde hair. Raw emotion tingled down his knobbly spine.
"It's mine," he screeched victoriously.
Unexpectedly he lost his tentative grasp on the very slippery box. Turning gracefully in the air it paused hesitantly, then slowly dropped towards the roaring sea. Frantically scrabbling on the seaweed covered rocks, the tantalisingly close, decadently glittering treasure chest slipped lazily past his fingers. The translucently, tumultuous waters crashed loudly into the base of the towering rocky cliffs. The boiling, shivering crests of the coruscating waves closed quickly over the opulent box. Gone now forever.
by Sarah Wilde
Stunningly beautiful photos of a romantically perfect wedding. The hauntingly cryptic cry for attention. The pleadingly urgent status of someone desperately seeking help; for homework, plumbers or to find someone mysteriously missing. Gaudy photos of a fantastically amazing party, the status that alarmingly spreads ridiculously fake news. Madly ranting pessimists and randomly destructive trolls. Achingly familiar faces appearing in photos taken long ago or far away. Appallingly poor jokes, amusingly wry memes. The startlingly happy stories, the victoriously announced good news. The genuinely touching support, the intuitively offered help. The virtually real friendships. Addictively, slippery, lovingly, Facebook.
By The Babbling Brook
by Mathijs Koenraadt
Mother goose lay quietly in the softly blowing wind by the calmly babbling brook, intimately sleeping beside her chicks. Then, a ferociously wild dog inconspicuously and unsuspectingly approached them. A vigilantly awoken father goose assertively sounded the alarm by quacking incessantly. Showmanly flapping his wings, he cleverly but dangerously distracted the dog, deceivingly luring it to him. Woken abruptly, mother goose instantly commandeered her hesitantly complying chicks into the water. Seeing his family escape the dog easily, father goose immediately dropped his act, swiftly took off and later rejoined his family safely.
by Nick Davis
Skilfully and audaciously he quickly, but anxiously, removed his helmet and loudly shooed out the beautifully green and fairly fat space caterpillar rarely seen around these parts. Promptly yet cautiously he placed the helmet back on.
"I don't know what you were laughing at, they'd eat through your wires if they got inside," quipped the Spaceman, straightforwardly.
Roma, a stylishly yet suspiciously super-smart robot, continued to laugh. Then, intently, "Amazingly, they're genetically obedient. And almost always only eat each other."
"I'll consider keeping one as a pet next time." Instantly and intentionally the spaceman enthusiastically jumped on the caterpillar. Fatally.
Possibly, Maybe, Always
by Melanie Rees
Ley skilfully jumped onto the sofa. She innocently picked up her walking lead and glanced at Mack ever so sheepishly.
Walkies. He barked optimistically.
"Possibly." Mack always mysteriously understood Ley.
Ley repeatedly padded in circles on the cushion and determinedly pawed her lead.
Walkies. She proudly barked.
"Maybe, Ley. Let me quickly do a few things first and we'll definitely go for walks."
Walkes. She deliberately dropped her lead directly in Mack's lap, and forcibly nudged Mack's hand away from his computer. WALKIES. He barked piercingly.
"Always," Mack dramatically grumbled. He deftly clipped on Ley's lead. "You always get your way."
Tears On The Mountain
by Teddy Hester
Cat rarely cried. It was just often so tremendously girly. But after an accidentally and embarrassingly hard fall on a really ridiculously easy bunny slope (while incidentally snapping the tip off her delightfully, fashionably pink ski), tears flowed mightily. She swiped at them frantically fast, miserably aware of quite an appallingly lot of bitingly cold wind freezing her smoothly and effusively spilt drops into some very rigidly-laced lattices on her quite rosily reddened cheeks. In order to stand sturdily enough outside to get her shiveringly chilled body inside, the infuriatingly silly bawling really, truly needed to stop. Immediately.
by Helmine Kemp
Jauntily walking along the crowded esplanade I joyfully revel in the invigorating breeze. I nimbly sidestep the people robotically transfixed on their phones. They hungrily devour the trivia bursting vividly on their screens. Their eyes blindly focused so they don't see the sparkling waves noisily splashing onto the sandy beach. Their ears are so voluntarily and completely deafened that they don't hear the joyful screeches of playful children, or even the raucous squabbling of seagulls hungrily and opportunistically scavenging stray oddments of fallen food. Their hands swiftly and jerkily scroll through screens, narrowly missing the off-switch that could instantly deliver them a beautiful life.
Lily and the Cookie Jar
by Adriane Kirkbright
Gingerly, Lily tiptoed in the kitchen, eyes curiously analysing the ceramic cookie jar unbelievably high on the counter. Incredibly small three-year olds could hardly reach the counter, even on their preciously tiny tippy-toes.
But sugary chocolate chip cookies waited.
Delightfully encouraged, Lily bravely climbed, greeted by her satisfyingly tasty new crumbly friends.
"Yummy," said Lily excitedly. In all her enthusiasm, she accidentally smeared chocolate on her tremendously fancy dress.
Mommy came in, laughing joyfully at her cookie-crumbled little one innocently enjoying her sweet treat.
"I am full in my really little belly," Lily said, innocently patting her adorably chocolated tummy.
by Lydia Stott
Quietly, the nun slyly crept across the room, surreptitiously. Despite her suspiciously nonchalant facial expression, the Holy father forgivingly forgave her. Shockingly, the nun continued backwards and forwards in a blatantly eye-drawing and unmistakeably evident way and drew some glaringly pointed looks from her Sisters.
Eventually, the nun silently left the room, followed frustratedly by the eyes of some grumpily hangry Christians. Peculiarly, she appeared brightly behind a pillar, with a teenage boy.
He sneakily handed over something brilliantly shining that had obviously been polished frequently. The cross from behind the father who always preached boringly.
by Rebecca Henderson
The curiously-coloured cat bounded quietly across the decidedly dismal landscape.
Deeply concerned with the very lively creature she quickly discovered not two leaps into the dreary surroundings, the cat dutifully sniffed the incredibly intriguing form before her. Her nose twinged painfully. Shudderingly ugly, the garishly-formed body hardly seemed to fit satisfactorily in reality.
Effortlessly abandoning the scene, the cat eerily snuck away, eyes alight.
The especially ugly creature sighed sadly. Eventually someone would come along, enthusiastically anxious to meet a new friend. The creature gazed expectantly in the direction of the fleeing cat.
Two bright eyes gaped endearingly. Expectantly. Wistfully.
Printing The Last Page of Jane Eyre
by Margaret Edwards
Today, dreamed Mr Longbody, he'd finally be inked and used.
The printer sorted letters briskly. Eagerly they squeezed into the composing stick Reader, I married him and Mr Longbody became wildly excited. The printer hesitated then seized Mr Longbody determinedly, slamming him in at the end.
Blackly, squidgily, the ink coated his virginal silver body. Wonderful.
The printer stopped, appalled.
"I can't do this," he gasped, "however coaxingly Miss Bronte pleads."
Mr Longbody was ejected unceremoniously, but still smiling stickily, suddenly foreseeing his glorious zenith in the era of emails and excitable texts.
The Princess And The Butterfly
by Sophie, aged 6
Once there was a girl called Rose. She was constantly bored – so bored that if she didn't do something about it she would blow up. BOOM.
One day, Rose's mammy made her play outside. Outside there was a scary bear. A beautiful butterfly glided past. Then Rose shouted, "HELP, SAVE ME."
The butterfly came and saved her, then picked her a flower and whispered into her ear, "You're magical, Princess Rose."
Rose said, "WHAT? MAGICAL? PRINCESS?" She noticed that she was alone inside. Rose was never bored again. She wrote a story about this and you're reading it right NOW.