The Club – Submit Your Seventh Short Story Today


It is time to submit your seventh story. Congratulations to everyone who made it.

Submission process: 

I will accept and approve posts for The Club (Word count: 750 words) from 9 August 2017, 8:00 (Johannesburg time), until 10 August, 8:00 (Johannesburg time) on 12 Short Stories.  Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world.

Please use the correct format:

In the post title bar:              Story Title by Author Name.

Just above the story:             Prompt: XXXXXX | Word count: XXXXXX | Genre: XXXXXX

Warning to sensitive readers can go after that.

CHANGES:

  • We have added a word counter. This month you will have 50 words either way. Only stories between 700 and 800 words will accepted. Anything over or under that will not be published, but 750 words will be the best.
  • You should also be able to edit your posts. Please let me know if you are having trouble with that. Simply go into your post, make the changes and hit update.

Can I still join? 

If you still want to join 12 Short Stories, you can. The next prompt will be your first and you will keep going until you reach 12 stories in 2018. The system allocates one point for every story you submit per month. We will start with a new series of posts in January 2018.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Read today’s
  2. Post your story on 12 Short Stories.
  3. Read and comment on at least four other stories. Please spread the love. Look for stories that haven’t been read, instead of everyone reading and commenting on the same stories. If you want tips on how to comment, read this post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story.
  4. This is an exercise in discipline. The comments are a bonus. There is no prize because I want you to focus on writing for yourself and to try and take more risks.
  5. Be kind when you comment. Start with a positive comment, suggest an improvement, and end with something positive. We are here to learn.
  6. Our next prompt is at the end of this post.

A few more points:

  1. I will try to read as many posts as possible, but I do have a day job that I would like to keep.
  2. NO hate speak. None. If you see something nasty that I should be made aware of, please send me a message.
  3. Be careful of profanity.
  4. I need to approve every post. Please be patient with me. I am teaching during the day and I will approve them as quickly as I can. They will all go up.

Here is my story:

The Club Courtroom by Mia Botha

Prompt: The Club | Word count: 750 words | Genre: Crime

I scan all twelve faces, lined up in two neat rows in a wooden box. A jury of my peers. These are the people I must convince of my innocence, but they are not my peers. I look ahead and  hunch my shoulders a bit. I try to look pathetic. Incompetent, incapable.

They mustn’t associate me with images they saw. The body. The injuries. The violent nature of the crime. I must keep them away from the truth, the whole truth, so help me God.

The doors in the back swing open. Six matching, blonde bobs in pastel coloured twinsets file into the courtroom. They march down the aisle, with the click-clack of midi-heels. They commandeer rows three and four, rows one and two are for family only. They are respectful like that, aware of the etiquette for every event from bake sales to verdicts.

I keep my head down, the orange of my jumpsuit in stark contrast. I look at the jury again. I still have a chance with them. Juror number two is bored, she keeps looking at her watch. Juror number seven is chewing her nails again. Juror number three is openly hostile.

The door opens again and a hush descends. The husband walks in and the daughter follows a few feet behind. Peter and little Alice. He holds out his hand and she slips her hand into his. I hold her gaze, they need to see me looking at her. Her father notices and pulls her close and they glare at me.

She looks like her mother, I can’t help but smile. Panic flares and she looks away. She looks just like her mother the moment before she died. I turn to the front and I duck my head, but I make sure I can see them all. It’ll be over. Today. Soon.

Peter and Alice assume their positions in row two as is expected of family. Not the first row, that is too close to me. Six pastel cashmere twinsets extend elegant sleeves and each take a turn to squeeze the girl’s slim shoulder. Her mother was one of theirs. She was their queen. We were never welcome, Katie and I.

The talking starts again. Louder, more frantic. Who would bring a child to a sentencing? I hear them judging. It is good for me. They need to know these people aren’t victims. Juror eight is shaking her head at him. Juror six’s mouth is actually open.

She was one of them. I never was. I never made it into their club. I was never good enough. My pearls not real enough, my butter cream icing not buttery enough, my hair not blonde enough.

The door at the front of the courtroom opens. The bailiff jumps to his feet.

“All rise. The honourable Judge Presswood presiding.”

We all stand, chairs scraping. I lumber up, cuffs and chains clinking and clanking as I adjust my feet. The judge assumes his toad-like pose and adjusts his robes.

“Be seated.” The crowd sits as one. “Court is now in session.”

The toad bangs his gavel. Once, twice.

“Let’s get this over with.” He glances at me. “Heaven knows I am sick of it.” He has been avoiding looking at me throughout the trial. “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

Juror number one stands, the paper in her hand shakes. “We have, your honour.” Her voice cracks and she clears her throat. She refuses to look at me.

“Will the defendant please stand.” I lumber up again, my chains singing their song once more.

“What say you?” The toad croaks.

“On the charge of first degree murder we find the defendant,” she unfolds the piece of paper, “not guilty.”

The noise is deafening. Everyone is on their feet. They shout, fists raised. The daughter sobs into her father’s shoulder. He is stunned and pats her back.

I sit down again and smile at my lawyer. She is packing away her papers. She doesn’t like looking at me either. Reasonable doubt and all that.

The toad bangs his gavel again and again. “Order in the courtroom.” Bang. “Order.” Bang. “In.” Bang. “The.” Bang. “Court.” Bang, bang, bang.

“The defendant is free to go.” The toad throws down his hammer and huffs out of the courtroom.

I turn to look at them. The blonde bobs are the most shocked. They are outraged, when they should be terrified. They have no idea what I am planning for their merry little club next.

And here is the eighth prompt:

If you want to learn how to write a short story, join us for Short Cuts. If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.