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100-word-story 2023: Vote for your winners!

100-word-story 2023: Vote for your winners!
After months of deliberation, we can finally reveal the shortlist for our beloved 100-word-story competition. Now it's up to you to vote for your winners!

The adults category shortlist:

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"Day Two" by Mary Halpin, West Sussex
Day One of our French holiday. Clothed but oddly embarrassed we sat on the nudist beach, prudish English visitors among the bare masses. Next day we made our way to the little copse leading down to the plage. We stripped, nervous but excited. Why not? The joy of running starkers on warm sand into the azure sea! Clothes dumped, we broke cover—naked as the day we were born. "Mad English!" someone said. "Disgusting," said another. A child screamed. Suddenly, we saw the sign we had missed the day before. So helpfully bilingual. "Nudist beach, Monday, Wednesday and Friday."
"Palette of Colours" by Brendan Maguire, Ayrshire
It is an archetypal autumnal Scottish morning, grey, wet, windy and dismal. Locals would say "dreich", possibly oblivious to their nod to onomatopoeia. Encountering a puddle, the air is blue. Brown, yellow and golden leaves risk being devoured as they float towards the awaiting drain, others cling for dear life to the once silver, protective grill. Bent like a corkscrew I trudge to the local shop. The welcoming, radiant smile from the local shopkeeper, Mrs McPherson, offers a ray of sunshine. Instantly my mood turns yellow. I return lighter of foot, hopping over the brown murky puddles with unbridled abandon.
"The Statue" by Rebecca Feeley, Lancashire
Standing midstride, a 100-year-old memory. In flat cap and overalls, he is one hundred men on their way home from the factory. Timeless, he waits for the world to end. Market days pass by, his shadow circles the pavement. A girl places a plastic tiara on his head and takes a selfie with his bronze face. A group of people pose for a photograph and imitate his stride. A feather boa is draped around his neck. Sunglasses on his nose. Beneath his feet a patch of grass begins to grow. It spreads, a square. Tendrils climb his shoes. Wildflowers rise.
Voting has now closed.

The 12–18 category shortlist:

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"What Lies Before" by Rachel Hipkin, 16, Newcastle
I blinked. Surely it couldn't be true. I stared at the slippery, slimy creature that at one time was a close friend. I was always warned about the dangers of a shapeshifter, but I never knew how easily they could hide it, and in plain sight as well. The creature was looking me dead in the eyes, daring me to challenge it, like a lioness, attempting desperately to protect her cubs. I stared at the horizon before me, thinking of this distant memory. I had to admit, I was ready to be free of this enormous weight on my shoulders.
"Eyes" by Sophie Collins, 16, Hampshire
In a glass case rested a selection of hundreds of different eyes. They glistened but looked hard as stone, brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes, every colour in between, they watched the people quickly passing by; they were eyes, and that's all they could do, they saw everything. I ran my finger along the smooth glass, stopped at a crystal eye that looked like mine: a light but stormy blue, watery clear, pinpointed at me accusingly, staring, a flower was planted deep in my mind and sprouted faster than I could weed it out. "Don't look at me like that."
"Whisky Glow" by Mairi Ferguson, 17, Edinburgh
Mother stood, leaning against the polished hardwood desk. A dim glow illuminating her glass of whiskey in a wash of gold. He was reminded, suddenly, of visiting his grandfather with her. It had been a cold, unfeeling night that had culminated in Grandfather throwing a glass of scotch at Marco’s sister Emily. Bedsides their blood, Marco had never connected his mother with her father. But in this pale light, the harsh line of her shoulders, and, as she turned to face him, the look on her face—the clench to her jaw—he could see their grandfather in her now.
Voting has now closed.

The under-12 category shortlist:

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"The Shelf" by Liv Packer, 11, London
I have sat on this dusty shelf for decades—33 years to be exact. Everyday, people saunter into the library, hoping to find a book to occupy themselves with. No one seems to want me though. Young children walk across the aisles ignoring me and running to the well known favourites. I would highly doubt you would ever want to read me, let alone know I existed. Considering I haven’t been touched for at least 20 years, I’m shocked that I haven’t been moved to the back yet. That’s where the forgotten books go. Oh! I spoke too soon!
"Moon Land" by Amelia Jacobs-Moronta, 6, Kent
I wanted to get to the moon so I decided to jump, but that didn't work so then I used the tallest ladder in the World but it reached even higher than the moon so I slide down the ladder and jumped onto the moon. The moon was stoney, bumpy and hard. I was really happy I reached the moon so I did space cartwheels and jumped around. The moon was made of every single food you can imagine so I ate a bit but I can't eat too much because if I eat too much the moon will disappear.
"The Mysterious Duck with A Moustache" by Jana Ramsey, 9, Angus
There once was a duck who had a moustache he had a secret and that secret was he was lonely. Days went by, then weeks, then months and then the duck said, “I have had enough of this nonsense, it is time to explore.” He went from California to Egypt to Columbia and Scotland, Jordan and then Pennsylvania. The duck made many friends along the way and all his friends asked questions about his life and why he had a moustache, the duck thought why did I not think of this before. He was happy and that’s all that matters.
Voting has now closed.
Voting will close on February 29 and the winning entries will be published in our May 2024 print issue
In the adults category, the winner will receive £1,000 and one runner-up will receive £250.
In the 12–18s category, the winner will receive a £200 book voucher or a Kindle Paperwhite and a £100 book voucher for their school, and the runner-up will receive a £100 books voucher.
In the under-12 category, the winner will receive £100 of book vouchers or a Kindle Paperwhite and £100 of book vouchers for their school, and the runner-up will receive a £50 books voucher.
Good luck to all of our shortlisters, and thank you for your entries and votes! 
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