Jan/Feb 2006  •   Fiction

e c l e c t i c a
s p e c i a l   f e a t u r e


This year marks Eclectica's participation in the first annual Children in Need Writers' Marathon Fundraiser. Sponsored by Alex Keegan's Boot Camp, an acclaimed online writing workshop based in the UK, the Writers Marathon raised 10,500 for Children in Need. In the process, 33 writers generated 250,000 words, which translated to 450 stories and an anthology, available through Leaf Books. For a great explanation of the fundraiser/contest as a whole, click here. The resulting stories were split into two batches: those appropriate for children, and those with more adult themes. Of the more adult-oriented stories, Eclectica chose the following winners and honorable mentions. Alex Keegan, as the organizer of the event, was not part of the competition, but he did participate in all the writing prompts, and Eclectica selected his "Night Classes" for inclusion in this issue.

We're very excited about the quality of these stories, and we hope to do it again next year.

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Three Flashes

It was only when our own photographer, Mr. Jack Bernard, brought out a box of slides that had been water damaged in a flood, that the evening turned. We were surprised to find that many of his slides had undergone a most incredible transformation.

Nancy Saunders

The Clock Has Struck Thirteen, and Father Is Wearing his Paper Crown

We watch what his hands do and follow his commands. A sweep of his wrist and we dance in a line. A shake of two hands and we skip side to side.

Laurie Porter


Tam he became, Tam the swift, Tam the brave, Tam the joker. Tam who was all things to all men. They loved each other, those men, and because he was different, maybe, they loved him more.

Fleur Chapman


Natasha told me that her husband was excited. "He thinks it's a game," she told me. "He's like a child. It's as if he's been set free." I smiled, agreed, told her that Karl was the same. But Karl hadn't been set free by the letter as some had. Karl knew what it meant.

Colin Upton

Yellow (Evelyn, Fiona et al)

My first girlfriend was Emily. Emily had a horse whose arse was thinner than hers. We split up when I told her so.

Tom Conoboy

Two Flashes

Updike turned his lip into a sneer—it's a sneer, but I don't think he means it; I think he's just born like that, in the same way that some people are born with raised eyebrows—

Dave Prescott

Fade Into Dust

The summers came and went, twelve in all, including this year.

Andy Lewis

Two Flashes

The bin bag's a barrier between us. It makes me feel safe, holding our baggage. These things, I think, these are the reasons. Not me. Not you. But this tat. She holds her body at angles. This is the last dance we'll have together.

Nigel Spriggs

Night Classes

Our first projects were quite different. Maria produced a little thing, so fine and soft it was like a cobweb, a dandelion clock about to be carried away on the wind. "What is it?" I asked, and she told me, "Why, John, love, of course."

Alex Keegan