short story competition winner (2021)

Subject: Water (499 words)

Faster, Harder, Rain!

Three Months Ago

“Good Morning!  It looks like summer’s here early.  Dry and sunny throughout the UK with temperatures in the mid 30s…

Bang!  I hit the snooze button.  Urrrgh!  Hot, humid and bug infested.  Urrrrgh!  Stupid o’clock on Monday morning.  Urrrgh!  I want to crawl into an air-conditioned bunker and hibernate for the summer…..

Fast Forward


“Where are they?” said Steve.

“That’s all you care about, that French girl!” I replied.

“Belgian,” he shouted.

I smell smoke.  Were the blued lights police arriving to shut down the rave?  Were they fire engines?

“Jo likes you,” he said.

“Who’s Jo?  Not the one with the cat tattoos?” I replied.

“No, that’s Desi.  Jo’s the ginger.  Didn’t you notice she likes you?” he asked.

“Err, I was watching the game.  You should’ve seen Norwich’s fifth,” I replied.

Then, he told me,

“You wouldn’t like Desi.  She’s Ipswich!”

So I asked,

“Who does Amalie support?  Marseille?  Lyon?  Paris Saint Germain?”

He gave an ‘unamused’ glare.


We’ll meet them by the lighting rig.  I would have suggested we text when Amalie suddenly wrapped herself around Steve and dragged him backwards.  I’m left with Desi. 

I asked if she could smell the smoke.  She smiled and showed me her phone –

For those of you willing the heatwave to end, I can tell you your prayers are about to be answered.  There’s a dramatic change coming tonight as this cold front sweeps across the UK bringing torrential downpours and thunderstorms…”

Yeah, right.  It drizzled near Manchester last time they said that.


“This is bad.  The smoke’s getting thicker.  We’ll never outrun a grassland fire and there’ll be a stampede.  Let’s leave before it’s too late.  I’ll text everyone else.”


I looked at my phone.  It’s now the first weekend of autumn. 

Desi shrieked excitedly,

“Oh my god, did you feel that?”

Feel what? I thought.

Steve calmly said,

“Yeah, I felt something on my face….  Is it….?”

I interrupted with,

“That’s Amalie’s lips.”

There’s that ‘unamused’ look again.

I felt arms wrap around me and squeeze.  Oh, Jo’s found us.

I thought I saw flames over the hill.  Am I paranoid?  Then, I felt a few drops too.


The crowd erupts wildly.  Fire?  Where? 

No….the DJ cuts to Raindance.  I’ve never heard this remix before but I love it!

Lightning suddenly streaks across the sky, ripping open the clouds.  Tropical heat becomes tropical rain!  Faster, harder rain!  Thunderrrrrrr!!!  Did she kiss me?  Yes?  No?  Whatever….  Rain hammering down on my face, water running down my neck…cool, fresh water, soaking through my clothes.

After months of unrelenting heat, this is the best feeling in the world!  Monsoon is here – in the UK!

As I down my beer, I trip.  I’m face down in growing puddles.  Somebody dives on my back.  With a face full of soggy ginger hair, I hear a distant,

“JoJo, laisse-le tranquille!” followed by a closer,

“Shall we get a boat back to mine?”