Here is my entry to the competition. It weighs in at 300 words exactly, although it was originally quite a bit more. Apologies if there are now bits which don't make sense, though I think I've made it so there are not.
Brian, across the road, lives alone. His wife’s dead, and his son moved out long before we moved here. He doesn’t see him, or even speak to him. Hasn’t for years, apparently.
Like most lonely old people, Brian loves a chat. He doesn’t need much of an opening to tell you about his army days, or the many years he spent with his wife. The one thing he doesn’t often talk about is his son. The one time he did, he described him as “a little shit”, but didn’t say why.
There’s a sadness in Brian’s face, a permanent feature, sitting beneath the white beard and deep within the wrinkles. I wonder whether it was one specific thing which put the sadness there, or many. I don’t suppose I’ll ever find out.
Most evenings I watch the news. Tonight, the headline story is a violent armed robbery in the city, the CCTV footage grainy but dramatic; the perpetrator remains armed, unidentified and uncaught. Police advise nearby residents to keep their homes secure. Don’t allow entry to anyone you don’t know. I’m not worried, but I check the house just in case, it’s only sensible.
Later, as I’m going to bed, a car comes into the road at speed, its tyres barely maintaining traction as the driver hits the brakes. Peering out of my window I see a man emerge. He doesn’t look grainy now, even in the poor light. It’s the fugitive, and he’s approaching Brian’s house.
The old man comes to the door, and I’m terrified for him. Why open it? But the two men embrace, before Brian furtively ushers the man inside. He looks up, sees me. I drop the curtain quickly, but not before I’ve seen that the sadness is gone from his face. Brian is smiling.
I would love to receive feedback, good or bad, on the story in the comments area below. Go on.