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OUT NOW!

COMPETITION

ANTHOLOGY

Paperback & Kindle eBook editions of the Prizewinning and

Highly Commended Stories

First Prize: £1000
Plus publication in the MTP 2022 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Anthology title based on this winning entry.

Peter Latham - Bobby Faust

READ EXCERPT

Second Prize: £500
Plus publication in the MTP 2022 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Keith J. Hoskins - Kindred Spirits

Third Prize: £250
Plus publication in the MTP 2022 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Robert Gear - The Red-Headed League Redux

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Runners-up Prizes: £50
Plus publication in the MTP 2022 Anthology (print book and eBook).

Angela Nansera - The Day I Lost Sarah Jane and Found Her Again

Chris Humphrey - The Ellipsis of Time

Helen Dymond - Water Baby

Marcus Heyns - Liam

Sandeep Kumar Mishra - Dead Dreams

If you'd like to publish your own book, please request more information here:

Highly Commended Stories

Annie Hayter - Hemmed
Dave Readings - Fuente's Diamond
Donna Sanders - The Estate Sale
Douglas Hill - Bukowski Walks Into the Bar
Helen Harradine  - Buon Appetito
J. A. Cartwright - Night Sky Glasses and Rainbow Laces
James Clark-Pratt - The Unawareness of a Rabbit
Katy Wimhurst - The Rabbits of the Apocalypse
Louise G Cole - Pants
Louise G Cole - White Light and Tea Bags
Martin Hone - Check-Point Charlie / End-Game Bishop
Matthew Norton - Control
Michael Limmer - Fallowfield
Michael Varley - Mori
Paul Mroso - The Eyes of a Chimp
Richard Garcka - Hanging Up
Richard Hooton - Given to Fly
Rod Francisco - Grit in my eyes
Rosie Morris - Pink Toothbrush
Ross Sidebottom - Breaking The Chain
Sally Curtis - Bye Buy Baby
Suze Lord - Perdida, Loss

 

EXCERPT from the WINNING STORY

Peter Latham - Bobby Faust

When the counsellor is in full flow, I grab the form in front of him on the desk, so see which categories he has ticked: mood disorder, conduct disorder, pyromania, personality disorder. He stops mid-sentence and waits to see what I will do with the form. I place it neatly back on the desk and swivel my hand so that it is the right way up for him to read. He nods his head briefly, and starts to drone on again. I’ve just demonstrated a lack of impulse control, a corollary of ‘pyromania’, something the counsellor will be sure to mention in his notes. “Would you say my personality disorder is of the histrionic or the antisocial, psychopathic type?” I ask, interrupting his monologue. He looks at the aptly named FAFS (Functional Assessment of Firesetting) form, then at me. “Do you think you are a psychopath?” I sigh loudly.


I am a recidivist, like all so-called pyromaniacs. You know the joke about Pyromaniacs Anonymous. They have to find a new building for every meeting (ha, ha). Of course there is no such organisation. We are all unclubbable, irredeemable, proud loners, jealously proprietorial and protective of our accomplishments. The counsellor knows this, and also knows that with such compulsive repeat offenders his therapeutic efforts are futile, which is why he has stopped counselling and started lecturing me on the options available to me - legal, practical and psychiatric. What he clearly doesn’t understand is our compulsion, our craving to see the internal collapsing of buildings engulfed by the fires we have set, the dissolution and imploding of solid and seemingly inviolable structures. We are not interested in the momentary excitement of explosions: we are attracted to disintegration, things falling apart. We know that the centre cannot hold. We celebrate mere anarchy loosed upon the world.


It’s my own fault that I have to listen to the dull monologue of the counsellor. I botched my escape. My room is on the ground floor and I jumped over the wall on the patio, only to get lost trying to find my way out of the vast hospital grounds, labyrinthine in the dark, so I’d hardly got clear of the hospital and into the deserted outskirts of the nearest town when a police car spotted me. You can imagine how the counsellor exploited my attempted escape. It was, he said, symptomatic of my attempts to “run from issues”, most importantly my inability to accept and cope with my mother’s alcoholism and bipolar disorder, and the sexual abuse I experienced by my stepbrother when I was ten (which my hapless parents were oblivious to). I was tempted to reply that my mother’s alcoholism was symptomatic of her inability to accept her bipolar disorder, and that my father’s chronic passivity enabled both her alcoholism and my sexual abuse – but really, what would be the point? I refuse to take the carbamazepine and lithium the doctors prescribe.