Craig Anderson is the winner of Round 31 and 41, and Vol 2-22. He grew up in Coventry, England. He knew he wanted to be a writer the moment his Year 9 substitute English teacher accused him of copying his latest story out of a book. The ‘twist’ ending she was so sure was ripped off was actually a result of desperately trying to finish the story on the bus on the way to school.
He studied Marketing at university, honing his ability to be creative with the truth. After graduating he became a Management Consultant and his transformation into professional BS artist was complete. Once he’d run out of ways to repeat the clients ideas back to them for a hefty premium he fled to Melbourne, Australia where he lay low and met his wife Lauren, who brought him back to Canada as a souvenir. Their daughter Neve joined them in February 2014 and has been perfecting the art of being adorable every day since. They live in a house that is slowly becoming an outreach shelter for the humane society with two cats (Sydney & Mel), the worlds most stubborn Brittany Spaniel, Jasper, and three fish. Whilst procrastinating on finishing his first novel (96% complete for 6 years and counting!) he accidentally wrote a novella – Getting Lucky – available free here.
From Vol 2-22: “The Hard Way”
Mary’s sobs were muffled by her mother’s lap. She finally came up for air. “Are you sure it will be tonight Mama? Perhaps the curse will skip a generation?”
Her mother gently shook her head, “I remember when I turned sixteen all those year ago and the curse was passed to me. I was so very afraid, but there is nothing to fear. In time you will learn to control the hunger, just like my mother taught me.”
Mary rubbed at her eyes, “How did she teach you?”
“There is only one way to learn such a lesson, the hard way.”
“Did you learn quickly?”
“It only took one night.”
The clouds finally shifted from the full moon. Mary felt her body ripping and reforming, and then there was a terrible hunger. There was only one source of food in the room. Her mother didn’t make a sound as Mary devoured her, and the lesson was learned.
From Round 41: “I Wandered”
With the gentlest of whispers I was born. At first I was nothing but dust drifting in the faintest of breezes. I was young, full of energy and eager to travel. I wandered. I learned to dance, twisting and twirling across the prairie. Creatures would sometimes stop to take my picture, laughing and joking when I swirled around them. I was powerless, insignificant, afraid. I needed to try harder. I zigged and zagged, scooping up leaves, then branches, then entire trees, growing bigger and stronger with every passing moment.
I met another. It was smaller, an infant. I tried to protect it, to nurture it, but it came too close. In a moment it was gone, a part of me now. I did not understand my power until it was too late.
There were several more, but I understood my purpose now. I absorbed them all with merciless hunger. All I knew was the urge to grow. It consumed me, like I consumed all that stood in my path.
The sirens started far on the horizon. I had earned their attention now. The creatures that had once seemed impossibly huge appeared so insignificant. They were the powerless ones now, there was no more laughter, only screams. I swallowed their homes one by one, tearing off roofs, smashing down walls, anything to add to my mass. I felt like I could swallow the world.
It happened so gradually I barely noticed. I grew tired, weary, my hunger sated. I could not sustain the energy, the will to increase. I convinced myself I could spare that house, avoid that school. Soon I could no longer lift them. The creatures stopped running, they hid in their homes. I swatted at them ineffectively.
I accelerated, outrunning myself. There was no escape, only deterioration. It brought relief. As I shrank I became lighter, faster, young again. I was reborn. I no longer feared the creatures. I danced once more.
I did not see the other until it was too late, and just like that, I was gone.
From Round 31: “Ill-Tempered”
The liquid glowed red like a sunset as it poured from the melting pot. The Smith wiped his brow with a thick leather glove to prevent the sweat from trickling into his eyes. He carefully guided the substance into the mould under the watchful gaze of his captors. They frantically made notes, studying his every move so as to eventually remove his usefulness to them. The only way to prolong this miserable existence was to keep them guessing. He changed the process again, this time pouring cold water onto the sculpture. It hissed and spat in protest as they scribbled away.
The ugly one with the moustache barked at him in broken English. “Why you add water?”
“It settles the metal quicker, makes it stronger. Allows you to pack it with more gunpowder, to fire further.”
Ugly smiled a wicked, one-toothed grin.
It would take several days for the metal to cool, and several more for them to ship this evil contraption to the castle. By the time they tried to fire it he would likely be dead, but he would get the last laugh when the weakened steel exploded in their faces. This would be his final contribution to the rebel cause.