Short Story Challenge

by Marion J. Smith

The short story challenge: Some years ago the collective gave themselves the challenge of completing a short story on a postcard. This is a great way of getting straight to the point. I find this a good exercise for cutting and editing unwanted words. Sometimes one word can be found to replace two or three others just by rewriting the sentence.

July 1908.
Dear Mama,

You will be so proud of us. Yesterday morning nearly a thousand ladies assembled on the Southwark bank of the Thames. As Big Ben struck nine we marched. It was an amazing sight to see the suffragettes in their white dresses with green and purple sashes, marching across Westminster Bridge toward the houses of Parliament.

Mama dear, I wish you could have been there to see how our movement of “Votes for Women” has grown in the past ten years.

I was honoured, not only to be a banner barer but, to walk right along-side Mrs. Pankhurst herself. That brave lady suggested I be one of the team of suffragettes to chain our selves to the railings of the Parliament buildings.

This I gladly performed along with ten other ladies fighting for our great cause.
Quite a stir ensued when we were arrested. The police used cutting tools to free us from of our chains. We were herded into a Black Maria and brought here, to Holloway goal where we spent last night.

We are presently awaiting trial for trespassing and public nuisance. There are other suffragettes here who have been in the jail for some time. They are on hunger strike. The awful thing about that is they are forced fed through rubber tubes. I’m praying I will be free before I get to that stage.

A policeman and jailor are now here to take me to the courtroom. Wish me luck and don’t worry we will take care for each other and ourselves.

—c. 2012 Marion J. Smith.

Marion has been a member of the Cambridge Writers Collective for almost 18 years. She enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Marion has published “After Sunset” a selection of her poetry. Other work has been published in various anthologies. Marion is also a lifelong thespian and watercolour artist.

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