Happy Christmas – I WON!! 🙌 🎄

It’s a glorious day. It’s Christmas.

As I sit here now on my usual perch on the edge of the bed, I feel a little unhealthy thanks to the effects of Covid. That’s right, I got Covid…for Christmas. Yay!

What else did I get for Christmas? Well the usual beautiful presents from my partner, the infectious happiness of our 5 year old daughter, celebrating her first real Christmas (she has autism and up to this year hasn’t understood the festive season), oh and what else was it? Oh yeah, that’s right, I WON!

Christmas 2021 was my week, the end of a rocky year, not knowing if I’m really good enough for the busy and inspirational world of writing that exists today. Can I join that eclectic group and carve out a place for myself somewhere? It turns out that yes, I might be able to do just that.

The weekly write on the Secret Attic website. Week 51. This was my week. My week to push and shove my usual competitors out of the way and claw my way to the top.

I finally won.

My story, ‘Christmas Leather Pleasure’ came to me in a covid bubble at the last minute. I normally get my weekly write story in early. It’s part of my way of managing the stress of writing – get everything submitted early. I honestly believed that this story, a story that came from a very foggy head being held together with Benylin and Codiene, wasn’t really going to get me anywhere. I submitted it around an hour before the cut off (unheard of for me) and fell straight back to sleep. Literally. But I couldn’t bear missing a week of the competition, even if I didn’t submit my best work.

Results were delayed, but for the first time I wasn’t bothered because I was convinced covid had taken this competition from me. Convinced.

And the truth is, when I saw the results were released, I went straight to the ‘selected’ list and couldn’t find my name. I immediately assumed my feelings were right and this week had been a write-off. But my prescription-addled brain forced my eyes up to the winning name, and there, right at the top, was me.

Me!

So I cried. I put Adele on, a song called ‘Hold On’ which speaks volumes to me when I’m struggling and can’t find my way. I listened to that song, looked at the results and let the heavy drip of tears fall off my cheeks and on to my phone. Why? I cried for the effort. The recognition. The work. The pride. But most of all I cried for those that aren’t here to share this incredibly huge and special moment with me. I wished they could see. I wished they knew. I wished they felt the pride too. I wished to hear their voices celebrating with me.

I just cried.

I always try and give a brief idea of how I came up with this story, but it’s going to be hard this time because i’m not entirely sure. I used the phrase “He’s not who he says he is” and it basically grew organically from there. I wanted desperately to keep a winter or festive theme, and I’ve been working on making my stories end with a cliff-hanger. I want readers to wonder “What happens next?” and I’m reasonably confident i’ve achieved that with this story. It’s a bit of fun, it’s certainly different from my usual prose and it touches on a clandestine world that I believe some people genuinely find themselves trapped in.

As usual for December, the picture has NOTHING to do with the story (which it usually does). I am using the festive period as an opportunity to draw anything Christmassy. The pictures have all looked very similar, and I’m genuinely sorry for that, but I have had fun drawing them and it’s been a light relief for me, especially while I’ve been so bloody poorly.

As always, my proof of WINNING the Secret Attic Week 51 Weekly Write can be seen on their website and the full story is below for you to have a read.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone that has been involved in my writing journey a very, VERY Merry Christmas filled with laughter, love, music, memories, smiles, food and drink. It’s been the most incredible year despite very trying times. I feel incredibly lucky and proud to finally feel I have a place in the writing / creative world, no matter how small.

Have a good one!

**********

Christmas Leather Pleasure

“He’s not who he says he is”

The delivery men walked away leaving Michael with an enormous parcel.

He flushed with embarrassment as he shut the door. His gifts weren’t their business.

He’d paid extra for swift delivery. It was Christmas Eve!

Home alone, the perfect moment to inspect the contents and hide them, ready for tomorrow.

In the bedroom he sat on the silk sheets his wife chose earlier this year. Despite her impeccable taste the bedroom had somehow become decidedly brothel-esque.

The box was packed beautifully. He carefully opened the cardboard to get inside and felt a rush of excitement. They’d been on her wish list so long; this would be a huge surprise.

Peeling back layers of tissue paper, Michael revealed the bounty.

A pair of matte black, 6-inch, Italian leather, knee high boots. The suggested quality (and price) was immediately justified.

He caressed the length of the soft leather. There wasn’t a nick, crease, or divot in sight. They were pristine. The heels curved in and out, making them sexy, sturdy, and high.

Inspection over, he carefully enrobed them back in their tissues and put the box in the wardrobe.

Christmas Day dawned, and the anticipation of a full house was palpable. Their 2 boys, now 20 and 22, would be coming home for the first time.

Everyone arrived, music played, drinks poured, and presents exchanged.

“Hang on – I’ve got one more surprise.”

Michael cantered away excitedly to his hideaway upstairs.

“Michael? Is everything ok?” called the wife

“Just a sec”

He closed the wardrobe door and faced the mirror. The boots looked and felt perfect now they were on. The berry red wig, black midi dress and pearls finished the look.

The wait was over.

It was finally time to introduce Michaela.

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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