On a winter’s night, under an indigo-black sky a tree stands alone next to a yellow light on the corner of a city pavement. It is bold, youthful and strong yet quite ordinary. An intricate spiral pattern emerges from light-reflecting, icy moisture on smooth, bare branches. Nature shows a face, an invisible web connecting each twig and sleeping bud with light and molecules and atoms, energy, cold and magnetism. Cars rush by. A man walks his dog. A couple argue on their way home from the pub. Yet no one sees the trees incandescent display. The secret remains within the humble roadside, ice-lit winter tree which, on occasion, reveals the hidden code of everything.
I live in the 19th century in Victorian London. The drawing room is crowded with men in top hats and coat tails. There is a thick, smoky fug. I am stifled. I want to escape. I sneak out of the back door and walk to the end of a long, thin, untidy garden. I lift my layers of skirts and scale a metal fence; the like of which I have never seen before. I jump from a height into a busy road. Every which way I turn there are motorised vehicles so I run. I run and run down the road till air fills my mourning dress and lifts my feet and I am flying. My flight is jerky and uncertain. I’m worried my petticoats will get caught beneath angry wheels. I try flying with one arm outstretched but two arms thrust forward gives me more power. Yet I cannot gain enough height to stay above the bustle.
Founded by the world-renowned BBC Aeronautics Correspondent Reg Turnill and his wife, Margaret, to celebrate the life and works of HG Wells and encourage creative writing, especially among the young, the prestigious HG Wells Short Story Competition offers generous Senior and Junior prizes and free publication of all shortlisted entries in a quality, professionally published paperback anthology.