1: Fit onto an A4 side of page.
2: Was about the phrase 'The Disappeared'. Which sounds kind of annoying and pretentious I think... but still, I wrote the story and did not win. As they had over 750 entries I did not feel too rejected.
So that's how this story came to be, enjoy!
Carys’s mother and step-father had not taken news of her pregnancy well, after all she was only 16. She had hoped for a little more support however and after a screaming match that shook the roof she packed up some essentials and left her council estate and set out for a friend’s house. It was of course not long before she was exhausted the hospitality of all of her friend’s parents so she decided to head to a warehouse she had once been to a rave at and knew was occupied by several friendly squatters. Her arrival did not stir up interest in most of the scruffy men and women living there, Carys thought they must be used to people coming and going often. She put down her rucksack and sleeping bag next to a collection of friendly looking teenagers a few years older than her and it only took her a few days to make friends and settle into the lifestyle. Her circle of friends were skip-divers, there was more than enough stolen or abandoned mattresses to sleep on and public restrooms were only a five minute walk away. This led to Carys beginning her new life in an almost comfortable manner, although it bothered her when people disappeared. People often disappeared from both their group and the entire congregation of squatters, they moved on constantly and a constant flow of new intake ensured that the total number was usually the same.
One late night, several months after she had first arrived there, Carys’s best friend, Adam vanished without any notice or mention of his plans and Carys was left lying on her mattress that night crying into her grimy old pillow and wondering what would happen when she gave birth, for she estimated that she must now be at least six months along. She sought out one of the few elderly members of the warehouse, a permanent resident. Her name was Vanessa and Carys greeted her sheepishly and asked why people were so easy come easy go in this strange existence. Vanessa looked long and hard at Carys and told her “You are not like us. All of us here, we have disappeared from society’s gaze. We are abandoned and carefree, but not in the childish way you think of at the mention of that word. We don’t care, Adam may have been your best friend of all the people here, but he didn’t really care. You were invisible to him, because in being here you admit to having disappeared off the map of mainstream society. You have not successfully done this because you pine for your friend, and for your mother.” Carys sobbed at the realisation of the truth in Vanessa’s words, and she realised that she had completely forgotten she had been 17 a few days before. She told Vanessa this, and Vanessa leaned in and spoke urgently to her. “You have a baby on the way whose slate is still clean; your family are most likely aching to see you again. The time is 5:30 now, in an hour the sun will be shining brightly. Return to where you came from my girl, before you disappear yourself, you owe it to your child.”
An hour later Carys stood outside the warehouse looking out onto the suburbs, she was cradling her bump and with her rucksack on her back she took a few steps back into the world she knew so well, and her baby would be properly raised in. As she took those first few steps, Carys reappeared.