The Last Words of Emanuel Prettyjohn
The Last Words of Emanuel Prettyjohn was originally written for Round Eight of the 2008 Whittaker Prize. The prompt used was the phrase he was always such a quiet boy. It was given a score of 77/100 by the judge, Rachel Green, putting it in 5th equal place out of 14. The judge felt it was "a very odd tale. I'd expect this in one of those pocket-sized 'Weird Tales' magazines."
The Last Words of Emanuel Prettyjohn was commended in the 2009 Southport Writers' Circle Annual Open Short Story Competition.
A somewhat different version, adapted so that a male and a female actor could read alternate sections, was performed at Liars' League in London in November 2012.
This is possibly one of my oddest stories, although it's interesting that the idea of "being quiet" has recently acquired some currency, thanks to the work of Susan Cain. The structure of it was influenced by the opening sequence of the film Strictly Ballroom, where a series of talking heads describe something terrible that has happened, each one giving a slightly different perspective on the event. I especially like the contribution of Alex Templeman - which was particularly effective in the performed version.