• Your story must include the name of at least ONE element from the periodic table.
  • Your story’s first and last words must begin with S.
  • Your story must contain the words TRAFFIC, JOWLS and HIDDEN.
  • And finally, your story must include something that BUZZES.

“Stay IN the car, Alice, for heaven’s sake,” the man shouted over his shoulder. Alice paid him no mind. It was a bright spring day, full of beautiful, exciting things. She was going to make the most of it. 

“Stop yelling at her. At least one of us should try and enjoy themselves,” came another, gentler voice. “You’re making a big fuss.”

Alice felt electric, the wind pressed against her face as they whipped across the countryside, her head and torso now firmly outside of the vehicle. Her heart was racing. 

“Big fuss!” said the man incredulously. “Maybe if I didn’t get the third degree within the first minute, I wouldn’t be so fussed!” He emphasised the last few syllables, his knuckles white on the steering wheel.

“He just wants the best for me, you know,” came the exasperated reply.

The man laughed harshly. “If I had a nickel every time you said that…”

“You’d still be poor, honey.” she responded. “And I’d still love you. Honestly. It’s a lovely day, there’s no traffic. Let’s enjoy the trip. Alice, get down please.”

Alice might have listened to her, but she had become momentarily distracted by a small, buzzing insect, who seemed impervious to her onslaught of licks. It flew past her into the car, and thus immediately lost Alice’s attention. She resumed her observations of the universe. 

“Every time he asks me if I’ve found a ‘real job’, with that big, condescending smirk, I want to punch him in the neck,” the man said. “The problem is that he thinks you can do better.”

“Sometimes, I’m inclined to agree,” said the woman, but softened her tone when she saw the man’s expression. “He wants to get to know you, that’s all. Make sure there are no skeletons hidden in your closet.”

“It’s been six years. The only thing in my closet is burning resentment,” said the man wearily.

“Okay, drama queen. It’s once a year. You’ll survive,” said the woman. “Just one dinner.”

Alice’s ears pricked.

“Oh no,” said the man. “You said the d-word.”

It was too late. She began jumping with excitement, thick lines of drool flowing down her jowls. So excitedly, in fact, she invoked the ire of her brief buzzing companion, who had taken refuge on the headrest. The insect valiantly defended itself by lodging its stinger in Alice’s eyebrow.

White-hot pain shot across Alice’s body, and she howled. 

“After all that, it was you who set her off,” said the man. “We’re still about 40 minutes away. We’ll get you fed soon, girl, don’t worry.’.

“Shh, it’s okay,” said the woman, reaching into the back and patting Alice’s rapidly swelling head. “She’s not hungry,” she snapped at her partner. “She’s been stung.”

This was bad news to Alice, who started to whimper. 

“We might have to take her to the vet,” the woman sighed. “I’ll call my parents.”

“If you insist,” said the man. He couldn’t quite manage to hide his smile.