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JACOB STANLEY

Travel short story competition

Winner

Jacob Stanley, who, at the age of just six, is not yet aware that his name is actually made up of two different first names, stands at the front of the bus, and drives. It’s his favourite part of coming into town with his mum. From his vantage point – top deck, front of the bus, right hand side – he can hold out his hands to hold an imaginary steering wheel (except to him it’s not imaginary, not at all) and steer the bus wherever he likes. He is vaguely aware that he is being watched by almost everybody else on the top deck. His travelling companions at this hour are usually small white-haired women in heavy coats, scarves and gloves. They coo over him and remark on what a good boy he is. He and his mum take this journey three times a week, and many of the women’s faces are familiar to him, even if he is too shy to respond when they speak to him. As well as being six, he is small for his age, and this attracts a great deal of attention. Usually, it’s the unwanted kind – bullying, that sort of thing – but recently that has eased off slightly. Jacob knows that he is not completely invisible to the other kids at school, but they have started to treat him like he is. He prefers it this way, being allowed to move around undisturbed in his own little space, much like now.

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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