Random Highbrow is a writing competition set by Grimm Magazine. 12 words are given on the website (http://www.grimmagazine.com/index.html) and entrants have to write a 250-word story using each all of the words, in any order and any number of times. For me, this was harder than it first seemed. The excitement lay, though, in the online voting by readers which eventually produced a winner. Not me, I should add. I've typed the twelve words in red throughout the following text:
All that remained of their eight plump and faithful hens was the wrecked coop and a few bloody feathers. Shocked and fearful, the family could only look to the surrounding forest as the source of the violation. Soon, the father decided he would have to do some night-time poaching, in order to put food on the table.
That night’s full moon suited his plan and he set off on his foray. Wife and children could only pray for his safety and wish him well.
Just before dawn, the woman awoke to a heavy snuffling outside the cottage. Thinking her husband had returned, she approached the door. As she reached for the handle, the door crashed inwards, landing on top of her. Weakened, but hidden, she was pinned where she lay. A huge, hairy, smelly beast entered, growling and glaring at the children. As it stalked towards them, thick strings of saliva dripped from its fang-ridden jowls.
The mother, her children threatened, sprang to action. Grabbing a cleaver, she hacked at the beast’s neck. Shadows danced and flew as the little oil lamp swung wildly where it hung.
The thing died quickly, its head almost severed. She went to her children, wiping her bloodstained hands on a handkerchief. Meanwhile, a transformation was taking place. They saw the beast shrink, its fur fall away. Seconds later, their screams reverberated throughout the stirring forest as the head lolled to reveal its face – the face of their father.