Below are the First and Second place winners of the West Highland Short Story Competition. Both stories will be up here for a week for your viewing pleasure
The secret life of the railway animals
By Maggie MacAskill
It was a beautiful night, the snow lay thick and sparkled in the moonlight. The snow covered everything!! It was bitterly cold, colder than it had ever been before.
The sleeper purred down the line. Most of the passengers were asleep but those who were awake looked out of windows and were glad the train was warm.
All the animals were waiting by the platform. As the train stopped to pick up something urgent, one by one the animals crept unseen onto the train to escape the cold, and hid in compartments and under chairs. There was a fox, a badger, mice, birds, rabbits, hares, an adder, a stoat, a pine marten, voles and even a little red deer calf!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They all came in out of the cold!
Then just as the doors were about to close a small red deer stag squeezed through the door! It wandered down an empty carriage and walked into a toilet, as it walked in his antlers hit the lock button and the door locked!
Several mice scattered under the buffet table and when no one was in the carriage they climbed the table cloth and started to eat a loaf of bread nearby. Suddenly, they heard footsteps and in their rush to get off the table, most of them fell off! Only one didn't hear in time, and at the last minute had to burrow into the bread! The man came over and cut himself three pieces of bread! George (for that was the mouse's name) could see the knife through an air bubble! When the man had gone George crawled out of the bread and ran off to tell his friends.
The deer calf went into a compartment and hid under the bed in an old cardboard box. Two boys who were up late came in and decided to play hide and seek. One boy started counting, the other hid under the bed and waited. The first boy looked around the room and then under the bed. When eventually they left the calf breathed a sigh of relief and fell asleep.
The stoat and the pine marten climbed up to the baggage holder along with the birds. And when people put their bags up they undid the zips and took out food!
The badger and the fox both hid side by side under chairs and bickered away quietly (so as not to attract attention) for they did not like each other. Whenever someone put their bag underneath the seat, they both got squashed.
The rest of the voles went into an en-suite and started playing in the toilet!
Adder went into a compartment and curled up in a pillowcase which was silly because before long someone came and lay on the pillow! Adder had to lie like that all night!
In the morning the snow had melted, and once back at the station, all the animals returned to the woods behind the station where they still live!
The Lost Kitten of the Steam train
By Mary Margaret McAlpine
One sunny morning in Glenfinnan, a kitten was wandering along the platform when the train pulled in. The kitten jumped onto the train with the tourists and went on one of the tourists lap. The tourist was called Eilidh, and she was up shopping in Fort William at the Granite House. She liked cats very much and was happy that the kitten had come to her. She wanted to adopt the kitten as it was alone. She made room in her bag and put her jacket in it as a blanket and then she put the kitten to sleep in it. She named the kitten Fluffy.
When the train pulled up all the tourists hopped off, Eilidh hopped off the train. In Glenfinnan the car park was busy so Eilidh went in to the cafe for a cup of tea and cake and milk for the kitten she enjoyed it. Then Eilidh hopped back on the train again. She saw her friend Mary Margaret on the train. 'Hi' shouted Eilidh, 'let's play card games and have a drink of water.'
Eilidh showed Fluffy to her friend Mary Margaret, who thought she was cute. Suddenly the kitten miaowed and went walking about on the train. Eilidh caught Fluffy and put her to sleep in her bag again. Eilidh and her friend looked out the window and they could see huge hills, lovely lochs and lots of nice flowers. There was so much to look at and the friends started to giggle because they were so happy. They really enjoyed the trip.
When they pulled up in Mallaig they decided to go for some fish and chips and they gave Fluffy a piece of salmon which she very much enjoyed. Soon it was time to get back on the train but before they did they went to the Harry Potter shop and they bought a souvenir. They hopped on the train and off it went back to Fort William. On the way passed Glenfinnan, they admired the monument and wished they had more time to visit.
Once they arrived back in Fort William it was time to relax until they would return home to Glasgow. The friends thought that the train journey was the most interesting and beautiful journey that they had ever been on. They would be back soon - keep an eye out for Fluffy on the train!