Happy Tuesday!

Thanks to everyone who came out to play this past weekend. Amy Wood was our judge this round, and she did an amazing job! Below you’ll find her comments on the entries, as well as her top picks for Round 40.

That Guy Fox – J Bertetta. Very powerfully written modern-day morality tale. I like the idea of the ‘anti-prophet’, urging mankind to continue doing the things which are slowly but surely tearing us apart. Very original take on the prompt.

I Would Like to Return My Muse – Hannah Heath. Every time I read this story it makes me smile and nod in sympathetic agreement. How many times have I intended to write something light and fluffy and ended up with death and destruction…I sympathize entirely with the very stressed writer. Very clever use of the prompt photo.

Fears – Emily June Street. I really enjoyed this tale. It cleverly deceives us into thinking it’s a supernatural story but the twist at the end is even more frightening than the zombie apocalypse, in my opinion. I liked the contrasts between Mrs Jessamy’s crazy actions and the buttoned-up actions of Amber’s mom, desperately needing a latte to make it through a tough day. Great story.

The Cherub Hitman of Cambridge – Mark A King. I have a weakness for stories about misbehaving angels. I love the amount of resignation and misery Cedric manages to exude while enduring his exile to Earth. The idea that God is also a little spiteful, enough to turn Cedric’s halo into a comedy hat anyway, makes me smile every time I read it. Very enjoyable story which I’ve happily read multiple times.

The Big Escape – Rebekah Postupak. Very cleverly written story. Dialogue-only tales can sometimes be disjointed and hard to read but this one flowed beautifully. I like the reveal in the last sentence of who the three characters actually are. As ever, a wonderfully crafted story from a very gifted writer.

All Shook Up – necwrites. Extremely clever use of the prompt picture. I love a good body-swap story and this one didn’t disappoint. Gorgeously vivid descriptions throughout and I like the tiny bit of remorse the mother feels as she takes over her child’s body. What I like more is that she does it anyway. Really good little horror story.

Taking Shots – Shirl. A good demonstration of how less is sometimes more. This is only a short tale but it doesn’t scrimp on drama. I like the way we don’t get to know exactly what happened during the ‘night raid’. It’s left up to the reader to decide whether the lad genuinely had some kind of supernatural transformation or is just suffering from a form of PTSD. The last sentence is very effective and I really like the phrase ‘blown in on a gust of fear-riddled dreams’ – great use of language.

The Invisible Man Has Left the Building – Zevonesque. The Silver Boots of Tackiness. Only The King could get away with such an ensemble. Great Elvis-lives story, I enjoyed it hugely. It’s also a lovely little morality tale because sadly people like the doomsday preacher and the banana handing out leaflets do become invisible out on the street. ‘The invisible homeless’ is a great way to describe those unfortunate souls who get far less attention from the public than they deserve. Very cleverly written and immensely enjoyable.

A Tale of Two Deaths – Brian S Creek. I loved this! Death being reaped. Such poetic justice. The image of dear old Jack Wallace waving from the bench made me smile while the part with Death pressing his scythe to the stranger’s chest and failing to do anything makes me think of Loki and Tony Stark in the Avengers (yes, I’m a geek). I really enjoyed this tale and have come back to read it quite a few times.

He – Casey Rose Frank. Massively enjoyable tale, my mom read it and phoned me to tell me it was brilliant! I love the puckish Sandman character, dispensing dreams left, right and centre. The one about the third-grade kid removing furniture with rubber tongs still makes me giggle – great work there. I really like that he’s still happy come daylight, dancing on and having a whale of a time. Great little feel-good story.

The Crescent Quarters – C Connolly. Fantastic fantasy tale which definitely leaves the reader wanting more. As I read it, I felt the same kind of chill creep over me as was creeping over the main character. Really atmospheric writing, not too much description nor too little; a brilliant example of flash fiction.

White Rabbit – Geoff Holme. I admit, I loved this. As a fan of both Jefferson Airplane and the White Rabbit song, I actually did a little chair-dance when I realized what this story was about. The lack of punctuation really conveys the crazy, everything-running-together mental state after taking a serious amount of drugs. (Just say no, kids.) And the reaction of the other characters to Grace’s sudden silence is brilliant.

The Avatar’s Ball – Voimaoy. This is a very original idea, the concept of an Avatar’s ball would never have occurred to me in a million years! I like that dear Lenny puts so much effort into his outfit and then has the most mundane trip possible. Popping into next Thursday is never going to be as exciting as going to the moon, poor thing.

Untitled – Dr Magoo. Ahh, never make deals with the devil because he/she will always find a way to win in the end. I really enjoyed this, it’s great to see the arrogant, self-important protagonist get his comeuppance.

Untitled – stellakateT. Wow, water dispenser to world domination! Now there’s a story I’d like to read. Really clever tale making great use of the idea of selling one’s soul in return for wishes. I like that the character has the sense to start out small and work her way up. One wonders what will come next, when she’s finally rid of Mr Johnson…

Clash of the Titans – Image Ronin. Absolutely brilliant. The first time I read it I snorted with laughter and it’s still making me giggle now. I also hated the film Kick Ass, so I sympathize with Steve’s assessment of it. There are so many great lines in this story, if I were to quote them all, I’d simply cut and paste the whole thing here. Super Steve’s star shone brightly but sadly not for very long.

It’s Only Make Believe – Karl A Russell. This is beautifully poignant. It’s so sad that the only place this poor character can fit in is with hoards of be-costumed cosplayers. But it’s also uplifting because that kind of ‘wow you look awesome, we love you just for making such an effort to create an outfit, let us take pictures of you and hug you’ atmosphere does exist at places like Comic-Con. Long live the cosplayers! Fantastic little story, I really enjoyed it.

****

Honourable Mentions – It’s Only Make Believe, Karl A Russell.
I adored this story because it really struck a chord with me. Having been to a few comic-con type things myself, I know that atmosphere of cheerful acceptance of cosplayers and their outfits really does exist and I love it. Karl’s story was beautifully written (as always), very engaging and gorgeously poignant.

I Would Like to Return My Muse, Hannah Heath.
This story must surely be familiar to every writer out there. How often we try to write one thing and end up with something else. (Gothic children’s books? Heck yeah!) Hugely enjoyable story, great work from Hannah.

Third Runner Up – Fears, Emily June Street.
This story was very clever in that in changed tack so many times in its short duration. Spooky supernatural zombie story – crazy drunken neighbour story – genuinely frightening epidemic plague story. Brilliantly crafted and a satisfying read.

Second Runner Up – He, Casey Rose Frank.
I have to agree with my mom; this story is so enjoyable, it has to be placed here. The image of someone removing furniture with rubber tongs will stay with me for a long time I think and is making me smile even as I type this. Thank you for the laugh, Casey!

And your Round 40 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Image Ronin

with: Clash of the Titans

I love a story which makes me laugh. Steve’s outrage at the ineptness of other wannabe vigilante heroes is a delight to read. His costume and Staff of Power™ are absolutely wonderful, as is his utter failure to comprehend the builder’s attempt to warn him of his impending doom. Super Steve may have lost the battle with the bus but he won the war to make me smile. Well done Image Ronin!

Congratulations, Image Ronin! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

Next weekend, Jaime Burchardt will be back in the judge’s seat. Hope to see you all then. 🙂

Cheers!

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