Hello, again! I was briefly concerned that the unconventional photo I chose for this round might scare folks away, but I should have known better. Many thanks to Sal Page for her time and comments on the stories this week. You’ll find her comments below, but before we get to that, I have one quick piece of info for our pack of flash dogs. Grey Matter Press’s Flashmasters  flash fiction contest is back this month and begins tomorrow. I know some of you have done quite well over there in the past, and based on what I see here on a regular basis, I believe everyone should check it out. Okay – ON TO THE WINNERS!

Lots of very different takes on a great picture prompt. I found something to like in each one and apologize now for anything I’ve misunderstood or interpreted wrongly.

Passengers – Lulls the reader into thinking it’s a ‘shaggy dog story’ told in a ‘sticky carpeted pub’ (nice!) then gradually turns into something more sinister as the storyteller shows the realness of her tale by her behaviour, using repetition to chilling effect at the end.

Returned to Ash – A strong female character emerging/erupting from the earth. This is powerful, densely written and very dramatic. The ending says it all.

Fly Day the Thirteenth (Back To The Drawing Board) – Fearless attempts to create a flying car. ‘Second-hand DeLoreans are rarer than rocking horse shit’ is a great line and the irony of the ending made me chuckle.

Best. Advert. Ever. – Packed full of ideas, appropriately fast paced and culminating in the stunt that created the advert. Wasn’t sure whether there was someone in the car that no one was concerned about at the end. ‘stunt doubles’ or the young couple that were supposed to walk away,  But. Great. Title.

The Last Car in Salford – Such a fantastic concept – the cars being sucked back into the earth, the ground ‘reclaiming its metals’ I love ‘Henry spread his arms to the world – in a ‘all this could be yours’ gesture.

The Sisterhood – A fearful-of-everything nun sees the buried car as a sign and kills everyone to save them but it turns out to be a student art installation. Could be shocking but not when it’s told in as casual and comical a style as this.

One Day the Muse Spoke to Him – The simple but effective tale of Marvin, told by ‘a piece of garden statuary’ to bury the car his wife died in in the garden. I like the statue/muse having the last word. Feels nice and complete. Closure.

A Eulogy for Chuck – Strong narrative voice. Chuck’s a great character especially that he ‘didn’t read the labels others slapped on you.’ A touch of sadness in the regrets of the last paragraph.

STRANGER THINGS – Shows the reader a moment, as two people literally come together and realize they each have a family member ‘who disappeared that day’. Nothing is explained and it doesn’t matter. She sees a connection but he appears indifferent.

Separation – Poetic. The lull before a massive war. Intrigued by the concept of the top-dwellers and Underdwellers.

Average – The average angel is a fantastic idea. ‘Low maintenance stuff’ it may be but we probably all need one. She/he ‘took care of his wheels’ but I felt I wanted to know more.

My Seven Year Old Self – Growing a car is a wonderful idea and a great take on the prompt. I love the child’s-eye view of the importance of the loss of the car.

No Parking – Eva the artist gets her revenge on her drive-blocking neighbour by cutting the car in half and turning it into art. And I don’t blame her. Cliff’s a ….

The Curators – Things are missing. Not just things. Body parts. The hyphenated text echoes this. I like the formal but sinister concept of taking samples and the irony of ‘minimal disruption’ (yeah right!) and feel the resident’s fear as they hear of the puzzling ‘phase two’.

Someone Else’s Garden – Other people’s gardens are clearly strange places, maybe more so if you’ve chosen smokes over chocolate. Strong, vivid images and I liked the affectionate name calling between the friends.

The Space Between – Full of great descriptions, I was especially taken with ‘Bees the size of dinner plates’ and that this is a place ‘where you can smell your grandmother’s perfume in a whiff, here and then gone.’ (Ah!) Slipping into second person narrative just past halfway through, it becomes urgent and the much shortened sentences heighten the effect.

Porta-Ball – Told completely in dialogue but without seeming like they’re explaining things to each other. I like the moment of realization about the baby seat in the car and the comical subject change at the end.

Free Sleep for Dogman – This took several read-throughs for me, which paid off. A very unusual world, featuring a dog and a badger who are as much people as animals. And most intriguing, the badger is a ‘sleep dealer’.

One Day Geeks Will Rule The World, But Not Today – This made me laugh. Who knew time traveling would be so slow motion? Like quicksand. Don’t give up and better luck next time, boys!

L&F – A very original take on the prompt. I love the idea of Lost and Found for the world of the ‘magic-makers’ and the car turning out to be really a mouse that’s been practiced on by a fairy godmother.

So. I’ve picked four. Couldn’t leave anymore out.

Honourable mention. My Seven Year Old Self – F.E. Clark. For all of the above and for the hints at the mother’s deteriorating health and the sweet little twist at the end.

Second Runner-Up. The Space Between – Alicia VanNoy Call. For everything I said earlier and for ‘Follow me’ being a super way to end a flash.

First Runner-Up. The Last Car in Salford – A.J. Walker. For being one of my favourite takes on the prompt, for the title (not ‘cos it has the judge’s name in it!) and because yes, maybe this would be a good thing and maybe it could happen!

And our Round 60 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Brian S. Creek

with STRANGER THINGS

For what isn’t explained. For leaving the reader wanting to know more and wanting to find out what happens next.

Congratulations, Brian! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! And that’s it for this week, folks. Many thanks to Sal Page for judging this past weekend. Up next is drmagoo; we both hope to see you on Saturday. Cheers!

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Comments
  1. anthonyriveragmp says:

    Thanks, you angry timekeepers ( 😉 ) for that mention! It’s greatly appreciated. Hope to see some of your flash dogs joining in at our Flash Masters 6.

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