Round 63: Winners

Posted: April 14, 2015 in Winners
Tags: , , ,

Hello again, friends. I’m sitting in the midst of a lovely April snowstorm, trees in bloom covered in fresh snow, and enjoying a break from studying to review and enjoy last week’s submissions. Many thanks to Rebekah Postupak for volunteering her time to judge. You’ll find her comments and top picks below. 

Anyone thinking statues of laughing children would produce a series of light fairytales hasn’t been on the flash circuit very long. And you did not disappoint, dear ones (how could you??); you hacked and chopped your way through this prompt in the grandest, most eloquent of styles.

 First came Josh Bertetta, with the wrenchingly detailed observations of a lonely girl. Josh, you made her fear achingly palpable!

Cath Barton followed with one of this week’s few glimpses of hope, an artist laboring “to capture a smile forever.” So precious.

After that came Steph Ellis with a totally brilliant first line, so stark, so simple, so I-Have-To-Keep-Reading: “Too late.” Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! And it was too late, for more than one person…

IR was next, earning a gold star for his use of “rhizomic” alone! And a two-sided tragic tale with a haunting, terrible center refrain. May that be NO ONE’s song!

Her Majesty Queen Marie McKay, doubtless still counting the jewels in her flash fic tiara, ushered us to Pompeii. What a powerfully woven final few words, that phrase “a tableau of anguished answers.” The alliteration here is pungent and perfect.

Steven Stucko—oh my word.  The repeated refrain “Edward watches the girls,” against the horrifying last line! The story is beautiful, gentle, haunting, heartbreaking.

Brian Creek!!!! The horror! Your tale left me unsure whether to clap and cheer or scurry around the house turning all the lights on. Flawless pacing.

FE Clark, what agonizing loneliness! Even though there’s clearly more to the story than what we’re given, you made my heart break for her secret pain.

Voima Oy—more on yours in a minute. Scroll down if you can’t wait.

Foy S. Iver: THERE was my fairy tale, haha! Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy; that Hansel has it coming! Some really wonderful food phrasing here; I esp like the lake of sauerkraut. Now I’m hungry.

Nancy Chenier: You’re sick. More on you in a minute too.

Howdy Lauren: aaargh, the horrible, awful destruction of words on an artist’s spirit!!! I really love how you paralleled the verbal devastation with the literal smashing of the statue. So violent, so sad.

Casey Rose Frank: nooooooo! Like Lauren’s above, this tiny piece rends the heartstrings. You may have heard me shouting, don’t let the bronze define you! So much power in this stark, delicate poem.

A.J. Walker: The last man on earth! (Is the bottle a Special Brew, hmmm?) What would the last man on earth do? His pain is deep and stretches back decades, though even in the moment of his death, he reaches for humor. The story is beautifully written and compelling.

KM Zafari: Yours was the perfect story to read today on the one year anniversary of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping. It’s terrifying and tragic, both; not just in the children’s deaths, but in the way the children were so quickly forgotten. We don’t like discomfort, do we? Thank you for this dramatic, angrifying reminder.

Alicia Van Noy Call: I shouted in this story too. RUN, ALIENS, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t trust that janitor, not for one minute. I’m also reminded strongly of that (awesome) Twilight Zone episode, “Elegy.” Love the unfolding mystery, love the creep factor. Need to know what’s next!

Runner Up: Nancy Chenier, “Almost Not Seven.” THIS STORY IS SOOOOO GOOD. You’ve cleverly manipulated our perspective to that of seven-year-old Natalia, who is anxious to grow out of her sister’s perfect shadow. There’s sadness lurking here, but it’s a sadness easily explained, we think, by the earlier death of a child. AND THEN! In three chilling words (her father’s “You’re almost eight”), you flip the story completely, and we are wrenched out of Natalia’s perspective into a horrified understanding of what’s really happening. The unveiling of the parents’ gruesome commitment is shocking. It’s a good thing I don’t trust you, or I’d have finished this story REALLY REALLY MAD. Instead, I doff my hat at your truly masterful storytelling. And perfectly double entrendred title. –OK, who are we kidding, I might still be mad.

And your round 63 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

 Voima Oy

with “The Girls in the Volcano.”

I love, love, love the way you structured this story. The first half centers on legend; the second on modern science. The two halves are hinged flawlessly: “This is the legend, but experts say…” And our modern minds sigh with relief, because we know and understand Experts. Experts are always right, it is said. But then in a clever, so beautifully portrayed, so graceful sweep of your hand, even while you are telling us quite matter-of-factly that the cameras’ images are scientifically defensible, you introduce doubt. That right there takes SUCH a deft hand and is one of my absolute favorite literary devices, where what’s actually being said isn’t at all what was just said. And the tension here between the two is faith vs science, the idea that there may be more in front of us than what is seen. It’s an incredibly smart and well-crafted juxtaposition, these two, and ohhh the gorgeous perfection of that last line. Those scientists are in big, big trouble…. Fantastic story(ies)!

Congratulations, Voima! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie. Next weekend, Flash Master Voima will be back to judge. I’m sure she’s as excited to see what you can do as I. Until next week, flashdogs. 🙂

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