Round 70: Winners

Posted: July 21, 2015 in Winners
Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Tuesday! Before we get down to business, I’d like to take a few minutes of your time for some shameless self promotion. For those of you who follow my personal blog, Diagnosis Diabolique, or read my tweets that aren’t about Flash Frenzy, you’re already in the know, but for the rest of you I’d like to announce that I have two short stories coming out in anthologies next month. The first, Ecdysis, is appearing in a UK publication from Flame Tree Publishing titled: Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Short Stories. The second, Project Handbasket, will appear in a Lovecraftian anthology from Ulthar Press titled: A Lonely and Curious Country. These stories would not have happened if not for the inspiration and encouragement of the online flash community that gave me the confidence to pursue my writing. You guys are all amazing and I want to say thank you.

Okay, I’m done.

SHARKS! Last week I went to a live theatrical viewing of Sharknado 2, The Second One! Every single story that was submitted this week is better than that movie. Seriously. Maybe there should be a Flash Dogs Movie Division? While you all ponder how awesome that would be, take a peek at all the great things Judge Shakes had to say about this week’s entries:

Nice to be back in the judge’s chair and honoured that Rebecca chose another of my snaps to be the prompt this week. I was worried that it would be too difficult to get Sharknado out of writers’ minds, but you’ve served up some superb stories that are as diverse as our little flash community itself. Bravo to one and all. As I type, I remain oblivious to who wrote which story. I’ll be seeing who the winners are myself when this is published. It’s quite exciting.

A Son’s Letter from Fort Breach (1862)

An authentic narrative voice and little touches like the name of the fort make this a joy. The polite admissions build upon one another as the story unfolds. The ‘light head injury’ may be the cause of our unreliable narrator’s downfall, coupled with the whiskey…

I openly laughed when we got to the seeing what would and wouldn’t fit in the cannon. A great opening salvo – see what I did there?

In The Mind of Someone Living

Our first post-apocalypse tale and it’s a good one at that. The ‘broken teeth’ of the walls are the first ominous hint that this future might be one that wants to crush you in its jaws.

Jacob clings to the hope that the waters will recede like the limpets cling to the rusting cars. Something tells me that, as it seems Jacob comes to realise, the waters will take a long time to recede.

For What We Are About To Receive

“Sometimes you have to swim with the sharks to break through a brick wall.”

Using the prompt as this (slightly mixed) metaphor was clever, as was the inversion of the view of who the true predator sharks were. I do love a good vampire tale and caught on just who the family were and how the church would provide before the satisfying ending was in sight. This is the sort of thing I’d write. I love that they say grace before eating.

Bait

Our second post –apocalyptic tale and another cracker. There’s a cold plan and a dark future in this story.

I loved the staccato rhythms of the ‘operations’ here – undermining the short-lived safety for our hunted protagonist.

The shocking realisation that the things that were once children will eat through our captive narrator in 2 minutes flat was a hard-hitting ending.

Red Weather

I want to live in Rockford (does it have files?), despite its oddities. The three- eyed fish too horrible to eat? Cool! Raining cats and dogs for real? Fabulous!

The pious Reverend Martin might annoy me, attributing everything to gifts from heaven but I know I’d have time for Professor Lynch (first name David?).

The closing lines hint at a problem: “Why are you looking at me like that?” I think we’ve another unreliable narrator on our hands. Quirky and enjoyable.

Annabell Rouge and Her Flying Boys

Most intriguing title award number 1! Some of the crew’s ribald names and the whole opening scene had me thinking ‘Black Sails’ but the title pays off with the steampunk flying machines. I loved that the shark was the tip of a shell that destroys the bar and shakes the Flying Boys from their reverie. This has a fantastic ending and is just great fun.

A Story

So clever! Lots of folk were wondering if they’d get a story out of the prompt and we get ‘A Story’.

The meta-shark pontificates on where stories come from. I loved ‘credit hours’ (I don’t have enough) and ‘coffee-blood’ (I have way too much!)

The quality of the imagery is superb – ‘must it gleam like my marble eyes, be as sharp as my razored teeth..?’

Then, the rug is pulled from under us as the hapless window cleaner repeats his original question – clearly unfazed having met a third floor meta-shark.

Destination Wedding

We know it’s not going to go well when the unlucky bride begins to ‘cry into the crinoline’ – what an awesome phrase that is! The quality phrasing continues as the tide of details wash away the idealistic dream wedding.

In the end, Amy realises that Garret is all that matters and gets the world’s most unique wedding photo into the bargain. My favourite part is when she rips the hotel’s flowers from the planter – a fantastic mental image.

Our Ancient

This is a wonderfully sustained piece, one richly poetic in its language. After several reads you are still picking up on imagery and nuance. I like the ambiguity, each reader will make their own suppositions based on our narrator’s mythical slumbering demigod.

The last line is great – ‘We, too, must fish to live.’

Last Sight

A horrific car crash and a black feather flutters in all our hearts. The mother’s only thoughts are of her shark obsessed son (and those of us who are parents know only too well how all-encompassing those early childhood obsessions can become).

Back to the car and she sees – ‘crimson fluids plinking on the ceiling’ – a harrowing paragraph follows. Hope returns in the closing paragraph and line.

Nephew

Another mythical tale, shrouded in Stygian mist (loved that nod) and bound by ropes of ichor (loved that nod even more). I have to admit that as a male reader I immediately assumed the fiercest warrior was a man, so when the creature arose and asked its questions I was also surprised. The child returned but altered, though only she will know. Even the fiercest of warriors are scared of something.

Madagascar Flash and the Stainless Steel Shark

Most intriguing title award number 2! ‘From here on out it was nothing but back seats and caviar.’ Our boxers dream of the double win, and Phil barely lifts a glove to achieve his. As Cortez takes to the ring our hopes are high and the clever use of the prompt interwoven with the pugilists’ aliases. ‘To survive, a shark has to keep moving.’  The discovery channel myth as metaphor was a lovely touch.

Movie Night

Our third post-apocalypse tale here, proving that no three apocalypses (apocali?) are ever the same. BBQ rat is on the menu and people keep themselves barbarically entertained until the only movie left in town can start again for the umpteenth time. Del is away, doing something dangerous and Jenna is more than a little concerned, despite it being her birthday. The movie is Jaws 3D and Del has bought some awe and wonder back to the world with his improvised 3D specs. I had that scene from Back to The Future part 2 in my head and I wondered if that’s what inspired the author from the original prompt?

Weakness

Most audacious attempt award! This writer reads twitter and knows some #flashdogs folklore, that much we know is certain. A playful story – ‘This is all in caps because I was shouting at the time’- had me laughing hard. Now where would someone get the idea for a struggling writer with a penchant for murder or a dragoness with a taste for crispy fried friends? A brilliant story, although sadly divorced too much from the prompt for it to win this time. The next time I need to hide the evidence I’ll rope them in. Maybe we could mail out the body parts? I’ll post, you pack. (Did I guess correctly?)

The Look of the Irish

Nice pun in the title and a clear condemnation of ‘Irish’ jokes before inverting the tradition both in the remonstration of the cab driver and in the closing ‘joke’ played by the narrator’s Connemara born father. A lovely story to end on, raising more than a smile. I loved that the prompt was taken at face value again here but the end story was original, funny and almost plausible. Well done.

Third Place:

A Son’s Letter from Fort Breach (1862), by Brady Koch – because I liked the voice.

Second Place:

Nephew, by Alicia VanNoy Call – very close as so well written in my opinion, but more of the prompt in…

And our Round 70 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Foy S. Iver

A Story

Because who needs an explanation as to why there’s a philosophical shark sticking out of the third story of a building?

Congratulations, Foy! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! August is coming up, so keep your eyes on your inboxes, Flash Masters, I’ll be calling upon you to judge soon. Next weekend, Pattyann McCarthy takes a turn in the Judge’s seat. We both hope to see you there.

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Comments
  1. Pattyann McCarthy says:

    Congratulations Foy, and Podium Winners! Well-deserved. 🙂

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