Hello, all! I hope you had as much fun writing this weekend as I did celebrating my anniversary. Many thanks for all the well wishes. Many thanks also to Steph Ellis for judging this weekend’s stories. You’ll find her comments below.

After a long day at school, I need a little escapism and the stories this week certainly gave me that.  I enjoyed reading all the entries and, as always, feel really guilty that I cannot place everybody on the podium.  But I take comfort in knowing that those who didn’t make it this week will probably be in a different position next week or maybe were even here last week (judging blind I have no way of knowing) – reading tastes are so subjective!  Anyway, without more ado, here are my results:

HMs

The Cave where the Monster Lives by Catherine Connolly 

So many hints at darkness in this little story.  The woman, a psychiatric patient of some sort, has undergone a traumatic experience in the past in a place for which the cave is used as an analogy, but an analogy for what?  Her womb and the loss of unborn children or perhaps her home where she lives/lived with the monster; a monster who harms her babies, or was she the monster.  So many hints but there is one thing clear, whatever the doctor eventually discovers it is sure to be harrowing.

Into the Cave’s Mouth by Pattyann McCarthy

This one I liked because it carried with the element of the ‘tall tale’.  The story could be read as horror but there were a couple of features that pointed me in another direction; for instance, the opening line ‘Jonah and the whale? That story wasn’t nuthin compared to my experience!’  Not the most solemn way of introducing a tragedy and then later on the survivor was ‘seduced’ against the rocks and he lost consciousness.  Or perhaps the voice used was because he had really lost his mind? Either way, the victim was certainly a man who could tell a story.

3rd RU

Evolution of Angels by Richard Edenfield

An original concept, giving angels an evolutionary time line using some terrific imagery.  This is the story of the anniversary of the day angels ascended to the heavens.  Like humans having to walk before they could run, angels had to swim before they could fly and they needed water wings because (nice touch of humour here) it was ‘very unbecoming to see an angel doggie paddle’.  They gather annually to ‘dispel evil’ in places that nobody suspected angels would go, the grotto at the Playboy mansion for instance, or anywhere with palm trees and good landscaping is starting to hint at more sophisticated (or jaded?) tastes.  Then they float in ‘some sort of nonchalant nostalgia’, remembering back to when ‘things were simpler, a time when they were nothing more than angel fish’. 

2nd RU

The Last Anniversary by Bart Van Goethem

I admit to looking up spelelology – the study of caves – and then completely understood the truth of the title!  So much said in so few words.  Very clever.

1st RU

Occultation by Foy S. Iver

Beautiful, beautiful prose poem.  An example of fluid, fluent writing telling a story of love, jealousy, and perhaps revenge.  The first sentence sets the reader up for the metaphor thread that runs through the story, “Do you remember when I was your moon?”  The narrator was once the moon, her lover the tide, but now another, the sun, has entered his orbit, his ‘gravity’ until the narrator is ‘eclipsed’ by this new rival – an event that mirrors the title.  But the woman scorned does not give up, she needs to remove her rival from his protection and offers under pretence of friendship to take her for a swim. This is no innocent offer, it hints at a dark ending, she will rid herself of her rival, put out her flames.

AND OUR ROUND 81 FLASH MASTER IS…

FLASH MASTER

A.V. Laidlaw

with The Cave

I was almost convinced that this story was based on fact, its tone was so realistic that it had me googling various names to see if they existed or not, eg The Regime of Colonels (fact) was responsible for the suppression of intellectual thought with tragic consequences for Kourvetaris’ own family (fiction): the arrest of his father, the suicide of his mother. 

In addition, there was also a mirroring of past and present throughout the story, as when the journalist waits for Kourvetaris, he observes life around him, the woman feeding her ‘rat­whiskered lapdog raw steak as she ignored the page waiting for his tip’, the celebrity trying to be recognised without wanting to appear as if he is seeking attention – the world is as shallow now as when Arisgoras hid away his papers because society had become ‘too venal to understand his philosophy’.  Then the journalist congratulates himself on his stoicism, another ancient school of philosophical thought, another reflection.  But in the end he does not receive his scoop, Kourvetaris has found the truth, ‘the sunlit world outside is simply an illusion’.  There is no point in revealing Arisgoras’ writings to the journalist and Kourvetaris, by not including a return address to his letter, seals himself off from future contact much as Arisgoras had sealed off the cave from his citizens.

Congratulations, AV! No gold stars, but your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! Next weekend, the AbFab Rebekah Postupak of Flash! Friday fame will be here to judge. Hope to see you all then.

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Comments
  1. Pattyann McCarthy says:

    Many thanks Steph for judging, and for the HM mention! It’s a true honor to stand with Catherine on the Honorable Mention podium. Congrats to ALL winners! Also, a belated Happy Anniversary to Rebecca, and can’t wait until next week. 🙂

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