Round 99: Winners

Posted: March 22, 2016 in Winners
Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Tuesday. I’m not sure how the weather is shaking out where you all are, but Utah didn’t get the memo about spring (rain and snow). I didn’t see very many bikers on my way to work this morning, that is certain. Thanks to everyone who wrote for last weekend’s prompt, and thanks to Catherine Connolly for judging. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

A really interesting photo prompt this week – one that I knew would be taken in many diverse directions – and you didn’t disappoint in that regard!  Unsurprisingly, given the warning to cyclists there was a tendency towards darker tales this week, which I’m normally never averse to 😉 . That aside, though, there was crime (and pointed punishment), a trip towards Wonderland, sci-fi style slants, friendship and betrayal.  As ever, my task was a pretty tough one, so thank you everyone for making my deliberations so difficult.

Seeing as Sal seems to have created, as they say, A Thing, I’m following recent Hourglass tradition and running through my favourite lines whilst I was reading before confirming my winners.


Run Rabbit

“Run, my little Rabbit.”


“Children left warm beds, gifting only their small, cold shapes in rumpled blankets to those they left behind.”

When You Go To Tulgey Wood, Beware

“There is no signal in the labyrinth of shadows at the heart of the forest.”

Breaking The Cycle

“It has come to our attention that a movement has been formed amongst rebels, to square the circles and break the cycles.”

Alleys In Bloom

“The tangled wires of radios and cracked screens of TVs proliferate among the blue mirrors in the alleys, silently reflecting the empty sky.”

Refreshment Break

“He had battered and shattered that.”


“Arms flailing I tried to grab at anything as the forest turned upside down.”

Bermuda Triangle Squared

“I climbed over the warning sign and took down its metal carcass.”

Double Trouble

“They look like Popeye’s biceps but in the wrong place.”

 The Tree In The Dust

“The stabilisers are off.”


Second Runner Up

The Tree In The Dust – AJ Walker

A powerful, hard hitting and emotive piece – all within less than two hundred words.  I loved the original take on the photo prompt here, with the literal stabilisers becoming figurative in the concluding sentence.  The reference reversal at the end packs a powerful punch.  Plus, the somewhat chilling suggestion of the tree nourished by the dead stays with the reader beyond the words themselves.  Nice work.


First Runner Up

Untitled – Marie McKay

A great title generally works wonders for me when judging – but this piece of flash genuinely speaks for itself.  In less than 150 words(!) we are transported into a world where children are summonsed towards the seam of space above, leaving the mere suggestion of themselves behind them.  Great world building and imagery, with poetic, spare language.  A haunting tale.


and our Round 99 Flash Master is…


A.V. Laidlaw


When You Go To Tulgey Wood, Beware

The repeated refrain style paragraphs drew me deep into this story, similarly to our protagonist drawn into the heart of the forest.  Alice references aside, the use of language in this piece is wonderfully effective, with bicycles “twisted in the trees” and a “labyrinth” of shadows hidden at the centre of the “thorny brambles”.  The continued contrast between myth, magic and trespassing technology are well developed and sustained throughout.  Ultimately, the suggestion of a meeting with the Jabberwocky clinched it for me!  A lovely, imaginative piece.  Well done – and congrats!

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

I’ll be soliciting judges for April this week, so keep an eye on your inboxes, writers. Next weekend, Stephen Lodge will make his judging debut. Hope to see you all there.


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