Hello all, and welcome to this week’s winners post. Thanks to everyone who wrote for prompt 101 and to AV Laidlaw for taking on the task of judging. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Oh my fur and whiskers! Plenty of rabbits in this week’s entries (and a few hares but I shan’t talk about them, not in polite company). Plenty of transformations and a fair smattering of horror too, but alas nothing about nice things like carrots.  Anyway I mustn’t be late so, without further ado or twitch of the nose, here we go down the rabbit hole.

The Chase: Now we start with a dark one. The old rituals bubbling away in the bucolic, the green man, the sacrifice of an innocent, the wildness let loose when we put on masks.  The way the story circles back on itself with as Inspector puts on the mask gives a great sense of something old, and something very, very nasty.

The Ritual: Did something happen, or was something only dreamt? Does it matter? I like the language – “jagged splinters of sunlight” and the physicality of the details – “mud on her knees, scratches on her arms and dried blood on her face”.

Mad March Hares: Lots of sensory detail right from the start – “Damp earth clogged her nostrils”- puts us right into a story of tables turned. The mystery is created – what is happening to the girl? What are the treasures? – and resolved with a bold leap, switching from past to present tense, showing you don’t always have to spell out everything.

Petrichor: A mythological tale with a myth’s dream logic. The story is made from images – a white bird among black crows, a fox skull, a glass heart, a forest cat (does he come from Cheshire, I wonder) – all told with matter-of-fact language to keep it grounded. One to come back to, over and over.

White Rabbit, White Rabbit, Black Rabbit: A boy strikes a bargain for good luck but meets something darker… The sinister atmosphere is invoked by the Black Rabbit’s speech patterns, archaic, almost poetical. It’s also a good example of how to strip away excess from a story – we are never told why the boy wants to strike the bargain, for example – to find its core.

Seagull: Jonathan Livingstone Seagull with a ‘tude, I like that. The story is carried by the narrator’s gleeful voice as they revenge themselves on everyone who’s given them a hard time in the past. The seagull may be a thieving git, but you can’t help but side with them.

We’re Different Now, You And I: The horror of loss brought out in the details – “Where once was a cheek as soft as silk, now bares only cold, hard bone.” The little flashes of the past – meeting on the pier, the coat given as a Christmas present- helps give depth to the relationship between these two people, necessary for the sense of loss to come through.

If Two Go Down To The Woods Today: Written entirely as dialogue, but the two characters come across vividly and delightfully as real (you know what I mean) children.  A real tour-de-force best read aloud to the young kits.

Walking On Water – A User’s Manual: How can you not love a tale that begins “The resurrection was a reflection of a perfect light onto the chrome of God’s Daytona Coupe Cobra”. What follows is a great contrast between the dialogue and the extracts from the book.

Blessed Spring: And we end on a happier note. I like how Elizabeth’s problem – her childlessness – is slowly introduced through concrete images: the house with room for more, the birds laying eggs.  It really helps us to empathise with her.

Oh my paws! Apparently I have to choose a winner, or the duchess will have me executed, as sure as ferrets is ferrets!

HM – White Rabbit, White Rabbit, Black Rabbit by C Connelly for its atmosphere.

Second Runner Up – If Two Go Down To The Woods Today by mariemck1 for great dialogue.

First Runner Up – Petrichor by Voima Oy for its images and Wonderland feel.

And by the thinnest whisker of a new born rabbit…

Our Round 101 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

 Richard Edenfield

with Walking On Water – A User’s Manual

He nudges it for that first line.

Congratulation, Richard! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here if you are interested in judging next month. Next weekend, CR Smith returns to judge Round 102. See you all then.

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