Round 108: Winners

Posted: May 23, 2016 in Winners
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Welcome back, weekend writers. Thanks to everybody who wrote stories for Round 108 and to Mark King for reading them and choosing his favorites. You’ll find his comments below.

Trees hold a special place for many of us and, as I’m starting to realise, they act as a major source of inspiration for my own writing. Inadvertently, I found that three of my FlashDogs Solstice stories were based forests/woodlands.

Recently (as morbid as it sounds), I’ve been looking at woodland burial sites (nothing sinister, I promise). I like the thought of returning to nature and to be part of these landscapes of stunning beauty and rebirth. Many of the stories captured the mystery, fear, magic and spirituality of these places.

An arboretum – fantastic – a chance to dabble with nature, science and perhaps myth. You worked wonders with such a simple prompt. I doff my cap to you all. I enjoyed all the stories and choosing was a difficult task – thank you.

Favourite lines and podium places below:

Would For The Trees “Beneath this dusting of pine needles rests layer upon layer of nutrient rich earth – the forest feeds itself through biodynamics or God’s divine plan.”

Obscured By Blood “He saw on the dash his loyalty card from Gulch Coffee Shop over in Noon City. The card was soaked in blood. “

Firebug “The masking tape on each was clearly noted with the date he’d set each fire. Some fizzled out after he’d fled the scene, but most got the job done.”

Part Transcript of Interview with Miss D. Tremores “They found remains of more than forty people tangled in the roots of trees at the arboretum.”

The Return “Her ancient bones warmed to the kiss of the Samhain fire, heat rising from the cleft of the yew trunk to ease her rebirth.”

Caught “I look down at my feet, remembering a tango in those shoes. I watch my body turn transparent and start to melt away”

Keep it in the Family “The leaves whispered to me, told me what I had to do. They provided me with the instrument of death; I whittled it to a point.”

The Sound of Darkness “Yet, one day, Earth, beleaguered by our apathy, will surely lose her patience and tremble at her core.”

The Colour of the Fox is Gold “…the credit cards heavy with debt, the photograph of John before he lost his charm to the after-work scotch – and drop it against the roots of an oak tree gnarled with age”

The Fox Bride “There are congratulations from the guests, and the party begins. The frogs have brought their lutes and drums. The squirrels have brought mulberry pies.”

Butterfly Graffiti – almost too hard to pick just one. Breath-taking words everywhere. “The sun started speaking french as it came through french windows. An accent of morning gathered in the applause of your softly fluttering eyes. Wings awkwardly floating past glass. Butterfly graffiti.”

Picnic “He tensed more as they neared, she thought his shoulders might snap like an elastic band pulled too rigid.”

The Place That Talks “I pat the smooth cool timber of the birch beside me feeling its breath. Sensing its memory. The collective memory of this sacred space.”

Honourable Mention – The Place That Talks –  AJ Walker: I loved this piece. The vivid world-building, rich character work and the overall sense of the ‘spirituality’ of the location were rather special. Top work.

2nd RU – The Fox Bride – Voima Oy: There is a beautiful, stripped-back, economic beauty to the piece. I adore the fact that it is carefully constructed, Disney-like, on the surface layer, and so much more beneath.

1st RU – The Colour of the Fox is Gold – AV Laidlaw: To choose between this and the winner was a very tough choice. There were so many beautiful lines in this story that to tell them all would be to tell the story again. The poetry of the words and the hints of ancient myths and legends – I loved it all. Stunning.

and our Round 108 FLASH MASTER is…


David Shakes

with Would For The Trees

I opted for this because I wrote a story about a woodland that allowed the children that never lived to come to life for just one day. This felt like it could have been a prequel in many ways. That story was special to me and this one powerfully resonated with me because of that. Apart from my own connection as a reader – there was so much to love here; the well-crafted bond between the couple, the tangible loss of their hope, the attempts to lessen the grief of their planned future, the inevitable death of a soulmate, the dichotomy of nature/loss vs religion/God. A Hollywood tearjerker in 359 words. A worthy winner. Many congratulations.

Congratulations, Shakes! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie!

Next weekend, Round 108 Flash Master, Shakes, takes a break to spend a few days in the judge’s seat. See you all there.


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