Round 109: Winners

Posted: May 31, 2016 in Winners
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Happy Tuesday, writers. The long weekend was a bit of a surprise for me (a good one!) so I’m thankful for those of you who took time away from your extended break to submit stories. Thanks also to David Shakes for reading and choosing his favorite entries. You’ll find his comments below.

Bank holiday in the UK and Memorial Day in the US may have thinned out submissions a little – but wow, we had some cracking tales this week. The quality of the writing made it so hard to pull out any single story for overall praise. Genres were many and varied and no two stories alike. Thank you for writing – I am always astonished at the talent on show.

I must also say a huge thank you to Emily June Street for sending me a tidy little document so that I could judge anonymously as usual.


‘He fills an angry hourglass with substance’

A wonderfully written doffing of the cap to our muse and photographer. The author eulogising in great alliteration the subtle skills of Mr Rao. I love the idea of being shown the world but having to find our own paths. Really well done. I hope Ashwin reads this story, for so say we all.

I May Be Stoopid, But I’m Not Clever

Great comedy at play here (that time Max tried to take his trousers off over his head!) and some well timed dialogue. I liked the pace and the slapstick – it’s hard to get the right balance in pieces like this but our author manages it in style. I do hope there’s a plan B!

The Weight

This is so beautiful. There’s an economy of language and yet it says so much. I loved: ‘The further she travels, the more insubstantial she becomes.’

And, at the end, her father knew where to go and exactly what to say – because death is such a little thing compared to love, isn’t it?


A chilling story of mob mentality with a twisted child at its core – you can almost feel the intensity of her gaze. Poor Marion has been accused by her own child and many are complicit in her untimely demise. The way that the mother stares at the daughter until the bitter end was a really powerful image. This was an excellent study in refined horror writing.

The Park

A really evocative opening of park life, really well described from the child’s perspective and rather uplifting – then a second child appears, wielding the opposite magic to the first. Are they both the same child? I think they might be. I liked that this story used a very straightforward reading of the prompt to come up with something original.

‘Patriotic Motifs’

‘Why did you buy so many chips Daddy?’ – the humour and warmth running through the first three quarters of this story is great, then we’re sideswiped at the end. A story within a story and one that doesn’t appear to have a happy ending. Good rug pulling from this writer.

Horror Story Number 1

They’ve quoted King – this had better be good…luckily it is.

‘They say the devil is in the detail.’ is one of my favourite phrases and there’s allusion to one of my favourite films in the moonlit walk across the moors. That hell is bureaucracy and modern life speaks directly to me. I think this writer was speaking directly to me! Some excellent imagery.

Memories of Grass & Hope

A truly emotional piece of writing, so many excellent lines.

‘Your eyes are mine. But mine never looked so soulful.’

The anguish of the father and that last line that lands like a punch really made this stand out.

Second Childhood

A clever little time travel story here – the son becomes the father. Small details have been considered, such as the relative ages of our protagonists. Quantum physics and ley lines are involved. There may be paradoxes ahead – if David changes the past then he’d never have been born. Luckily, in quantum theory there are many branes on which different realities can exist. Good stuff.

HM – ‘Judgement’ by Steph Ellis, for it’s quality horror-tinged storytelling.

RU – ‘Memories of Grass & Hope’ by AJ Walker, because I can’t have two winners (I’ve asked before).

And our Round 109 FLASH MASTER is… 


AV Laidlaw


‘The Weight’

… because it still has me thinking.

Congratulations, AV! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie. Next weekend, this week’s HM, Steph Ellis, returns to the judge’s seat. Hope to see you all there.


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