Happy Tuesday, friends! Thanks to all the writers who submitted this past weekend, and thank you Steph Ellis for volunteering your time to judge and comment. You’ll find those comments and top picks below.

Welcome back to all those who either read or contributed a story to this week’s Flash Frenzy. As it’s November, I am aware that a number of you have been hard at work on your NaNoWriMo novels with the FlashDogs in particular racking up the word counts at a great rate of knots.  To those of you who managed to ‘flash’ as well as ‘nano’, you have gone above and beyond. Somehow I crawled across the finish line this weekend but not completed the novel so I haven’t ‘nanoed’ in the truest sense of the word – but it was a kick up the backside to get on with something I’d been procrastinating over for most of the year! And for me that was my November target. I hope you all meet yours.

And now back to the stories …

Is This The End? – Great setting and atmosphere. The silence of the missing crowds – or the dead – contrasts with the eerie sound of creaking cabins, swinging doors and the wind blowing sagebrush down the street.  The sense of abandonment and desertion, of death with the flies buzzing above a cadaver is strong and perfectly drawn. And then that switch, from a place of catastrophe to the mundane traffic and weather report, disaster dismissed and life goes on; very well done. Plus this week’s award for best town name goes to Loose Stools.

The Big Wheel – Those summer days with life literally spread out below you. The wheel turns, they kiss, the wheel turns, she is pregnant and now with major decisions to face, they look out at those below whose worries are all ‘so distant and small’ compared to their own. Beautifully done.

Steel Flower – ‘My mind turns with pockets of sunrise memories.’ What a beautiful opening line. There is a strong sense of the character’s separateness from those around him/her, a feeling of displacement, not quite part of the world which is carrying on in its own sweet way.  He has almost lost his sense of self, become just an ‘idea’, ‘vague notion’. Lovely, almost ethereal piece.

Wheels Within Wheels – It is the tattoos that speak in this story. Each character has, or desires a tattoo which brings with it hope of change, of knowledge and understanding. Lives not fully realised – a job as a janitor, a spell in prison – all point to a dead-end but the idea of the wheel brings back a memory to Snake, of another man with another tattoo ‘Live free or die’. A reminder perhaps that his ‘problem with authority’ might cause him trouble yet.

Gone – As soon as you finish the first line you know what’s coming, an irritating child, a younger sibling, the one we’ve all had to care for at sometime when we’d rather have been elsewhere. And you just know something bad is going to happen.

Despite the clear hero worship of Cody by Emily, when she ‘beamed as though I had given her the world’, he ‘barely acknowledged her’. He wanted to be checking out video games, not babysitting his little sister. Obediently though, he follows his parents’ orders, after a fashion, until you get to one of those ‘it won’t hurt’ moments and the narrator sits his sister on the ferris wheel next to ‘an older lady so I knew she’d be okay’, and he goes to look at video games. In the end he is disappointed by what is on offer but when he returns she is gone. The consequences of his selfish action, although only minutes, becomes a never-ending moment of horrific realization and freezes the blood in his veins. Fluid story-telling at its best.

Full Moon Rising – Not what you’d expect on an innocent ride on the Ferris Wheel, a moment of fun becoming a living horror story. Graphic description of the werewolf, ‘drool hanging from his half-open mouth’ and strong sense of claustrophobia and tension with words like ‘clamped’, ‘muffled’, ‘suffocation’, ‘intensity’. She cannot escape him and in the end raises a family with him but then it is her turn to become the killer as she watches her children ‘at birth for signs and smothered the hairy ones and the one born with a tooth’. A mother’s lot is not a happy one.

 

Special Mention

Full Moon Rising by Stella Turner – for conjuring up a werewolf horror on a Ferris Wheel.

Honourable Mentions

The Big Wheel by AV Laidlaw – for the repetition mirroring the turning wheel and events unfolding at each turn.

Wheels Within Wheels by Voima Oy – for the way in which tattoos are used to provide the framework and the message in the story.

 

 

2nd Runner Up – Steel Flower by Richard Edenfield. A piece of writing that reminds me of a dandelion clock, ready to break apart and just float away.

1st Runner Up  – Is this the End? by Stephen Lodge For the way in which a horrific event is dismissed in order to report on the mundane.

And your Round 116 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

 Angelique Pacheco

with Gone

A tragic story that serves as a reminder to us all not to look away, even for just a few minutes.

Congratulations, Angelique! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Thank you again, Steph for judging this weekend’s stories. Next weekend we embrace the first official Christmas shopping weekend of the year. I wish everyone who ventures out a safe and kind shopping experience, and I hope you’ll still have the energy to pop by and write some flash for Judge David Shakes. See you then.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s