Hello all! Welcome back. Things are still a little crazy (example: I still need to make arrangements for judging in the upcoming weeks).  Nevertheless, I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, so for the next week or two, I will post photo prompts, but there will be no official judging. As always, feel free to comment, or arrange some friendly side competitions. Please accept my apologies for not being quite back to full speed just yet.

Without further ado, here is this week’s free for all prompt.

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photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Festival of Love
by KM Zafari

I dream of you sometimes. We are back in Mumbai, and I am getting a shave at a roadside stand.

“There’s something I never told you,” I say. “A secret.”

“After 30 years?” you ask.

“Yes,” I say and begin my confession. “The truth is, we didn’t meet at the Holi festival by chance. The first time I saw you, I was sitting in this very spot. I caught your reflection in the mirror as you passed by. You were impossible to miss – tall, sandy blond hair, looking more like you should be shooting surfers in Sydney than at a Hindu celebration.”

I tell you that I knew I was too plain to capture your attention and how I assumed you were there to photograph the festivities, so I searched for you in the crowds, hoping that the color, the magic of Holi would bring you to me. I tell you how happy I was that I was right and that I would marry you all over again.

You look a little teary, so I lament about how much my reflection has changed, and how you’ve aged so much better than I.

You stroke what’s left of my hair gently and tell me that I still look good to you, because you really are the same, sweet boy I fell in love with in Bombay.

We talk about how much has happened over the years and how gratifying it has been to live life to the fullest, to love one another with abandon.

Then, we return to the Holi festival of our youth, and, amidst the fountains of colorful gulal blooming around us, I mark you with red kumkum powder, signifying you are mine.

I wake up wiping away tears, still wishing that, all those years ago, I’d had the courage to say hello.

Round 134: Winners

Posted: April 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

Happy Tuesday, friends! Before we get to the winners, I have a quick announcement. Due to an exceptionally busy second half of the month, The Angry Hourglass will be taking a brief hiatus while I wrangle my life back into a functional order. Flash Frenzy will resume May 6.

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who submitted work this past weekend, and I tip my hat to those of you who completed the special challenge. Thanks also to Jaime for issuing the challenge and judging the results. You’ll find his top picks below.

Hey folks! First off I just wanted to say it’s a pleasure being back to be a judge here. It’s a great opportunity to read new works and see new talents. This round delivered just that, as well as some flash gems. Thank you to everyone who participated!

3rd Place: ewansmithxxx – “Dream Job”

I’m a sucker for stories that are just dialogue (hence this week’s challenge), so thanks to Ewan we’re given a nifty spin on a scandal. The gloves and the countdown were nice touches, sir!

2nd Place: Stella Turner – “Traveling in the Heat”

The letter format was the obvious thing that stood out about it. The way it developed onward from its seemingly innocent beginning, however, is the real payoff. And the sign off.

And our Round 134 FLASH MASTER is..

FLASH MASTER

KM Zafari

with

“Festival of Love”

I’m always hopeful of reading fresh and inspiring works whenever I judge. I didn’t expect to be knocked on my ass with a final sentence like that. Engaging, romantic, and heartbreaking. Excellent job on this one.

Congratulations, K.M.! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

And that’s it! A short, sweet winners post before our short, hopefully sweet break. I hope everyone will check back in a few weeks for Round 135. In the meantime, satisfy your thirst for fiction by checking out THE INFERNAL CLOCK.  Cheers!

Happy Saturday, writers! Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 134. This weekend, Jaime Burchardt is your judge, and he has issued a special challenge: writers are encouraged (but not required) to submit stories composed entirely of dialogue.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

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photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Man Toes

by Rebekah Postupak

“You have man toes!” he said.

I don’t think he’d meant it to come out quite like that; his words tumbled to the ground between us with vaguely disappointed surprise, like the face of someone who’s just been shot.

“So do you,” I said.

“But—”

“Also, yours smell bad,” I said, “while mine currently smell like rose petals.”

He didn’t say anything, just kept staring at my toes, which I’d been wriggling enthusiastically in the Jamaican sand. Thirty-five dollars I’d spent on them, my first pedicure, and I fully intended to get my selfie money’s worth. My toes alone in sand, my toes in the sand with Caribbean waves lapping nearby, my toes and his toes wriggling in sand together framed by a “We’re Not Missing You At All” meme.

After a minute or two, though, he got up and wandered off in the direction of the bar, leaving me alone with my toes and Hercule Poirot, who was just launching into a speech about the underappreciated state of fine mustaches and who, were he here, would have made heavily accented disapproving noises in my new husband’s direction and ordered me another pina colada.

In honor of Poirot, I’d drunk three pina coladas and finished an entire Tropical Appetizer Platter for Two before my husband finally wandered back.

He said, “Dinner’s in an hour. You going?” even though we’d made our reservations for the Honeymoon Table (including the optional violin serenade) only that morning.

“We’ve got the Honeymoon Table! I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Oh.” He stood there for a while not looking at anything in particular. And then: “It’s probably going to be crowded.”

“No doubt,” I said, “which is why we reserved the Honeymoon Table.”

“I don’t know what to wear.”

“It’s black tie. You should wear a black tie, I’d guess.”

He fidgeted. “What are you going to wear?”

“My slinky red dress.”

“I mean, what shoes?”

“The matching red sandals.”

“Oh,” he said, turning to face the sea. The setting sun stretched his shadow long and dark across me, across my toes, across one day down, and thousands, so many thousands to go.

Happy Tuesday, writers! Thanks to everyone who wrote and submitted stories last weekend. I hope everyone enjoyed the free for all. Thanks also to David Shakes for judging the submissions. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Return of the Monster

“What’s on Your Coffee Table” would really make a genuinely decent show! Pitch it, Stephen, pitch it! The characters’ names hint at details unwritten and the playfully bizarre tone really appealed.

Man Toes

My first question would be – how did Rebekah come across this picture to begin with? A brilliantly woven tale, a slow reveal and expert writing as usual.

The Devil’s New Job

How cool of Carol to write a sequel to her fantastic THE INFERNAL CLOCK story and afford me the opportunity of plugging our new anthology! You don’t need to know the characters to enjoy this story – but it helps! Suitably creepy – loved the boxing up idea!

Overlooking The River

I remember writing a few years back that Patrick would be a writer to watch. This was wonderful in its imagery and the building tension, just to have the rug pulled. I so wish I could see that prompt. Nice one Patrick.

The Poet Goes to the Shops

Dirty carrots?! The poet’s lines, in isolation, contain some lovely phrases and ideas but in the context of the overall tale just add to the beautiful absurdity. A sketch waiting to be filmed I feel. Hilarious.

Big Richard

Where did those character names come from?! Great narrative voice and another (subtle) nod to our new anthology, THE INFERNAL CLOCK which is now available as a Kindle edition and a paperback. I really love this story – what more can I say? A great mix of genres, a strong narrative voice.

Dreams

Is it wrong that I can follow Steph’s line of thought from brick house, to little pigs to evil child? Maybe we’ve worked to closely on THE INFERNAL CLOCK (have I mentioned our anthology?!) I loved where this went. Dark as ever, Steph, very dark indeed.

Confessions of a Portal Guardian

I do like this Voima! The narrative is so good and the last paragraph’s moment of suspense is a brilliant way to end. We both like a portal don’t we? Recurring theme for you and I. Deft storytelling and most satisfying.

Painting Your Troubles Away

I hope that Angelique’s paintballing experience was the only real-life inspiration here! I loved the line:

Revenge would not be sweet, but salty, like her sweat and his tears.’

I may have to steal that at some point! Great twist with the punchbag and the tough (but not life-threatening) paintball plan. Well done Angelique.

 I AM A GOD

Oh unreliable narrator, what to make of you? Brian – you’ve written a good one here. The tone is perfect. I am still undecided – deluded nutter or fallen god? That’s what makes this a cracking tale. I know that Brian’s a marvel fan and this felt like Marvel movie humour – he knows that’s a compliment.

Wasn’t My Fault

I like the idea that Len from next door is the keeper of the lexicon for this salt of the earth narrator. The date of this little round did not escape Stella here and she used it to great comic effect. Obviously, this lot are from Coventry though – that sort of malarkey would never happen in Solihull darling!

Whenever I judge these things, commonalities begin to assert themselves. Great narrators and protagonists seemed to be a strong theme this week. Comedy in all its forms too. A great set of tales and impossible to judge on merit alone. I’ve gone from the gut:

2nd Runner Up:  Overlooking The River by Patrick Stahl for its imagery and poignant ending.

1st Runner Up: The Poet Goes to the Shops by Ewan Smith for the rhythm and juxtaposition in this one.

And our ROUND 133 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Rebekah Postupak

with

Man Toes

Rebekah is back with a show don’t tell tour de force!

Congratulations, Rebekah! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Thanks again to everyone who wrote and to Shakes for judging. Next weekend, Jaime Burchard returns to judge round 134. Hope to see you all there.

Happy Saturday, writers! It’s the first day of April, practical jokers abound, and for once I count myself among them. Best of luck to David Shakes who will be judging this weekend’s collection of rogue tales.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

THIS WEEKEND THERE IS NO PHOTO PROMPT! I WANT YOU TO WRITE YOUR BEST 360 WORD PIECE OF FLASH USING ANY INSPIRATION YOU FIND THIS WEEKEND! IT MAY BE OLD PHOTOS FROM THIS SITE, FROM ANOTHER FLASH COMPETITION, LYRICS FROM A SONG, A SCENE IN A MOVIE – ANYTHING GOES! EXTRA POINTS IF YOU POST YOUR OWN IMAGE ALONG WITH YOUR STORY. Have fun!!!

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BETRAYED!