Posts Tagged ‘Brian S Creek’

Hello and welcome to the Round 104 winners post! Thanks to everybody who wrote stories last weekend, and thanks also to Voima Oy for judging. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

Greetings again. I am so happy to judge Round 104 of Angry Hourglass. Thanks to Rebecca for having me, and thank you again Mark A. King, for filling in for me the last time, when I was sick. Thank you, Ashwin Rao, for the inspiring photo. This image offered such intriguing possibilities. Is Sand Point a place, a state of mind? I am impressed by all the stories. Well-done, everyone!

Here are my comments—

Sand Point–There is so much packed into this story. What a strange town, and what a quirky cast of characters! Wonderfully inventive. I love the pub names—Fox and Astronaut, Duck and Prime Minister and the Haunted Poacher. Then, there is a disturbing turn, an apparent murder. We are left with a mystery. Yes, I want to read more….

Monstery, I Guess– Dialogue and description tell this weird tale. From the first line of dialogue–“There’s a monster in the garage,” to the enigmatic ending, it gets really scary, really fast.

Always–What a beautiful piece of writing. It is a prose poem, “a life like any other’ in so few words. So many wonderful lines here!

Dull Eyes–A haunting story about a desolate place of beach bums and stray dogs. Tristan drives the Maserati into the sea. No explanation is offered. It has a feel of magic realism, horror and mystery.

The End at the Beginning–The dialogue tells the story within the story–“Because if I hadn’t written all those damned Sand Point novels, if I hadn’t leaked some of that world into this one, then maybe the doorways wouldn’t have started closing.” And, a wonderful ending.

Business at Sand Point–In this story, a sea gull is the sole witness to a scene of brutal violence and murder. There is intense, vivid description, yet we witness the grisly business at a distance. There are no names, no dialogue. The final image is unflinching and unforgettable.

Here be Monsters–Is it just a story that there is a monster that haunts the town of Sand Point?

Could there be a real monster? Is the narrator insane? What happened to Jacky and the parents? This story gave me chills!

Working Things Out–How quickly things fall apart in this desolate town. This story of a father and daughter is beautifully told–working through loss, hoping for a better future. There is saving, in more ways than one.

Destination Sandpoint–There is an uncanny feel to this story. Who is this client? What kind of place is this Sand Point? Who goes there, and why? The story becomes more and more disturbing. Is it a dream or a nightmare?

What I would Tell You–This is a story of dreams and memories. Although there is a dreamlike quality, the descriptions make it seem so real and solid. It is sad and very beautiful. The ending is breathtaking!

Return to Sand Point–Due to a family obligation, the narrator returns to his home town after many years. Much as he would like to forget Daniel and Lucy and what happened years ago, his return brings him back to that time and place, where it seemed like nothing happened.

Favorite Lines–

Sand Point–In the graveyard, a gentle breeze disturbed a mole, who raised his head and twitched his delightful nose, while his eyes and ears remained alert for the arrival of the gravedigger or (less likely) a zombie….

Monstery, I Guess–Rosalie had to fight it off with a large blunt object that turned out to be her right arm.

Always–the invisible words we drew just beneath breath

Dull Eyes–Water gasped surprise as the tires soaked into the fresh tide surf, no stop, no stop, water flooding the exhaust, sputtering, diving into the incoming wave, coasting into complete submersion, salt staining the leather interior, splashing Tristan’s face as he instinctively held his breath, then eased it out and the car disappeared into the ocean’s welcoming embrace.

The End at the Beginning–I hear the sound of the fairground and smell the ocean.

Business at Sand Point–They don’t talk. It isn’t quick.

Here be Monsters–“I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, it’s just a story, nothing more.”

Working Things Out–The house was full of absence now.

Destination Sandpoint–“You’ve been before, perhaps?” the woman asked. “A satisfied customer?”

What I Would Tell You—And then I wake up. And I am broken. And yet I am whole.

Return to Sand Point–To try and forget Lucy and Daniel again and the events of that sticky summer evening.

And now, the winners–

Honorable Mentions–

Sand Point by Steve Lodge –quirky and imaginative

What I Would Tell You by Casey Rose Frank–sad and hopeful –beautiful writing

2nd Runner Up–

Destination Sandpoint–uncanny and unsettling

1st runner Up–

The End at the Beginning by Brian S Creek–Evocative storytelling. Marvelous ending.

And our Round 104 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

David Shakes

with

Business at Sand Point

For it’s brilliant POV, unflinching storytelling, and unforgettable imagery.

Congratulations, Shakes! Your story will be featured as this week’s HumpDay Quickie! Next weekend, AJ Walker returns for another round in the judge’s seat. Hope to see you all there. 

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Tuesday? Already? Long weekends are lovely, but they definitely make it tough to get back on track. For those of you who celebrated Labor Day, I hope you enjoyed your extra day. I spent mine traveling to visit my Swister and my nephew, Dib, who was kind enough to provide this week’s photo prompt. Karl had the duty of sifting thru the gold to find the shiniest nuggets, and you’ll find them below.

Children’s drawings can be an enlightening window into a strange, half remembered world. They reveal fears, hopes, dreams and misunderstandings and can give the viewer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the artist’s world.

They can also reveal what scary little buggers kids can be.

Flash fiction can often work the same way, little slices of deeper insight that reveals as much about the author as the world and the characters they create.

And you can be scary little buggers too…

With such a wonderful prompt, we had a wide range of interpretations and I found something to love in all of them. But there can only be so many winners each week, so here goes with mine:

HM: The Special One by A.J. Walker

The creepiest of this week’s kids, acting with a self-assured malevolence to remove a rival, with a killer last line that reveals the true depth of his depravity and makes you fear for his future.

HM: Inside Out by F.E Clark

My own daughter is obsessed with the inside of things, and an early morning walk down the high street can take much longer than expected as she pauses to peer into every shuttered shop front and darkly inviting letter box. Co-opting the title of the Pixar movie for a far more sinister tale, F.E. takes this harmless activity and twists it into something altogether more worrying.

Second Runner Up: Tummy Full Of Monsters By Brian S. Creek

With a title like that and an entirely believable innocence, I expected a scare at the end, but instead got a reassuringly homely tale about the amazing efficacy of “pink medicine.” I’ve never heard of Calpol being used to combat the monsters under the bed, but I may get myself a bottle, just in case…

First Runner Up: Moon Acid in Frolicking Bourbon Cemetery Singing I Want To Be Sedated With Tyrone Power by Richard Edenfield

Swerving the kids altogether and kicking off with an intriguingly unwieldy title, Richard gives us a twisted tale of debauchery that recalls Fear & Loathing and Less Than Zero. Probably the most original take on the prompt this week, the format suggests a world both before and after the snapshot presented here and one which I would love to see more of.

And your Flash Master for the week is…

FLASH MASTER
Steph Ellis

with Georgie

We finish as we started, with a very scary child. Told from the viewpoint of a ghost left behind when his resting place is relocated, Georgie gives us a likeable, sympathetic protagonist and seems to be pitting him against a far more malevolent spirit. Steph expertly misdirects us, leading us to expect a confrontation with The Man before revealing that the real monster is the much more mundane Mr Wilson, and suggesting a coalition of spectral forces that will take his well-deserved torment to terrifying new levels.

Congratulations, Steph! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!  Thanks again to everyone who submitted this weekend, and thanks to Karl for judging. Next weekend, The Angry Hourglass gets some love from Rebekah Postupak of Flash! Friday fame as she descends from her dragony throne to walk among mortals and judge our flash fiction offerings. See you on Saturday!

Happy Tuesday! I’m typing this as quickly as I can to bring you winners before I get called off to another procedure. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who volunteers their time for judging. Without you, there would be no Flash Frenzy. This past weekend, Brian Creek stepped up and here is what he had to say:

I’ve just come back from a nice, long weekend with my family on the Isle of Wight, and the last thing I want to do is think about going back to work tomorrow. So what better to occupy me on this miserable, cloudy day at home than judging the fantastic stories over at the Hourglass?

I’ll be honest now and say that I would have struggled with the prompt this week so big pat on the back to everyone who laughed in the face of the teacup and said, “Hey! I’ve got an idea.”

Shall we begin?

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HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Most Meta Award

Saturday Conversation’ – Geoff Holme

Is this Geoff’s actual idea from the prompt or, as the story states, just his way of dealing with the lack of an idea? Who cares when the dialogue is this funny? Loved how it meandered, much like the mind can, from the photo to the photographer to a devious plot for Flash Fiction domination.

Less Is More Award

‘Summer Quest’ – Caitlin Gramley

Catlin played with the format and only used one third of the allowed word count but it all works brilliantly. My favourite thing was the outside-the-box take on the prompt, using the cup to represent the carnival ride.

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3rd PLACE

‘Tea Time’ – Brady Koch

Some of my favourite pieces of Flash Fiction are the ones that frustrate me for the first half before something is revealed that makes everything click. ‘Tea Time’ did just that as I lost track of characters and thought the piece had a certain lack of edit. And then, when it’s revealed exactly what our character is up to, the reread was vastly improved. A what a dark, twisted story it is too.

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2nd PLACE

‘Tea, Robots, And Biscuits’ – Sal Page

This piece had sci-fi lightly dripped throughout with things like SkyTrains, UtiliMugs, and LifeTab, but nothing ever needed explaining, nothing took you out of the story. And what a beautiful story it is, a moment between distant generations and how, despite advances in technology, some things still remain the same (I’m a three biscuit man myself).

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And our Round 69 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

AV Laidlaw

with

‘Bluebird’

 

This story screams bigger universe, an alternate history where magic was used to win World War 2.

The story is built at a nice pace, with details dropped in every few steps. There’s sadness to the character of Majestik; once powerful, but now reduced to performing parlour tricks at kids parties, all the while trying to stay off the governments radar. But he’s still sharp, spotting the agent sent to watch him with ease, and perhaps treating the interruption as a sort of game. A sort of Harry Potter meets gentleman spy.

And who wouldn’t like to see the mighty Majestik take on the German tanks in North Africa? In 355 words, this story makes me want to see the bigger world, the bigger history, and find out more about a potentially great character.

Congratulations, AV! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.

Next weekend, David Shakes returns to the judge’s seat. Hope to see you all there.

Welcome back! It’s a new weekend, and I’ve got a shiny new prompt for you all. Brian S. Creek, Flash Dog Extraordinaire, will be judging this week’s entries.

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, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Good evening, friends.

Many thanks for your patience. I was traveling today and just now sat down to an internet connection. Many thanks also to Clive Tern for reading and judging stories this week. You’ll find his top picks below:

Third Place – Dumped by  Sal Page

This is a sweet coming of age story, and achieves a lot in a tight space. We have the background, the action, and the final result. What I liked was the sense of real-ness which shone through, the crispness of memory from a childhood even which left deep impressions. Though it was left unsaid, it was impossible not to feel the ache the narrators chest.

Second Place

Somethin’ Stupid by Brian S. Creek

For me this was the most complete story of those submitted. I liked that way the story turned with the line that started so casually, ‘Or in layman’s terms…’. The use of a dead narrator is not one I enjoy, but here I felt it was put to good effect, allowing us to follow the intimacy of the violence, while maintaining the objectivity the narrator established from the start.

And our Flash Frenzy Round 66 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Steph Ellis

with

Lost in Transmission

I love this story. The horrific-ness of the premise, to have our inner thought open for public consumption, is exquisite. But beyond that we are given a credible reason for how and why it happens, and why it can’t be stopped. The detail of how it affects the narrator’s life are real and sympathy inducing, as is the discovery that this new technology is not the wondrous thing first envisaged.

Congratulations, Steph! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.

Next weekend, F.E. Clark will be acting judge. Hope to see you all there. 🙂

Hello, all. Welcome back. We’ve got two prizes to award this afternoon. I’d like to thank everybody who submitted stories this weekend, as well as Brian S. Creek and David Shakes for judging.

First up, we have Brian’s top picks.

What a great way to end the Easter Weekend; a nice quiet house, a chilled Easter egg and 18 pieces of Flash Fiction to judge.

Big thanks to all those that took part. As always it’s a pleasure to read your writings and I love seeing where different minds take the same starting point.
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Honourable Mentions

UNDER THE LOWERING SUN (AJ Walker)

I really like the casual feeling to this piece; how relaxed the main character is as they reminisce and enjoy the surrounding all the while carrying out a dastardly deed.

SANDCASTLES (Dave James Ashton)

A lot of the tales this week were sad or quiet dark. This one stood out for its humour. I’ll be honest and say that I learnt a new word today (franger). I finished the story and stumbled on this word. But, like a good punch line, once Google enlightened me, I was in stitches.
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3rd place – MISSING (mariemck1)

I’ve said before that a result in a Flash Fiction contest can depend on the judge. This story is a perfect example as I found myself fully understanding the panic of the main character. Although I’ve thankfully never had to experience the heart breaking loss of a child, I don’t think this one would have resonated as much with me had I not been a parent.

It’s well written, well-paced and I love the counting of the minutes at the end; the incredible speed in which something can go horrible wrong.
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2nd place – MANHUNT (Alicia VanNoy Call)

If you know my writing then you know it’s difficult for me to produce a story without some kind of sci-fi angle. I enjoyed reading MANHUNT because it felt like a story I would have written.

Of course that wasn’t the only great thing about it. The writing was excellent too. The author crams in just enough about the tech to illuminate us with it being an info dump. The last line shows the confidence the main character has. He/she doesn’t panic, doesn’t complain. They’re on the run and that’s all there is. The reader is left like a witness to the event; this three minute oddity is all they see with no idea who the person suddenly appearing is or where they go next. Brilliant.
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And your Round 62 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Voima Oy

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

This one screamed winner the second I finished it. I can’t help but love a story that forces a characters voice into my head. This piece with its fantastic dialogue did just that.

Everything comes across in the voice; the character starts in a relaxing manner (“It will feel like a tickle, a summer breeze”) and throws around conversation regarding the evening in question (“My, they’re having a party in there”). But there comes a little impatience towards the end as the purpose of the regression is revealed (Try and remember, Pierre, who did you see?).

This is a well-executed story.

Congratulations, Voima! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

And now for our second award.

 The golden ticket entries were read and judged by FlashDog David Shakes.

goldenticket

My winner is ‘A Little Off The Edges’ by Blackburn. A subtle tale that offers more on second reading. Disarmingly simple, there’s a lot to glean between the lines too. The small details pack quite an emotional punch in a way that was entirely different from the other three. Relationships, world views and surfing. Plus, they’re right – worldwide the blue sea glass is the sweetest find!

Congratulations Blackburn!

There is already talk of a Flash Dogs Anthology Volume 3, so if you’re not on deck for Volume 2 don’t fret. Keep participating in flash challenges (The Angry Hourglass, Flash! Friday, Finish That Thought, Micro Bookends, Luminous Creatures, Flash Mob, etc…), use the #flashdogs hashtag, and keep being part of the online flash fiction community.

That’s all for this week. Next weekend Rebekah Postupak of Flash! Friday fame will be joining us as judge. Hope to see you all there.

STRANGER THINGS

by Brian S Creek

He rolls off of me, off the bed, and walks over to my bedroom window.

My friend Charlotte said it hurt her the first time. She had me so worried but that didn’t hurt at all.

That. Was. Amazing.

He was gentle and caring. I’m pretty sure I had my first orgasm too. I’m still tingling. God, I want to do it again.

“What’s that?”

I reluctantly take my eyes off his perfect butt. “What’s what?”

“That.”

I grab the covers as a makeshift dress and join him at the window. He’s pointing to the back half of a car that sits beside the garage like some kind of abstract ornament.

“That’s my dad’s car,” I say. “I mean it was. I mean, it’s what’s left.”

“Where’s the rest?”

“No one knows.”

He turns and looks at me then with real thought in his eyes, like he’s solved a complicated equation but he’s worried that he’s wrong.

“The Golden Gate Bridge?” he finally offers.

I forget that my dad wasn’t the only one who disappeared that day. I nod.

“I lost my brother,” he says. “Crazy, right?”

My heart skips. Like the bond we’d just shared then and there on the bed wasn’t enough, we now have something else, something beyond reason. It wasn’t just our bodies that had merged; our history was linked too.

His arms envelope me and I feel safer than I ever have done before.

“Maybe if they did end up somewhere else and they’re still alive, maybe they’ve met. Maybe they’re taking care of each other.”

“Stranger things,” he mumbles.

I feel his arms relax and he lets go.

“I’d better go,” he says.

“Okay.” I try to hide the disappointment. I was still hoping for round two. I sit on the bed and watch him get dressed. He doesn’t look happy anymore. There’s something weighing him down.

“I’ll see you,” he says. A peck on the cheek and he’s out the door.