Posts Tagged ‘rebekah postupak’

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.


“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.


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.


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…


Rebekah Postupak


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 Tuesday! In my post-call stupor I barely remembered I owed you all a winners post, so forgive my tardiness. Thanks to everyone who wrote stories this past weekend, and thanks much to Mark King for judging. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Thanks for all the fantastic stories this week. Like all judges, I await the image prompt hoping it’s going to be something different or interesting and I couldn’t wait to see what you did with this prompt. As always, your creativity and vision are something to behold.

Choosing is hard. It’s always a paper-thin decision. Another day might have generated a different set of podium finishers. Know that I enjoyed every one of the stories immensely.

The art form of flash fiction is very much alive and well.

Drums On The Broken River

Cheeky, fun and entertaining. I had a smile all the way through reading it. The banter from the wonderfully described Native American warriors was humorous and very well observed. I loved how the images were woven into the story.

Untitled / The Princess and the Dragon

Dragons? How I’ve missed them. Haven’t we all? This brought back so many fond memories of Flash! Friday and the incredible gift it gave to all of us. Thankfully, we have the Angry Hourglass to enjoy such creativity and storytelling as displayed in this fine tale. A lesson in etiquette and manners, but also a cleverly disguised ending. Poor dragon, then again, it was going to eat an entire herd of cows, so I guess I can’t feel too sorry for him.

Scents of Time

If anyone says that flash fiction can’t create worlds, characters, backstories and sensory imagery so rich you can taste, smell and touch them—point them right at this story. Very well done.

Fire Fighting

Creepy and unsettling. I had images of Backdraft running through my mind as I read it. The writing was tense and very precise with how it made the fire a living creature, stalking, and claiming its victim. I could imagine this being a film or the next must-see mini-series. Loved the double-meaning title.

The Judgement

Another wonderfully masked and cleverly disguised story. I thoroughly enjoyed the language and sense of dread and foreboding all the way through. As for the ending, it’s a feeling many of us know so well. Having said that, from the quality of the story, I very much doubt if the author gets many rejections.


This felt very personal and the passion of teaching (despite all the reasons not to do it) came through in waves of powerful emotion. This is how it must feel to be a teacher, a nurse, a police officer facing a world that seems to make the experience as unrewarding as possible – yet, there is always that hope of making a difference. Expertly crafted.

Cleansing Ritual

Brooding, intense and corrosive. I liked it very much.

Temple Tears

Wonderful world-building skills. It was almost like have a teleportation machine formed by 360 mighty fine words. I enjoyed not only the scenes, but the depth to the character/s and the journey they were on. I tip my hat to the author of this tale.

Lost in a Tenement Window

Such a great title. It immediately drew images before I had even read a word of the story. A wise technique for using those uncounted words to reach out to the reader and grab them. I loved this, “Uncurtained tenement windows hovered above, diamond adorned old lady fingers lingered below. The scent of recently lit lavender incense wafted through the air all around her. The clamor of a forgotten name inner city, echoed off the plaster walls and into the spiraling chambers of her panicky cochlea.”

Scratch-N-Sniff Story

Talking of titles… this one is a beauty. I do enjoy experimenting with form, and I loved the breathless opening and the linked sentences, the block of words almost adding physical weight to the story. The narrator unnerved me in a way that had me checking the windows looking for him (or her).

Temple Contemplation

I feel like I know Kev, with his memory cards full of pictures he’ll never do anything with. Kev is the tourist that goes unnoticed in almost every part of the world. The writing draws great comparisons between Kev’s temple experience and through the art of showing we learn about his own life and his views on the world. Here’s to you, Kev. Very nicely done.

Moving On

Excellent story. From the revelation of the medium through to the spine-tingling (yes, it really did give me the jitters) ending. This had tinges of some of the best short horror stories. Well done.

Titanium and Supplication

Imagination and creativity in abundance. The choice of a sci-fi genre was unexpected but highly enjoyable. Some great names and I think the author should get a patent on Popping Penguins, it sounds like the next big app.

A Girl Named Euphoria

Euphoria, what a great idea and character. I think there is a whole range of possibilities in this character and the stories she could tell from those that come to see her. I’d happily read many, many more tales like this one.

Honourable Mention: For Untitled / The Princess and The Dragon by Rebekah Postupak. I loved the story, but it also reminded me of so many wonderful times and stories from the gone (but not forgotten) land of dragons.

Second RU: Scents of Time by Firdaus Parvez. For the brilliance of transporting me to a different world.

First RU: Cleansing Ritual David Shakes. Brutal, urgent and perfect for the modern world we’ve found ourselves in this last year.

And our Round 125 FLASH MASTER is…


 Steph Ellis

with Staying

Because it had heart, voice, realism and despite everything, hope.

Congratulatins, Steph! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! I hope to see you all next weekend when Firdaus Parvez takes her first shot at judging. Have a great week!

Hello writers. Happy Tuesday. It’s snowpocalypse 2017 at Angry Hourglass HQ, so I hope everyone is staying warm. Thanks to everyone who submitted stories this past weekend, and thanks much to Jaime Burchardt for volunteering his time to judge. You’ll find his top picks and comments below.

Welcome to the first Angry Hourglass Frenzy of 2017! I love that it’s the new year, and I love that none of you made this easy. In fact this may have been the most difficult time I’ve had judging these flash stories due to the fact that you all submitted worthy pieces! Picking just three wasn’t easy, so before we continue I just want to give a bow to all of you. Thank you for your submissions!

3rd Place

“It-” by Rebekah Postupak: This is a story that paints a pretty & tragic story all within its flash walls and the details cannot be denied.

2nd Place

“Them Apples” by zevonesque: I’m a sucker for a one-punch ending, and in this case the rest of the story had the pacing & pleasantness to lead. A nice, detailed and easy-flowing read gives Them Apples its legs.

And our  Round 121 FLASH MASTER is…


Ewan Smith



The wind-up, the pitch, and…what are they chanting about? I found myself clapping at the end of this in sheer joy. Love the dialogue, love the obvious care that went into its crafting. A winner in every sense.

Congratulations, Ewan! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s Hump Day Quickie. Next weekend, Flash Master extraordinaire Steph Ellis is back in the judge’s seat. Stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll see you all on Saturday!

The Costume
by Rebekah Postupak

I’m dressing for Halloween, getting my shimmer on.

“Looking good,” says Shen, but my roommate’s not actually looking at me. Amir’s coming over in an hour. They’re going as Barack and Michelle and will be handing out “Please Vote!” stickers. Cute.

My eyes are larger now, emerald, with gold specks and sultry long lashes. Shen will be gone by the time I’m done. She won’t see that they also glow in the dark. She never sees me anyway.

Not really.

“You coming to the party?” Shen asks.

“What party?” It’s a joke; I know what party she means, the big one that requires tickets and nepotism, neither of which I have. Maybe she’ll invite me.

When hell freezes over, I’m thinking.

Shen laughs, twirling in her one-shoulder inauguration white. “You’re so weird,” she says.

I’m working on my hood now, pulling and stretching black skin tight over my head. The pain almost feels good, liberating in a way that the other 364 days of loneliness can’t match. Soon my landfill-colored mop of hair, my acne-bombarded skin have vanished. Shen’s mirror tells me I look sleeker. Exotic.


The slamming door is my only clue she’s gone; Amir must have texted from downstairs. Shen’s a thoughtful person, normally, volunteering at shelters, donating blood and the like; but she doesn’t know what to do with me. I don’t blame her.

I don’t know what to do with myself, either.

Darkness floods the city: at last I am ready. In the street are a peanut butter-and-jelly pair, a clown and a Freddie, a whoever-the-latest-Disney-princess-is, all chattering away, cramming their mouths and hearts in comforting sugared bliss.

They don’t see me balancing on the balcony.

They don’t see me stretching out my wings, plunging into the air, soaring over their ordinary, oblivious heads.

They don’t hear me, now a mile, five miles, fifty miles up, roaring my freedom among the stars, dancing with Casseopeia, dodging Orion, wrestling serpents with Ophiuchus.

And they won’t see me tomorrow, either, when Halloween is over and I wrench my cursed, outcast human costume back on.

But oh, for one brief moment–

one beautiful, perfect moment–

I shimmer.

Hello and welcome back. It’s good to see you all here again. I’d like to say thank you to all the writers who posted stories this weekend. I thought the multi-photo format would be a fun challenge, and I’m glad to see others liked it as well. You may see this format again in the future. Thanks also to Jaime Burchardt for judging the trick or treat kick off. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Just want to say, I’m really glad AH is back in full swing, and I loved this new format! And I’m glad it started off with a bunch of solid stories all around. This, folks, was not easy.

2nd Runner Up: zevonesque – “Time Flies”

The experience of an emotional rollercoaster in 360 words. It’s glorious when it’s done right. Solid job.

1st Runner Up: Steph Ellis – “Canvas”

I felt like the sole purpose of this story was to reach a unique level creepiness, and by god it did. It really did. Well done.

And our Trick or Treat FLASH MASTER is…


Rebekah Postupak

with “The Costume”

Just wonderfully told all around. It’s well paced, intriguing and the ending’s caliber is one of a true storyteller.

Congratulations, Rebekah! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Thank you again, Jaime, for judging this round’s entries. Next weekend, Marie McKay presides over the return of Flash Frenzy. Hope to see you all there.

Hey all! Sorry for the late post; I’m packing and getting ready for a writers retreat so this will be short. Thanks to everyone who came out to write this past weekend and thanks a million times to Rebekah Postupak for judging.

Comments: Eyes hidden by hair, our prompt woman is dressed in black and white and is surrounded by bars and locks. It’s no surprise that her mysteries called to the mysteries in your own hearts, expressed in gritty noir tales, tales of hair, clever repartee and bleeding lines of dark poetry. With, apparently, a ironic secondary sub-contest (subversive contest??) for stories with the fewest words. A delight, as ever. Thank you for so generously pouring your stories into my thirsty imagination.

Honorable Mention

Rouge et Noir by Holly Geely: I love the fine line this story walks between wit and slapstick, between self-deprecation and utter arrogance. This is one of those wonderful flash pieces that makes one wish it were the beginning of a whole novel. Great fun.

Runner Up

Last Words First byRichard Edenfield: The world-building here was just wonderful: a world in which citizens are given a limited number of words to use in a lifetime. What I particularly liked about this piece was how the story didn’t rely on that concept to tell the story; instead, it plunged into the heart of a woman whose mind and heart harbored a canyon, a galaxy, of words. Some really good character development here, and I love how she ultimately finds a way to beat the system. Strong storytelling, engaging concept, and a textured character. Great work all round.

And our Round 82 FLASH MASTER is… 


Marie McKay

with Gone

It’s the last line that did me in: “But I knew in my monochrome heart the colour had gone; the black and white of me was all there was left.” It’s wonderful, sophisticated layering, turning a photographer’s impression into a metaphor beyond that. I love the story’s simplicity, its starkness, what isn’t said. There’s so much we aren’t told. Instead we are given the heartbreaking privilege of seeing inside the pain of the bereaved person, the inverse of the typical death story, the wrong side of the embroidery, so to speak. It almost feels as though we have invaded sacred space, and like the mother, we are forced to stand, sorrowing and helpless. Beautiful, breathtaking storytelling. 

Congratulations, Marie! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! This weekend there will be a short break due to the aforementioned retreat, but we’ll be back Halloween Weekend with David Shakes as our judge. Thanks again, Rebekah for judging this round. I hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you for Round 83.

Welcome back. It’s time for Round 82, and this weekend Rebekah Postupak is back in the judge’s seat.

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


by Rebekah Postupak

“Coffee?” A wordless nod; I poured. The coffee was cold and the mug had pink fuzz growing in one corner, but she wouldn’t notice. “Sunny out?”

Another nod.

“It’ll be autumn soon.”

She shrugged. “So?”

“Pumpkin season!”

Now she laughed. “You think that still matters?”

“It used to.”

“If it still mattered, the earth would be overrun with pumpkins by now. And even then, they would be sought after like diamonds. Like gold.”

“There’s always lattes.”

“Pshhh. Artificially flavored.”

“Cynic! And I suppose you think everyone today should be a cobbler.”

“No; but it would be nice if shoes were made by humans rather than faceless machines. Shoes today have no soul.”

“No sole? Now look who’s funny.”

“I mean it. People care more about the label than the fit. It’s not what shoe they’re wearing; it’s what shoe everyone else is wearing. They don’t even care where they’re going.”

“You think glass was any better?”

For the first time I caught a tiny flash. “Some thought so. Once.”

“Tastes change.”

“No. I mean, yes, they do, but—“

“People change.”

“They didn’t used to.”

“Forgive me; I’m having a little trouble untangling your complaint. You’re clearly upset, but I’m no trickster. You got everything you asked for, down to the tiniest clause. Isn’t that right?”


“It never failed you.”


“Your subjects won their princes, exchanged ash heaps and cottages for palaces and happy ever afters. They conquered dragons, led armies, changed the course of history.”

“Yes. Yes, all of that. Every time.”

“And after that, they multiplied, just as you hoped.”

“Yes, they did.”

“I’ve read the reports: you’ve a hundred million Snow Whites. Five hundred thousand Auroras. At last count, three hundred million Cinderellas, and—correct me if I’m wrong—three billion Princes Charming.”

“Yes. Those numbers are right.”

“Again, please forgive me, but I just don’t follow. What is the nature of your complaint?”

The godmother’s eyes stared back at me, hollow. “I don’t know,” she said, the whisper in her voice echoing theswish of the wand as it fell.

Winners! We’ve got winners! Many thanks to everybody who submitted stories this past weekend, and thanks again to Brett Milam for undertaking the task of judging. He’s got a comments for HMs as well as his top choices, so let’s get to them.

I’m excited for my first chance to judge a collection of lovely flash fiction based on an interesting photo prompt from Ashwin Rao, so thank you all for lending your fingertips, brains and ink (or uh, binary code arrangements) to this week’s contest! But enough with my sanctimonious preamble! Let’s jump right into the winning entries.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Foy S. Iver, “Epicurean,”: Oooh, this one is gritty and bloody and interesting. It’s a short tale, but in the span of it, the grit comes in spades. I particularly liked the play on words of “rather eat crow than human heart.” The closing line brought the grit home and solidified it. Well done, I liked this a lot.

Richarde Denfield, “Moonlight Surfing,”: Such a unique yarn weaved here. The opening sentence brought me right into the scene and the senses of the surfer. The analogy with writing and doing it during highly-intense situations added another layer of intrigue to this story (as did bringing in examples of classic literary giants as surfers). This is  well-paced story with a confident vibe to it, tightly, but beautifully written.

Caitlin Gramley, “Queen of the Cyber Wars,”: Nietzsche said it was his ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book. There’s something palpable to brevity when done right, especially in the context of an already limited-word genre, like flash fiction. In this case, you’ve said in six words what others utilized another 354 words to accomplish. But I like it because it’s apropos of the prompt and it says everything in those six words. And now I’ve already gone on over 12 times longer than the story, so I’ll stop.

Fourth place:

Marie McKay, “Modern”: Just a brutal, albeit brief piece. The tone is set right there in the opening with “long limbs and latticed teeth; prom night and cigarettes.” There’s an interesting tone of dispassionate conveying of what it means to occupy space in the “modern” time. “You-will-if-you-love-me,” said too loudly” is great. And the closing line is a dagger. It’s a piece I’d love to spend more time with, exploring those characters in that moment, but I think it works as is it stands.

Third place:

David Shakes (untitled): Much like Gramley’s six-word piece, I dig people playing with the format and shaking it up (lol “shaking it up”…Shakes…moving along…) a bit, so that in itself wins points per my tastes, but of course, I’m also after a good story and David produced that here with some biting social critique based on the photo prompt. I particularly enjoyed, “the vacuous given gravity and we smile at the screen and empty ourselves into binary code.” Nicely done.

Second place:

Voimaoy, “The Firefly Princesses,”: Brilliant juxtaposition of generations, where by the end, I, too, long for the generation before the allure of the bright phones and especially in a time where Romeo goes unknown. And, “The Universe laughs out loud,” is a brilliant closing line on multiples levels. But it’s worth returning to the previous generation bit of the piece; it’s just lovely, confident writing with great descriptions, which helps with the contrast to today. Well done.

And our Round 79 FLASH MASTER is…


Rebekah Postupak

with Dreammaker

Quite the piece to unpack, as I found it a carefully crafted and clever, but a tight meditation on life, society and of course, dreams and ambitions. I’m particularly impressed that the entire piece is carried by believable, realistic dialogue that still, nevertheless, moves at a quick pace. There’s no need for diversions of heavy descriptions or action scenes. Everything we need is right here in the back and forth. I found this to be another piece that gets beyond the obvious implications of the photo prompt. I appreciated that aspect. Well done, Rebekah.

Congratulations, Rebekah! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s Humpday quickie! Next weekend, AV Laidlaw returns to judge Flash Frenzy Round 80! Keep your eyes on your inboxes, Flash Dogs. I’ll be soliciting judges for next month later this week, and, as always, volunteers are welcome. See you next week.