Posts Tagged ‘Rob Knipe’

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the Round 106 Winners post. Thanks to everybody who wrote stories last weekend and to Rob Knipe who did an admirable job as a first time judge. You’ll find his comments below.

This is the first time I’ve ever judged anything, more or less. I’ve inspected things and made sure that they’re all done to a certain standard, but this was far harder than pointing out a build up of carbon and telling someone to bring it back when it’s clean. Two things you should know, I use smiley’s way too often, and sometimes I write a joke in a story then have to delete the smiley at the end of it. I smile too much, and I put them everywhere. Apologies in advance.

Some great stuff here. I was going to do some HMs and 1st and 2nd, but thought they all deserved something.

So thanks for submitting and making my life more difficult that I usually find it!

Judged blind, I’ve matched up the names afterwards.

Take This Cup From Me by Julia Handel: Is it going to be a happy and joyous time for Michael, or is everything about to go wrong? I want to know! I’m not surprised he’s looking forward to a return to the peaceful world of food, drink and pleasant company – sounds ideal!

Favourite Line: “Arthritic hands clawed toward the Candidate, grabbing at salvation.” – An excellent visual, really like this line. Also, was Sinister, Dexter a reference to the 2000AD stories by Dan Abnett and co?

The Eiffle Tower in my French Roast at Starbucks with Thoreau by Richard Edenfield: Very poetic piece this. Some nice description and visualisation in here, and it feels almost dream-like when you’re reading it… or dreaming it?

Favourite line:  “Things don’t change, we change. If the world is getting warmer… it is because we are becoming colder.” – Very thought provoking like that too, you could imagine Socrates or someone saying that.

The Haunted Man by Stephellis2013: Sinister! I thought this was along the lines of someone suffering from PTSD, so only clicked that he’s a killer towards the end! Bravo! I liked the dark moodiness of this piece, and the fact that it did catch me off guard.

Favourite Line: “At night it was easier, the streets were empty and he could take his ghosts and drown them in the dark; alcohol subdued most but not all of his demons.” – I know this feeling so well…

Fortunes by AV Laidlaw: It feels like there’s an inevitable outcome incoming from the very start, and I like how the Sight gives the narrator a premonition in such a discreet and minor way. Something minor for something major. Pretty sure this story could be used when telling people to slow down and enjoy life a little. 

Favourite Line: “He’s an English graduate working here until he finishes his novel.” – Even when finished, the struggle is relentless. So long as she never tells him that!

We Demand Frothy Coffee by Sal Page: I loved the plays on words – something I really do adore – and they made me laugh out loud. The consistent crazy in the writing is like a textualised Les Dawson piano tune – Marvellous!

“We want our bacon cooked correctly. The fat should be brown and crispy, not white and flappy.” – Amen, this a thousand times over!! If the bacon bends when you pick it up by one end, it’s not cooked yet.

About Last Night by Steve Lodge I’ve had nights like this, with less soiling, but similar embarrassments! I think Ellie is a catch! I think this is something most people can relate to in some way or another, have drink to steady nerves before meeting someone,  realise too late that you’re mashed. The bit about soda water, not cola made me laugh out loud.

Favourite Line: “Well, you know me. I was a bit nervous, so while I was getting ready I poured a largish drink as a livener to steady my nerves. On an empty stomach, big mistake.” – I can totally relate to this…

Excitable by Jeff Rowlands: Oh wow, the end of happiness goes with the end of the dream? I found this quite moving, and I like the idea that while he’s following his dreams, the Excitables are having a great time. Then he takes a bank job with spreadsheets, and projects and goals, and the Excitables leave one by one, until the final one does itself in. Gutting.

Favourite Line: “The last evidence that they had ever existed nothing more than a tear shaped indent in the foam on top of his coffee.” – Ouch!

The Harbinger by David Shakes: Death moves in mysterious ways… and in pubs. I like the thought of Death just wandering in, looking gaunt and not being too out of place. Kind of gives a good lesson too, don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Death could have been ill, naturally (or unnaturally?) skinny (like me 20 years ago…) when the narrator poked fun at him. Turns out he was death. Who got the last laugh? There’s a moral in there. I like it!

Favourite Line: “You wonder why I am telling you all this? Take a closer look at your coffee and try not to panic.” – Creeeeeepy last line. *note to self: don’t look at the foam on a coffee ever again.

Pocket Demon by Mariemk1:  Interesting idea that makes me want my own pocket demon, so that even when I’m alone, I wouldn’t truly be alone. That said, if the treacherous little swine ditched me, I think I’d want to crush his skeletal head between thumb and finger too!

Favourite Line: “And now, all that’s left for me is a pang where a red mark used to be.” Another gutting ending! The pangs are always worse!


I really like the idea of new beginnings and starting afresh and this story reminded me why. Everyone has some grim times, and sometimes the future can look terrifying, then some little things just fall into place and make anything seem possible again.

The Half-Life of Caffeine by A.J. Walker – I like that it starts off quite sad, and, like the breakdown of any relationship, it’s a bit gutting. Then, as it goes on, there’s hope, and there’s good in the world again. I was so glad it ended on a happy note! Bravo!
Favourite Line:  “The froth on the last coffee had been a pair of sunglasses. Just like Deborah’s. It was clear. A new chapter was beginning, much quicker than anticipated.” – It’s an ending with hope, because there’s ALWAYS a silver lining.


I chose this one because of my favourite line in it, and the build up to it. It could have ended right after ‘room’, because that line was so hideous. I could imagine the eyes of this fellow squinting in through the window while she’s there unsuspecting. SO CREEPY! Well played!

Our Round 106 FLASH MASTER is…


Mark A. King

with Loyalty Scheme

I read this as a sinister stalker type, and it made me more and more uncomfortable as it went on. It’s not too sinister, just a guy noticing things (a little creepily at times) about a girl he likes, until that one outstanding line… that just freaks me out! *shuts the curtains* 

Favourite Line:  “I know she likes to eat by herself and the glow of the TV screen makes her look like an angel in the dark abyss of her lonely room.” – Mein Gott! Why would you write this?! Brilliant and terrifying.

Well played everyone, and thanks for letting me judge!

Rob K

Congratulations, Mark! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie. Next weekend, Marie McKay returns to the judge’s seat. See you all there.

Hello again and welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 106. Please join me in welcoming Rob Knipe to his first weekend as judge.

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

Terror on the Tarmac

by Rob Knipe

The sun gleamed off the aircraft’s metallic underside. He could feel it radiating heat. His distorted reflection stared back, facial features recognisable, but askew. For a moment, his mirror-image appeared to smile, though he did not. He slowly reached out.
He hoped the thin veil that separates this world from the one so often reflected would hold out.
His hand inched closer to the fuselage.
Despite the heat, the metal surface was cold, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. The fingers of his image intertwined with his own and held him fast. He was being gently pulled.
The voice faded almost as soon as it began, whispered through an unseen mouth, from an unknown being.
His likeness’s expression remained passive as black tendrils grew from the edge of its face, spreading out until it was surrounded by an oval of thrashing tentacles. The blackness spread, covering its countenance until it ruptured toward him into row after row of pointed teeth, oscillating in a way that made him nauseous. Things moved beneath the gums that held the teeth, pressing out with stick thin appendages before moving off once more. A breeze grew from behind him until it was roaring past, trying to force him into the reflected horror before him, while his hand, now tangled with night black coils –
A hammering caught his attention.
Through the window of the terminal, his wife and son were waving him off, as they did every flight.
He waved.
If only they knew.
The hull of the plane had returned to how it should be. No monstrosities returned his gaze, no black tendrils ensnared him, and his reflection held the same concerned expression he did. Grasping the hot, plastic handle of his carry-on bag, he walked to the mobile stairs.

Captain Thornton sighed and rested her arm across the controls.
‘Problem, captain?’ David, the In-Flight Service Manager was leaning in the cockpit doorway.
‘It’s First Officer Johnson,’ said Thornton, adjusting her headset and starting the pre-flight checks, ‘he’s just been on the tarmac stroking the underbelly again.’
‘I swear he’s a narcissist. He stares into every mirror.’

Good morning, friends. Sorry again about the error with the photo this past weekend. I do my best to mark them with the round they’ve been used for, but occasionally one slips thru the cracks. Thanks to my astute writers who recognized the familiar prompt. Thanks also to CR Smith for judging the stories this weekend. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

I’ve spent a very pleasant afternoon reading all the entries and — let’s face it — they’re all outstanding, which makes choosing a winner all the more difficult; there really isn’t much between them. But a Flash Master must be crowned, so, before I get down to it, here’s a selection of my favourite lines.

Formaldehyde: The nursing home is a carapace of thoughts and cobwebbed memories; the rocking-chairs and statuesque invisible once-young.

Ongar-Bongar Cheese: …which led to acting-Factory Manager Ted Eagle’s concussion, memory loss and subsequent assertion that he won the hand in marriage of the village postwoman, Andrea Goodbody, at a quiz night in The Haunted Poacher in the neighbouring village of Lower Backache.

Knifecloud:She sits in an office chair, her fingers are her weapons: warmed with a cup of organic coffee from a place she’ll never visit.

The Dream of Icarus: But I remember the time before the Drought, when the aeroplanes flew on ribbons of cloud, the sunlight burnishing their wings.

Terror on the Tarmac: The blackness spread, covering its countenance until it ruptured toward him into row after row of pointed teeth, oscillating in a way that made him nauseous.

A Cautionary Tale: He reached out a little bit further, felt the cold metal beneath his skin, saw himself reflected in the panel, fading, disappearing. Gone.

Come Fly With Me: Those with window views marvel at the light of the sun on the clouds, the patterns of fields below, Lake Michigan like a mirror.

Reality Shifting: And only last week he saw a guy dressed the same as him on another of the bikes at the gym then realised it was him.

Little Birds: He identifies with the little birds that populate the airport, they could fly anywhere they want but they are happy with the pickings they get there, no need for them to move on to greener or more exotic climes.

Operation Prodigy: Military jets escorted the unidentified aircraft to a secure airstrip, the world’s media salivating at a 30 km radius.

The Talisman: He had his little rituals but they weren’t compulsive.

The Others: To some, the shade no longer exists — faded forgotten — its original planes and dimensions now flattened into a singular, thin sliver.

HM: Operation Prodigy Nice twist; children coming from the Bermuda Triangle to save the world.

3rd: The Talisman by Stella T: I liked the pacing of this and the foreboding. You just know that by Dan not performing his rituals, it’s going to end in disaster.

2nd: A Cautionary Tail by Steph Ellis: Ah! That desire to touch something you shouldn’t; it always wins out in the end. I like his cynicism at the whole thing being nothing but a money making exercise.

And our Round 102 FLASH MASTER is…


Rob Knipe


Terror on the Tarmac

Great idea of there being something living on the other side of a reflection. Lovely imagery throughout this piece and that’s what edged it over the winning line.

Congratulations, Rob!Your story will be featured as tomorrow’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.

Thanks again CR for jugding. Next weekend, Marie McKay will be back to judge Round 103. See you all then.