Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 40

Cracked Flash is up and running! :)



Judge this week: Kelly

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next Wednesday
 afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

"Scrape that off before you..."


Friday, May 12, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 39


Judge this week: Mars

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next
Thursday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

"This was not how I imagined this going."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Year 2, Week 38: Results!

I loved the stories this week! Each one had its own unique twist on the prompt. I wish I could tell each writer what I loved about their story… Oh, well.

Here’s this week’s results.

Honourable Mention

Bill Engleson with Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! Six Boomers in a Balloon, Away!

I really like the title – it immediately drew me in. Interesting story.

“Brave souls. Willing to risk the inevitable for the sheer experience.” Love this line.

First Runner-Up

TipTim with Horns Enterprises

Great imagery! And the last line, very evocative.

Check for typos (e.g. “We we are offering”). Also, keep lines open between paragraphs to make it easier to read.

Great story.

Winner Y2W38

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe

with Point of No Return


You built a great character here: from her hesitancy to her fierceness, she grew in a couple of sentences. I like the fantasy and magic elements – and that’s she’s going to rule!

Remember: dialogue should start in a new paragraph.

It’s not really necessary to tag every piece of dialogue, sometimes what the character is saying is enough to tell the reader what they’re thinking. E.g. “How?” He was unconvinced. (Drop the tag and we’ll still know that he is unconvinced.)

I’d add more about the bouncer’s scariness – just to show how scary the MC really is when she kills him.

Great story.

POINT OF NO RETURN

Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver. Or do they? I wasn’t sure. Establishments that provide dangerous sports make participants sign waivers. This one was certainly not prepared for possible lawsuits. I found that strange considering the kind of adventure on offer.

My younger brother didn’t agree with me. “There is no excitement in anything that involves paperwork,” he said.

“It may be so, brother, but something is fishy. Did you see the picture of where we’re going?”

“Yes! It’s perfect,” he beamed.

“Why? You want to ride dragons?” He nodded enthusiastically. “What if they’re magical? Or the place?”

“Magic doesn’t scare you.” He laughed.

“Not magic,” I whispered. “What if we’re powerless there?”

“How?” He was unconvinced. 

“I don’t know but equipped is better than not. I bought us insurance.”

“What kind of insurance?” he asked suspiciously.

“The kind that works in another realm, magic or not. Just hold my hand and softly chant the spell with me as we pass through the portal.” I looked at him gravely but he grinned widely.

I should have guessed he meant mischief. He pushed ahead of the crowd and was in no time on a dragon’s back. He probably didn’t hear the welcome greetings. Did the hostess say eternal? What was? The crowd was too noisy. I didn’t feel adventurous. I turned around.

A bouncer appeared from nowhere. “You can’t go back out.” 

“Pardon me?”

“You can’t leave.”

“Seriously? And what should I do?”

“Whatever you’re doing now.”

I thought of my brother and pushed back the tears. I gave the bouncer one piercing look which flung him to his death. “I don’t think so. If this is it, eternally, I might as well rule.” Then, I surveyed my new kingdom.



Thanks everyone for participating.

Until next Saturday…



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 38

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!


Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next 
Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:


Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Year 2, Week 36 & 37: Results!

What a great prompt and turnout! Though I was still busy with the A-to-Z Challenge when the prompt went live, it made me want to cry when I realised I couldn’t write too. Oh well, at least I got to read excellent entries.

Now for the results.

Honourable Mention

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe with DELIVERANCE

I really enjoyed this story.

I think it will benefit from being longer: more world-building, getting to know the MC better and building the tension of the monster hunting her. As it is, it feels like we’re rushing from them being friends to Evan wanting to take her powers.

First Runner-Up

Carin Marais with Beneath the Bed

Scary! I love the idea of a monster protecting against other monsters.

Note: spaces between paragraphs makes it easier to read. Also, it felt like we jumped from the little girl’s POV to Monster’s (where we should be, as it makes for a powerful story).

Winner Y2W37

Sian Brighal
with No One Else

Wow! Terrifying in a this-can-really-be-happening way. I love how the orderly knows what’s going on, yet keeps the patient’s secret.

Note: dialogue must start in a new paragraph. (I’ve fixed it in the piece.)

I’ve replaced the semi-colon in the paragraph about Scary Mary with a comma – it could’ve been replaced with a full stop if the sentence that follows is rewritten to be a full sentence. (That’s why I replaced the semi-colon: a semi-colon does the same job as a full-stop just without completely severing ideas, but both should be full sentences in their own right.)

The end of the story is brilliant: the doctor figures out what’s going on, then…

“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

No One Else


“You’re my favourite monster.”
 
The doctor paused on the way out, feeling his neck muscles burn in protest as he kept his head facing forward. He’d been warned—and rightly so—not to react to such words: always maintain a professional distance. Only when the door closed and the lock clicked did he relax and turn. 
“Odd thing to say.” 
“She says that sometimes,” the orderly muttered in answer. 
“Why would she?” the doctor mused. 
“Trying to soothe ruffled feathers, I think.” 
“But why would she think I could be angry with her?” 
“Don’t rightly know,” he demurred, but the doctor saw something ghost across his face: fear, pity. “Spoke out of turn, sorry.” 
He would have questioned further, but a colleague left the room next door. 
“Hey, Barrows,” the newcomer called out before glancing across to the neighbouring room. 
“Don’t tell me old Hoskins has got you working on Scary Mary,” he said with a sympathetic tone but smiling mouth. 
“Scary…?” 
“Oh, just some stupid mumbo-jumbo,” the man soothed. 
But Barrows had heard about ‘Scary Mary’, heard that she’d been linked in some superstitious way to the deaths of several doctors, orderlies and visitors, but he’d thought she was some story from the asylum’s deep and darker history. 
Later, at home, he spent a few minutes thinking about Mary, wondering why she’d single him out as a favourite; they'd never spoken before, but he couldn't deny that he'd seen some flicker of interest in her eyes. Was that it? But the more he thought, he couldn't help but feel that she'd been speaking not to him, but to her tattered bunny. 
“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

Well done, everyone.



Until next Saturday.


Super Late Week 36 Results!

*sneaks into Ronel's post* Okay, I finally found the time to get the reviews done (got a whole 9! hours! of sleep last night! and I felt better than I have in a week!). Sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long! You guys are great <3

First Runner Up

Stephen Shirres' Beware A Travelling Salesman's In Expensive Clothes

You couldn't have thought this would go well, my friend (@Main Character). Haven't you heard of Jack and the Beanstalk? Alas, some people.
This story amused me, mainly with the glum attitude of the main character at bookends of the story. It just kinda reads to me as, "Welp, that happened."

The piece felt quickly written, with some missing words and odd phrases ("as if everyone knees there were thousands," "there was a space above my hearth needing filled," "A match head of flame," "too long i," etc.,.) This didn't detract much from my enjoyment of it, though each instance did give me pause. Nice job conveying the tone through the character, here!

Y2W36 Winner

Marj Crockett!

with Summoned!

LOL the dyslexia in this piece gave me a good laugh. The character dynamics here are pulled off very humorously; I've definitely been in both the mentor's and apprentice's shoes at some point in my life! (The "argggh you're doing it wrong can I pls help" and "I DON'T WANT ANY HELP TYVM" things.) I thought it would be interesting to have some more rules and background for the magic, though that's not required for this story as a flash fiction piece or stand-alone. The humor, I think, is the entire point of this piece, and it's done well. 
Summoned! 
He leaned against the tree with a sigh, his offer of help rejected.

Across the clearing, the apprentice mumbled as she marked a circle on the ground.

"Bone meal should do. It's quite stable." she muttered.

"Do you...?"
"No, I can manage."

"I want to help."

"NO! I said I can manage!"

He sighed again. This was not going well.

She started pacing again, criss-crossing the circle, and forming lines until the pentagram was complete.

Wiping her hands, she picked up her bag of magical artefacts. After rooting inside, she pulled out a stick with feathers on. Next came the wax figure that would be what she was going to summon.

From where he was standing, the model didn't look all that inspiring, but he knew not to interfere now. She would have to work it through to the end. Oh well, we'll see what she gets, he thought, another sigh escaping. His reward for this was a glare from the girl.

She chanted the summoning spell. She danced complicated steps, twisting and turning, moving round the pentagram. No real words reached his ears, only a string of sound that sawed into his brain. An awkward sound: something wasn't quite right.

"Shula..." he said. But it was too late.

Smoke filled circle, followed by popping and hissing. Which god she had summoned would not be clear for a moment or two. A breeze sprung up from nowhere, the smoke disappeared.

He heard a bark. A bark?

"Shula... which god have you summoned?" he asked.

"I don't know," Shula replied, "I thought I said the words right, but something... happened."

"Which god?"

"God? You wanted me to summon a god?" Shula gulped, "I thought you said dog!" 
The creature on the ground wagged its tail and barked again.



Thanks again for putting up with me. Ronel's got this next Saturday again! <3 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 37

Okay, if results aren't up yet for W36: I apologize. I've come down with something and I'm really struggling (read: failing) to keep on top of judging and school and everything. I've reached out to our other judges to see if they have some free time to get W37 judged. In the meantime, W36 results are on the way (hang in there! <3). 

Here are some rules c:

Judge: TBD

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/29)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"You're my favorite monster."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 36


Judge: Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/22)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon. (Mars will try and have it up by Wednesday in the hopes that it will be ready on Thursday)

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

He leaned against the tree with a sigh.

Year 2, Week 35: Results!

Okay, the first week of school took a bigger toll on me than I had previously expected, so I must apologize for 1) the late results and 2) that there's only one review. I did pick out two today, but time constraints are eating at me. 

Death of a Mule by Angie: This was going to be first runner-up, since I found it very humorous, between his life flashing before his eyes, the drug cartel, and the crocodile. Nice work.

Y2W35 Winner

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe!

with Enchanted Love 

I was intrigued from the get-go on this piece; line one was cleverly written in the fact that it gives us a glimpse into the future but doesn't tell us why the prince's eyes might be death-like. It was an excellent foreshadowing technique.

The passage read choppily to me; most of the sentences follow one of two sentence patterns, and they tend to be very telling instead of showing, so it ends up with a kind of "See Spot run. Spot runs fast," feel ("Her name is Mary," being the prime example). Perhaps if this piece were written in third person limited, possibly past tense (I am biased towards that, I confess; I did feel like the present tense could work if this were less of an overview and an in-character shot). 

I like the idea of the story--that of a prince stuck in a political marriage but loving a forest goddess, and the forest goddess basically claiming him as her own. There are great building blocks here. Good job!


ENCHANTED LOVE

His eyes would be cold and lifeless when he arrives back from his ride in the forest.

At breakfast, his father, King Eduardo, makes it clear that he, Prince Alejandro, must wed Princess Annabella, King Felipe's daughter. The marriage between the sole heir and heiress to the thrones of the two biggest kingdoms would make one massive, powerful and invincible dominion within the Asianic territories.

Unbeknownst to King Eduardo, his son is in love with another. Her name is Mary. Prince Alejandro tells the king he is going riding to clear his head but he's meeting Mary to tell her about his father's intention.

Mary is waiting for him near their favorite giant tree by the river, not far from the waterfall. Her long shiny black hair glistens. Her pearl skin seems to sparkle. Her eyes incandescent, she flashes the most enchanting smile Alejandro has ever seen.

As they embrace, their love radiates like nothing the forest and its inhabitants have witnessed.

Alejandro vows not to marry Annabella. He only wants to know how to break the news to his father without disappointing him. The king's heart condition is no secret to them. She urges him to go home and assures him that everything would be fine.

Upon seeing his son looking like death, the king sends for a healer. The prince protests saying he feels fine despite looking ill. He asks that his wish to retire to his room be respected. He persuades his father that his energy will replenish soon.

Alone in his room, peace surrounds Alejandro's entire being. His father doesn't need to know. He is happy. He is in love with a 'diwata', a forest goddess. His soul belongs to his enchantress and must now be taken to her kingdom.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 35


Judge: Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/15)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon. (Mars is back at school)

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

His eyes were cold and lifeless.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 34! Winners!

Marj here.

Thanks to everyone who took part this week.  I always enjoy reading where the prompt takes people and this week was no exception. 

For me there was just one winner and that has to be... *drum roll*...  Bill Engleson's "A Gossamer Sip of Poison".  A tightly written piece that cranked up the pace until the denouement.  Anyone who can sneak in the word "snickers" into a piece deserves the prize.  Well done Bill!

I hope you have a pleasant Easter weekend.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 34!


Judge: Marj or Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/8)!

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"Oh, everyone just thought you were crazy."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Year 2, Week 33: Results!

Wow! The entries this week were superb. I wish I could tell each author what I thought about their story, but time won’t permit that. Just know: it was extremely difficult to choose my favourites this week.



Honourable Mention

AnnaJailene with Vengeance


Great imagery throughout.

Beware sentence fragments: “I stand a safe distance away. Far away; in a cradle held up by a crane normally used for Dinner in the Sky.” This is one sentence, so don’t divide it with a full-stop and a semi-colon (does the same job as a full-stop). Rather emphasise with a colon, e.g. “I stand a safe distance away: far away, in a cradle held up by a crane normally used for Dinner in the Sky.”

In the third paragraph, replace the semi-colon with a colon (a semi-colon does the same job as a full-stop just without completely severing ideas, while a colon draws attention to what follows).

The loud electronic dance music drowned the sound of the clattering wings. I love this sentence. Well done.

First Runner Up

Sam Lauren with Patient Fruition


I enjoyed the time-travel aspect of this story.

“Counsel” should be “Council”. (Counsel = advice or guidance. Council = local governing body of a region/town.)

Beware sentence fragments. (A basic sentence needs a subject and a verb.) They’re fine in dialogue, but too many in the text can frustrate readers.

The end of your story is brilliant.

The dragons, twelve, stood taller than their ruins. They sniffed the air. They stretched their metallic spines and wagged their tails through steel columns. Their scales, seamless skin, shimmered like gems under water. They combed the streets like a pack of hybrid bloodhounds. 

“You’re an expert on biotechnology like this,” Daniel whispered. “What do you think they're looking for?”

I smiled. “Me.”

Well done.

Winner Y2W33

Sian Brighal

with In the Flesh


This story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The question of the dragons’ souls echoed long after this story was read. Well done.

In the Flesh

Dragons stalk the streets, puffing out smoke and clattering their mechanical wings. Most cheer, waving their banners, yelling out the names of their heroes, the beasts that battle for their entertainment. Some scowl, having lost money on the annual bouts between the leviathans of bronze, silver, copper and brass: the mythical made manifest, breathing fire to melt their foes into precious pools to be gathered up with due reverence at the end.

A few simply watched, studying the newly forged and beaten panels, wondering if any of them were still unique…how much of each other resided in each one? For metal had memory…and with each smelting in the arena and reforging at the smith, the dragons’ flesh healed as one: bits of victor and vanquished, old and new, battle-hungry and battle-weary alike. On the outside, the dragons looked no different, recast in the same long adored image, but their bodies must almost be as one by now.

And their souls?

No metal beast had souls! Such talk was seditious…or pandering to the pious who thought gambling a sin and would use any argument to bring down the Dragon Arena. But…a few of the old artisans remembered stories of the beasts’ first forging, when they were weapons and rose from ruined cities to rain down vengeance and hate upon foes: when claws were sharper and buffed skin was anointed with blood. And they whisper the rumour that human souls had put their undying spark into tightly wound heart mechanisms to give the metal monsters ‘life’ and understanding enough to be commanded.

So a few watched the dragons stalk past with a mix of pity and dread of war machines used as toys and what amalgam of hate and anger fleshed out the madness of a thousand souls existing as one.


Thank you all for participating.

Until next Saturday.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Year 2, Week 33

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!


Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next 
Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

Dragons stalk the streets, puffing out smoke and clattering their mechanical wings.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Year 2, Week 32: Results!

Thanks for playing! The writing teacher in me would like to pet everyone who entered, so I thought I'd mention what I liked about the entries, because, really-- something wonderful DID stand out to me about each one! As a fellow writer, I covet praise in great quantities... applying the golden rule here... :)

Mary Quite Contrary stopped me short on the exquisite line about the shadows growing "shy" as the light gained strength. Don't Try This at Home's ending was marvellously subtle. Travelling Through Time made me sad and yearning for more. The Letter moved well and had ample tension.

First Runner Up

Marj Crockett's You've Got Mail

What stood out to me about this story was the twist, the revelation that the victims were not victims at all. I also appreciated the depth of character: Sean hiding the letter from Alice to protect her. I inferred he's been taking them out all along... I wondered at the fact that the letters came only to him at first and only later added Alice's name. Why that was, wasn't clear, but the strength of the story outweighed that for me. Read your dialogue out loud for places contractions would be appropriate. 

Y2W32 Winner

L. M. Leffew

with Letters

This story won the moment I smelled the "...sharp tang of meat searing." Bam! I enjoyed becoming horrified/electrified right along with your narrator in that moment. The contrast between being "safe" inside her apartment, only to be faced with her stalker. And he made... dinner? He "dangles" a wine glass from his fingers? (sounds like an elegant man) Nicely done. The image of the stalker is foreboding, yet he's relaxed. That's a creepy-sensual contrast and rather refreshing. I would have liked to see more in terms of the previous letters' contents, since you had words with which to play. I would like him filled out more, this interesting stalker chef. 

Letters
L.M.Leffew
@LMLeffew
chaoticallyyours.blogspot.com

There it was again: another letter, sitting pale and innocuous in her mail box. Marie doesn't open this one. They've all been the same, full of flattery and obsession. She starts to tear it to pieces over the trashcan some fastidious neighbor has placed near the mailbox enclave but pauses just as the envelope gives, slips it into her purse instead. 

She'll try the police again tomorrow. They kept the last three letters. Somewhere, in a file with her restraining order, she thinks, tucked away on a dark dusty shelf for all the good it's done her. But, surely, letters four through six will mean they can do something else, something more. 

Plan in mind, she straightens her spine, retrieves the rest of her mail and takes the three flights of stairs to her apartment. She locks the deadbolt and chain behind her, lays her forehead against the door and breathes in the cool scent of home, the sweet warmth of vanilla candles—did she leave one burning?— the sharp tang of meat searing— 

She jerks upright, fights the sudden animal-reflex to freeze, and turns just as a figure steps into her kitchen doorway. Tall and broad and seeming to block all the afternoon sunlight, he leans against the frame, one of her wine glasses dangling from his fingers, and says, "Good evening, Marie. Did you get my letters?"

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 32!


Judge: Kelly

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight, tonight! (3/25 PDT)

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"There it was again: another letter."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Year 2, Week 31: Results!

I (Mars) honestly did mean to have these up earlier today, but then some things got in the way! Nearly passed out yesterday after my blood draw at the doctor's (just to check my vitamin levels, nothing horribad going on), and today I got sucked into a girl's night out/family reunion type deal a ways away from my house, and then my sister accidentally left her phone at the restaurant so we had to go back (*sobs quietly in corner*) but the results! are up! Yay!

(The good news is our other judges are gonna handle the next few weeks, so hopefully they'll be better at this game than I've been the last few weeks, lol (*more sobbing in corner*).) Thank you to all you lovely people that join & support our competition <3

First Runner Up

Benjamin Langley's Turn the Other Cheek

This one amused me, both with "hehe you're not the chosen one," and with the use of second-person; it felt a lot like one of those Choose Your Own Adventures (which are hysterical). I was certain from the title that this was going to be some kind of religious story, but the actual result is far more entertaining. I felt like I was missing some information about the amulet and this other set of cheeks, but overall, I liked the piece. The open-endedness of the piece doesn't bother me, either, as it does with many stories that seem to end without a finish; this reads to me as an emotional plot arc for the main character; overcoming Lygor's taunts and coming back at the end with renewed determination. Love it!

Y2W31 Winner

Firdaus!

with Lies

HAHA oh no. Around "I had nowhere else to go," was around when I started figuring out how this story was really going to end, but oops, I really liked it. The piece had me going when the main character noted the "wife" figedting with discomfort--I really thought she was his wife, but I should have known better! It got me because I wasn't quite expecting that kind of ending. The ending line--which brought the entire piece in a circle--was A+. A truly horrifying tale. Great job!

Lies

"By the way, I lied," I said nervously, nibbling the styrofoam cup. The tea was cold. 

He frowned, "Which part?" 

"Most of it," I took the last sip, gulping down the tepid liquid, dreading what was to come.

He put down his cup, his eyes as hard as the iron table in front of us. 

The sound of honking and general chaos of a bus stand filtered in through the window of the small room which served as a canteen. 

"I don't have an alcoholic father who beats me up," I shifted uncomfortably in the plastic chair. 

"And your mother?" 

"Probably dead," I shrugged, "I ran away from an orphanage."

He leaned back in his chair watching me with hooded eyes. 

This stranger had been kind. Bought me breakfast when he had found me crying outside the bus stand, and I had blurted those lies. 

His wife had been impatient and a little peeved when he had suggested tea and something to eat. Now she sat at the edge of her chair fidgeting. 

"You remind me of my sister," he'd said, "she's ten too."

Somehow he had made me feel safe and I had followed him to the canteen. 

"Come to my place," he offered, "my sister would love the company."

I had nowhere else to go. 

An auto-rickshaw took us to the edge of town. His wife didn't get off with us. 

We took the stairs up to his room in a dilapidated building. I didn't see anyone around. 

"Where did your wife go?" I asked, uncomfortable. 

We entered a small damp room with a cot in the middle. 

Shutting the door behind us he said, "She's not my wife."

"And your sister..." my voice faded away as I looked into his eyes. 

"I lied too," he whispered menacingly. 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 31!


Judge This Week: Mars 

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 2 AM SUNDAY (3/19) PDT (I swear one of these days I'll be on time)

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"By the way, I lied."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Year 2, Week 30: Results!

I enjoyed the different takes on this week’s prompt.

 
First Runner Up:

Sara Codair with Solicitation

An interesting and fun read. Check for sneaky typos (interested instead of interest). Great use of dialogue.


Y2W30 Winner:

Bill Engleson 

with Dress Code

I enjoyed the stand-off over high heels.

Though, I was a bit confused as to who was telling the story. You can strengthen that by perhaps telling it from the no-nonsense Mavis’s point of view (adding her own beliefs as she watches Cleo remove her shoes and gradually revealing the information oddly left there in the middle about Mavis and the previous manager). And beware clich├ęs – too many in a piece can cause a reader to skip over paragraphs.

“Damian grinned. Then glowered.” Loved this.

Dress Code

“Like pain? Try wearing high heels. In fact, I’m taking the damn things off.” With that, Cleo leaned against the pillar, back jacked her right foot, yanked off her patent leather discount refugee from hell, tossed it to the side, repeated the process for her left foot, heaved the offending instrument of torture, and then stood there fierce, proud, and securely flat-footed.

A calm look swept over her, a glow of gloriously attained abandon.

Damian Demeter, our new Manager, looked frazzled. Gran would have said he looked fit to be tied. For sure he was tongue tied.

Stonewall Consolidated Insurance Inc. had helicoptered him in a month ago to transform our district office. His pinstriped emergence had set the tone from the get go. Dark days were upon us.

Maybe things had become sartorially slack, at least by traditional business standards. His predecessor, Charlie Raible had been a charmer, efficient, direct, but an easy-going man to work for. Charlie believed that a modern workforce needed gestures of comfort and solicitude to induce stability. The company’s medieval dress code rankled every one except for Mavis Truett, who’d run the claims department since the release of Double Indemnity. Well, that was an old office joke, but Mavis was a lifer who bridled at Charlie’s compassionate approach and likely was the one who caused his downfall.

“Ms. Lambert,” Damian finally broke the stand-off, “If you don’t want to obey Stonewall’s dress code, you are free to depart.”

Damian had slapped Cleo with a stinging gauntlet.

You could have cut the tension with a knife if we were allowed to have them in the office.

Cleo was a smart cookie. I sensed her calculating the odds.

“I’m out of here,” she declared.

Damian grinned. Then glowered.

Maybe, just maybe, his dictatorial days were numbered.




That’s it for this week. Until Saturday… keep writing!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Year 2, Week 30


Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!

We have some rules c:


Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt:

"Like pain? Try wearing high heels."


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Year 2, Week 29: Results!

Okay okay I've got results up! Little late, so thanks for bearing with me, guys <3 See you all on Saturday! 

Honorable Mention

TipTim with A Mouthful More 

This is a pretty feel-good piece for me. In a world where kindness seems hard to find, stories like this, of people looking out for other people, especially children, bring happiness to me. The ambiguous ending confused me. One more line would have clarified Mah'moud's decision, and it would have completed the story. I can assume that it was something great, like adopting them or some such, and that's the way I prefer to think about the ending of this, since that makes me really happy. The line "He seemed to have mastered the commendable art of being able to talk and swallow food at the same time," made me laugh (since I speak fluent full-mouth-ese, by way of living with six siblings). Wonderful work. 

First Runner Up

Sara Codair with Migratory Blues

I confess that I was running a little experiment with this prompt--I was wondering how many people would end up using 'they' as a gender-neutral pronoun. (The answer to that is 1/4 people, haha!) The piece gives us an interesting peek into the world built here--we get that Fuz is some kind of avian creature, and that they have migratory patterns, and probably sentience, and that this world is going through some kind of climate change. I appreciate the level of worldbuilding woven into this piece in such a short amount of words. I also liked the build up to the ending--the foreshadowing of Fuz' death(? probably could be less ambiguous). I enjoyed this piece!


Y2W29 Winner

Bill Engleson!

with Sheepish in the Round--The Flying Flock of Freedonia

There's something very whimsical about this piece, and I think that's what drew my attention. Usually stories at this level of whimsy aren't entirely coherent or don't contain a full plot arc, but this one is and does. I had some problems with the tenses in the piece--switching from past tense to even further in the past does require some change to give a fully chronological feel. The line I think demonstrates my point the most is "Perhaps in time, he thought, her meaning would be clear." Each time I read that, my brain insists there ought to be a 'had' before 'thought,' to keep the tenses in line. Those last lines make me smile every time I read them--I love the lighthearted feel of this piece and happy ending. 

Sheepish in the Round--The Flying Flock of Freedonia

They unfurled their wings. There were twenty of them, bulky, muddled, wary, but alive. 

Against winters frozen tableau, a strange sensation overtook the drove.

“Angus,” Esmeralda, who often was the member of the flock who couldn’t resist asking “why,” spoke from the outer loop, “What in the name of all things woolly is going on? What are these?”

Angus was not a natural leader. He’d spent most of his time in the field contemplating the past. More an historian, a teller of ancient tales, than a visionary, he understood that he was the best they had. 

His mother, before she took her final journey, had clarified for Angus what his role must be. “Darling, we are not a species who traditionally need to know where we are going. You are right to look back and wonder. However, however, my dear one, every so often, one of us must step up and point us in a new direction, or interpret events, or just say something comforting. I believe, in your lifetime, you are the chosen one.”

At the time, his mother’s words skimmed over his head like a heavy wind. Perhaps in time, he thought, her meaning would be clear.

As Esmeralda asked her question, he realized that that day had arrived.

He surveyed the drove. The growths had afflicted them all, sprouting from their shoulder blades, rising like trees, like flowers out of their bodies.

Angus could feel the weight on his back. He scrunched his shoulders and his two new appendages fluttered ever so briefly. His feet, rooted in tradition, briefly lifted him above the ground.

“Angus, what are you doing?” Esmeralda screamed. “You are flying.”

“Is that what this experience is?” he asked.

“My goodness, yes. Flying!”

“Then,” said Angus, “Let us all soar away.”

And they did. 

Thanks for participating (and putting up with me)! See you all Saturday :) 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 29!


Judge This Week: Mars 

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 1 AM SUNDAY (3/5) PDT (hour late posting again--been at ECCC all day! 10/10 would recommend) 

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

They unfurled their wings.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Year 2, Week 28: Results!

Judging Cracked Flash Fiction was a delight! Each story had a memorable moment, and it was not easy to choose. (I've read that before and thought judges were just blowing smoke, but now I know it's true!)

To the business...

Honourable Mention

Patrick Stahl with "No Doudou"

There's so much more than what's on the page. I enjoyed the interaction between the dock boy and Corrine, especially when she boldly demands he take good care of her beloved doudou. In just a few lines you give me a sense of two people, where I am, what's at stake. The ambiguity about the object her father is bringing on board-- whether it's the doudou or something more nefarious (that's what I think it is, but I doubted he'd begin a mutiny with his daughter on board?)-- doesn't necessarily detract from the story, though I yearn for closure. That you create that yearning is a victory. 

First Runner Up

Marcus Brook with "It's the Rules"

The foreshadowing of the "beautiful smile" is effective, and the explosive underwear-- clever. I appreciated the humanness of the narrator, the fact that he has some regret is refreshing, even if it's just over physical beauty. It's also nice to see him itch! "Its" should be "It's." 

Y2W28 Winner

Ronel Janse van Vuuren

with "Purple Sparks"

I chose this story as the winner for two reasons. 1. The compounding surprises-- the unexpected but believable punch Jess delivers to the crewman and the last phrase when you reveal where "on board" is. Both were fun. 2. The economy of language. You deliver a ton of scene, all accessible, with few words. The use of the adverb "worriedly" caused me a bit of a stumble. Given the fact she's considering punching him (we later find) and that her answer, "I can bring it on board" shows boldness, it feels like she should be looking around "undecidedly" or chewing her lip, not because she's afraid but because she's calculating her next move.

Purple Sparks
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
@miladyronel
ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com
121 words

‘You can’t bring that on board!’

Jess looked around worriedly and then stared into the man’s eyes: ‘I can bring it on board.’

‘No. You can’t,’ the crewman said with a quick shake of his head.

Sighing softly, Jess looked around once more, making sure that they were alone.

She punched him in the face and he crumpled to the ground.

‘See, Sophie, of course I can bring you on board,’ Jess said to the small dragon trailing her. ‘Besides, this ship is as fireproof as can be.’

She grinned as purple sparks flew from the dragon’s snout. On their way to their cabin, the two of them walked beneath the banner welcoming witches and familiars to the Annual Magic Cruise.
I enjoyed this Young Adult fantasy of friends as close as sisters resolving their issues with a fight of magic going astray. Check the punctuation (sentences should end with a full stop or something similar and an ellipses is formed with three dots, not two, etc.) and for typos sneaking in. I would’ve placed the “That was until the ‘sleep’ spell…” part in a new paragraph for effect. Having the main character going from one set of emotions about her friend to another really showed the crazy spectrum of teenage emotions and thoughts. Well done.




Thank you all for your participation! Until Saturday...