We'll admit it: we were excited when we got more than one entry, and further so when we received five. We want to thank all five contestants for participating, giving the competition a nice little kick-start.
So, without further ado, we give you your winners!
Geoff Holme's An Author's Life For Me
Si: Okay, this was hilarious. I love the use of parenthetical italics for the author talking to himself, and the way the entire flash takes place as the author's thoughts. I've totally done the don't look, don't look--DANGIT why didn't I think of that?! thing myself on flash fic contests, the whole story was (depressingly?) true to what we writers go through. RE: the PST thing--I laughed. (Maybe setting our location to "everywhere" was an EXTRA CHALLENGE ... and totally not a mistake >.>).
Mars: I, too, was very amused by this highly tongue-in-cheek piece. I don't think I know of anyone who doesn't have a panic when they're writing--"Ugh, what's this crap that I'm writing, everyone else is better than me, LIFE IS PAIN." (Okay, maybe not quite that angsty)--so this was right on the money. I also will be the first to admit that I talk/argue to/with myself on a regular basis (both out loud, in text, and in my head).
First Runner Up
Steph Ellis' Taken
Si: I loved the atmosphere and writing style in this story! Excellent progression from the trees being afraid of Colm, to the ending where Colm surrenders to the forest. I liked the way that we could feel for both the trees and Colm. I loved the ending (sounds like something I would do). The addition of the grandmother's old warning highlighted the poignancy of Colm's choice all the more. A really well-written story.
Mars: Trees are kind of a thing everywhere, so the idea that the trees are enemies is a terrifying thought. It gives the story an added depth, as well, that not only are they enemies, but can feel (and therefore have a pretty good reason to be enemies, given the kind of stuff humans do to trees)--a nice little bit of world building shoved into a few hundred words. The way the piece was written, in a slow, methodical-seeming fashion, made it feel outwardly like . . . well, a tree, which slowly grows taller over time, with each bit of wood and leaves grown.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for--for the very first time in the Cracked Flash Fiction Competition's history--the very first name that will go on the Winner's Page!
with Closing in
Si: Tension! So much tension! Loved the broken-off dialogue to indicate the MC's state of mind, the numbness. Loved the progression of the plot, the pacing, the brief sentences that indicated the MC's mental state, the immersion in the story. The reader feels the Evan's urgency in running away, the suddenness of his blackout and waking up alone, and chased. The brief use of description, and the way we're just thrown into the plot worked very well to create an atmosphere of urgency and immediacy in the story. Well done!
Mars: The sense of inevitable doom was pulled off excellently here. The terror in his brother's call, and then of running himself; left to an unknown fate (although we can surmise it's not anything good), and with the knowledge that you can't trust who you thought you could. The effect is further compounded by the fragmented snippets of dialogue, and the disjointed way the events/time of the piece are arranged. I really appreciated how the first line was reiterated in the last line; it gave it a complete, circular feel, almost like a piece of music (bring the reader's/listener's attention back to something familiar as you leave them). Congrats on a brilliant flash!
The winning story!
“I can hear the whispers all around me, and they’re getting closer… I don’t know how much longer I can last.”
Evan listened to his brother’s voice, and could almost picture him hunched over his phone, talking urgently, in the hopes that his message would reach him in time.
Time. Time was against him now, and he knew it.
Evan ran, his breath catching in his chest as the voices echoed in his mind.
Deputy Sark and Matthews’ voices were the loudest, but they only came in pieces.
“Regret to inform you.” “Killed just off the interstate in Idaho.” “Need you to identify the body…”
He was numb. He’d been numb then, but now he could hear them as they ran with the hounds, hot on his trail.
He’d been stupid enough to play the message in front of them, and then they’d told him they’d need his phone as evidence.
The last thing he remembered was telling them that it was on the server, not on the phone, and that he could forward it to them.
Then he’d woken up in the middle of the woods, with no idea where he was… and the whispers, telling him to run; telling him that if they found him he’d be dead. He couldn’t make out the words, but their intent was clear.
He ran for all he was worth, but the hounds had his scent and he knew it was only a matter of time before they found him: he could hear their whispers all around him, as he ran and they were getting closer.
Congrats to our winners, and we hope to see you all on Saturday!