You know what's really exciting? Cracked Flash Fiction is growing. It's awesome and amazing, since Rin, Si, and I never thought anyone would have too much interest in this competition. It's also fabulous that we've been getting so many entries lately!
9, 10, 7 <== the amount of entries in the last three weeks.
We're always excited when we get more than three entries, so this is a-ma-zing.
Tl;dr: You guys are great.
Also, in case you forgot: it's-a me, Mars, judging today! :D
Carin Marais with All That is Left
The imagery and choice of words in this piece is excellent; a vivid picture is painted by sparkling phrases like "storm's memory", "faltering flame", "damp rocks between the dunes", and "the colour of the sea on a calm day". The attention to the description of the setting, scattered between the women's hope, gives the story a lot of lovely depth.
However, I did think some of the sentences could be shortened; I found my eyes wandering after two or three very long sentences in a row--punctuation gives an anchor for your eyes to keep track of words. I also was unclear on who said the opening line--the prompt, that is. Was it the women, or somebody with Christiaan? I couldn't tell if the ambiguation was on purpose or not.
I love that Annalene is knitting a sweater. It's a clear sign that she hasn't given up on Christiaan, and it's even more powerful than her prayer; she's not sitting around just staring at the sea; she's actively preparing for his return--she's trusting that he will come back.
First Runner Up
Asgardana with Small and Mighty
The last few lines of this piece definitely amused me and I could empathize with the main character--I have been the one that forgot a key piece for a project before, and it sucks! Poor soldier! The sense of utter, "Oh no," is distinct in the line, "I hang my head."
Something I would have liked to see more of was the main character's reaction to this battle they've just fought--the only bit we really get of it is "My boots are marred with blood and bone, shrapnel bites into my side but the heavy weight of the bag across my shoulder grounds me to this cliff" (which also happens to be my favorite line). The sense of determination--to reach the highest point and stake the flag--is evident, but there's no emotional whiplash from seeing hundreds or thousands of people die, and being the winner and one of the ones to survive. I can still empathize with the character, but there's a lot that goes unsaid!
with Being Death
This reminded me of whenever I'm downloading something on Windows--it strongly amuses me to think that Death's clock can change depending on the variables present, and Death is actually not entirely aware of when people are going to die. Those lines, "Five minutes left. // Five minutes? Five minutes!" made me laugh. Death was just all, "One minute. Five minute--wait what?! Ugh."
Between the 'new recruits', consuming a soul (but being irritated with people killing for no reason), and the variables changing the time of death, I have to wonder what is going on behind the scenes in this story. Though not entirely pertinent to the overall plot, and keeping in mind the 300-word limit, it makes me extremely curious what's Death's day has looked like, and what her job looks like on a day-to-day basis.
Death is definitely a relatable character, and I enjoyed how much I instantly thought, "Girl, I feel you," when she knew she was going to be late. That feeling of, "UGH, you're telling me I was wasting my time?" is terrible!
"Raise the flag!"
The girl was shouting at a skinny boy, who was struggling with the rope of the flagpole as the speedboat cut across the turquoise waters towards shore.
"Raise the distress flag! The red one you idiot!" she screamed.
Then she went to work on the young boy lying on his back, turning slightly blue.
Death stood at a distance, waiting for the minutes to tick by. She brought out an ancient watch from the folds of the midnight blue gown that draped gracefully down her slender frame, and glanced at it.
Five minutes left.
She was getting impatient. It had been a long, hard day, what with all the bombs exploding and people killing for no reason. Even with all the new recruits her job was grueling.
Three minutes left.
Huffing with impatience, she watched the girl desperately give the boy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and then pump his chest. He was quite blue by now.
"Please God!" the girl wailed looking up to the sky.
One minute left.
Death's eyes burned red with excitement. Her skin pale, as pale as death can be, quivered from the anticipation of consuming a soul.
Five minutes left.
Five minutes? Five minutes!
She looked up to the sky and groaned.
Make up your mind!
The speedboat had reached shore and a team of paramedics were attending to the boy.
One hour left.
She was going to be late for her date. Damn.
Death sat impatiently in the ambulance. The girl was holding the boys hand, crying.
Seventy four years, six months and twenty three hours left.
Death wanted to cry in frustration.
With a sigh, she dissolved into an invisible mist, heading straight for her date.
She had a lot of explaining to do to the Devil.