Oh my goodness, dear dragonlings, do I EVER have plottings and machinations going on! Forgive the excessive giddiness (though I suppose you must be used to it by now?). It may come to nothing, of course. Or it could be THE GREATEST THING EVER!!!! Stay tuned.
First up: a special thanks to those of you exploring FF’s own missed deadline last week. Craig Anderson… “Flasher Girl”?? BRILLIANT. Unfortunate, obviously. But BRILLIANT. Right up there with Eric Martell‘s perception-altering magic and clock mis-switch. And Scott Vannatter‘s hilariously rain-soaked entries (and tower!!!!). You were all ohhhh, so close…. and yet…. :D :D
Judge Alissa Leonard says: I had so much fun judging this round! Thanks to everyone for their take on the prompt. I’m not sure if it was the ‘missed deadline’ prompt that drove so many of you to write of betrayals, but the race for survival after the missed deadline led many to look out for number one, so to speak. It was amazing how many things the snow and the fog could become – from mundane to spiritual. You ran me ragged, up hills and mountains and down into ravines, waiting or running or searching or simply experiencing the moment. And moments there were! Let me tell you about some of my favorites:
Endings: There were some doozies this week (some I’ll mention later). “Dead Line” by MT Decker, “Art Supplies” by Betsy Streeter, “Butter Fingers” by Stella Kate, “Rendezvous” by SJ O’Hart, “There” by Marie McKay, and “I Always Get My Man” by Michael Seese.
World-building: “The Rift Between Worlds” by Phil Coltrane, and “Hidden In Plain Sight” by joidianne4eva.
Use of Language: “Fog” by Sarah Cain, and “Tracking a Nomad” by Chris Milam
Marie McKay, “Out of Time.” I love the feeling of striving in this piece. You conveyed the idea of ‘so close, yet so far away’ so very well. The line “They’re a breath away. A blink. I feel like I can almost hear them.” was so powerful I wanted to reach out and grab hold of them myself. And really, Time Chasing? I want to know more!
Clive Newnham, “The Whisperings.” You paint a clear picture. Even without the photo prompt I could see the mountains and feel the cold. I could hear them spurring one another to move faster and I found myself caught up in the need to hurry. I particularly loved the line “struggling for balance across the shifting scree”. Then you bring in the awesomeness that “sucks at the quarry’s plumes of breath”. That freaked me out – even more so than the frozen, flaking flesh later on. These treasure hunters picked the wrong relic… Very nicely done!
Maven Alysse, “Cold Miscalculations.” Oh my word! That is some serious betrayal. The “Oops” at the end clinched it for me. I just wasn’t expecting it at all. It certainly made me want to know more about these triplets and why one is murdering another and admitting it to the other. The characterization in such a short space on all three of the brothers is just impressive.
SECOND RUNNER UP
Eric Martell (aka drmagoo), Untitled. I loved the dichotomy of the two characters – one was bored and trusting, the other anxious and skeptical. I especially loved it when faced with “a ravine filled with hundreds of things – some animate, some not – that could kill them in an instant.” They seemed like they had done this before…and I’d like to know about that. But, really, the last line is what pulled the story out of the myriad HMs vying for this position – I laughed so hard at accidentally changing the alarm to PM! (…not that I’ve ever done that before…*shifty eyes*) Well played.
FIRST RUNNER UP
Karl A Russell, “Holding On.” Their love story is so beautiful and deep and rich and you did it with one stinkin’ line! “wondering if they would waste their final moments deep in the arguments of the past” and her response “you sly, charming old fool…” This spoke VOLUMES of their history and familiarity. I also love his gentleness in “[he] stroked her shoulder” and “tears streaking his frosted cheeks”. THEN (as if that weren’t enough!) you turn this ‘dead line’ into something like the Nothing (What?!?!?!) and you give their love action – even at the last – jumping into the next thing, together. Beautiful. Tears. Seriously. Thank you.
And now: for her second time (the first was Round 46 in Year One), it’s Flash! Friday
Oh. My. Tears. I don’t know if this resonated so much because my mom is always late to everything, but I know couples like this. You gave their entire history such depth and specificity in large, sweeping brushstrokes. I especially loved how Lila accepted this sometimes annoying character trait and learned to roll with it: giving her ten extra minutes to primp, ‘serenely’ waiting on his arrival – expecting his tardiness and not getting flustered by it, keeping dinner warming in the oven, and greeting him when he finally came to bed. She accepted all of him, and that is beautiful. But the thing that put this one over the top is the way you rounded it out. Your first line “Lila had always been the one to wait” and your last “Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him” have a beautiful symmetry. I can picture him now “waiting with the other[s], peering into the mist” and my heart breaks – for him, for her, for loss, for love. So special. Thank you.
Congratulations on your second win, Laura! Your (new! sparkly!) winner’s badge waits for you below. Here is your updated winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Watch your inbox for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature interview questions. And here is your winning story:
Lila had always been the one to wait. Ben was five minutes late for their first date, misjudging the amount of time it would take to walk across campus. By their third date, Lila knew she had at least ten minutes more to primp before Ben arrived.
On his way to their wedding, Ben’s cab broke down and he was late to the chapel. He was flustered and apologetic when he showed up, but Lila smiled serenely. “I knew you would be here,” she whispered.
Dinner was always warming in the oven when Ben came home late from the office. She woke when he came to bed, long enough to kiss him good night.
Now it was Ben’s turn to wait for Lila. Everyday, he waited with the other husbands, peering into the mist, waiting for his wife. Finally he understood the longing she must have felt all those years she waited for him.