Flash! Friday # 42 — WINNERS!

Thank you once again for coming out to play a round of flash fiction with me. It was another crazy week of crazy tales, wasn’t it!? And we had TWO competitions going on this week, with Maggie’s extra “Best Title” challenge. With so much winningosity this week, let’s get right to it! 

(Don’t forget to stop back by tomorrow for Flash! Points, where one of your stories will be investigated VERY closely.)

Judge Maggie Duncan‘s overall comments first, followed by Best Title awards and then the overall winners. She says: The stories this week went between funny and dark, and it was a trip to read them. There were several from the building’s point of view, and each was unique and completely believable. The ghost stories were chilling, and I’ll go to sleep tonight seeing eyes peering from inside the fountain’s cage. There were aliens and all too human evil. All in all, reading them was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday.

♦♦♦♦♦ BEST TITLE ♦♦♦♦♦

Maggie says, I’ve been frustrated in past weeks when I’ve judged a delightful story which has no title. Leaving a title off a work tells me the writer didn’t think enough of it to name it, and it really isn’t a story without a title. So, I’m glad Rebekah came up with the idea of having a separate Title Contest—however, everyone (with a couple of exceptions wherein the stories remained untitled) rose to the challenge and made me work hard to come up with the winner, runner ups, and honorable mentions. Only apt, I suppose.

BEST TITLE HONORABLE MENTIONS

Marissa Ames, “Nocturnal.” Though I personally would have used the first line of the story as the title, I liked how this nondescript, almost innocent title was juxtaposed with a terrifying story. Marie McKay, “Spacious Accommodations.” This was a pun title, and I loved it a lot. At first it seemed disconnected from the story; then, you get to the end and go, “Ah, ha!” Laura Butler, “Treasure.” The word treasure is never mentioned in the story, which is what makes it a noteworthy title. But when you finish you understand, with a great deal of poignancy, exactly what the treasure was; and it’s not what you think. WriteMomWrite, “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” A story with an apt title—the Mary in this story reminded me of my rambunctious granddaughter.

BEST TITLE RUNNERS UP

Janet Wood, “Frozen in Time, Waiting for Life.” The title is absolutely lyrical and echoes the touching story perfectly. Karl A. Russell, “The House on the Borders Land.”  The title itself is quintessentially British, just like the story. VB Holmes, “An Afternoon Chat at the Insane Asylum.” This is a wonderfully understated title, which may make you think what’s to follow is comical. It isn’t, and that’s what makes the title great.

BEST TITLE WINNERS

It’s pretty tough when you have four, count ‘em, four, titles which scored the maximum points, so I’m going to discuss all four then tell you the top winner and explain why. 

Erin McCabe, “Everthere.” What, you say, I’m highlighting a title which is a non-existent word? Yes, because it’s the perfect title for this story.

Quackzalcoatl, “Palindromic Rage.” This is an excellent example of using an odd title to draw you into a story. Sometimes it’s a risk to make a title obvious, but this works perfectly.

Allison K. Garcia, “High Noon and a Generous Helping of Mashed Potatoes.” How could you not read a story with that title? However, it’s also a perfect title for this story.

M.T. Decker, “Madame Bartholomew’s Bed and Breakfast for the Criminally Insane.” This was the first title I saw which really drew me in, and it makes you laugh and yet makes you wonder what’s to come. 

Pretty tough to pick from, I’d say, so since all four met my criteria for a title (Originality, Reflects the Story, Grammar/Spelling), I had to rely on the emotional impact of the title within the story to select the overall winner.

The best, most evocative title was

{{ “Everthere” by Erin McCabe }}

After the first few paragraphs, I was thoroughly confused; then, the author spins you down to the very end before you realize the cause of the confusion. If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, this story and its title will put you inside the head of an Alzheimer’s patient and helps you understand how the sufferer is forever in a completely different “there.” Beautifully fitting title.

♦♦♦♦♦

OVERALL HONORABLE MENTIONS

M. T. Decker, “Madame Bartholomew’s Bed and Breakfast for the Criminally Insane.” The first two-thirds of this story you think you’re in Marie Bartholomew’s head as she contemplates a purchase of real estate; then, the twist comes in, and you laugh and cry a little

Sarah Cain, “Wait in Peace.” I’ll take this story with me for a long time. This is another example where the author skillfully leads you down one path only you make you lurch down another. The ending will make you all goose-bumpy.

Dorothy-Jean Chapman, “POV Panes.” This was a unique take on the building as POV theme. The next time you’re in a large, old building, after you read this, you’ll know what’s whispering.

OVERALL RUNNER UP

Karl A. Russell, “The House on the Borders Lands.” This story had perfect dialogue (I could so easily “hear” the speakers.) and a delightful premise. A perfectly logical story and a great laugh.

And familiar near the top but first time to summit, Flash! Friday  

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

Margaret Locke!

for “Kindred Spirits”  

I didn’t deduct a single point from this story, and that’s unusual for me, stickler as I am for all things grammatical and punctuation. From the POV of the building, this was a work of art. We’ve all seen old, empty houses and wondered, and this story fills in the blanks with near-perfection. A delightful read and a well-crafted story, it will make you feel a bit more kindly toward buildings past their prime. 

Congratulations, Margaret! Here are your stunning Winner’s Page, your own magically fabulous dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please email me as soon as possible so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Kindred Spirits

You should have seen me in my prime. I was the feather in the duke’s cap, his prized possession. The beau monde, princes, even foreign dignitaries flocked to me in grand carriages, eager to seek out my many hidden pleasures: the sumptuous banquets, the illustrious balls, the secret trysts, the endless pleasure seeking.

Ah, those were the days.

Now look at me. The Odd Fellows Home for Orphans, Indigent, and Aged. A setting for a horror film if I’ve ever seen one. Mewling infants cry for parents they’ll never have. The older ones are no better, shuffling along my hallways, eyes vacant as if focused on days gone by. All reeking of poverty and loss, nothing like the blithe beauties and dashing rogues of yesteryear.

Even my magnificent fountain, once the welcoming centerpiece of my masterful estate, lies dormant, covered in hideous netting in order to keep these idiots out. “For their own protection,” I hear.

How did it come to this? I am a shell of my former self. An eyesore, some say. A visual reminder of all that society wants to ignore, to obscure, to forget.

My cement eye sees the fear in their faces as they are led through my doors, doors that used to signify One Had Arrived. Doors that now open only to lost opportunities, lost selves, lost lives.

I listen to the young girl whispering confidences to me from her bed, telling of tragedies I can only imagine. I smell the fear on the sick and the dying, who know they have already come to their final resting place. I feel the pain of those abandoned, clinging to the meager comforts I offer because I am all they have in the world.

Now they are all that I have.

We are the things that nobody wants.

Perhaps these are my glory days after all.

FFWinnerBadgeSmall

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7 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 42 — WINNERS!

  1. Well done everyone, loved the winning story!

    Thank you for the title win, I can’t take the complete credit though- “Everthere” is the title of a song by the band elbow, which I had playing at my wedding and is about growing old and forgetful together, hence the connection to my story. Here is a link to it and sample of the lyric with a beautiful clip from the film “Up” the intro to which always makes me cry buckets!

    “If I loose a sequin here and there
    And take my time on every stair
    Can I rely on you when this whole thing is through
    To be for me the everthere, everthere?”

  2. Thank you! Honorable Mention for Best Title-this is my first ever writing award and I”ll take it!! Congratulations to everyone!

  3. Brilliant story, Margaret! It reads with an eerie tone, layer by layer revealing the sorrowful tales of lost people. Ah, the walls do remember everything. Very much enjoyed reading these lines!

    Also congrats to everyone else, all well deserved prizes!

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