It’s fitting, I suppose, that I’m posting these results in my own personal subterranean ice chamber, a tortuous place my husband calls the “basement.” I’m thinking my mother’s belief that most ills can be cured by donning socks may be more right than I’d guessed. –Thanks to everyone who braved the prompt’s freezing temps and wrote stories. I hope you realize (a) how amazing you are, and (b) just how many people are reading your work. THANK YOU for leaping with such gusto into the Flash! Friday community.
DON’T FORGET! We are accepting applications to join rotating judge panels for Flash! Friday’s Year 2. Details here! To be considered for the first panel (Dec 14 – March 14), please have your applications in by October 31. Thanks!
Judge Maggie Duncan says, I wanted an extra blanket or the heat on high as I read these stories. In a lot of cases, though, the writers didn’t let the photo stand on its own—there were way too many modifiers, which basically meant, “It’s cold!” I’d rather they had delved deeper into the stories behind the façade that was so obviously freezing-your-butt-off cold. There were a lot of interesting takes on the prompt—a good balance among the elements in the photo. Whether it was the flags, the red light, the aurora, or just the cold, the stories led us down some unique paths. Excuse me now while I go wrap up in a blankie with a cup of hot cocoa.
M.T. Decker, “Unbearable Solitude.” Although I doubt a “not-too-bright” guy would be sent to a research station in Antarctica, this is a well-plotted story with the kind of twist I like, and the title is a great pun.
Aria Glazki, “Treasure Hunt.” There was a good build-up of tension and suspense in this story, and the last line was a grabber.
THIRD RUNNER UP
Jacki Donnellan, “Aurora Borealis.” This is one of those stories which resonate for a long while after reading it. This is a well-told tale with a open ending, but one you can put your own meaning to. The dialogue is crisp yet says volumes.
SECOND RUNNER UP
Maven Alysse, “Dark Matter.” This was a good combination of sci-fi and horror, rather like the old B-movie, “The Thing.” A very unusual take on the prompt but one which leaves you wanting more.
***SPECIAL NOTE FROM JUDGE MAGGIE*** You tried to make me choose, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t even take the Solomonic way out because there were two great stories. These were very well-done tales, and when I went to my fall-back tie-breaker—my gut reaction—both left an indelible impact. So (GASP!) our Dragon Host is forced to break the tie herself. (The comments, however, belong to the judge.)
FIRST RUNNER UP
Lady Hazmat, “Halcyon Skies.” This story is both harrowing and ironic, but pulled off with a few words which communicate first joy at escaping everyone’s fate because of a minor affliction and then utter desolation at realizing you may be the last one alive. This was the story which made me want to sit before a fire while I pondered which genetic flaw might ultimately save mankind. At the end, you understand all too well the protagonist’s decision, and you know, given the same circumstances, you’d do the same thing. Great job.
DRAGON WINNER IS….
This one-word title says it all, and you’ll never use the phrase “until Hell freezes over” again without thinking about this woman’s Hell, perhaps of her own making but certainly daunting, knowing she has to face it for eternity. It reminded me of one of my favorite original Star Trek™ episodes, one which stays with me to this day in the form of a nightmare, “The Alternative Factor.” Well done.
Congratulations, Laura! Here is your Winner’s Page, a cool (in a good way), dazzlingly clever dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.
Sadie picked up the card on the flowers. “Welcome to your new home.” She tossed it back on the table, bare but for the silver roses. The room was as austere as the table, all steel and sharp edges. She checked the thermostat. It was set at 80 and she could feel the air moving through the vents, but the room was as cold as the frigid outside. She couldn’t remember the last time she was warm.
Outside in the glow of the orange light, she saw an image of her daughter, Caroline, her biggest disappointment. She insisted on following her own path straight into a low paying job, working with juvenile delinquents. The twit, Sadie thought, believing she could save the world one child at a time. Well, she hoped those losers could help keep Caroline’s heat on. From the corner of her eye, Sadie noted Caroline’s husband, whatshisname, as he gently brushed a strand of hair from Caroline and put his arm around her.
Further off, where the light was swallowed by the icy darkness, she saw Jared, the man she left her husband for, the man who had once been married to her best friend. She’d suspected there was a mistress. He didn’t even have the good sense to wait until Sadie was buried before he took her out in public. The mistress was wrapped in a blue fox fur. Her blue fox fur.
Sadie checked the thermostat again and rubbed her chapped hands briskly. Nobody had ever suggested that Hell could be so cold.