Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 25: WINNERS!

Last week you clever writers coordinated your entries (how did you do that?!) so we’d have a perfect 51 to match our Roswell prompt. This week you went for broke and blew the top off the previous Flash! Friday record*. I’m sitting here, mouth AGAPE (yes, yes, I brushed my teeth), wondering what heights your madness will achieve next week. Your talent is tremendous. And special thanks to those of you who took the time to comment on stories. What a difference in the life of a writer that effort makes! Thank you, thank you, dear ones. And now: 

♦♦♦♦♦

Judge Jess West says: All righty then! This week’s prompt brought many tales of a vengeful Earth Goddess struggling to break free of her captors, the very humans to which she gave life. The stories were all great, but those that reached deeper than the surface came back to rise far above. The thing I was most impressed with this week was the level of character development. So many of you helped me get to know people instead of telling me stories about characters. (Looks like I’m not the only one who reads the judge’s page!) Thank you for putting in that extra effort to really bring these stories to life, and for all these great entries- there were nearly sixty this week! You folks never fail to amaze me, week after week going one further, raising the bar ever higher. I can’t wait to get back into the fray alongside such talented writers.  {{Editor’s Note: Soon enough, little dragon. Soon enough.}} In the meantime, I’ll happily enjoy the fruits of your labors from my perch in the corner.

Thanks again for going the extra mile with outstanding character development, and for those stories that reached way beyond the first, second, third, fourth or even fifth idea that springs to mind with the given prompts. I was greatly impressed, and I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.

♦♦♦♦♦

HONORABLE MENTIONS

M. T. Decker, “With Apologies to the Bard.” I enjoyed the flow of this one, the first poem I’ve seen at Flash! Friday, and what I read as wry humor. Specifically,

Will we live in a garden of possibilities
Or realize that freedom comes with
12-12-12 fertilizer.

Is there a deeper meaning here- one that mocks those who take freedom for granted? Either way, I liked this Flash Poem, I even got a chuckle out of the title after reading the story.

Evan Montegarde, “The Gardeners.” The language is great, I can get a good feel for the characters right out of the gate. Through these colorful characters, I see the Earth Goddess as a disapproving school-marm type.

Scott L. Vannatter, “Modest Earth Goddess.” I love the humor and personality in this piece. She reminds me of a wife who is only able to tolerate so much, and won’t hold back when her man needs a good swat upside the head.

Karl A. Russell, “M + J 4Eva,”  for fantastic use of the title as a visual aid. Also, I was able to empathize with both the antagonist and protagonist because the author gave me a feel of where each of them were at emotionally in this moment. 

THIRD RUNNER UP

Tinman, “Elixir of Life.” The Earth Goddess is so well-drawn here that I can see her shaking her head in dismay at the end. It’s hard to get that much depth of character into such a short piece, but this author does an outstanding job. After reading “Elixir of Life,” I’ll think twice about every sip I take that isn’t water, and I’ll look over my shoulder and wonder if she’s watching me, if the breeze is her dispirited sigh.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Joidianne4eva, “How Does Your Garden Grow?” I do love a good horrific twist on a familiar tale. Using the familiar tale lent this story a depth of character and setting that otherwise would not have been present, a clever tactic which I can certainly appreciate. The first two prophetic lines are my favorite, almost poetic. “Once upon a time, there lived a little girl named Mary…or so the story goes. She was neither fair of face nor full of grace…” From the start I knew I’d like this one, and I wasn’t disappointed.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Marie McKay, “The Unforgiven.” The last paragraph, where the heart of the story is revealed, was like a sucker punch to the gut on first reading. The second and third times through, I noticed a few subtle hints, but woven in so well as to not give anything away. When Marianne speaks her first line of dialogue but doesn’t go to comfort her child, I got chills. I knew something was seriously off, but the author still knocked the wind out of my sails with the big reveal. I especially like how this author took the dragon’s bidding one step further, reminding us that freedom, more often than not, comes at a great price. 

And now: for his first time, it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

JOHN MARK MILLER!!!

for

“The Sorcerer’s Daughter”

There are stories that make a good first impression, and there are those that stick with you; “The Sorcerer’s Daughter” does both. Kass displays proud defiance and cunning against her loving but immovable father. These two strong characters grabbed my attention and held it. The level of character development in this piece especially is amazing, considering how short these flash fictions are. Kass goes from stubbornly standing her ground to quietly accepting her fate. The shift does not detract from my respect for this character. In fact, the opposite is true. Her courage in facing her father and her bravery in accepting his punishment stuck with me, even after a few hours away from the story. Of all the things she could have done to save her own life, instead she accepted what she knew was coming and countered immediately with her revenge. I can just hear the whisper deep within the gnarled tree, “I will go wherever you send me, but I will not go alone.” If Kass couldn’t be free to love whomever she chose, she wouldn’t be free at all – and neither would her captor. Bravo!

Congratulations, John Mark! Your brand new, super fabulous winner’s badge awaits you below. Here is your equally new winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me ASAP so I can interview you for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

The Sorcerer’s Daughter

The royal guards shriveled back as they entered the throne room. The dark magic of this place was known to scorch all who lingered.

Kass squared her shoulders, unafraid. “Hello, Father.”

The torchlight set his simmering face ablaze. But even in his anger, he offered his daughter a cursory kiss. “You are not to marry this peasant, Kass. He is beneath you.”

“He has stolen my heart, Father. It cannot be undone.”

His obsidian eyes were sorrowful, but determined. After a long moment, he broke her stubborn gaze. “Never underestimate the power of a sorcerer’s kiss, my darling,” he whispered.

Already her ivory skin was darkening, crumbling away into common sod. “Wise words, Father. Remember them… always.”

They later found the gnarled tree fashioned in her likeness. Now her beauty shone eternal, eyes forever closed in quiet submission. And in her palm lay an obsidian pebble, frozen in a silent scream.

 

FFwinner-Web

* From 52 to 58.

 

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3 thoughts on “Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 25: WINNERS!

  1. Only after reading the comments did I realize that the fertilizer comment could have a different connotation. Always interesting to see what other see in your story.

    I had missed the winning story, but so glad it won and I got to read it.

    Bravo all!

    • Given the context of the whole piece, I’d wondered about that. It gave me a chuckle, though. It was a bit of unexpected humor, the kind that’s right up my alley.

  2. Wow – I just saw this and you made my day! My wife had told me that this was my worst piece yet, so I was quite honestly afraid to check the results! Thanks for setting up this fun challenge – it makes me think every single week – and congrats to all of this week’s winners!

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