Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 36: WINNERS!

How to thank you, the incredibly talented writers who return faithfully to support and challenge each other here at Flash! Friday each week? No words big or deep enough exist — believe me, I’ve looked. I hope each of you truly understands the profound impact you have on each other’s lives. Thank you.


Judge Betsy Streeter says: This week’s prompt drew a vast array of responses from the writers – everything from world-building to bugs to gods, kings, queens, a fair number of monks and dragons {Editor’s Note: Dragons?? Yessss!} and everything in between.

The stories that stood out to me conveyed a world or a point of view, along with a story, in the limited space. This is tough – too much action and you haven’t described the situation adequately, too much description and nothing happens or the action seems incomplete. Some were metaphorical, others went all the way into fantasy. But the ones mentioned here committed fully and made each word serve their purpose. That’s not easy to do. Congratulations to all!



Dody Chapman, “The Taming.” For a terrific range of language, sentences filled with color and texture. Also, a very nice and compelling conflict right from the first sentence. Can I say how much I love that first sentence: “The City of Granite lives to spite the lofty City of Lightning.”

Pam Plumb, “The Visionary.” For far-reaching implications in very few words. It made me want to know the story that comes between the first and second paragraphs. Loved the sentence: “She knew she would revisit the city, make it proud to have sired her.” There’s a relationship to past and future there that intrigues.

Mark A. King, “Acceptance.” Another story that brings its world into focus very quickly with phrases like “bleached bone frameworks jut, jostle and gape at obscene angles within the ceilings.” My other favorite here is “I run my bony fingers over my legs, full of disease” – this conveys a deep sickness that I can really see and feel.

Liz Hedgecock, “Troglodyte.” For use of point of view to tell the story. First from the inside, and then from the outside. The switch is quick, but well-punctuated. This story reminds me of a George Saunders short story I read a while back. Makes me feel for the poor creatures.


Elisa Average Advocate, “Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.


Image Ronin, “Le Chateau do Tromperie.” Many stories made use of the punctuation provided by a storm, but this one did it particularly well. I loved phrases like “polished stones and glistening metal marking our certainty.” Also, “built knowingly upon treacherous sands” is all you have to read to know this relationship was flawed from the beginning. And finally, the ring hitting the table brings it all together.


FCFL Railway, “Memory Garden.” This story, again, is so efficient in how it opens up situations and worlds for the reader. First you are with a child, who is describing a fanciful imagination used to cover over ugly reality. That’s great. But then you read, “And now you ask me for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” and you know exactly where you are – and why. Brilliant.

And now: appearing for his first time at the top (I’m so crazy about first-timers!!), it’s Flash! Friday




“The Farm”

This story does a masterful job of moving between two realities while flipping them on their heads. At first, it’s just an anxious band of humans. And, I love the sentence, “False hope is cruelty.” But then, you pull out to see an insect and the whole description shifts to a new language. Clicking mandibles, hatchday. And you realize, the humans are the scurrying, terrified bugs, and the bugs are amusing themselves without a care. The statement, “They are so cool!” conveys just how the bugs see the humans. Which is just the way humans see bugs. This is a great one to look at for examples of how simple word choice draws such a vivid picture – and how vocabulary can also create contrast. Congratulations!


Congratulations, Michael! Below is the extremely sparkly winner’s badge for your wall. Here also are your winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me here ASAP so I can interview you for this week’s #SixtySeconds interview. And here is your winning story:

The Farm

The clap of thunder sent them scrambling for safety. Up, down they hurried, scurried, traversing the steps carved into the unforgiving rock face.

Fear creased their weary eyes as they huddled in the remote recesses of the caves. The parents hugged their children, hushed them, reassured them that everything would be fine.

But would it? Had they made the gods angry? Would the earthquakes return?

Nights, after the children had gone to sleep, the parents would gather and talk quietly.

Of escape.

Of freedom.

Of a life beyond.

They never spoke these words in front of the children. False hope is cruelty.

On the other side of the glass, Worker 1421 clicked his mandibles excitedly.

“They are so cool!” he said to his fellow drone. “I’m going to ask the Queen for a People Farm for my hatchday.”

“They are fun to watch. And so industrious. Still, I think I’ll shake it up and make them start all over again.”





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