Tag Archive | Jon

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 22: WINNERS!

Welcome to the awards ceremony for Vol 2-22 and our Peter Pan (or not-so-Peter-Pan) collection of tales (did I mention Judge Jess is more of a Cap’n Hook gal??). As ever, a humdinger of a ride with all you crazy dragonlings. Thanks to beloved familiar writers & to you brave new ones for joining the party! We always have a great time here, proved this week yet again. Thank you. Your time and participation mean so much.

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Judge Jess West says: Greetings, flashers! With so many five star flashes this week, choosing twenty was nearly impossible. After agonizing over the choices for hours, I’ve finally managed to narrow it down to a reasonably short list. A few of you surprised me with what I thought was a clever and unique twist on the coming of age prompt. I’ve always equated a girl’s “coming of age” with the time of the red dragon, but you guys took it somewhere else entirely, to my astonishment and utter delight! (Yes, I’m a little twisted.) Although Rebekah suggested a Peter Pan-ish feel, several of you took real life cautionary tales and familiar favorites alike and gave ’em a nice, dark twist. If you know me, you know I love those. Some of you just jerked the rug right out from under me, and I’ll save my comments on those for last. Thanks again for an incredible week of judging, and I hope to see you all again in a few. 

P.S. In The Sins of the Mother, a classic tale of lost boys and the one who would never grow up is brought to life -and present day- by our very own judge, Prathiba Kelapure. While her story isn’t eligible for placement, hers was the best use of prompts, including the photo, the dragon’s bidding, and the not-so-subtle hinting of our beloved dragony hostess, Rebekah Postupak.

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Laura Emmons, “Fighting the Wolves.” A flash fiction piece full of conflict, with metaphorical wolves aplenty.

A Dark Moon in Orbit, “The Turning.” A sorrowful tale full of rich descriptions, and incredibly touching.

AJ Walker, “In Push to Restart.” The creeping darkness of the tone escalates subtly, making for a bigger impact in the end.

Chris Milam, “The Weed.” This one deserves a spot in the short list for Best Antagonist.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Taryn Noelle Kloeden, “Lunacy.” Jealousy, betrayal and murder make good bedfellows, and Taryn certainly used that to her advantage in Lunacy. Two sisters, one man … murder is inevitable.

M.T. Decker, “Destroyer of Worlds.” Highly entertaining with a twist I love and didn’t see coming. Mary made my day with this one.

Scott Vannatter, “Crisis of 1885.” I was waiting for something much worse to have happened than what the girl was trying to relay, getting just as angry as the mother. The relief I felt at the end added to the humorous impact.

Charity Paschall, “No More Secrets.” Another of those characters I’ve become quite familiar with, Rapunzel, makes an appearance in this dark retelling. Charity brings an element of magic into a story that could have happened in the past or in present day.

FOURTH RUNNER UP

R. A. Williamson, “Dark Water.” This is tragic tale told in poetic prose that took my breath away. R.A. uses second person POV as it’s intended, successfully amping up the emotional impact. It takes a writer with guts to add 2nd to his arsenal, and a writer with talent to pull it off.

THIRD RUNNER UP

Maggie Duncan, “Primogeniture.” The world building here is impressive. Marrying for status, sacrificing to a powerful being, and murmuring incantations all work to set the scene and tone. Maggie Duncan treated us to a beautiful but dark blend of Historical Literary Fiction and Speculative Fiction, possibly a new favorite of mine.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Tinman Done Badly, “Too Young.” The opening paragraph promised a Cinderella story, and I was curious to see where this author would take the tale. This version held elements of humor and unexpected disappointment for our beloved protagonist. Tinman’s Cinderella is a far cry from the docile creature we’re familiar with. Full of personality, both in Cinderella and the insensitive Fairy Godmother,  “Too Young” is as memorable a Cinderella story as the first. And that last line, “Can I keep the shoes?” was sheer brilliance!

FIRST RUNNER UP

Joidianne4eva, “Like Glass in Your Mouth (And Stone in Your Veins).” With an ominous tone right out of the gate, that third paragraph raised the fine hairs on the back of my neck. I fell in love with visceral descriptions in the place of emotions. That last paragraph was a real kicker – the deed done, Lucille seems almost clinical in her detachment as she makes a mental to-do list. For impressive depth of a character and a good, dark twist, “Like Glass in Your Mouth” comes in at a close second. 

And now: for an impressive, knock-your-socks off THIRD TIME (but first time in Year Two), it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

CRAIG ANDERSON!!!

for

“The Hard Way”

A young girl’s despair was evidenced in her desperate pleas, still hoping against hope, and immediately I was emotionally invested, hoping right along with her. Mary’s mother, full of compassion, reassured her that she would learn to control the inevitable curse. A few quick lines of dialogue allowed me to hope that the girl may find some measure of relief amidst the turmoil she would soon face. Alas, with the close of “The Hard Way,” we all learned a lesson about impulse control. Unfortunately, for Mary that lesson was horrific beyond imagining. I do believe her mother was right, one night was enough. Horror with an emotional punch raises Craig’s tale in the ranks, all the way to the top.

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

The Hard Way

Mary’s sobs were muffled by her mothers lap. She finally came up for air. “Are you sure it will be tonight Mama? Perhaps the curse will skip a generation?”

Her mother gently shook her head, “I remember when I turned sixteen all those year ago and the curse was passed to me. I was so very afraid, but there is nothing to fear. In time you will learn to control the hunger, just like my mother taught me.”

Mary rubbed at her eyes, “How did she teach you?”

“There is only one way to learn such a lesson, the hard way.”

“Did you learn quickly?”

“It only took one night.”

The clouds finally shifted from the full moon. Mary felt her body ripping and reforming, and then there was a terrible hunger. There was only one source of food in the room. Her mother didn’t make a sound as Mary devoured her, and the lesson was learned.

 

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 21: WINNERS!

Once again I’d like to thank Jeffro Uitto, whose carving talents boggle the mind, for lending us his photo for our prompt this week. As ever, it was a pleasure and privilege reading the stories you all carved out of the white space. Thank you so much!  (And happy May the Fourth to our dear #nerd dragons.)

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Judge Alissa Leonard says: Wow. What a beautiful prompt picture this week! It was mesmerizing, intoxicating, and powerful while on a different level being restful, peaceful, and serene. It’s like potential energy – at any moment it could become kinetic energy and move, but right now it’s resting with possibility. And OH! The possibilities! From dreams to lunatics, memories to time travel, sculptures to prisons, living wood to tattoos… Here are some of my favorites:

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

World building: Alana Guy Dill, “Driftwood”; Image Ronin, “The Joust”; Dody Chapman, “Luz.”

Endings: Steph Post, “Dreaming”; Tinman, “Gift Horse”; Charles W. Short, “Mina Ibrahim: Seeking the World Between Extremes”; Jon, “The Foreigner”; and John Mark Miller, “Jubilee.”

Language: Chris Milam, “Embers in the Dirt”; Miss Meow, “The Inspiration of Chocolate Mousse.”

Title: 20/20 Hines Sight, “Powerful”; Bart van Goethem, “The Guinevere Complex”; and AJ Walker, “In the Name of A King.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Craig Anderson“Reflections of Battle.” You set this scene so beautifully, a bellow and a polishing. I’ve been that squire, frantically working at a task that could save people and having no one understand, but doing it anyway. I loved the curse and how it worked.  I loved how you tied the title into the whole thing. And I absolutely adored the last line – it’s so rare to be recognized for the tiny things you do. Very fun.

Margaret Locke, “Kindred Spirits.” I appreciated how you took the seeming isolation of the picture and drew from that mood – the battle between the stillness of the statue and the movement of the waves. Your use of language was beautiful. I could almost see the visions she had of riding as a knight or a cowboy. I especially liked the line, “Every day she climbed onto his back, closed her eyes, and willed him to break free, to run, to carry her away. Every night she returned home, broken, bridled, chomping at the bit.” Using horse terminology to describe her prison (whatever it was) was brilliant. 

Yanying, “Memory.” Whether the memory was a previous life or just his imaginations while creating the sculpture, this story evoked that feeling of connection between an artist and the art. I could almost see his wistful gaze. His pretense as he said, “I’ll miss him.” His wife’s understanding of how difficult parting with it was for him. …And then the last line. To think that our work, somehow, knows us back… That’s beautiful.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Karen Oberlaender, “Call of Duty.” I loved the progression from nonchalance to action in this story. I could almost see her turn over in her bed and put the pillow over her head! She peeks an eye open and that’s when the adrenaline hits. The world-building had me curious all throughout the story. What’s going on? Why 500 years? And you don’t answer those questions, but we’re given a glimpse at the end. She sets off into the past, fully restored to their true forms. And life goes on. Without that last line, I would’ve been extremely frustrated, but the ordinary-ness juxtaposed with the fantastic really worked well for me.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Dieter Rogiers, “Fire ‘neath the Bark.” I could FEEL this horse transforming! Your imagery was perfect. “Weathered bark broke his velvety black skin. Living, breathing pores clotted into wooden knots. And the sound of snapping twigs reverberated throughout his body.” I could feel the poor animal fighting back as he “fought the curse with vigour, striking at his invisible enemy with his front legs…” Your use of language let me see and feel and therefore empathize, especially when the princess starts crying for him. I wanted to cry with her. I suppose he got her close enough to survive? But I love the glimmer of hope you gave us at the end: a beating heart. 

And now: another first! for her very first time, it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

ELLEN STALEY!!!

for

“Petrified”

The world-building on this is fantastic! The little hints you gave were perfectly portioned to provide me with just enough to fill in all the details of the epic battle, the curse, the sacrifice… I can see it now: The girl “forced him from his chargers back, and…bravely smiled.” I love the feeling of how much time has passed when he “saluted with gnarled hands, battle aged.” His kingdom now “forever secure” he comes to offer her the thanks she’s due. And then the tears… And the switch… And…wow. It felt so full-circle, and I’m dying to know who she is and what she does next! Thanks.

Congratulations on your first win,  Ellen! Your winner’s badge waits all nice and shiny for you below. Here is your 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:

Petrified

She looked as vibrant as the day he’d yielded his mount to her.

The knight studied her cheek with its single petrified tear. Drops of gratitude rolled down his face. He did not rub them away, but saluted with gnarled hands, battle aged.

Oh, to take her in his arms again, thank her for his chance at life and more, victory! The kingdom now existed forever secure. He returned to his steed, gathered a queen’s finery, the value of her sacrifice, and lovingly arranged them, an offering. He remembered the moment she’d forced him from his charger’s back, and cursed to sculpture, she’d bravely smiled.

He climbed up the petrified stallion, wrapped one arm around her waist. His tears flowed. He wiped them with his fingers, impulsively touched her lone tear.

She stood on the sand, startled by the statue and knight that rode it. Was it…? Richly appointed raiment caught her eye. And she knew.

 

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