Tag Archive | Laura Emmons

Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 24: WINNERS!

I was all prepared to give my usual “welcome back, you incredible writers” speech (one of my favorites!), when I had to do a double take. Make that triple. Unless I counted wrong — which, as I was a Lit major in college, is entirely possible — there were 51 entries this week. FIFTY-ONE entries in a week with a prompt of an alien mailbox near a top secret government research facility.

I always knew y’all were good. But this week you took it to a whole other area (get it? AREA). Cue Twilight Zone music.

FIFTY-ONE!! 

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Judge Alissa Leonard says: If we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that combining mailboxes and aliens results in BILLIONS of dollars of debt, human abductions, time travel, conspiracies, UFO chasers, mysterious disappearances, and alien invasions with some desert adventure thrown in for good measure… Perhaps the aliens should use a post office box? Thank you all for your offerings; they were out of this world! Let me tell you about some of my favorites:

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

Worldbuilding: Winter Bayne, “Paid in Full”; James Marshall, “Reminder Notice”; and Bart Van Goethem, “The Takeover.”

Beginning: Tinman, “You’ve Got Mail”

EndingLaura Emmons, “Alien Discovery”

MoodChris Milam, “Transference”; Joidianne4eva, “Plant My Roots (On Barren Ground”)

CharacterizationMegan Besing, “Saturday 1:07pm”; John Mark Miller, “Special Delivery”; Clive Newnham, “SPECIAL DELIVERY”; Betsy Streeter, “Steve, Keeper of the Box”; Carlos Orozco, “The Alien”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

A.J. Walker, “Settler.” Your first paragraph set up a life of peace and contentment – painted a picture of hard-earned solitude. You had me hooked there. I loved the line, “That was a matter of life and mum.” Seriously, that is brilliant. Because we all know, if you don’t call mom, you’ll be dead.  🙂 I also really enjoyed your clever take on the name and bill issue. It was unique and unexpected, and it tied into the characterization from the first paragraph perfectly. Very nicely done.

Katrina Ray-Saulis, “Dear Robbie.” The relationship is what caught my heartstrings with this one. A “goodbye” note from Gram to one who teased her and joked with her, but obviously loved her. He drove out to the spot where they found her car every year to write her a letter about his life – so sweet. So sad and hopeful and beautiful. And then the reassurance… Loved it.

Taryn Noelle Kloeden, “Bounty.”  This one entertained my world-building brain so much! “Wanted dead, alive, or in stasis” set the scene very well. I enjoyed the deadpan bounty hunter – nothing fazed him. He checks that the cloaking device is working by the fact that no one screams. He considers incinerating the entire place so that no one can get the same info, but decides not to because it’s “probably not worth the fine.” –Probably?! Then he adds petty theft to the guy’s rap sheet. It made me laugh and filled me with so many questions! 

 

THIRD RUNNER UP

Casey Rose Frank, “Not My Boat.” Your characterization is brilliant. The bored, business-like creditor; the paranoid (and wrongly accused) man; and the pranking alien combined to make this a hilarious read! Seriously, when Mr. Smith said, “What would I do with a boat?” I could see him flailing around in the desert. And then the end… the “large blue face wearing groucho glasses” peering through the curtains. I busted out laughing.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Marie McKay, “Overdue.” Oh, how I want this to all work out! I love the characterization of the little boy and his fascination with Buzz. He tries to be brave and “set his voice to ‘Hero,’” but it doesn’t work perfectly. I could picture this goodbye scene between so many fathers and sons and it broke my heart. Then the end… “I tucked three dollars in its fold telling Dad to put it towards the bill for his journey home.” So sweet and heart-wrenching!

FIRST RUNNER UP

Mark Morris, “Paid in Full.” Wow. This one knocked my socks off! The idea that the aliens would pay off your overdue bills is an amazingly fascinating concept – completely unique and enjoyable. I am dying to know the consequences for putting more than one bill in there per month… Please? 🙂 And yeah, the catch. It seems like such a reasonable question… That last line floored me. Seriously. Then my mind FILLED with questions: These people seemed like friends: were they? Did he seriously just sell out his friend? Does he find random people and convince them to go with him? And, really, what kind of person values a person’s life as less than one overdue bill for internet??? Mind: Blown. 

And now: for her third time overall, but first for Year Two, it’s Flash! Friday  

DRAGON WINNER

ARIA GLAZKI!!!

for

“Bargain”

Brilliant. Perfect. Just… Wow. Your language was so evocative I needed a drink of water: “baked alive” “groan scratched its way out of my throat” “blistering sunlight” “grit scraped my eyes” “taunting me with the waste of water”. I felt sore and parched and I also felt that “blissful instant of relief” when the shadow fell over him. The captor is so very outlaw-esque, and I want to see more of her! I suppose that’s one way to get out of your debts… We start the story being “baked alive” and finish it with the possibility of two more weeks. It’s quite the ultimatum. And it floored me. It was seriously perfect and sucker punched me right in the gut. Beautifully written, wonderfully evocative, and very fun characters. Loved it.

Congratulations, Aria! Your brand new-to-you (isn’t it fancy!) winner’s badge awaits you below. Here is your updated 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:

Bargain

Waking up isn’t easy when you’re being baked alive.

A groan scratched its way out of my throat as I opened my eyes to the blistering sunlight. Soreness in my shoulders and ankles dissuaded me from moving.

One of only two shadows on the sand moved. Grit scraped my eyes as I tried to blink the motion away.

“Oh shut up.” The shadow fell over me for a blissful instant of relief, chased away by her grin. “How ya doin’ down there?”

“What the hell you stupid—”

“Ah, ah. Careful.”

The scorching spotlight found my face again. She spat, taunting me with the waste of water.

“You owe me,” I reminded.

“Well now, that’s why I’m here. You forget that little issue, and I’ll cut you free.”

“Are you off your—”

“Or.” Her shadow moved out of sight. “I could just leave you here, while I come up with the money. Shouldn’t take more than a couple weeks.”

 

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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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