Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Year 2 Week 43 Results!

Thanks to the four entrants for Week 43. Since there were four of you, I picked one winner and decided to comment on what I enjoyed about your pieces.

By the River by AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe

Some nice storytelling. This deserves to be read around the campfire!

Another Round at the Fox and Fowl by Bill Engleson

Lots of fresh simile and imagery. The second read through delivered more depth.

Siren Call by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

Beautiful descriptions of the mature and emerging sirens. Unexpected twist at the end-- I always love those.

Winner! 

Wicked Runs in the Genes by Anjela

Hilarious! Reading that line surprised and delighted me. I wasn't sure where you were going to take the story after the zinger of a first line, and you didn't disappoint. Your narrator is genuine and likeable. You took on an edgy topic and kept it real for general audiences. The curve ball into a more personal tone at the end works too.

Anjela Curtis
www.anjelacurtis.com
@anjelacurtis
257 words (Scrivner)

Wicked Runs in the Genes

Only the very oldest people remembered the old-fashioned way to make babies.

Grandma would sometimes drink wine and tell me wicked stories about how, once, humans were born with external sex organs. This was before the Government Omniscience Directive, the G.O.D., gained control and thought to mutate the human genome to prevent over-population.

With the number of people on Earth having reached critical mass, many died of starvation. More died from the resulting Hunger Wars that broke out when the strongest survivors attempted to claim Earth’s few remaining resources. Fearing the loss of power, the G.O.D. chose to intervene then and enforce government rule.

Forced to undergo sterilization, many of the elders escaped underground and continued to fight for humanity. My grandmother was one of the leaders, a former government genealogist and medical doctor. She rescued me—her only living genetic descendant, despite my lab beaker origins—and went on to build the resistance into what it is today. To honor her memory, I continue the fight and lead by example.

Having both endured years of sexual reassignment surgeries, my partner and I will be the first “beaker-babies” to attempt procreation in a manner in which humans were intended.

I’m neither a criminal nor the sexual deviant that the G.O.D would have you believe. I’m just a human being in love, who wanted dearly to have a baby with the person I chose as my mate. I could lie and say I wasn't looking forward to it. But, I guess "wicked" runs in my genes.

© 2017



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Year 2, Week 43


Judge This Week: Kelly

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT! 

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

My husband sent me this quote to pet me about our prodigal teenager, but it applies to the writer life or any struggle for greatness. I hope you like it as much as I did.

"It is not the critic who counts: 
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled 
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. 
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again' 
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; 
who spends himself in a worthy cause; 
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly 
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls 
who neither victory or defeat". 
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Prompt 

"Only the very oldest people remembered."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Year 2, Week 42 Results!

We had six stories, including one late entry which couldn't be considered for the contest. Still, I had a great time reading them all. Stephen King would be impressed I'm sure. :)

Runner-up

Ronel Janse van Vuuren with Forest Inferno

What stuck with me about this story was the fine use of anthropomorphism. The fire's roar of rage over the bad eats was fun! Also the idea of sweating away one's very existence hits home with me personally as it was 90 degrees in my corner of the world today. This is more of a vignette than a story, but a well-painted one.

Winner!

Kim Davis with Shit Happens

This story instantly places me, gives me character, tone, tension. The writing is pristine, which never hurts. I found myself thinking of it long after, especially the moment when they locked eyes, when "the champagne glass came unseated." Well done! I love image of a newborn mountaintop rearing up like a giant's fist. Unexpected and jarring, but fresh and wonderful because of it. My one wish would be for a more creative title.

Shit Happens

When it happened, it happened fast. We were screaming along on a downwind run with the spinnaker pulling us into a glorious South Pacific sunset. The boss and his guests stood toasting one another with champagne in crystal classes. I’d tried break him of that habit, because I so often ended up scrambling around after broken glass when some fool forgot and a jibe sent his glass flying. This time, though, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I saw no danger in the champagne flutes. I’d topped them up and stood with Bill at the wheel. 

None of us knew what happened. We were suddenly flying as the boat pitch poled and headed down. I caught the boss’s eye as his glasses came unseated and his champagne glass left his hand in slow motion. His mouth was open, but I couldn’t hear his voice with my own scream filling my ears. When the old man hit the water, I saw the boom smack the back of his head. His friends—who’d been forward of the mast—were forced down by the mainsail. None made it back to the surface. Bill and I were thrown clear of the boat by some miracle. Tommy, the deckhand, was trapped in his cabin.

We later learned that a newborn mountaintop had reared up like a giant’s fist to catch hold of our keel. Our forward momentum sent the bow straight down. Life rafts and safety vests were useless—there’d been no time. Bill and I were lucky. The crew of a schooner several hundred yards to starboard saw the whole thing and picked us up.

That day has become a metaphor that sums up life for me. Shit happens, even amid perfection. 


Till next time, writer friends. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Year 2, Week 42

 Have some rules c:

Welcome to this week's Cracked Flash Fiction. This week's prompt comes from the book The Stand by Stephen King. And oldie but a goodie. 

Judge This Week: Kelly 

Word Count: 300 max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.  Thanks :)

Deadline: 12 AM SUNDAY (6/11) PST
Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon/evening.
Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition.  Have fun!
Prompt: "When it happened, it happened fast."


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Year 2, Week 41: Results!

I really do apologise over the time-zone glitches that sprung up this week – who knew that certain applications will ignore the time you tell them they should be in and decide to take your actual location? Rise of the machines…

Anyhow, thanks Anne and Bill for participating.

Here’s what I loved about your stories:

Bill, your tongue-in-the-cheek global warming take had me grinning from the start.

Anne, I like your portal-fantasy a lot and think there’s a lot of potential there for a longer piece (more about the problem, fleshing out of characters, etc.).

I can't pick a favourite, so let's call it a fun writing exercise.

Until next Saturday…



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Year 2, Week 41

Welcome to another round of CFFC!



Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next Wednesday
 afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:
‘Yes, but last week a dragon almost set my hair on fire, so it’s your turn to negotiate.’




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Year 2, Week 38: Results!


I came up with this week's prompt while scraping wallpaper paste. Who doesn't love that? At least I got these wonderful entries to show for it. :)  Thank you to each one who entered CFF. I can't promise 100% blindness, but I do my best to keep the names off the entries as I read. I hope you'll come back on Saturday for Ronel's prompt.


Honorable Mention  
Sam Malkowski with Growing Pains


What a fresh direction to take the prompt. The muted terror is nice, as are the vivid details of the fates of these two hikers. My only regret is that he didn't just stay with her in the end. He was doomed anyway. 

Runner up
TipTim with Muck

Your well-crafted mundanity is a great set-up for the appearance of the flesh-eating blob. (LOVE the flesh-eating blob... it's been a while, what with zombies taking the spotlight and all...) The idea of something nefarious travelling behind my back is delightfully unnerving. The chewing gum simile and the details that solidified this world also made it a stand-out.

Winner!
Bill Engleson with A Day or Two Before the End of The World-Or, at Least, Our Neighbourhood-Something Like That, Anyways, But Who Knows as CNN is Toast

Holy long titles, Batman. What I appreciated about our winning post was the political nod, the humor in apocalypse (not easy to pull off), and the personality of this post. The narrator's voice is strong and unique, eccentric. I'm a sucker for a great image and "clutching her favorite shotgun as if it was a skinny but always reliable lover" was my favorite of the day.

A Day or Two Before the End of The World-Or, at Least, Our Neighbourhood-Something Like That, Anyways, But Who Knows as CNN is Toast

“Scrape that off before you…”

“Track in the mud? Seriously, Hon, that’s what you are worried about?”

My Megikins stands in the doorway, a little wild-eyed, ferociously female, strong, sensual, MAYBE needing a bath...we’ve been without water for weeks…, but still, thank goodness for perfume…and clutching her favourite shotgun as if it was a skinny but always reliable lover.

Meg has always been one tough cookie, even before the Donald J. Trump Zombies went apeshit.

“Look at your boots, Ralphie. That’s not mud. Mud I could live with…”

So, as directed, I look. Down. Briefly, I remember when I bought my Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 Wide-Width Combat Boots at Crazy Clark Wallenski’s War Surplus Emporium back in the day. My big fat feet have never been happier. The last word in comfort. 

Now, though, the glow is off my fine boots. The shine, the spit and polished love I have given them is long gone, a mucky reminder of distant times. 

“If I’m not mistaken, Ralphie, that glop on your footwear is brains, blood, and shards of human flesh. And you want to track Zombie gunk into MY house?”

Do I feel like a complete trailer park turkey? Meg’s always been a cleanoholic. I mean that in the best way. Still, we are smack dab in the middle of an apocalypse. The Undead are on a tear trying to make sure their guy stays in the White House. You’d think she would make allowances for a little stray boot-slime. I have been up half the night, hunting them down, engaging in serious bloodshed. Doing my bit.

But she’s right.

“Maybe I’ll just take them off, Sweetie. That be okay?”

“Of course, you big lug. Pucker up.”

I do. 

We smooch and make up.

My worlds just become a little brighter.
See you next Saturday!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 40

Cracked Flash is up and running! :)



Judge this week: Kelly

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next Wednesday
 afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

"Scrape that off before you..."


Friday, May 12, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 39


Judge this week: Mars

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next
Thursday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

"This was not how I imagined this going."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Year 2, Week 38: Results!

I loved the stories this week! Each one had its own unique twist on the prompt. I wish I could tell each writer what I loved about their story… Oh, well.

Here’s this week’s results.

Honourable Mention

Bill Engleson with Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! Six Boomers in a Balloon, Away!

I really like the title – it immediately drew me in. Interesting story.

“Brave souls. Willing to risk the inevitable for the sheer experience.” Love this line.

First Runner-Up

TipTim with Horns Enterprises

Great imagery! And the last line, very evocative.

Check for typos (e.g. “We we are offering”). Also, keep lines open between paragraphs to make it easier to read.

Great story.

Winner Y2W38

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe

with Point of No Return


You built a great character here: from her hesitancy to her fierceness, she grew in a couple of sentences. I like the fantasy and magic elements – and that’s she’s going to rule!

Remember: dialogue should start in a new paragraph.

It’s not really necessary to tag every piece of dialogue, sometimes what the character is saying is enough to tell the reader what they’re thinking. E.g. “How?” He was unconvinced. (Drop the tag and we’ll still know that he is unconvinced.)

I’d add more about the bouncer’s scariness – just to show how scary the MC really is when she kills him.

Great story.

POINT OF NO RETURN

Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver. Or do they? I wasn’t sure. Establishments that provide dangerous sports make participants sign waivers. This one was certainly not prepared for possible lawsuits. I found that strange considering the kind of adventure on offer.

My younger brother didn’t agree with me. “There is no excitement in anything that involves paperwork,” he said.

“It may be so, brother, but something is fishy. Did you see the picture of where we’re going?”

“Yes! It’s perfect,” he beamed.

“Why? You want to ride dragons?” He nodded enthusiastically. “What if they’re magical? Or the place?”

“Magic doesn’t scare you.” He laughed.

“Not magic,” I whispered. “What if we’re powerless there?”

“How?” He was unconvinced. 

“I don’t know but equipped is better than not. I bought us insurance.”

“What kind of insurance?” he asked suspiciously.

“The kind that works in another realm, magic or not. Just hold my hand and softly chant the spell with me as we pass through the portal.” I looked at him gravely but he grinned widely.

I should have guessed he meant mischief. He pushed ahead of the crowd and was in no time on a dragon’s back. He probably didn’t hear the welcome greetings. Did the hostess say eternal? What was? The crowd was too noisy. I didn’t feel adventurous. I turned around.

A bouncer appeared from nowhere. “You can’t go back out.” 

“Pardon me?”

“You can’t leave.”

“Seriously? And what should I do?”

“Whatever you’re doing now.”

I thought of my brother and pushed back the tears. I gave the bouncer one piercing look which flung him to his death. “I don’t think so. If this is it, eternally, I might as well rule.” Then, I surveyed my new kingdom.



Thanks everyone for participating.

Until next Saturday…



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 38

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!


Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next 
Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:


Most epic adventures don’t start out with an application and an insurance waiver.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Year 2, Week 36 & 37: Results!

What a great prompt and turnout! Though I was still busy with the A-to-Z Challenge when the prompt went live, it made me want to cry when I realised I couldn’t write too. Oh well, at least I got to read excellent entries.

Now for the results.

Honourable Mention

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe with DELIVERANCE

I really enjoyed this story.

I think it will benefit from being longer: more world-building, getting to know the MC better and building the tension of the monster hunting her. As it is, it feels like we’re rushing from them being friends to Evan wanting to take her powers.

First Runner-Up

Carin Marais with Beneath the Bed

Scary! I love the idea of a monster protecting against other monsters.

Note: spaces between paragraphs makes it easier to read. Also, it felt like we jumped from the little girl’s POV to Monster’s (where we should be, as it makes for a powerful story).

Winner Y2W37

Sian Brighal
with No One Else

Wow! Terrifying in a this-can-really-be-happening way. I love how the orderly knows what’s going on, yet keeps the patient’s secret.

Note: dialogue must start in a new paragraph. (I’ve fixed it in the piece.)

I’ve replaced the semi-colon in the paragraph about Scary Mary with a comma – it could’ve been replaced with a full stop if the sentence that follows is rewritten to be a full sentence. (That’s why I replaced the semi-colon: a semi-colon does the same job as a full-stop just without completely severing ideas, but both should be full sentences in their own right.)

The end of the story is brilliant: the doctor figures out what’s going on, then…

“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

No One Else


“You’re my favourite monster.”
 
The doctor paused on the way out, feeling his neck muscles burn in protest as he kept his head facing forward. He’d been warned—and rightly so—not to react to such words: always maintain a professional distance. Only when the door closed and the lock clicked did he relax and turn. 
“Odd thing to say.” 
“She says that sometimes,” the orderly muttered in answer. 
“Why would she?” the doctor mused. 
“Trying to soothe ruffled feathers, I think.” 
“But why would she think I could be angry with her?” 
“Don’t rightly know,” he demurred, but the doctor saw something ghost across his face: fear, pity. “Spoke out of turn, sorry.” 
He would have questioned further, but a colleague left the room next door. 
“Hey, Barrows,” the newcomer called out before glancing across to the neighbouring room. 
“Don’t tell me old Hoskins has got you working on Scary Mary,” he said with a sympathetic tone but smiling mouth. 
“Scary…?” 
“Oh, just some stupid mumbo-jumbo,” the man soothed. 
But Barrows had heard about ‘Scary Mary’, heard that she’d been linked in some superstitious way to the deaths of several doctors, orderlies and visitors, but he’d thought she was some story from the asylum’s deep and darker history. 
Later, at home, he spent a few minutes thinking about Mary, wondering why she’d single him out as a favourite; they'd never spoken before, but he couldn't deny that he'd seen some flicker of interest in her eyes. Was that it? But the more he thought, he couldn't help but feel that she'd been speaking not to him, but to her tattered bunny. 
“She was,” hissed a voice in his ear as cold, invisible and inhumanly strong fingers wound around his throat. “I am and always will be her favourite...her only!”

Well done, everyone.



Until next Saturday.


Super Late Week 36 Results!

*sneaks into Ronel's post* Okay, I finally found the time to get the reviews done (got a whole 9! hours! of sleep last night! and I felt better than I have in a week!). Sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long! You guys are great <3

First Runner Up

Stephen Shirres' Beware A Travelling Salesman's In Expensive Clothes

You couldn't have thought this would go well, my friend (@Main Character). Haven't you heard of Jack and the Beanstalk? Alas, some people.
This story amused me, mainly with the glum attitude of the main character at bookends of the story. It just kinda reads to me as, "Welp, that happened."

The piece felt quickly written, with some missing words and odd phrases ("as if everyone knees there were thousands," "there was a space above my hearth needing filled," "A match head of flame," "too long i," etc.,.) This didn't detract much from my enjoyment of it, though each instance did give me pause. Nice job conveying the tone through the character, here!

Y2W36 Winner

Marj Crockett!

with Summoned!

LOL the dyslexia in this piece gave me a good laugh. The character dynamics here are pulled off very humorously; I've definitely been in both the mentor's and apprentice's shoes at some point in my life! (The "argggh you're doing it wrong can I pls help" and "I DON'T WANT ANY HELP TYVM" things.) I thought it would be interesting to have some more rules and background for the magic, though that's not required for this story as a flash fiction piece or stand-alone. The humor, I think, is the entire point of this piece, and it's done well. 
Summoned! 
He leaned against the tree with a sigh, his offer of help rejected.

Across the clearing, the apprentice mumbled as she marked a circle on the ground.

"Bone meal should do. It's quite stable." she muttered.

"Do you...?"
"No, I can manage."

"I want to help."

"NO! I said I can manage!"

He sighed again. This was not going well.

She started pacing again, criss-crossing the circle, and forming lines until the pentagram was complete.

Wiping her hands, she picked up her bag of magical artefacts. After rooting inside, she pulled out a stick with feathers on. Next came the wax figure that would be what she was going to summon.

From where he was standing, the model didn't look all that inspiring, but he knew not to interfere now. She would have to work it through to the end. Oh well, we'll see what she gets, he thought, another sigh escaping. His reward for this was a glare from the girl.

She chanted the summoning spell. She danced complicated steps, twisting and turning, moving round the pentagram. No real words reached his ears, only a string of sound that sawed into his brain. An awkward sound: something wasn't quite right.

"Shula..." he said. But it was too late.

Smoke filled circle, followed by popping and hissing. Which god she had summoned would not be clear for a moment or two. A breeze sprung up from nowhere, the smoke disappeared.

He heard a bark. A bark?

"Shula... which god have you summoned?" he asked.

"I don't know," Shula replied, "I thought I said the words right, but something... happened."

"Which god?"

"God? You wanted me to summon a god?" Shula gulped, "I thought you said dog!" 
The creature on the ground wagged its tail and barked again.



Thanks again for putting up with me. Ronel's got this next Saturday again! <3 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 37

Okay, if results aren't up yet for W36: I apologize. I've come down with something and I'm really struggling (read: failing) to keep on top of judging and school and everything. I've reached out to our other judges to see if they have some free time to get W37 judged. In the meantime, W36 results are on the way (hang in there! <3). 

Here are some rules c:

Judge: TBD

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/29)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"You're my favorite monster."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 36


Judge: Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/22)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon. (Mars will try and have it up by Wednesday in the hopes that it will be ready on Thursday)

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

He leaned against the tree with a sigh.

Year 2, Week 35: Results!

Okay, the first week of school took a bigger toll on me than I had previously expected, so I must apologize for 1) the late results and 2) that there's only one review. I did pick out two today, but time constraints are eating at me. 

Death of a Mule by Angie: This was going to be first runner-up, since I found it very humorous, between his life flashing before his eyes, the drug cartel, and the crocodile. Nice work.

Y2W35 Winner

AJ Aguilar-van der Merwe!

with Enchanted Love 

I was intrigued from the get-go on this piece; line one was cleverly written in the fact that it gives us a glimpse into the future but doesn't tell us why the prince's eyes might be death-like. It was an excellent foreshadowing technique.

The passage read choppily to me; most of the sentences follow one of two sentence patterns, and they tend to be very telling instead of showing, so it ends up with a kind of "See Spot run. Spot runs fast," feel ("Her name is Mary," being the prime example). Perhaps if this piece were written in third person limited, possibly past tense (I am biased towards that, I confess; I did feel like the present tense could work if this were less of an overview and an in-character shot). 

I like the idea of the story--that of a prince stuck in a political marriage but loving a forest goddess, and the forest goddess basically claiming him as her own. There are great building blocks here. Good job!


ENCHANTED LOVE

His eyes would be cold and lifeless when he arrives back from his ride in the forest.

At breakfast, his father, King Eduardo, makes it clear that he, Prince Alejandro, must wed Princess Annabella, King Felipe's daughter. The marriage between the sole heir and heiress to the thrones of the two biggest kingdoms would make one massive, powerful and invincible dominion within the Asianic territories.

Unbeknownst to King Eduardo, his son is in love with another. Her name is Mary. Prince Alejandro tells the king he is going riding to clear his head but he's meeting Mary to tell her about his father's intention.

Mary is waiting for him near their favorite giant tree by the river, not far from the waterfall. Her long shiny black hair glistens. Her pearl skin seems to sparkle. Her eyes incandescent, she flashes the most enchanting smile Alejandro has ever seen.

As they embrace, their love radiates like nothing the forest and its inhabitants have witnessed.

Alejandro vows not to marry Annabella. He only wants to know how to break the news to his father without disappointing him. The king's heart condition is no secret to them. She urges him to go home and assures him that everything would be fine.

Upon seeing his son looking like death, the king sends for a healer. The prince protests saying he feels fine despite looking ill. He asks that his wish to retire to his room be respected. He persuades his father that his energy will replenish soon.

Alone in his room, peace surrounds Alejandro's entire being. His father doesn't need to know. He is happy. He is in love with a 'diwata', a forest goddess. His soul belongs to his enchantress and must now be taken to her kingdom.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 35


Judge: Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/15)!

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon. (Mars is back at school)

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

His eyes were cold and lifeless.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 34! Winners!

Marj here.

Thanks to everyone who took part this week.  I always enjoy reading where the prompt takes people and this week was no exception. 

For me there was just one winner and that has to be... *drum roll*...  Bill Engleson's "A Gossamer Sip of Poison".  A tightly written piece that cranked up the pace until the denouement.  Anyone who can sneak in the word "snickers" into a piece deserves the prize.  Well done Bill!

I hope you have a pleasant Easter weekend.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 34!


Judge: Marj or Mars

Word Count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight Tonight, PDT (4/8)!

Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories; they're for inspiration (and amusement).)

Prompt

"Oh, everyone just thought you were crazy."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Year 2, Week 33: Results!

Wow! The entries this week were superb. I wish I could tell each author what I thought about their story, but time won’t permit that. Just know: it was extremely difficult to choose my favourites this week.



Honourable Mention

AnnaJailene with Vengeance


Great imagery throughout.

Beware sentence fragments: “I stand a safe distance away. Far away; in a cradle held up by a crane normally used for Dinner in the Sky.” This is one sentence, so don’t divide it with a full-stop and a semi-colon (does the same job as a full-stop). Rather emphasise with a colon, e.g. “I stand a safe distance away: far away, in a cradle held up by a crane normally used for Dinner in the Sky.”

In the third paragraph, replace the semi-colon with a colon (a semi-colon does the same job as a full-stop just without completely severing ideas, while a colon draws attention to what follows).

The loud electronic dance music drowned the sound of the clattering wings. I love this sentence. Well done.

First Runner Up

Sam Lauren with Patient Fruition


I enjoyed the time-travel aspect of this story.

“Counsel” should be “Council”. (Counsel = advice or guidance. Council = local governing body of a region/town.)

Beware sentence fragments. (A basic sentence needs a subject and a verb.) They’re fine in dialogue, but too many in the text can frustrate readers.

The end of your story is brilliant.

The dragons, twelve, stood taller than their ruins. They sniffed the air. They stretched their metallic spines and wagged their tails through steel columns. Their scales, seamless skin, shimmered like gems under water. They combed the streets like a pack of hybrid bloodhounds. 

“You’re an expert on biotechnology like this,” Daniel whispered. “What do you think they're looking for?”

I smiled. “Me.”

Well done.

Winner Y2W33

Sian Brighal

with In the Flesh


This story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The question of the dragons’ souls echoed long after this story was read. Well done.

In the Flesh

Dragons stalk the streets, puffing out smoke and clattering their mechanical wings. Most cheer, waving their banners, yelling out the names of their heroes, the beasts that battle for their entertainment. Some scowl, having lost money on the annual bouts between the leviathans of bronze, silver, copper and brass: the mythical made manifest, breathing fire to melt their foes into precious pools to be gathered up with due reverence at the end.

A few simply watched, studying the newly forged and beaten panels, wondering if any of them were still unique…how much of each other resided in each one? For metal had memory…and with each smelting in the arena and reforging at the smith, the dragons’ flesh healed as one: bits of victor and vanquished, old and new, battle-hungry and battle-weary alike. On the outside, the dragons looked no different, recast in the same long adored image, but their bodies must almost be as one by now.

And their souls?

No metal beast had souls! Such talk was seditious…or pandering to the pious who thought gambling a sin and would use any argument to bring down the Dragon Arena. But…a few of the old artisans remembered stories of the beasts’ first forging, when they were weapons and rose from ruined cities to rain down vengeance and hate upon foes: when claws were sharper and buffed skin was anointed with blood. And they whisper the rumour that human souls had put their undying spark into tightly wound heart mechanisms to give the metal monsters ‘life’ and understanding enough to be commanded.

So a few watched the dragons stalk past with a mix of pity and dread of war machines used as toys and what amalgam of hate and anger fleshed out the madness of a thousand souls existing as one.


Thank you all for participating.

Until next Saturday.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Year 2, Week 33

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash Fiction!


Judge this week: Ronel

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.

Deadline: 
Midnight tonight, PDT.

Results announced: Next 
Wednesday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories: they're for inspiration (and amusement).)
Prompt:

Dragons stalk the streets, puffing out smoke and clattering their mechanical wings.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Year 2, Week 32: Results!

Thanks for playing! The writing teacher in me would like to pet everyone who entered, so I thought I'd mention what I liked about the entries, because, really-- something wonderful DID stand out to me about each one! As a fellow writer, I covet praise in great quantities... applying the golden rule here... :)

Mary Quite Contrary stopped me short on the exquisite line about the shadows growing "shy" as the light gained strength. Don't Try This at Home's ending was marvellously subtle. Travelling Through Time made me sad and yearning for more. The Letter moved well and had ample tension.

First Runner Up

Marj Crockett's You've Got Mail

What stood out to me about this story was the twist, the revelation that the victims were not victims at all. I also appreciated the depth of character: Sean hiding the letter from Alice to protect her. I inferred he's been taking them out all along... I wondered at the fact that the letters came only to him at first and only later added Alice's name. Why that was, wasn't clear, but the strength of the story outweighed that for me. Read your dialogue out loud for places contractions would be appropriate. 

Y2W32 Winner

L. M. Leffew

with Letters

This story won the moment I smelled the "...sharp tang of meat searing." Bam! I enjoyed becoming horrified/electrified right along with your narrator in that moment. The contrast between being "safe" inside her apartment, only to be faced with her stalker. And he made... dinner? He "dangles" a wine glass from his fingers? (sounds like an elegant man) Nicely done. The image of the stalker is foreboding, yet he's relaxed. That's a creepy-sensual contrast and rather refreshing. I would have liked to see more in terms of the previous letters' contents, since you had words with which to play. I would like him filled out more, this interesting stalker chef. 

Letters
L.M.Leffew
@LMLeffew
chaoticallyyours.blogspot.com

There it was again: another letter, sitting pale and innocuous in her mail box. Marie doesn't open this one. They've all been the same, full of flattery and obsession. She starts to tear it to pieces over the trashcan some fastidious neighbor has placed near the mailbox enclave but pauses just as the envelope gives, slips it into her purse instead. 

She'll try the police again tomorrow. They kept the last three letters. Somewhere, in a file with her restraining order, she thinks, tucked away on a dark dusty shelf for all the good it's done her. But, surely, letters four through six will mean they can do something else, something more. 

Plan in mind, she straightens her spine, retrieves the rest of her mail and takes the three flights of stairs to her apartment. She locks the deadbolt and chain behind her, lays her forehead against the door and breathes in the cool scent of home, the sweet warmth of vanilla candles—did she leave one burning?— the sharp tang of meat searing— 

She jerks upright, fights the sudden animal-reflex to freeze, and turns just as a figure steps into her kitchen doorway. Tall and broad and seeming to block all the afternoon sunlight, he leans against the frame, one of her wine glasses dangling from his fingers, and says, "Good evening, Marie. Did you get my letters?"