April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting


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Post April 08, 2018, 11:56:21 AM

April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

The Old Flame
A Fantasy/Horror Fiction Writing Contest.


General Thoughts:

This segment of the contest is important for the voters and the commenters. To communicate with thoughtful responses requires thought, which develops skills in a person's writing and public speaking.

For the writers, the voting and commenting helps them see through the eyes of the readers.

I've noticed that Wormtongue, the Archive Editor is reposting the stories in separate posts so he can link onto them for the archive. I'm going to do that here to make it easier for him. Thank you Wormtongue for being on top of this for the contest writers.


Timeline:

Voting and commenting for The Old Flame Flash Fiction Contest begins today and will continue through Saturday March 14, 2018.

The results will be posted after the voting.


Commenting:

If you have something unfavorable to say about a story, make it constructive so the author can benefit from your viewpoint and insight.

Never say anything negative about the authors themselves.

Praise and encourage the authors with any element that is worthy of it. Let them know they did good. You would want it for yourself.


To Vote:

Send me a pm (private message) by clicking on my name on this post and then click the words private message on the following screen. Type in the name of the story you liked the best and click submit.


"The Old Flame" Flash Fiction Contest - voting and commenting segment begins...now.
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The titles of the 7 stories in this flash contest are:

Twilight Zee - Something's Burning
Jolene Wilkerson - Stone Cold Beth
Jim Harrington - Revenge Is a Dish Best Served with a Bang
Jim Statton - Mission of Mercy
Robin B. Lipinski - Two To Tango
Sergio Palumbo - A Matter of Attraction
Megawatts - A Twisted Smile
___________________
Last edited by Jim Statton on April 08, 2018, 12:39:35 PM, edited 2 times in total.

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Post April 08, 2018, 11:58:30 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Something's Burning
by Twilight Zee


Belson and Associates was the most sought after placement service for local college graduates. It had even begun to gain a certain amount of notoriety nationwide as the news of it's high-dollar salary structure spread among the upcoming graduating classes of that year. Not only were the salaries guaranteed, but the companies that the service placed their graduates with were among the Fortune 500.

Allison Michaels had graduated in the top two percent of all the senior classes in the northeast region of the country. This last year had been a particularly trying time. Surviving the countless cruelties that had been heaped upon her throughout her life, had given her an iron will that no one could break. Studies and finals had been a burdensome push, but she knew that all she stood to gain was worth it. She was going to show them. Yes. All of them.

A lavish luncheon had been set to take place once all of the graduation ceremonies were completed. It was mid-afternoon as people began to arrive, filling the hall to a crowded yet energized level that had the air buzzing with a certain electricity. Everyone there knew that being there meant that you had arrived.

"Hello. I don't believe we've met. My name is Stephen Spencer."

Oh,yes.We've met. But don't worry. You'll remember soon enough.

"I'm Allison. Allison Michaels."

"Well Allison, it looks like we've made it. All those years of slaving through endless classes has finally paid off. We've passed up all the freaks and geeks to get here, but it was worth it."

Yes,it is worth it. And like the final course in a meal, you'll be getting your just dessert.

"Shall we? It looks like the ceremonies are about to begin"

The luncheon was as decadent and indulgent as could be imagined. Representatives from over one hundred major companies were there, each laying out recruiting incentives hoping to reel in new top of the line executive material for their business. Spirits were high and the graduates were almost drunk with anticipation. Numerous new alliances were forged throughout the evening.

As the festivities were drawing to a close, Stephen once again approached Allison vying for a chance to get "closer" to her. She was beautiful, yet reclusive and mysterious, an irresistible combination to Stephen, who was accustomed to getting whatever he wanted...at any cost.

"What a day! Why don't we wind down with a glass of wine at my place?"

"Are you sure? You must be tired from all the excitement. I wouldn't want to impose."

"This is a once in a lifetime kind of day. I want to celebrate!"

Yes,Stephen. It's a day I've been waiting for too.

The drive to Stephen's home was a long and relaxing one. Beautiful scenery, winding roads soon brought them to a secluded location some thirty minutes outside the city. Tempted to drop all of her plans, Allison knew that she had to force herself back to reality. This was her chance to settle the score between them and she wasn't going to lose it.

"Well, how do you like it?" Stephen said as he turned off the car's engine.

"It's beautiful. How could you afford a place like this? You've just finished school."

"My old man kicked the bucket and my mom died years ago so it was left to me as his sole heir."

"You don't seem too upset over their loss."

"No, I'm not. He always worked eighty hour weeks and she was either drunk or gone on some trip. They never had time for me,so I learned to take care of myself and get what I wanted, no matter what it cost."

It's going to cost you more than you can imagine!

As they made their way up the front steps, Allison took it all in. The sense of emptiness, lack and desolation permeated every square inch of the house and grounds. A sad situation really, but that had no effect on what Allison had planned. She wasn't going to let any of her "feelings" keep her from settling this score.

"Come on in. Make yourself at home. I'll get a fire started in the fireplace so we can be comfortable. It's turned off cold and I love nothing better than a roaring fire to warm me up!"

So do I. Why don't we test that theory?"

As Stephen was building the fire, all the harshness and cruelties Allison had suffered at his expense came flooding back to her. The insults, the wicked remarks meant to tear her down and belittle her. She had known over the years that she would make him pay for this. She had been surprised that he still didn't recognize her. How fitting that his "payment"should come by the very thing that he "loved" so much.

"Now that I've got the fire going, why don't we have that glass of wine?"

"Well okay, but not too much. I can't be responsible for my actions, if you know what I mean."

"Now don't you worry your pretty little head about anything. Stephen's going to take good care of you. Just sit back, relax and put yourself in my hands. I promise it'll be an experience you'll never forget."

No, it'll be an experience that YOU'LL never forget!"

After having had several glasses of wine, Stephen's focus began to erode. Not only was he becoming intoxicated, but as a result of the length and activities of the day, he was becoming sleepy. This was the opportunity that Allison had been waiting for.

With a final nod, Stephen passed out. Working quickly, Allison pulled out several large plastic ties like the ones that police use during riot arrests, binding his ankles and hands so tightly that he would be unable to move. Next with much effort, she dragged him just close enough to the fire so as to give herself room to do what she needed to do. Taking a can of lighter fluid from her carrying bag, she doused the carpet around Stephen. Because of the strong smell of the fluid, Stephen began to regain consciousness.

"Wha-what's going on here?! What have you done to me? Untie me!"

"No Stephen. Poor Alice Cryder wouldn't want me to do that."

"Who's she?! Untie me now!"

"It's funny that you didn't recognize me. I kept waiting, but you never did. Well Stephen,I'm Alice and I've been saving this for you. No more cruel insults or degrading remarks. It's your turn to feel the pain."

With one last squeeze of the can, Allison sprayed a trail from Stephen to the fire, throwing the can into the flames just before reaching the fireplace. She had calculated that this would give her just enough time to reach the door.

Just as she made it through the front door the explosion blew her out into the yard. A little bruised up and scratched, but not hurt, Allison stopped to take it all in.

The roaring crackle of the fire...kind of reminds me of Christmas at Grandma's....

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 11:59:29 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Stone Cold Beth
by Jolene Wilkerson


Beth lit a cigarette from her purse, and walked around in his house. She sank deep into his big easy chair, while he was in the next room asleep. Charlie Law was his name. He was just about the best looking guy in her high school class. She looked around and sighed. "What sweet revenge," she thought. After what she went through in school; the constant ridicule no matter what she said or did, it seemed that now she had arrived.

When Beth Stone was in high school, she couldn't catch a break, even if someone were to put it right into her hands. Of course, no one ever did. She was well read and made good grades in school. But Beth did not have long blonde straight hair and blue eyes, like Norma Joe Lewis, or curly black hair and pearl like white teeth, like Mayla Petterson.

“But, oh, if they could see me now,” she said to herself. It was the night of their twentieth class reunion. A night she had been dreaming about for going on twenty years.

In high school, Beth was very plain. Her hair was normal, brown, short in a make shift bob style.
Her nose was neither perky or distinguished, just your average everyday nose. Her hazel green eyes were pretty, if you cared to give them a second look. However, they were hidden behind her thick, brown rimmed glasses.

Beth was far sighted then, which meant she could see far away, but not up close. She could not see herself for who she really was, but instead, she saw herself through the eyes of girls like Mayla and Norma Joe.

“Stone Cold Beth” they called her then. It was cruel thing to say, although it was also true. Beth felt unlovable. No matter how badly she wanted to fit in, she was merely tolerated. And for that, Beth was bitter and resentful. One day in psychology class, she revealed how much it hurt her feelings when people made fun of her. Mayla, who sat next to her with her perky breast and straight white teeth, spoke up and said she was sorry and did not realize how she had been hurt by their playful ridicule. But, as Beth left the room, she heard them snicker. “What a psycho” they all laughed.

Beth could not win for loosing. She determined then and there that one day she would come back beautiful and successful.

***

Burnt and disfigured from a car wreck, she took her hefty settlement as an opportunity to re invent herself. Beth’s nose was broken in three places. She got a new nose that was perky and slightly upturned. At 5’6”, she had always been big boned and gawky. But with a 40 pound weight loss, which coincided with her recovery in the hospital, and her breast enlargement later, which had nothing to do with her accident, she now had a figure that was stunning. After several wigs and hair implants after intensive surgery on her skull, Beth decided on long straight blonde hair. She also traded in her olive green drab eyes behind glasses for permanent bright blue contacts and designer sunglasses. And with a decade or more of plastic surgeries, Beth re-invented herself, obsessing on making a splash at her high school reunion.

But inside the remolded Howard Hyatt's convention room, Beth stood there a perfect plastic exterior with all the same insecurities that haunted her through out high school. Maya and Norma Joe were there as care free as ever. Older, and steeped in stories motherhood and career, they neither recognized her or even remembered a Beth Stone from their graduating class.

But after his third Long Island Tea, Charlie Law approached her. He was part of the in-crowd that ridiculed her, but she recalled he was more of a reluctant participant. Besides, he was the best looking guy in her class, class president and an all star baseball player.

Charlie did not recognize her, but he did not really care. He had gone through his second bad marriage, had three kids, and had worked at five different car dealerships. He asked her back to his place. It was a comfortable bungalow in a trendy renovated neighborhood close to the down town area.

Beth noticed it was equipped with a the necessities that a bachelor pad should have. Lights that dimmed, a fully stocked bar, a waterbed, a high tech music system and mirrors on the walls with a tacky gold leaf design running through it. Beth's heart began to sink as she tip-toed through his home. He did not know anything about her, who she was then or who she is now. Come to think about it, she did not know either.

That is when she lit up a cigarette and sunk deep into his easy chair. Still tipsy from the reunion, she was wearing his over sized pajama top that she threw on as she left the bedroom. She tried to keep her eyes open as she flicked off the ashes into the ash tray. She kept looking back and forth at the mirror on the wall next to her.

***

“Did you hear the latest?” Mayla said to Norma Joe standing at the food court in the mall where they met for lunch.

Norma Joe scanned the calorie count on the menu mounted on the wall. “Tell me! What?”

“Stone Cold Beth, remember, the one who called us out in psychology class for hurting her feelings?”

“Oh yeah, I remember”

“Well she burned down Charlie Law’s house! It happened the night of the reunion.”

“What? That’s insane! Poor Charlie!”

“What a psycho.”

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:00:53 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served with a Bang
by Jim Harrington


Karen stared at the three women sitting in the booth by the window as she sipped her unsweetened iced tea. They didn’t notice her, even though she should have stood out wearing torn jeans, a T-shirt, dark glasses and a baseball cap.

Janice, the one facing Karen, was the ring leader of the group—the group that teased and bullied Karen relentlessly as being “ugly,” and “shapeless,” and “dumber than dirt.” The other two—Donna and Valerie—laughed and sneered in support of Janice, but rarely spoke beyond an occasional “Yea,” or “That’s right, Janice,” while air-jabbing Karen with manicured fingers.

When the other two left, Karen removed the cap and glasses, picked up her tea, and walked over to Janice’s table.

“Mind if I join you?” Karen asked.

“I was just getting ready to leave,” Janice said, putting her wallet back in her handbag.

“This won’t take long,” Karen said, sliding into the booth and blocking Janice’s exit. “I have a proposition for you I think you’ll want to hear.”

“Okay. I’m listening.” Janice turned slightly toward the intruder.

“I paid a gentleman to do some research on you.”

“You what?” Janice said loud enough for everyone to hear.

“Let me finish. I promise you’ll be glad you did.”

Karen waited for the tension on Janice’s face to ease before continuing.

“Like I said. I had research done on you, and I know you’re hurting financially.”

“Let me out of here right now, you...you...”

“Bitch? Slut? Skank? Aren’t those the things you called me in high school? You and your besties?”

Janice stared at the woman. Her brain searched for a memory.

“Karen?” she said after a long pause. “I thought you died in that awful accident. How could anyone survive?”

“The doctors said I should have died. They’re not sure how I made it, but I did.”

“How come nobody said anything?”

“I was airlifted to the University of Nebraska Hospital for treatment. The doctors there performed a miracle.” Karen sipped her tea, took her time. “When I was healthy enough, my parents arranged for me to be flown to Mexico for experimental plastic surgery not approved in the U.S. They did a marvelous job, don’t you think?”

“I...I didn’t recognize you. Not even your voice.”

“Well, you only ever heard me say things like ‘Please stop,’ and ‘Leave me alone,’ and ‘What have I ever done to you?’ That sound familiar?”

“Yes,” Janice whispered. She turned toward the window, her shoulders limp.

“Anyway, back to my pitch. The payout from Philip’s insurance should have lasted, but you spent it frivolously and it’s nearly gone. Am I right?”

“How did you find this out?”

“I told you. I hired someone. Between the insurance payout for the accident and the settlement with the car manufacturer of the other car, I’m well off myself.”

“What happened to your parents?”

“Not that I believe you care, but they fell in love with the Mexican coast and decided to stay. I was able to provide for them also.”

“I do care.” Janice reached in her purse for a tissue and dabbed at her nose.

“So much that you went to extreme measures to find out what happened to me? How about attempting to be honest for once, Jan.” Janice hated being called that, but this time she didn’t flinch at the name. “Let’s get to the point. You moved back into your parents’ home after Philip’s heart attack. Right?”

Karen nodded.

“And then your parents decided to retire to Florida and leave you the home.”

Karen nodded again.

“And you sold off many pieces of art and furniture to pay for your extravagant lifestyle.”

This time Karen didn’t respond.

Karen waited until Janice made eye contact. “I’ve always admired your home. It’s very stately looking, sitting at the end of that long front yard. It must be a money drain to maintain.”

Karen sat frozen.

“Here’s my proposal. I’ll buy the house from you for market value. Then you can find a place you can afford.”

Karen finally spoke. “Maybe we could live there together. Be friends.”

“Now you want to be friends? After all those taunts when we were younger.”

“I’m different now. So are you.”

“Oh, you mean I’m not ugly anymore? Maybe I look even better than you? I seem more physically fit. Isn’t that why you wear those loose fitting clothes? Or are you just looking for someone else to mooch off of?” Karen held up a hand to keep Janice from replying. “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. For a moment, I sounded just like you.” Karen grinned. Janice didn’t. “Tell you what. Let’s go take a look at the house. I’ve never been inside. I bet it’s beautiful.

Karen had insisted on going first. She pulled into the driveway and stopped, leaving enough room for Janice to follow. She got out of the car and waited for Janice to join her. “Boy, that yard must be longer than a football field.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Janice replied. “Aren’t you going to drive to the house?”

Karen put her left arm around Janice’s shoulders. “Just admiring the view,” she said.

She’d lied about never having been in the house. She’d broken a basement window yesterday, dressed as a utility worker, while Janice was having a spa day and placed a small bomb next to the gas furnace. Now, she slipped her free hand into her pocket and pushed the button. The look of horror on Janice’s face as the explosion and subsequent fire devoured the house brought a smile to Karen’s.

“Oh my,” Karen said, forcing the smile away. “I guess the deal’s off.” She turned to face Janice. “Whatever are you going to do for money now?”

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:01:54 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Mission of Mercy
by Jim Statton


She was traveling 80 mph in her red corvette on a back country road in a rural area outside of Tulsa. Vic Mercer was the first person on her list. She waited years for this moment. The anticipation could hardly be contained, as she gripped the steering wheel until the palms of her hands began to blister.

She was a beautiful woman with jet black hair rustling in the wind. She wore a tight fitting nurse's uniform which was molded to her shapely body. She adorned herself with expensive jewelry that did not go with her attire.

From time to time her memory suffered flash backs to a moment in high school that scarred her for life.

***

"Take your hands off me! I'm going to tell! Oh please stop!" Alyssa was being gang raped by three male classmates in the girl's shower.

Each of the boys took turns having sex with her. Fifteen minutes later, they were standing over her body. She wanted them to just leave, hoping the violence had ended. It had not.

Henry walked over with the handle end of a plunger. The pain far exceeded her humiliation. She passed out.

The boys took cell phone pictures of her naked, bleeding body sprawled out on the shower room floor. Then they left.

She was discovered later in the day and rushed to the nearest hospital. The surgeons were sewing up her lacerations while the boys back at school were sharing her naked photos with other classmates.

She couldn't change schools, she was poor. No one approached her during her senor year. No dances - no special events, only isolation.

***

She had plenty of disposable cash after a court settlement over a car accident which happened a year after high school. The reconstructive surgery gave her a new look. Her appearance was strikingly beautiful, completely unrecognizable from her school days.

As she pulled her car onto Vic Mercer's street, she reviewed in her thoughts his personal bio information that an investigator assembled for her.

Vic had been disabled during an overseas tour of duty. His property was in disarray. The grass was three feet high. His gutters hung down on the right side of the roof. The paint was dingy and peeling in some spots.

She would pass herself off as a Veterans Affairs nurse, there to assess his needs for follow up care. She knocked at the door.

After waiting for a couple of minutes, a raspy voice on the intercom spoke, "Come in".

She opened the door carrying a medical bag, but immediately took a step back. The house was permeated with sewer odors.

Sitting in an easy chair, was a frail man wearing a respirator mask strapped to his face. His skin was a pale grayish color. His hair was thin and disheveled.

"Hello, I'm a nurse with VA administration. I'm here to follow up on your out patient care. Are you Vic Mercer?"

"I thought you people had given up on me. I haven't heard from the VA in over a year." Vic labored to speak.

"Your patient information was lost a year ago. It has recently been recovered."

She walked over to him and knelt by his chair. She took a blood pressure gauge from her bag and took a reading. "Mr. Mercer, your blood pressure is 90 over 60. That is really low. I'm going to take your blood sugar now." She pulled out a kit and lightly pricked his index finger and slid the test strip across the blood sample and then waited for a reading. "Oh my, your reading is 55. I need to take you to the hospital."

"I don't have any money. My wife left me and took our boy. She said she was tired of taking care of an invalid."

"Alyssa began patting him on his forehead, soothing his fears. She whispered in his ear, "Some people can be so cruel...you know what I mean?" He turned his face toward her still not recognizing who she was.

"Let me get you something to drink, you look dehydrated." She got a glass from the kitchen counter and half-filled it with tap water.

She walked back to his chair and handed him the glass. He said with a dry throat, "I don't have the strength to hold the glass." She leaned forward and put the glass to his mouth so he could drink a few sips.

She rubbed her hand over his forehead. "So, you can't move?" she inquired.

"Not since three days ago."

She stood up and walked behind his chair striking a match. She bent down and lit the bottom of his chair. Walking over to the door she paused. In a few seconds, his chair was engulfed in flames, bellowing smoke around him. He was too weak to get up.

He began to scream and thrash about with what effort remained in him. He looked up at her with an expression that seemed like he was asking why. She stared back memorizing every nuance of his expression until the flames began to burn his flesh.

After thirty seconds, she walked out the front door shutting it behind her. She calmly reached into her pocket removing a piece of paper. As the smoke billowed out the front door, she crossed Vic's name from the list. Looking at the next name she said to herself, "Reverend Shawn Appleby, I'll be seeing you soon."

The End
Last edited by Jim Statton on April 08, 2018, 01:47:46 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:02:49 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Two To Tango
by Robin B. Lipinski


Sitting there, it was an eerie scene. Dripping water from one of the remaining rafters not destroyed by the recent inferno now released the firemen’s water mixed with foam. A steady, “Drip, drip, drip…” sound as the droplets bounced among the ruins; reminded the fire chief of music, albeit, sad music.

Paramedics finished loading a gurney into the back of the ambulance. Positioned on top was the remains of the sole victim of the fire. The body was once the vibrant, beautiful woman named, Sadie.

“Sad to see this much destruction from such a crazy act. Who was the woman that died?” One of the fireman asked his chief.

“Her name was Sadie McAllister. She was a girl I went to the community college with. A real looker she was though that was not always the case. In grade school she was the ugly duckling. Man, I can still remember how the others used to mock and make fun of her.”

“ A looker huh? So, where is her man? Or maybe in this day-and-age, where is her woman? Surely she had someone in her life.”

“Don’t know as I really didn’t know Sadie. Sure, saw her once in awhile in the grocery store and such, but she was out of my league.”

The firemen finished putting away their gear and headed back to their station. Hours had already passed since the ambulance unloaded the body of Sadie McAllister at the hospital morgue. The county coroner would perform an autopsy to see if any foul play had occurred before the fire. Many the time a body killed is made to look like a natural death by a fire of arson. Currently, the flesh of the deceased burnt to a crisp from the flames was now ice cold to the touch.

Sadie McAllister. A lovely name. And yes, it was true she was picked on and mocked by others when young, but as with some flowers, she blossomed and bloomed later in life. She had few, if any friends while young, and she remained friendless as her looks changed. As a result of her isolation from society in general, she turned inward. She took refuge in her mind.

Her body was nearly frozen laying immobile in the morgue but her mind; soul… It was still very much alive.

“You always were an ugly girl. Ugly and unwanted!”

“And you always thought you were something. You were nothing. Now look at you. This body is gone because of you!”

“No! It was because of YOU! You couldn’t stand my beauty and the way people admired my beauty.”

“You’re not beautiful, you’re dead!”

“And so are you…”

An eternity to debate remained ahead for the multiple personality of Sadie. Or, actually, it really was two individual people trapped in the body of one. As a baby in the womb, Sadie actually had a twin sister growing next to her. Their mother’s body had decided to merge the two together just as the mother herself, had a twin sister residing inside her, just as her mother, and her mother, and all the mothers before... The vicious cycle of the Gemini was but another curse by Comus, the god of laughter and the father to many, many, twins…

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:03:38 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

A Matter of Attraction
by Sergio Palumbo


What had first taken Julia by surprise was the invitation to a dance she had received from Mark. Well, it had been five years since the last time she had seen him, and that was when they were both still in school.

She had been in love with him back then – he was a tall blond-haired young man - though he had never returned her feelings. At that time, when Julia was in college, she hadn’t looked as wondrous and beautiful as she looked now. She well remembered that she had been the butt of many jokes by the male members of her class – well, of the whole school really… – because of her nose and strangely bent legs. Undoubtedly, she had been unpopular with her classmates in those days, and she had deeply suffered because of it. She tried to dye her hair, to become a brunette, a red-head or a punk, but nothing really worked. She even tried changing her clothes week after week, but nothing truly helped. On the other hand, all of her female friends seemed happy those days, content with dating the guys they liked, and being loved in return.

Which made her even more angry and upset!

Then she had been involved in that car accident…and everything had changed!

The large settlement check she had gotten from the insurance company had made her wealthy, if not rich, and those new resources had allowed her and her family to get a new, amazing life! Beyond the settlement check, she had entered into a non-disclosure agreement with the other male driver who had paid her a lot of additional money so that no one else would find out about some embarrassing details from that night - particularly about the attractive woman who sat in the car next to him, who wasn’t his wife, but his mistress instead. That contract had been very profitable and had later allowed her to undergo the surgery that eventually rectified her bent legs and gave her a new appearance after she had reconstructive nasal surgery.

Mark was as stunning as a summer's day, he had always been so, and with the passing of the years he had developed into the perfect man, handsome and attentive. His face was so dreamy that any woman would immediately love him at first sight.

Actually, he had not been Julia’s only love interest back in her school days, truth be told. There had been also Frank, Tom and Steven… However, all of them had died long ago, before they could even graduate.

The first one had passed away after the brakes of his motorbike failed one evening. The second boy, regretfully, had fallen off a cliff after his skateboard had lost one of wheels, unexpectedly, during a dangerous race. And the third one, well, it seemed that a thief had stabbed him in the back one night while he was coming home late. You know, accidents happen unfortunately, and when they do they leave a deep empty space in the soul of the people who loved them.

Julia had loved all of them: they were attractive, young and the main interests of all the most beautiful girls at school in those days. But that fact hadn’t prevented her from killing all of them. In fact, they had made fun of her too many times, and she found it impossible to simply forgive and forget… Some bad behavior always required bad results in return, it was karma certainly! This was why the woman had gotten rid of those young men when she was still a young girl.

Actually, Julia would have killed Mark too by the end of the school year, if that car accident hadn’t stopped her. The long months that followed that event, before getting the money, and her decision to have additional surgery, left her out of the business, so to say, for quite a while.

That was why she was really surprised when she had met Mark that day in the mall. He was the only love interest of hers who had refused her love and that she was never able to kill, because of that damn’ car accident! But what left her speechless were the sweet words he told her, along with his invitation to accompany him to the dance. So, it seemed that Mark had really changed, and not just because he had become an adult during the last five years Perhaps he just pitied her because of what he had previously said against her, and the hard life she had lived since then. Maybe people really could change after all, she considered, although the attraction Julia saw in his eyes seemed real - and it was all due to her new appearance! Surgery could do miracles, she told herself.

But the question still resided in her mind as she went to meet him, and it wasn’t an easy one to deal with, or to immediately put aside. What was she going to do?

Would she let love prevail in the end, the love that man seemed to have for her now, or would her search for vengeance be greater for her than anything else?

The young woman considered that she would think about it after her date, while on the way back home. It had been a while since she had last opened that secret room in the basement where she kept her covert instruments: the weapons and the tools she had previously made use of to cause the accidents that had killed all three of boys at school - who had long made fun of her, and always refused her approaches… - but now she understood that anything was possible…

Maybe he just deserved to live a little longer. Well, not too long, just a little…

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:04:45 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

A Twisted Smile
by Megawatts


Mrs. Thomas lived not far away, in an old Colonial house. The teacher that made sure that she wouldn’t get into Brown University the school that Tammy dreamt of attending like her aunt and her mom did. Brown, an all girls school was nestled between two forested hills.

At Brown, a liberal arts college their main concern writing and understanding literature and appreciating the arts, which Tammy loved. However, Tammy’s senior term paper received a poor grade, a grade that was unfair by all that reviewed it, yet Brown rejected Tammy because of that poor grade, even with her high academic standing and good SAT scores. Mrs. Thomas seemed thrilled when she heard about it, and her contorted-withered face beamed a joyfulness. Mrs. Thomas hated Tammy’s talent, and like her she was shunned in school because of her homely appearance when a student. She never married and loved her whisky now. No, if life were difficult for me, it should be difficult for all. Her way of thinking.

Mirrors don’t lie. The reflection staring back at Tammy smiled radiantly with lips slightly twisted, an imitation from an old movie star; the look of her complexion, her hair, her sculpted-sexy shape, and her sparkling eyes, satisfied her every desire. Things were perfect now. Yes, twenty-five years of torture. Twenty-five years of isolation and in those years only one friend, Cindy. Cindy moved away when in ninth grade. The last time she talked with Cindy, Cindy wasn’t the same person anymore, and that was four years ago.

The bandages came off from her plastic surgery two years ago, and for a month she felt as if she would wake up and the old, ugly duckling Tammy would stare back at her in a mirror. It was real. She’s beautiful now, but still recognizable as the old ugly Tammy. An enigma to her and the doctors, and a puzzlement to those that knew her, but had not heard of her accident.

After finishing physical therapy following the accident, she started swimming and dance lessons and karate two nights a week and bicycling with new friends she met while enjoying her activities. The money from the lawsuit over the drunk-furniture-delivery driver hitting her was enormous for that large furniture corporations was worth billions. Her lawyers showed no mercy and they co-counseled with the best lawyers in personnel injury law that they could find in the country on this one. She invested her money wisely with Fidelity and her earning per month exceeded her living expense now.

She flipped open her high school year book. The cheerleaders on the front index page still seemed to say, “Ugly Tammy take a bath and wipe the scum right off your butt!” Words that echoed throughout the halls in junior high and high school like a mantra being chanted by a Buddhist monk. Yet, she didn’t hate them anymore and often thought that if the tables were turned and in high school she was a cheerleader and pretty and another less fortunate girl were in her place, she would do the same to that girl as they did to me. Would she, she wonder and she looked in the mirror---- she didn’t like the answer. But living with an ugly face became routine, but living with Mrs. Thomas’s cruel and disheartening grade was unforgivable, and through the years a hatred for Mrs. Thomas grew and grew until revenge became Tammy’s only thought. Revenge she would seek and administer------something that she planned for over a year now!

Mrs. Thomas kept a rather patchy lawn that always needed cutting, hedges that needed trimming, and a flower garden overgrown with weeds, and a birdbath leaning over almost ready to topple.

After a year of planning, Tammy knew everything about the house, all the rooms, the cellar, the back alley that was well hidden with hedges and garages, and the abandoned homes were behind and next to Mrs. Thomas’s place. The neighborhood was rapidly declining. She found out from the local liquor store----it seemed like men would please her every whim now-- that Mrs. Thomas loved 100 proof Vodka, and sometime rum. What a break for Tammy!

One stormy Thursday night Tammy stuck. She made her way to the alley behind Mrs. Thomas’s house. With a raincoat over her head and nobody out she remained stealthy, and she knew the dark alleys and unlit streets to travel. Mrs. Thomas’s place wasn’t far.

A back window was unlocked probably forgotten by Mrs. Thomas. Tammy opened it up, heard the TV on in the living room and knew that old-withered Mrs. Thomas would be out drunk in front of the TV. Tammy was right, empty bottles of Vodka were scattered everywhere. Tammy left the dog out, and it seemed to know what was going to happen.

Mrs. Thomas was so drunk that she didn’t feel a thing. Tammy poured a bottle of Vodka over her and saturated the chair. An electric space heater sat next to the chair----what luck Tammy thought!

She turned up the space heater a little until it came on. The old heater glowed itself to life. She splashed Vodka over it and to her surprise the Vodka ignite. She thought that she would have to light the Vodka with a match. What luck.

The fire spread. Tammy left the way she came in.

The next morning the news had a story about an elderly woman dying in a fire. It was apparent that in a drunken stupor the women spilled her drink onto a space heater.

It was easy Tammy thought and fun. She looked at the pictures of the cheerleaders that made her life miserable. Yes, she might have been one of them if she were pretty in high school, but she wasn’t. Nancy, the head cheerleader lived not to far away. Not, not too far away at all!

The End

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Post April 08, 2018, 12:05:21 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

This concludes the stories for this contest.

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Post April 08, 2018, 10:19:59 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Nice to see the choices and increase in authors. One of them reminded me of Lester's style. And they all are interesting to read.

Read them all a couple of times and will do so a couple of more times before casting da vote.

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Post April 09, 2018, 12:18:22 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

I am finding that writing in these contests are increasing my writing ability in other areas of my life (cover letters, note taking and other forms of communication). That's cool!
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Post April 09, 2018, 08:48:49 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

My votes are already in...eh,eh :D

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Post April 09, 2018, 09:47:32 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Vote(s)? I only have one vote and I have it currently sitting on a shelf waiting to be used. I dust it and when the time is right I'll send it in. Now, if I had a lot of vote(s) I'd just keep them in a burlap sack by the door and dole them out like dog treats.

Getting closer though to picking a story

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Post April 09, 2018, 11:13:15 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Just like Robin, I feel that voting is an enjoyable experience. I process my feelings for each story and although I like many of them, I decide on the one story that affects me the most.

There are 2 votes in so far.

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Post April 10, 2018, 12:04:07 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Interesting batch of stories and I must say I liked them all.
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post April 10, 2018, 10:27:53 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Megawatts wrote:Interesting batch of stories and I must say I liked them all.

Me too...and there are 5 votes cast so far. We could use a few more.

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Post April 15, 2018, 11:11:32 AM

The Results

This has been an interesting group of stories written from so many perspectives and with fascinating plot concepts. I enjoyed them.

There were 8 votes cast and they were divided like this:


Total Votes - 8

Twilight Zee: Something's Burning - 1
Jolene Wilkerson: Stone Cold Beth - 0
Jim Harrington: Revenge Is a Dish Best Served with a Bang - 1
Jim Statton: Mission of Mercy - 1
Robin B. Lipinski: Two To Tango - 2
Sergio Palumbo: A Matter of Attraction - 2
Megawatts: A Twisted Smile - 1


Thank you all for your involvement.
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Post April 15, 2018, 02:11:00 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Congrats to Sergio and Robin; your entries stood out among the group.

I voted for Sergio's story because of its tantalizing, ambiguous ending.

It wasn't an easy choice, though; I also favored Robin's story for the very clever angle of the killer and victim being separate personalities in the same body. I can imagine this causing some serious philosophical debate. Ironically, we'll probably never get to know if this has ever actually happened.

Nice detail, too, about the water dripping at the arson scene.
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Post April 15, 2018, 06:03:58 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Great bunch of stories and congrats to the favorites! Here's my critiques:



Something’s Burning by Twilight Zee 7


Dynamic beginning--- like that. Like how she used italics for emphasis in her internal thoughts, and the use of quotation marks around word for a more subtle emphasis. Sometimes too much use of italic and quotation marks can dilute their effect but in flash fiction we needed it more then in a short story. Nice job.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stone Cold Beth by Jolene Wilkerson 5

Following the theme of this flash fiction and has a good intro that catches one’s attention. Writing is good in this one and the ending I didn’t see coming.



Revenge is a Dish Served with a Bang by Jim Harrington 5

Good intro. I like how Janice got close to Karen in the restaurant. Researching someone can intimidate them, and that is often enough revenge: Knowing that someone is watching you, and they prove it. That can be scary in itself.

Janice blows up Karen’s house and Karen is left with nothing.

Nice.



Mission of Mercy by Jim Statton 7

Traveling over 80 mph in a red corvette gets one’s attention. I had a red corvette once—427, 1968 convertible.

The rape scene came alive to me especially when henry walked over with the handle end of a plunger. That nailed the scene.

Good us of sensory inputs—“-permeated with sewer odors” helped us to empathize Vic’s house.
We can see that Alyssa is on a mission, and how she killed Vic seals the fates of all the others.



Two To Tango by Robin B. Lipinski 6

A short but interesting one. I like how the story played out in a revered order. I don’t think that I every read a story were the mind or soul still functioned and was in the body after death. And a twin there too. Very different and creative thought. Nice.



A Matter of Attraction by Sergio Palumbo 8

This story follows the theme of this flash fiction, and it certainly gets us involved as the story unfolds. Julia is quite the resourceful killer: Able to disable the brakes on a motorbike, loosen the wheel on a skate board and time it to the correct event, and knife one boy in the back late at night I assume. The last one, Mark? Well, just like a cat plays with a mouse, Julia is going to play with him—but just a little.


Nice
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Post April 15, 2018, 07:09:23 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

It was a nice lot of stories to read. There was one story here that really gripped the revenge side of humanity and that is the one getting my vote.

Thanks for the kind words Lester. Got a chuckle about Twilight's style. Almost as many italics as you use from time to time. But like Magawatts said, flash is short and more is needed to get the bang to get the flash.

Nice to see more entries and writers.

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Post April 16, 2018, 12:17:33 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Twilight Zee - Something's Burning

The victim was insensitive and self absorbed making him a perfect target for a vengeful stalker. The scene description was well done with a lot of information for a flash size story, but it worked in the set up.

Allison kept dropping hints of her intent to murder her victim, but his focus was getting her into the sack so they zoomed right by him.

With each come on remark, Stephen continued to dig his own grave so to speak and for added help for his murderer, he got himself drunk.

Love the last line.


*****

Jolene Wilkerson - Stone Cold Beth

This story is a lesson on how putting down someone can have lifelong devastating effects for the person being mocked.

The author stayed close to script from the premise set up and kept her story small. This made the action less eventful and slow. It was good and interesting, but the impact of the revenge seemed less than some of the other stories and may have contributed to not getting any votes. Keep in mind there were only 8 votes and if there had been more, she might have gotten some of them.

Still, it was well written and I enjoyed it.

*****

Jim Harrington - Revenge Is a Dish Best Served with a Bang

Jim has a professional feel to his stories and has a mastery of dialogue. I wish to improve myself in this area that he seems to create so effortlessly.

I'm sure he works at it, but like Fred Astaire dancing on air it just seems that it is easy for him.

Karen was tightly wound and her tension was apparent in appearance and attitude. Jim did a wonderful job painting her as ugly cause of her vengeful mind, even though she was beautiful on the outside.

The house blowing up was definitely a huge climax to her path of revenge.

*****

Jim Statton - Mission of Mercy

Does anybody else read their story after the last draft and think, wow...Nobel Prize in Literature worthy...best thing I've ever written and then you read your same story a week later and think...what a piece of crap, how in the world did this get by me?

I can see opportunities for me to have brought my story to life more, instead of telling the readers how things happened in such a methodical manner.

I liked the murderer having shown compassion to her victim like patting his head and seeming generally interested in the intended victim. But of course, she was a psychopath and I read somewhere that they lack empathy and their whole world is about them and only them.

I felt the end was a little ominous and I liked that.

*****

Robin B. Lipinski - Two To Tango

This premise is brilliant, just brilliant.

I agree with Lester, that the dripping water from the burnt out rafters really set the scene.

And then, the war continued to rage inside the corpse, both murderer AND victim with the indication that the battle would continue forever. I've never heard of this concept before and it is seriously worthy of a book or novel size work of fiction.

*****

Sergio Palumbo - A Matter of Attraction

Julia certainly was conflicted over wanting vengeance or just being happy. Protracting the decision to murder her love interest who had been so mean to her in school, showed she "might" be willing to forgive if not forget. Nevertheless, she did a lot of bad things to get even in the past so she's caring that along with her and that can't be good for her current love interest.

Well told.

*****

Megawatts - A Twisted Smile

Tammy starts a murderous rampage because of a bad grade in school from a teacher who had it in for her. We've all had teachers like those. You never know what hurtful act can lead to harmful events later in life.

However, Tammy loved hurting people just a little too much for this not to have been the way she would have turned out even if she was attractive in school.

I appreciate you Megawatts for getting back into your writing and bestowing the contests with your stories.

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Post April 16, 2018, 11:47:22 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Congratulations to Robin and Sergio.

I want to take a few moments to post my thoughts on some excellent stories.

I am very happy to participate in these contests. I love the idea of having prompts to motivate me to write. I am grateful for the opportunity, and to Jim Statton for administrating these contests.

I would like to review all the stories as time permits and I agree with Jim that reviewing other people's stories improves writing skills and helps make you a better writer.

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Post April 16, 2018, 11:58:29 PM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Two to Tango - by Robin Lipinski

The sensory description of the "drip drip drip," was just great. I could not only picture it in my mind, but also hear and feel it. Nicely done. The ending was certainly a twist with a strong impact. I believe our spirit lives on after we die, so this was very thought provoking.

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Post April 17, 2018, 12:17:41 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Something's Burning - by Twilight Zee

I was impressed by the picturesque descriptive powers at work here. "Air buzzing with electricity" for example, helps set the tone. I also liked the reference to "freaks and geeks." This is a colorful way to remind us of all the cliques and labeling that goes on in high school.

This story met the guidelines of the contest and the writer did so in a way that was believable and fun.

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Post April 17, 2018, 01:03:54 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Stone Cold Beth - by Jolene Wilkerson

In writing this story, I was intrigued by the idea of a character whose life revolved around a single obsession that meant everything to her, but nothing to anyone else. In this case, Beth was obsessed by the desire to be accepted by her high school peers. Ironically, the peers that she wanted to impressed were so superficial and self absorbed that if they ever could accept her, the relationship would be meaningless.

The main action of the story was her walking around in his house, sitting down with a lit cigarette and falling asleep. She burned down Charlie's house, true, but her revenge was all in her mind. Deep down, she just wanted to be loved. Don't we all?

I left it open ended as to what happened to her. Did she look in the mirror and resolve that she had to love herself first before anyone else could? Or was she too immersed in her path to make a change, thus she went out like her peers said, "a psycho." The open ending does not make for a strong impact. Although, many people die suddenly with unanswered questions, unresolved issues and unmet desires, which is real life horror story.

I learned from writing this story and enjoyed the process.
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Post April 17, 2018, 03:37:40 AM

Re: April 2018 Flash Contest - The Voting

Congratulations to the winners, indeed...eh,eh!!! :D

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