[Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge


Writing challenges, flash fiction, interesting anecdotes, amusements, and general miscellanea.

Moderator: Editors

User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post October 22, 2012, 09:48:28 PM

[Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

To vote, rate these stories on the form in the post following this one and send it to me via PM:


The challenge was to tell a horror story using a likeable, capable character pitted against one of the author's own darkest fears, and the character had lose to that fear.



The following entries were received:



Tabula Rasa or A Priori



Deep in the recesses, the primal, that reptilian part of the brain, how much of it was controlled by learned/inculcated behavior that made him able to function? Duine Buile often pondered this especially after years of therapy, the surgery, and at times, pharmaceuticals.

When Duine Buile was a child The Anger welded up and at times literally paralyzed him. It was if his brain short circuited, and overwhelmed by this primal thing, his muscles would get competing commands to do and not do. Instead he collapsed, his entire right side, head to toes, were temporarily but totally useless.

In moments of lesser rage, brought on by anything from a perceived verbal slight to a bad day at grammar school, he would simply beat the living tar out of anyone, basic animal strength coming from where, as a child, he had no idea. To make matters worse he didn’t remember most of what happened except the victim was a bloody pulp or he was being restrained by a number of adults before any real harm could be wrought, and this was when he was a mere child.


****
They said the operation was a success. He knew that he was different. He wasn’t the same. They did this to him in the summer of his second grade. They said it was exploratory brain surgery. He knew he was not as quick of mind nor was he physically the same and he hardly ever fought again. In fact, he had to be so provoked that the dielectric that was implanted into his brain, suppressing that part which allowed for anger and normal self-defense finally became overwhelmed, and instead of a normal response, the monster came roaring back in full, vengeful and as a mighty force that whom ever he believed the cause of this slight, was most often found in the hospital.

These were his thoughts, memories, and fears along with his shame for not standing up for himself when he should have. He had no idea as to the why of all of it. But to all the others he had become a model child, teenager and as an adult, a rector in good standing. He was loved by everyone but himself. He was secretly afraid of that monster he knew was always there.

To his government mandated myth based religion he dissembled every week. He assisted as a rector should. He played with the children at the nursery and was kind to all the animals. To all he was a nice young man, one that would be the pride of any mother’s son.

****
An empty church but for the parish priests Father Gilly Tony, and Father Al Bejoe in the confessional with, Duine Buile.

“Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It’s been a day since my last confession.”

“Duine Buile, you need not come every day. Your sins are light as compared to others that could use more than …”

“Hear me father for I have sinned.”

“Yes My son I know your history of rages. You have been to seek professional help, and through the use of pharmaceuticals you have your life under control happily for the last few decades or so. It is well and good.”

“But the feeling are still there lurking in the back of my mind, in that animal, that reptilian element, before humanness.”

“There is no before humanness my so, God created…”

“Father listen, it there you know it and I know it. You wouldn’t be here if that were not the case. The rages are under control, but we both know what lurks there. And for you father what are your demons?”

“This is your confession my son, not mine go on.”

“As you know in my past I flew into uncontrollable fit of anger, beating all and any who came into my way, some provoked and others I provoked.”

“Yes Duine Buile I do know the affect of your rages. I was the recipient of some of them. I do remember.”

“Well yes father that’s why I come to you are one who recognized them and steered me to the professional help that made me a model citizen, married, with children, a regular church goer, and a helper of the poor. Yes. But father I have sinned.”

“Duine Bulie what have you done that can be so bad that I wouldn’t have heard of it before your arrival?”

“Father your friend and brother Gilly Tony you know him?”

“Yes I do. He’s close to me and a companion of this church.”

“Well Father,” he hesitated, “he is my lover and I must confess to that. It is a sin is it not?”

Father Al Bejoe was beside himself. This was news to him. All these years he assumed otherwise, a true member, a true being to the church and now this news. Red rage boiled up inside him, no earthy control, no heavenly control and from the deepest recesses, that same reptilian monster that Duine Bulie believes he has some stupid relationship with, kicks in and Father Bejoe arises to his full six feet ten. The rage he has suppressed these years is unshackled.

He uttered, “My lover, his lover? No never, never,” and his world turned red-black. His eyes blood red, where nothing is seen, no noise is heard, time is a figment of others imaginations, and reached through the screen with ancient animal strength, with the letter opener he always carried, grabbed Duine Bulie and stabbed him. He ripped the wooden partition with that welled up animal strength arising from deep within, hauled the body, bathed in blood soaked red priestly garments, dragged the life oozing lump through the sanctuary and lifted Duine Builie’s body, if it weighed not the 200 lbs it weighed but an ounce, and heaved it through the stained glass.

“This to all who defame my love,” he spat. “One monster to another,” he chuckled viewing the crumbled body below him.


The End



Prophet and Loss



John walked over to his ornamental bedroom window and opened the blinds to let in the bright morning light.

His beautiful home was a source of pride for him as was his manicured lawn. Working diligently during the previous two decades, established him as a hard working man, howbeit one who kept largely to himself.

Stepping into the shower, he mentally prepared for another workday, momentarily reliving the arousal from the remembrance of his coworker's cleavage, when she bent over his desk at work. Grabbing a bagel, he darted out the door and moved across the walkway as he approached his car.

A fog quickly arose, the mist swirling before him into a recognizable face, familiar, yet also unknown to him. The face in the fog spoke.

"Go to a home I will show you on the east side of town," the voice commanded.

"Why," John inquired, a bit nervous at being summoned for a mission he did not want to do.

"I have a word I want to give to someone there."

"I'll be late for work," John said anxiously. He didn't like these tasks, the ones where he was TOLD what to do.

"I never know if the next thing you're going to ask me is to go and feed pigmies in Africa." John thought silently to himself for a moment and asked, "That's...not what you're going to ask me - is it?

Silence.

John worried throughout the day that the voice would return and summon him again. Later that evening, as he was back home stoking the flames in the fireplace, the voice began to speak once again this time through the fire.

"I have a Word I want delivered to a person in despair. I'm sending you tonight."

"It's dark outside. The person may think ill of me approaching them so late," John said hoping he could get another reprieve from obedience.

"You have committed yourself," the voice erupted through the flames of amber.

"You know I am not well," John said nervously. "I have type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy in my legs and feet..."

The fire surged, flames leaping out toward him. Was the voice angry, John thought? He continued, this time speaking faster.

"...And this water weight issue - no salt, no sugar, no fat, no caffeine; If the diabetes and nerve damage don't get me, the edema will."

The fire was still.

"Are you still with me?" John asked with no reply.

*****

On the other side of the world, an old prophet continued his intercession for John, a person who he had never met, but knew well in spirit.

"I have prayed for John for over forty years and yet he still hesitates. You are about to lose a vital soul to despair. John is the only one close enough to do this mission," the old prophet agonized in supplication.

"Samuel, there is another," a voice in the wind whispered.

"Who?" Samuel inquired.

"A young girl, ten years of age lives near the despondent soul. Pray to shield her from the darkness that would try to engulf her as I speak with her tonight." The wind subsided.

And so Samuel began to pray once again in clothes soaked from sweat, which hung loosely upon his hunched over aged, thin body. It was hard for him to kneel these days, his sharp bones protruding from his skeletal frame.

*****

A school girl was studying diligently this evening for an exam expected the next day. Abruptly, her cd player jammed emitting a low bass tone. She got up to restart the song when a voice beckoned from the tone.

"Samantha, do you know me?"

The girl was startled. After a few minutes, she spoke into the air, "Yes, you're the voice I've heard inside me all my life."

"I want you to speak to someone who lives on your street tonight. It is important," the voice from the tone declared.

"Obviously, or you would not be speaking to me audibly.” The girl waited.

"Do you have any questions?" the voice inquired.

She thought for a few moments, "No, I'm good. Let's do it!

The Spirit of the voice was pleased and yet tested the girl with this question, "What if I sent you to Africa to speak for me? There are cannibals there."

The girl walked over to her shelves of encyclopedias and looked up cannibals. "A person who eats the meat from the bodies of other human beings," she read out loud.

She bent down and picked up a book from the bottom shelf on meal planning. "Sounds like they need a nutritionist."

“Thank you for your faith in me,” the voice spoke in a hushed tone.

“Is that important to you?” the girl asked curiously.

“If it was not so, no souls would have ever been created,” the voice said softly.

The Spirit of the voice continued to speak to this girl throughout the rest of her natural life...and beyond.

*****

As for John, he waited and he slept. He worked decades for air, for food and because it was expected of him. Eventually, he grew old and died, nestled warmly in a death bed of excuses until he met the Face of the Voice…and he trembled, he quaked in fear, he knew terror and he lived in it with pain and torment for time without end.

And he suffered remorse for the thousands of selfish decisions he had made in his life and believed he would have done things differently if he had another chance.

But in all actuality, it would have been – the same.


The End



A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War



The short War of 1812, aka the ‘Forgotten War’, involved the still young U.S. Republic and the Loyalist nation of Canada. These forces fought for supremacy in the area mainly around the Great Lakes and the Northeast coast.

After two medium-sized land battles that saw victories for the British troops, the contending armies left a few armed scouts to check the border in order to detect and ward off enemy troops that could go south to enter their country. The U.S. vessels maintained a complete hold on the waters, with other skirmishes following on the ground where some captains went lost in the woods while their forces ---on both sides-- killed a lot of their own soldiers over the course of fierce wilderness fightings. These small battles usually occurred at night and were poorly planned. Both sides had already invaded each other's territory, but these invasions had proved to be unsuccessful or temporary so far. The U.S. regular armies consisted of fewer than 12,000 men, although Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers. Besides, the militiamen were not accustomed to discipline and performed weakly against British forces when outside the woodlands.

----------------------------------------------------------------

It was a freezing evening inside the tent in the woods, on the banks of the river, on the uncertain border of Ontario/Michigan Territory. The small group had been ordered to stay there in order to control the banks and inform the officers about every British attempt to cross the stream and invade the United States.

The group of soldiers in the tent was made up of three individuals: a young, blonde-haired recruit that had arrived only two days before; and two experienced men at arms assigned to that region.

Go get some branches…” said the oldest of them all. “I’m hungry!” He wore a uniform on whose collar scratched against the chestnut beard on his face that was dotted with dirt. During this time, uniform dress was little observed by the ordinary enrolled militia and all of them wore their civilian clothing, supplemented by their own equipment or whatever might be hastily issued.

Me, too!” exclaimed the other soldier, black-haired and muscular. He looked at the younger recruit with two wild blue eyes. “Hurry up, before it’s too late for dinner.”

Alex, the newcomer of the group, stared at the oncoming darkness outside that was already wrapping the whole area.”But I could run into some enemy lying in the undergrowth…”

“So much the better - you can warn us immediately!” the first one replied, grinning in his usual way.

“But I heard some howls out there before…”

“Are you afraid of them…?” said the second, making fun of him. “Are you a poor Vermont boy who never goes into the woods in the evening because of the darkness?”

Alex remained silent for a few moments.

“Yes, tell me, recruit, do you fear the wolves?” the first added quickly.

“A little…” the young one admitted in the end. He noticed some smirks on the faces of the two.

“Are you one of those kids who are afraid almost of everything? Well, don’t worry, we can assure you that there are no wolves out there…they ran away the first time they heard shots being fired.”

Those are some smart guys, those wolves. If we weren’t forced to stay here, we’d do well to follow their example!” The older men laughed.

The recruit said nothing in return.

“You are a man from the East, aren’t you?” the second one intervened. “Don’t you have wolves down there?”

“Yes, indeed. And there are some really bad stories about their attacks…”

“Listen to me, boy. We know the area, and there aren’t wolves around here anymore.”

“You heard my friend, Alex. So, go - we’re starving and need some good warm food. But we need a campfire first …”

So the young soldier eventually forced himself to leave the tent. He walked warily, but as he got deeper into the woods he thought he had heard some howls again and was afraid. It had always been that way since his childhood, all because of what had occurred years ago to his aunt who had been killed and eaten by wild animals, according to the story his uncle had told him.

While hurrying, he almost lost his way twice, then he headed towards the place where he knew the river was. But, as soon as he came near the water, the boy saw two huge hairy creatures, wolf-like beings with human features, standing in front of him. And that was just the last thing he saw.


----------------------------------------------------------------


Some other days later, a new recruit reached the tent where the same two experienced soldiers were, and before the night ended, a similar scene happened.

“I’m hungry, boy!” the first one told the newcomer.

Go get some wood for the fire…” the other soldier added.

“But I could stumble onto some enemies or into some wild wolves…”

“We can assure you that there are no such creatures here…It’s because of the war.”

So he decided to go, eventually. And he never came back either.


----------------------------------------------------------------


As a matter of fact, no wolves were ever spotted in that area during the war. Anyway, it seems that two experienced soldiers, out of an ever-changing group of three, easily survived the war.

Unfortunately, strange to say, not one of the young recruits that were sent there to replace the casualties made it. In that weird war, experience did matter a lot, of course.

And two very clever werewolves disguised as men at arms took every opportunity to have some fresh meat from time to time, every night they had the chance, until they were able to conceal their presence among the humans in that lost outpost in the woodlands during wartime…


The End



Voicemail



The headlights approaching Max Hawthorn were almost erased by the early morning’s sudden downpour. He slowed his speed appropriately. “Better to be safe than sorry,” he reminded himself. Everyone from the factory would be down at the Holiday Inn Express, for the conference– so it really didn’t matter when he got to work anyway.

Max began to go over a list in his mind of all the materials needed by his co-workers at the event. He grimaced. Had he put in the labels to get the boxes back to the company after it was over? Chris & Steph would really need those.

He reached over to call his voicemail and leave a reminder.

Ring (silence, silence) Ring (silence, silence) ring…

“Hello,” said a small scratchy voice.

“Hi! I was just leaving a voicemail...”

Ring went the phone. Now that was odd! How could someone answer a phone that just keeps on ringing?

“Hello?” whispered the small, childlike voice again.

Max hung up.

***
As predicted, there were only a handful of employees at the factory when Max stepped into the lobby. Jodie was at the reception desk.

“Jo, can I ask you a question?” asked Max, leaning against her desk.

“Sure, you can ask me anything – but I don’t have to answer!” They shared a brief familiar chuckle.

“I called in early this morning to leave myself a voicemail…but it sounded to me like a child answered.”

“A child? No way. Even the kids next door at the blind school don’t get here until 8:30.”

“That’s right. There are children over there.” He thought for a moment. “It just spooked me a little, the tiny voice saying ‘hello’.”

“It’s probably just the time of year – with Halloween coming up and all.”

“I bet you hear all kinds of weird stuff from employees,” Max said, shrugging.

“Oh yeah, especially with this building being so old. You know children used to have a barracks in here. Their parents dropped them off when they found out they were blind. There were even a dozen children who died here since the 1850s – and their parents never came to pick them up.” Jodie lifted her eyebrows for emphasis.

“What did they do with them, with the bodies?”

“The talk is they buried them on the grounds until the city bought two gravesites out at Cave Hill. I’ve seen the stones – with all of the children buried around them.” Jodie leaned in a little bit, beginning to whisper. “Some people say those children are still here, waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.” Jodie leaned in even closer. “BOO!” she shouted laughing.

Max laughed so hard he almost cried before going upstairs to his cubicle. But there was a part of him that also wondered how much of what Jodie had said was true.

***
Max pushed the button to close the door of the freight elevator, glad this long day was almost over. All he had left to do was take this cart of left-over programs to the storage room and then enjoy the weekend.
The elevator kicked a little as it began to rise slowly. He started thinking about his days off.

There was a loud thump as the elevator rocked and then stopped moving. “Oh crap!” he said out loud. He drew in a deep breath and pressed the emergency alarm.

The small alarm blared away for a good twenty seconds before Max heard a voice shouting down from two floors up. “Sorry about that!” shouted a man’s deep, jovial voice. “I was checking the elevator and thought I had it turned off.”

“Just get me outta here,” Max shouted up.

“There should be a grey ball on a lever inside the wall. Do you see it?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Grab it and pull it down – it’ll open the door.”

Max did exactly as told and the yellow, metal mesh door slid open. He smiled a little, relieved. The elevator had stopped between the basement and first floors, so he could see the top of one and the bottom of the other. “I’m still between floors.”

“It’s going to be a few more minutes before I can start it up,” answered the voice. Max thought he heard the sound of the voice’s feet shuffling away.

Suddenly there was the sound of childish laughter from the basement. “Look over there, Fanny,” said a small voice. “I think somebody’s caught.”

“You’re right, Joe, I can see his feet.”

“Sarah Clark, you try to touch ‘em – you’re the tallest – try to touch his feet.”

Max jumped back, trying to get as far away from the door as possible. In the dimness of the unlit basement Max could have sworn he saw small, dirty faces looking up at him. He looked at the main floor – he could squeeze out onto it without too much trouble – he was sure of it.

He was surprised to hear a man’s deep voice suddenly coming from the basement. “Now Eliza, and all the rest of you, stop needling the poor man. He’s scared enough.” They all were having a good laugh now, as Max was certain he was losing his mind. “Are you still okay up there,” asked a man’s face as it looked up through empty eye-sockets.

Max made a leap for the main floor – but his foot seemed to be caught on something. There was a loud creak from above.

***
It had almost been a week since the elevator accident. If only Max hadn’t been there alone, all by himself in the back of the factory. Mary Robinson was heading to work early so she could take off early and attend the funeral.

“Oops! I’d better call my voicemail to remember to change my timesheet,” she said. She reached over and grabbed her cell.

Ring (silence, silence)

Ring (silence, silence)

“Hello?” answered a man’s voice.

“Max? Is that…” She thought about it for only a moment.

Ring.


The End



Never Let Go



Dean swims up to consciousness like a drowning man through murky water. Opening his eyes takes all he’s got, brings him nausea and pain. His head feels sticky against the headrest. He sees the street lights flash by through a rain streaked window, blurred and doubled. Kayleigh is crying in the back-seat.

“Shut that little bitch up!” A man’s voice, unfamiliar, angry.

Dean tries to turn his head but the movement pushes him back under.

###

The doorbell rang just as Dean took his coffee mug to the sink. Susan was beside Kayleigh at the table, breakfast half eaten in front of them as Susan tested Kayleigh on her spelling words.

“I’ll get it,” said Dean.

The hallway was bright with the morning sun. Dean could see a female figure, blurred through the frosted glass of the front door.

“Wendy?” Said Dean, surprised to see his new co-worker at his home.

Wendy’s blue eyes had dark circles, she seemed nervous. She opened her mouth to speak, eyes darting to the left. A figure, unkempt hair, a beard, swung around from his hiding place beside the door and hit Dean between the eyes with the butt of a gun.

###

“You got it?”

Dean couldn't look at the guy’s face. All he could see was the gun, the cavernous, gaping hole where the bullet would come.

“Create the loans, transfer them to the business accounts. Transfer the money from those accounts to the offshore accounts. Delete the transaction history,” said Dean, repeating back the instructions. Kayleigh sobbed loudly as Susan tried to comfort her, wrapping their daughter in her arms and hugging her close. Susan’s own face was red and puffy, her eyes wet

“Remember, if Wendy so much as thinks you’re trying something, they’re dead,” said the Goon, waving the gun at Dean’s wife and child

Dean nodded and picked up his briefcase.

###

Dean completed the last transfer, hands shaking. Wendy watched beside him as the completion message came up on the screen.

“If he so much as touches-”

“Shut-up!” Said Wendy, her voice a terse hiss. It was the most she had said to him all morning. “Now the transaction histories.”

Dean opened a new form and rubbed his forehead.

“That’s a humdinger!” Said Ericsson from Savings as he passed their desk, pointing at the growing bruise Dean was massaging.

“Walked into a door,” Dean said, his eyes pleading the man to stop, to make conversation, ask questions, anything.

“We’re kind of busy here,” said Wendy, her hand on Dean’s shoulder, fingers squeezing painfully hard.

“Sure, sure,” said Ericsson with a conciliatory shrug. “Be more careful next time, man.”

Dean nodded as Ericsson turned and walked away. Wendy’s painful grip relaxed.

“The transaction histories,” she prompted.

###

The shakes got bad again as they turned into the drive. Dean tried to stifle a sob, stifle the fear. “If he’s hurt them-”

Wendy gave him a hard look. “It’s nearly over. Keep it together.”

Dean could hear Kayleigh’s whimpers as soon as he opened the front door, audible over the TV noise of cartoons. He followed them to the family room. The Goon had his arm around Kayleigh as she sat beside him on the couch. Susan was slumped across the other side. Her nose a bloody mess, her bruised eyes swollen shut and her clothes torn.

Dean was barely aware of the growl building from inside as he lunged forward. The Goon was faster, more practised at violence. The gun hit Dean in the guts, took away his breath. He fell to his knees and tried desperately to suck air back into his lungs. Kayleigh screamed just as the gun crashed down on the back of his skull.

###

Noise reaches him through the static. Tires on a rain slicked road and wind-shield wipers. He’s so tired, almost slips back under again but he hears voices and knows they’re important even though he doesn't remember why.

“You said, we’d let them go,” says Wendy

“You dumb-. They've seen my face. They know you’re with me.”

“You said no one would get hurt.”

“Hey, newsflash, I lied. Now shut-up!”

Road noise turns to the crunch of gravel, the ride gets bumpy, rocks Dean’s head. Black static takes him again.

###

There’s cold air against his face through the open window, the smell of water. Dean tries to open his eyes as the car rocks, someone getting out.

Incoherent words, arguing, a piercing scream and a meaty thump. Then the car rocks again. Dean turns his head, blinks away the red smear in his eyes. The Goon is pushing the Wendy’s limp body into the driver’s seat beside him. Blood is running down the side of her face.

“Murder, suicide,” the Goon says, his voice quiet. He’s singing it, over and over. “Murder, suicide. Murder, Suicide,” and the man is grinning like a lunatic.

The door slams, the car moves, tires on gravel, accelerating. A jolt throws Dean against the seat belt, water splashes his face through the window. The shock of cold as the car fills up revives him. Dean raises his head, vision is clearing, thoughts are coherent. If he can get the seatbelt undone he can get out, escape, make it to shore.

There’s a sob from the back-seat.

Kayleigh sits there, her mother slumped by her side unmoving, the water is already around her little waist and it’s freezing. She can’t swim, she’ll never make it. It’s over.

Dean stops trying to undo the seat belt and reaches back instead, takes his daughter’s hand.

“Close your eyes, baby,” he says. “ I'm here.”

The black water is rushing in now, sucking the car down, he sees the panic in her face just before it rises over her.

Down in the dark, Dean can feel them sinking deeper and deeper. The cold makes him numb but he can still feel Kayleigh's hand in his own. He will never let go.


The End
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post October 22, 2012, 09:49:03 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

To vote, rate these stories using the form below with scores of 0-10 (in whole numbers) and send it to me via PM: (Copy it into memory, click the 'PM' button below my avatar (or depending on your board style, mouse over the green username by my avatar and a menu will pop up with an option to send a private message), paste the form in, & then fill in your scores.)

Categories:
1) What overall score would you give the story?
2) How good was the Characterization?
3) How effective (or original) was the plot?
4) How clear was the setting to you?
5) How good was the use of dialog?
6) How well did the story meet or address the challenge as it was given?

NOTE: you must have posted at least one message before you can send a PM. Join in a discussion or just say hi in a thread before voting via PM. If I suspect a voter of being a false identity (i.e. a troll), I won't count their vote.

Author scores for their own entry will not be counted.




Tabula Rasa or A Priori
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Prophet and Loss
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Voicemail
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Never Let Go
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1302

Joined: September 18, 2009, 05:02:54 AM

Location: Italy

Post October 23, 2012, 11:17:02 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

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

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 23, 2012, 11:57:43 AM

Early Voting

ente per ente wrote:My votes are already in...eh,eh :D

For the first time my friend, I beat you to it! I got them in shortly after the stories were posted last night.

And I had to wrestle the fear of the voting monster to do it!
User avatar

Critic

Posts: 198

Joined: October 13, 2011, 08:33:33 AM

Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK

Post October 23, 2012, 12:26:07 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

I too have voted - bwa ha ha Ha Ha HA HA HA!
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1302

Joined: September 18, 2009, 05:02:54 AM

Location: Italy

Post October 24, 2012, 02:15:18 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

For the first time my friend, I beat you to it! I got them in shortly after the stories were posted last night.


Very good of you, well done...eh,eh :D
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post October 24, 2012, 08:56:59 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Michele is the early leader. Verse and Rick are tied for second.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 25, 2012, 09:18:01 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Hooray for BOTTOMDWELLER, the best flash fiction story writer in THIS or ANY universe (known or unknown!)
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Critic

Posts: 198

Joined: October 13, 2011, 08:33:33 AM

Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK

Post October 25, 2012, 10:30:27 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

bottomdweller wrote:Hooray for BOTTOMDWELLER, the best flash fiction story writer in THIS or ANY universe (known or unknown!)


Also renowned for her modesty, humility and understatement.
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post October 25, 2012, 08:15:11 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Verse is now in the lead by only 3 points! This is much tighter race than I expected. Vote today!
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2667

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post October 25, 2012, 09:34:04 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

My votes are in.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
User avatar

Critic

Posts: 198

Joined: October 13, 2011, 08:33:33 AM

Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK

Post October 26, 2012, 08:49:06 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

kailhofer wrote:Verse is now in the lead by only 3 points! This is much tighter race than I expected. Vote today!

Oh well, that's jinxed it. :cry:
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 26, 2012, 12:37:03 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Verse is now in the lead by only 3 points!


That's okay - go on without me (sob) - just leave me here to die...
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 28, 2012, 01:24:09 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Good thoughts going out to R. Tornello on the East Coast - in the path of the Super Storm. Hope you come through without much trouble. Send us a line to let us know how you're doing.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post October 28, 2012, 10:05:45 PM

Winners Announcement

Congratulations to I. Verse, winner of the Meet Your Doom flash challenge. Verse's story ,"Never Let Go" topped the charts in this month's voting.

Thank you to everyone who entered for your hard work and dedication.



For the record, these were the authors of the entries for this month:

Tabula Rasa or A. Priori by Richard Tornello
Prophet and Loss by Mark Edgemon
A Weird Casuaty of the Forgotten War by Sergio Palumbo
Voicemail by Michele Dutcher
Never Let Go by I. Verse


SCORES: (Overall next to the story title, then the average score next to each question #.)




Tabula Rasa or A. Priori : 205
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 5
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 6
# Zeroes: 1
# Perfect 10s: 1

Prophet and Loss: 162
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 5
6) Challenge: 4
# Zeroes: 2
# Perfect 10s: 0

A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War: 203
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 5
# Zeroes: 1
# Perfect 10s: 2

Voicemail: 242
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 8
6) Challenge: 6
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 2

Never Let Go : 255
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 8
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 7
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 3

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 28, 2012, 10:31:29 PM

Re: Winners Announcement

kailhofer wrote:Congratulations to I. Verse, winner of the Meet Your Doom flash challenge. Verse's story ,"Never Let Go" topped the charts in this month's voting.


Warmest praise for your consistent talent and involvement in these flash challenges. If Shakespeare had casually read one of your stories, he would have never written plays (couldn't take the heat) and probably wound up only submitted articles to TV Guide!

You maybe tempted to not submit as often to give others a shot at the title, but I hope you keep submitting month after month. You give others who do not possess your gifts or use them as well a chance to improve in order to challenge you in future contests.

To prepare for the next challenge, I am reading your previous submissions AND your story this month in long ficton to see how it's done and expect to make it a race next time.

Good work!

Mark

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 28, 2012, 10:38:44 PM

Re: "Not" Winners Announcement

kailhofer wrote: Prophet and Loss by Mark Edgemon

Prophet and Loss: 162
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 5
6) Challenge: 4
# Zeroes: 2
# Perfect 10s: 0

I just knew it...submitting a religious themed story on Aphelion was the kiss of death.Image

But in keeping with the challenge, it was a story I had to write for myself.
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2667

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post October 28, 2012, 11:26:26 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Way to go, Verse!

Here are the comments I came up with for this month's batch of submissions:

Tabula Rasa or A Priori * Failed the challenge, I'm afraid -- it wasn't the main character's fear that got him, it was the priest. Also, he may have been generally a nice guy, but I didn't find myself thinking of him as a likeable character. Score 19.

Prophet and Loss * This one has a plot hole . . . it seems the intercessor began praying for her only after the main character failed, yet she recognizes the voice as being one she's known all her life. Also, the girl is far more likeable than the main character. Also, I wasn't convinced that the main character was really afraid of the voice; if anything, he seemed to be more afraid of being taken out of his comfort zone. Score 25

A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War * Nice historical fiction. Too bad the main character's actual fear was of ordinary wolves, not werewolves. And he wasn't particularly likeable, either -- or capable. Score 31

Voicemail * Plot hole -- the ghost-kids are supposed to be blind, but they see the main character . . . and he didn't impress me as having a lifelong fear of blind ghost children. Good dialog, characterization, setting, and plot. Score 39

Never Let Go * Seamless. Relentless. Truly horrific. A classic win for implication. Score 55
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 28, 2012, 11:53:03 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Lester Curtis wrote:Prophet and Loss * This one has a plot hole . . . it seems the intercessor began praying for her only after the main character failed, yet she recognizes the voice as being one she's known all her life. Also, the girl is far more likeable than the main character. Also, I wasn't convinced that the main character was really afraid of the voice; if anything, he seemed to be more afraid of being taken out of his comfort zone. Score 25

Thank you for reading and commenting on the story.

I'll answer these concerns one by one;

. . . it seems the intercessor began praying for her only after the main character failed, yet she recognizes the voice as being one she's known all her life.
The old prophet from the other side of the world did only begin to pray for the girl after the main character failed, but the voice the litle girl had known all her life was the Spirit behind the voice and not the old prophet who interceded for her at the end. The old prophet also took his cues from the voice of the Spirit.

The fact you asked this questions shows that I didn't bring that point out enough.

Also, the girl is far more likeable than the main character.
Now there, you got me! I made the main character a complainer and the little girl a doer, but the challenge DID require the main character to be likeable didn't it? Ooops!

Also, I wasn't convinced that the main character was really afraid of the voice; if anything, he seemed to be more afraid of being taken out of his comfort zone.
His fear wasn't of the voice, but was a double mindedness of BOTH being asked by the Spirit of the voice to do things he didn't want to do, while at the same time, afraid the voice would stop speaking to him for his multitude of disobediences. His comfort zone was his main barrier to over coming his fear. Great insight on your part for seeing it!

Thanks again!
User avatar

Critic

Posts: 198

Joined: October 13, 2011, 08:33:33 AM

Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK

Post October 29, 2012, 03:20:19 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

A very close one this month and a very difficult challenge. Of course, I did this instead of working on my main project - doh! :roll:

Tabula Rosa or A Priori
The young priest, so afraid of giving into his anger demons, is killed by another man who is in an uncontrollable rage - I thought that was the very definition of the challenge and I gave a 10.

Prophet and Loss
All that is necessary for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke. The very epitome of this and then for that 'good man' to get punished.

A Weird Casualty of the Forgotten War
Great plot for which I gave a 10. And of course, the boy soldier's fear of the woods got him.

Voicemail
Very spooky. Plus - death by elevator - horrifying. And the ending was spooky too. A 10 for the excellent dialogue.

As I mentioned to the Ice Gnome when I sent the story, a very difficult challenge this month. My story was based on a nightmare I had (at least the last part) and I nearly didn't send it in because the ending was so wretched. However, I realised that I'm the gosh-darned Author and it doesn't have to end there. Then I wrote another story, in which I gave the Goon a name and let his victims have a supernatural revenge. Now I feel a lot better.

I don't think the second story stands on its own without the first. So, if it's allowed, I'll post it here.
Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1302

Joined: September 18, 2009, 05:02:54 AM

Location: Italy

Post October 29, 2012, 03:44:55 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Congratulations to Verse, again...well done, indeed...eh,eh!!! :D :D

Anyway, this time I gave 1 point more in each category to Voicemail by Michele "Bottomdweller" because the younglings- ghosts looked really thrilling and very scary, in my opinion, for sure...eh,eh :shock: :D
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 29, 2012, 08:23:44 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Really, my childhood fear wasn't elevators - it was ghosts grabbing my feet. I didn't like walking around a bed (a ghost might grab my feet) for instance, and I still don't. My feet can't stick out from under the blanket either.
I'm glad Verse is handing out 10s to other competitors - I do the same thing, handing out high marks because its tough to write a story about a topic just thrust in front of you each month.
It's interesting that we not only have different ideas about how to write the stories, but also about how to grade them. Lester grades on very specific points in the rules, and I grade on whether or not I liked the story, basically.
Hooray for Michele for winning 2nd place!! Believe me, 2nd place tries harder...blah, blah, blah!
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1181

Joined: October 06, 2008, 06:53:45 AM

Location: Chantilly VA

Post October 29, 2012, 11:44:52 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Verse wrote:
Tabula Rosa or A Priori
The young priest, so afraid of giving into his anger demons, is killed by another man who is in an uncontrollable rage - I thought that was the very definition of the challenge and I gave a 10.


1, He hit it ! There was even more underneath all that, but that's for another time and discussion.

2, I wonder if what Mark said might be true to some degree, coloring some peoples attitudes , and in addition when dealing with other than "straight" topics, the readers attitude might be how should I say this, perverted?


RT

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 29, 2012, 12:06:39 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

rick tornello wrote:2, I wonder if what Mark said might be true to some degree, coloring some peoples attitudes , and in addition when dealing with other than "straight" topics, the readers attitude might be how should I say this, perverted?


RT

I think generally that sci fi people want their deity to be evil, more story there (from their perspective) AND they don't like to be told what to do, even by a Creator. So, stories with a viable, righteous God are frowned upon.

Also, I don't like preachy stories either.

However, I worked really, really hard on several areas to minimize an air of preachiness and excessive moralizing.

I moved the story throughout by action and dialogue, so there would not be added commentary by the author and so the audience could make up their own minds how they viewed the story as it unfolded. I saved the narrative for the end with only a couple of short paragraphs of author intrusion. I did that on purpose to try out the style.

But I knew it, I knew it, AS I was typing; I said to myself, they're going to "crucify" me (even though crucifixion as been done to death - so to speak). I will be known as the zero king after this.

Nevertheless, Nate wanted the worst fear scenero and mine was my indecision about God. For me, I know no other fear greater than being left behind. Maybe therapeutically, this story may have helped.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 29, 2012, 12:50:53 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

I'll be the first to admit it - I didn't like the Christian theme, and I voted accordingly.
If there was a story about a man in ancient times wanting to serve Zeus with all his heart, I probably would have given that a higher score as far as plot. Mark could have done a fear of hell easier - with the guy ending up in an eternal sea of flames, his flesh coming off in huge chunks while burning forever and ever, his muscles raw from hot oil being poured directly on them, screaming in terror as demons assault and rape him continuously...well, you catch my drift. I think that's more like what a 5 year old boy would be worried about.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 29, 2012, 01:18:57 PM

Last Stop!

bottomdweller wrote:I'll be the first to admit it - I didn't like the Christian theme, and I voted accordingly.
If there was a story about a man in ancient times wanting to serve Zeus with all his heart, I probably would have given that a higher score as far as plot. Mark could have done a fear of hell easier - with the guy ending up in an eternal sea of flames, his flesh coming off in huge chunks while burning forever and ever, his muscles raw from hot oil being poured directly on them, screaming in terror as demons assault and rape him continuously...well, you catch my drift. I think that's more like what a 5 year old boy would be worried about.

Really, from your avatar I never would have guessed!

No darling, I knew you would damn the story to hell before I typed the first word. If I wasn't trying to meet Nate's challenge, that would have made a more fearful story for the reader.

But for me, I'm not afraid of hell - only running out of chances.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 1325

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kentucky

Post October 29, 2012, 03:05:11 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

LOL! I'm not concerned about running out of chances to go to hell.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2667

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post October 29, 2012, 07:40:46 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

Looking at this again, I must offer apologies. I now realize that I misunderstood the challenge and downrated some of the stories on that basis.

I had been under the impression that the character's fear and the author's fear were supposed to be one and the same, but now I see that wasn't necessarily the case.

I'm usually very careful about how I read the terms of the challenge (usually, meaning since I got a story rejected once). This one was a little more slippery.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

Master Critic

Posts: 3595

Joined: September 17, 2008, 10:10:20 PM

Post October 29, 2012, 08:16:27 PM

Rocketing to Oblivion!

bottomdweller wrote:LOL! I'm not concerned about running out of chances to go to hell.

I'm sure.

However, I was referring to running out of chances with God.
User avatar

Long Fiction Editor

Posts: 2667

Joined: January 11, 2010, 12:03:56 AM

Location: by the time you read this, I'll be somewhere else

Post October 29, 2012, 09:32:05 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: October '12 Flash Challenge

bottomdweller wrote:LOL! I'm not concerned about running out of chances to go to hell.

Of course not! We've all got plenty of those!

The hard part is choosing among them . . . :wink:
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
Next

Return to Fun and Games

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.