[Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)


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Post July 28, 2011, 11:48:23 PM

[Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

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 write a horror story of a character struggling to hold a great evil within themselves, one that they dare not reveal.


The following entries were received:



The Mangoes Made Me Mad



I hated mangoes. I hated them!

It's wrong to be furious at fruit, but they made me angry. Why couldn't they have been good fruit, like an apple or pear or bananas or watermelon? That's real fruit.

"Sure, Aunt Sarah, I'll have seconds on your fruit salad. It sure is good." Stupid relatives. Always asked you dumb questions, then all they did is talk about people you didn't know and then ignored you as you clearly looked like you had no idea who they were talking about. I didn't grow up in that inbred, hick town. I hated hick towns.

"Nick?" Sandy asks. "Can you give the kids a hand setting up the badminton net?"

"Sure, be glad to." Jesus Christ. I was still god-damned eating. I'm sure she saw that. She had those new, ugly glasses on, so she could see. I wanted to keep eating like everybody else at this stupid family reunion she dragged us to every summer. And why me help the kids? It was not even our kids that wanted to play—it was her cousin's kids. She was right there, yacking away with her Uncle Dan, the one who hated everybody who wasn't a white Republican. Why the hell couldn't she take care of her own lousy kids? I didn't care if her Mom hosted this damn event each year. Not my kids, for Christ's sake.

"Here, Emma, let me help you with that." The net was all tangled, dammit! What moronic mouth-breather in Sandy's family did that? That racquet was bent, and this one had broken strings! I bought this only last year. Who the hell used my stuff and broke it, without even saying something? Who does that? Breaks someone else's stuff, then doesn't say something? I hated these people!

"Here you go, all put together now. Have fun!" Christ, I was still hungry. I wished there was a good food joint near this damn park. I'd have sneaked away and got a burger, or something. Everybody was so into themselves here, they'd never have even noticed I was gone.

"Uncle Nick, can you play with us?"

She had that puppy dog look. I'd have liked to laugh at her. It was not my job to entertain these rugrats. What the hell did I look like, some kind of goddamn cruise director for this ridiculous farce of a family gathering? The Kents wouldn't talk to the Rutts and the Rutts were too stupid to get the hint. The Clarks were sure they were better than everybody else because they made more money. The Linds were trailer trash. Everybody knew that. Even dimwit Emma there knew that, and she was one of them.

"I'd like to get back to lunch. I'm hungry." Why shouldn't I get back to the table? Everybody else was gorging themselves or gabbing by the fire. They all looked like they were having fun, and that they didn't care what the kids did.

"Aw, please, Uncle Nick. We don't never get to play nothin' fun like this at home."

Damn. I'm sure she didn't get to have much fun, unless it was playing with a garden hose or trash in their yard in front of their trailer. How could people live like that and not blow their own heads off? Would have done the rest of the world a favor.

"Ok, but only one game."

***

Three games later, I finally just ignored the look and made it back to the table. "Where's my plate?"

Aunt Sarah scoffed. "I thought you were done. Pretty rude, just leaving it for someone else to pick up. Especially after just taking seconds of my fruit salad and then getting up and leaving it."

"No, I had to help the kids. I wasn't done." Jesus Christ! Now, I had to get another plate. Sandy's Mom would see me and make another one of those snide remarks about how I eat too much. There were only two or three dishes this stinking family made that were any good, so of course I was going to have more of them. The witch had a triple chin, so I didn't think she should talk

Sandy was by the food table, picking up. I asked, "Anything good left, dear?"

She glared at me. "I just got done dumping everything in the garbage. Thanks for helping. I swear, sometimes you're useless."

My fist clenched only for a moment. I had to keep it together. "What do you mean, you dumped it? I didn't finish yet." Goddamn it. God damn it!

She stared at me like I was an idiot. "What did you expect? Lunch is over, and now it's time to clean up."

I can't frakking believe it! How can she have forgotten? She knew! She had to! "I'm still hungry. I didn't get to finish because you wanted me to help the kids."

"Fine." She rolled her eyes. "There's still some fruit in the bag that Sarah didn't cut up."

"Ok." You bitch. You absolute, joy-sucking bitch! Ten years of family "obligations" when everyone else I know could go fishing or camping, or just on vacation, but no, we had to go to a wedding, a christening, a funeral, or to see some dumb cousin's kid in a play. Weekend after weekend! Last year we got to the lake only once, and then still had to leave early because your Dad had another "episode". You didn't even care how I felt about it!

I reached into the recycled bread bag Sarah brought the fruit in and pulled out the only piece of fruit left.

It was a brown, half-rotten mango.

Next to the bag was a large kitchen knife. The blade was so shiny. It glistened in the bright sunlight like something mythical. There was something so good about it that I was drawn to it, like it was the answer to everything. I wanted it. It felt so good in my hands.

The cut was juicy.


The End



Darkness



Clifford Stephens feared the dark thing that lived within him. The evil, monstrous thing that drove him towards a murderous rage. It had been there as long as he could remember. It was as if he were possessed by an entity – one that urged him to seek the homicidal blackness of his soul. Only Clifford knew that the thing existed. Only he knew it had to be controlled at all times: battled, wrestled, forced back into the deepest shadows of his being.

Clifford had always struggled against the dark being but he had never let it escape, never let it feed its rapacious, black spirit – he thought. He remembered stopping it from bashing his little brother’s brains in with a bat when the kid was only six and had ratted on Clifford for taking the boy’s comic books and hocking them at a local pawn shop.

And he had held the black thing at bay when it wanted to climb out and rip his father’s face off for grilling Clifford that time when the family dog and cat had somehow disappeared, vanished without a trace.

No, he didn’t think he had ever let it come out, except maybe that time when the Jones boy was found beaten almost to death and lying half in the small creek running behind the high school after he and Clifford had had some minor disagreement about lunch money. There had been a visit by the police and a trip to the principal’s office, but the thing hid itself and Clifford was reluctantly cleared of any wrongdoing.

But that was before. Things were different now. Now he worked at the Golden Years Senior Home as an orderly. Now he had to pick up after all the nasty old men and women who were waiting to die at Golden Years – the sharp-tongued harpies and trolls who bossed and ordered him around, constantly demanding this and that to make their miserable lives less painful, always exerting their authority over Clifford just because he was a worker and beneath them.

The worst of the offenders was old Mr. Farris. It was he who was unwittingly forcing the dark thing inside Clifford to the front, to the verge of escape, to the point of blissful, satisfying revenge.

“Get me this,” Mr. Farris would order Clifford, “get me that,” the old man’s high-pitched whine triggering the dark thing’s bloodlust like a fresh animal carcass lying at the bottom of a river in South America might start a feeding frenzy among the piranha.

“Would you like me to push your chair out on the patio, Mr. Farris,” the dark being asked through Clifford’s gritted teeth. It was 110 degrees in the shade out on that patio. The old man wouldn’t last thirty minutes.

“You take me back to my room right now, you devil,” Mr. Farris squawked.

“What about the roof? Wouldn’t you like me to take you up there where you can look over the edge and see all the grass and concrete down below?”

It was only a two-story drop but that would be sufficient and very pleasing to the roiling, smoky black thing swirling inside Clifford’s brain.

“I’m going to report you if you don’t take me to my room, right now!”

“We can ride up in the elevator and if you like take the stairs down. That will really be a fast way to come down.”

“I’m going to scream,” Mr. Farris threatened.

“That would be a bad thing,” Clifford heard his own voice say.

“I’ll have you fired,” Mr. Farris spluttered. “I’ll see that you never work anywhere in this town again.”

“Very well, sir,” Clifford said, fighting for control over the thing that sought to be unleashed, to teach the old man a lesson.

Clifford felt himself pushing Mr. Farris towards the elevators to take him up to his room but as they neared the lift, the chair seemed to turn of its own accord and rush recklessly through a door leading to the basement laundry.

Suddenly they were at the top of the steps – alone. The chair was at the very edge of the landing, only a dozen jagged steps between it and mangled geriatric bones and flesh at the bottom.

“Help,” Mr. Farris cried out weakly, “somebody help me.”

“It’s such a short trip,” Clifford heard that voice speaking through him again. “Then blessed peace.”

“Help,” the old man squeaked.

Clifford, the smoky being within him on the verge of complete escape, wanted to give in, wanted to give the old man a little push and send him sailing down the stairs, felt the unspeakable joy it would bring. He leaned against the chair, putting his weight against it. As he did, the old man turned and looked up, fear and pleading in his eyes.

“Oh, please,” he begged, “don’t. I won’t tell.”

Shaking his head as if to fling the demon out of his mind, Clifford saw the old man clearly, then, saw his aging, sorrowful face in all its humanity. With an impulsive waving of his left hand, he fought the blackness within, brought the monster under control. He eased the chair away from the stairs.

“Uff,” the old man exhaled.

“Let me get you back to your room, Mr. Farris,” Clifford told the old man. “I’m terribly sorry.”

“I won’t tell anyone,” the old man promised.

“It’s okay,” Clifford said, feeling a wave of relief spread warmly through his body. “It’s all okay now.”

After returning Mr. Farris to his room, Clifford checked out at the front desk.

“You’re quitting?” the shift supervisor asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Not quitting,” Clifford said with a big sigh, “saving myself.”

“Huh?” the supervisor said.

Clifford paid no attention. He had won this battle and that was all that mattered. You could get another job anywhere. If he let the monster inside him get out, he would lose everything – even his mortal soul.


The End



Bebarlangs



Since that old man had been taken to his hospital room, the doctor had sensed he was different.

The report said he had been found ill from some people on Dampalitan Island, far off the coast. That place was known for its clear azure waters: such an atmosphere was probably fitter for some tourists more than for a hermit, like that man seemed to be, anyway. There was a backdrop of verdant bush on the other side of the island and that was the spot where those strangers had saved him during a trip inside the jungle covering a wide part of the land: most of that was a lush expanse no one had gone exploring before, very likely.

The white buildings of the County Hospital in Pagbilao were the only medical facility within this municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. Doctor Arvin Chua had examined many cases over the course of his twenty-year-long career, but he had never seen such a weird man.

Dark-skinned, two chestnut eyes, a tall and emaciated body: his features made him look like a local, but Arvin couldn’t figure out from which tribe he was exactly: truth was that there were over fifty ethnic groups in the Philippines.

The patient had no documents with him, didn’t speak.The nurses had noticed that while asleep he always looked perturbed, his rest always fidgety.

On a sunny morning, Doctor Arvin entered his room, addressing the old man in the bed- You’ve had some difficult days while on Dampalitan Island. I respect your will not to speak with us or tell us anything about you, you must have your reasons…But given your very bad heart conditions, you could become aggravated or fall unconscious every moment from now. You need to be under general anaesthetic in order to have a resolving operation on you. I know you didn’t give us permission to make you undergo such a treatment so far, but when a worsening occurs and unconsciousness comes, if your life is in danger, then there will be no other choice for our medical team…-

The old man stared at him in silence and didn’t replied at all.

Over the next days, Arvin was informed that the patient had tried to escape from the hospital. So, give his instability, he had been necessarily confined to his bed. Anyway, the doctor would have never expected what happened next.

Arvin was surprised when the nurses told him that the man had just attempted at killing himself by means of an iron stick near the windows.The devices attached to his body had soon signaled his movements, so the attendants were able to intervene just on time. Modern technology had saved his life, again.

The resolving operation was set for the same day: the medical team started the procedure at 18:00 PM. They, too, didn’t know what was ahead of them, anyway…

As soon as Heherson ( this was the old man’s name) became unconscious cause of the general anaesthetic, he felt completely lost.

The man knew perfectly that now he had no more grip on his will, even though he had taught himself to control his mind while asleep, this was a totally different situation Heherson wasn’t able to handle, unfortunately.

For many years he had been living within that jungle, afar from civilization and all the people. He had forced himself to stay alone, just like a hermit, because of what had occurred previously to his family. Heherson wished he weren’t what he was,but there was no way to change it.

Within his native tribe the ones like him were called Bebarlangs: there was a sort of bad curse upon them, their mind had some special powers that let their astral bodies become completely free and ungovernable while asleep, going continuously around in search of preys to feed on. ”Psychic vampires” the modern people would have called them, if they had ever been aware of their existence.

Unfortunately, the nearest preys Heherson had fed on the same night his powers had been unleashed for the first time were just his beloved wife and child, asleep along with him inside their poor dwelling.

His mind had been feeding on them until the man had deprived the two of all their life energies: they were already dead when he awoke in the morning.

Desperate, incapable of forgiving himself for what he had done, although unwillingly, Heherson had left his small village forever and found a forested lonely place where to live like a hermit.

Down there, where the trees waved because of the mild wind during the afternoon, he had learned how to control his astral body even over the course of the sleep so to feed himself only on the energies coming from the wild animals living in the area. Heherson knew such a “mental food” was not enough to let him remain strong and healthy, he wished some tasteful human energies, but he was to stay there, fighting his desire.

The man had no other choice, as he didn’t want to put anyone else in danger, anymore. He had forced himself to become a sort of vegetarian in a world where meat was abundant: he was able to feel it almost everywhere, in the outside world.But he stood, anyway.

Until that day, when his heart had fallen ill, his body had been found by chance from some people on the island.They didn’t know what they had done! Heherson would have liked better to die than to be taken back to civilization, again…

And now that he was under general anaesthetic, his astral body without restraint, the man’s famished mind was dangerously free. He stared at the white buildings of the County Hospital: a place full of human bodies and minds, it has been a long time since Heherson hadn’t been overindulging…

He was going to cease his long diet, finally!


The End



Forever



Xam climbed the stone path leading up the hillside. He drew a breath when he saw a man-made cave, uttering “The Mantle of the Judge.” He slowed as he stepped inside, allowing the darkness to soothe him, as much as was possible. He opened his eyes and a soft glow brightened the room, revealing five semi-circles carved into the wall of the cave. Within each of these sat what appeared to be semi-transparent, androgynous, humans.

“My search for you has been exhausting,” said Xam.

A pentagon appeared between the man and the five. “We have discovered that humans often find their own answers while on their journey. An answer found by oneself is much better than that given by another. When someone does appear at our doorstep, we know they are desperate for an answer. You may ask your question.”

“My mother is Armasis of Luna, as you know.”

Of course they knew – these five were the Artificial Intelligence beings overseeing five planets. “The Alliance is well aware of who she is and knows she has been slated for deactivation.”

“I am here to oppose that verdict. Certainly the verbal ravings of an old woman with dementia can not be so harmful as to demand death.”

“In truth, the alliance would not be killing the woman – rather it would be withdrawing the gift of eternal life. When we offered forever-life to your family, it was with the understanding that they would uphold our laws. Your mother will be transported off-world to live out the remainder of her natural life.”

Xam nodded, affirming the totally logical answer given by the one called the Eternal Judge. “The fault lies not in my mother – rather in the act of crime done by my sister, and she is dead. Her action was simply an act of protest against the absence of the possibility of change within the Alliance.”

The room darkened into a reddish hue. “Your mother carries the seed of disorder that sprouted within your sister, giving birth to the evil action.”

“This action will not happen again – as I tell you again, my sister remains dead.”

“As long as your mother is among us, there is the chance of social enthrophy. You knew our axioms before you asked to live within our realm.”

One by one the five representatives spoke in turn. “Entropy is the foe.” “Information must be preserved.” “Life must be preserved.” “Energy must be preserved.” “Order must be preserved.”

The voice of the pentagon echoed off the sides of the cave: “Your sister disobeyed all of these axioms and your mother is in danger of disobeying as well.”

“Certainly there can't be that many people who might be swayed to commit the same evil by talking to my mother. There can't be that many people who are that desperate.”

The pentagon was silent for almost a minute. “Every time your sister's name is mentioned the danger of disorder increases.”

Xam's continence brightened for the first time. “I could talk with my mother, making sure she never mentions my sister's name again.”

“Her dementia will prevent that. The physicians tried to dig out all memories of her daughter, but the evil is still there.”

“Give me leave to try,” pleaded the man who looked to be forty but was actually well over 600 years old.

The five spoke in unison. “You have our leave to try. Have no doubt that saying the name will result in a resending of Forever-life.”

Planet Gegton 3524 A.T.

The elderly woman puttered around her kitchen, much as any mother is likely to do when a son comes to visit. “Sweetheart,” she said while pouring liquid into a cup, “would you go get Pam? I think she's on the porch.”

Xam took the pot from her hands, motioning for her to sit. She did as directed, upset by his insistence. “Mom, we must talk. Look at me.” He drew a breath. “I can't get my sister – do you remember why?”

The woman looked at him blankly. “Have I done something wrong, dear?”

“Mom, my sister killed herself.”

“No, no, you're wrong. Pam is on the porch outside. How can you say such a thing?” She tried to back away.

“Mom, she killed herself five months ago.” He watched as a horror of understanding swept over her and she began to weep. “Mom, mom, you must never say her name again. The council is listening all the time.”

She looked up from her tears. “If I never say her name again, how will people know that someone as good and gentle as Pam ever existed?”

“It was evil for her to commit suicide and now it is a crime for us to say her name.”

She fought the notion, crying as Xam held her. Finally she relented, regaining some control.

“Mom. You must promise me to never say her name again. If you do the Council of Five will take you from me and I'll never see you again, forever.”

She nodded weakly. “I won't say her name again, I promise.” The old woman straightened up. Her son sat back in his chair, giving a sigh of relief. “I took Steise to Ferjuk for her birthday.”

His mother began to drink the tea. “How is Steise?” The woman suddenly looked around. “Dear, where's Pam? Could you go out onto the porch and get her?” The woman disappeared.

Xam sat alone for a while in the empty kitchen. He began to sob into his hands. Then his sobbing stopped as he rose to his feet, lifted his fist, and shouted: “Pamela Greylag second child of Armasis of Luna, princess of the royal line of...” and he was gone.


The End



TOTCH and GO
A bedtime story




TOTCH was born of the union of a genetically damaged universe forming spirit, BUTZ and the miscreant goddess of death, Merde. Totch, only hinted about in ancient myth, was hidden away for eternities, his true existence was known to none.

He was well sequestered. He looked like any other part of the creative multiverses.
His body was sewn together with unbreakable filaments, strings, woven within and through out his blacker than black, no light escaping body, to form a great ball. He was continually being stretched to what seem like infinity, expanded and bloated, and finally exhausting foul and evil ethers through his 360 orifices. Then he would collapse, and then he would expand again. He was the begetter of universes.

He had one other outstanding characteristic, none of the other creative beings had. From a tiny nothing, he himself grew to this thing, this thing that ate all that he came into contact. The consumed ones, dissolved and digested, were then excreted as degenerate unconnected singularities, growing into new separate universes. All the other universes born of normal spirit/gods, remained connected by their common branes in a massive multiverse.

Normally, if Totch were like any other godlike offspring, his doings would amount to nothing within the almost limitless multiverses. However, Totch was prolific. His offal was beginning to become an issue.

”AND FROM WHAT UNHOLY UNION DID THIS THING SPRING?” demanded the council of leading gods one eternity ago. No being admitted to this. They hollered all the louder. “It’s all because of you, and we’ll get the two of you.”

No answer was forthcoming from the two gods that flew..

“What a bother!” exclaimed one god.

“It sounds like a lot of crap to me,” said another.

They all nodded in agreement. They had a guess who the guilty parties might be, but Merde and Butz were nowhere to be located.


****

Totch was fully aware that he was creating horrible universes. Luckily, none of the universes had the physics to support life; so in effect, they only took up space, as curled up balls of higher dimensional reality. Nothing was damaged. Things just stank. This was his lot, an eternal, never ending, defective universal universe creating spirit/god. He was not concerned, and rather content to fart along, his exhaust pushing him this way and that, creating nothing here and there.

But as things are apt to happen, where all probabilities and possibilities exist, during any one or more eternities, Totch felt something different moving through his system. This is new, he thought. I never felt one like this before. He peered within himself to see just what sort of crap he was creating. It scared even him, a spirit/god, and he’d seen a lot of shit.

This was a universe with potential. The physics would support life, just what life he didn’t know, but it was life.

Time not being an issue for timeless ones, Totch saw the potential, and what we would call the future. He saw many possible potentials. He knew he would have to do something since any and every life form he so created would reflect his being, at a simpler level of course, but reflect the demented shit he himself knew he was and always would be. Totch had to do something and do something quickly. The singularity was passing through his system at an increased speed. It was as if the life potential, aware and sentient, was forcing the faster transit time.

Totch knew what he had to do and it was not a pleasant thought. This singularity must never occur. It had to be stopped or re-consumed, dissolved and begun anew. It was Totch and go. Could Totch stop this oh so potentially evil event, from arising?

That was not to happen. It was as if the life forces understood the dire consequences crapus-interuptus would cause, and it wanted out. It wanted out to build, and create its own universe, to grow, and be just like its begetter, foul, mean and destructive.

Totch did the only thing he could do to keep this horror of this singularity from ever approaching anything resembling reality. He stuffed a cosmic cork up his cosmic butt. The gasses built up until, Kaboom, and the biggest bang any cosmic being ever heard anywhere, anytime, occurred. The result was the death of the creator and hopefully the singularity we would have called a universe.

****

This potential history was just one of many consumed by a local black hole close to the vicinity of Totch’s self-sacrificing, self-destruction. This information, a form of energy, could not to be destroyed, and was eventually cast to the various galactic winds, again and again, and in an incomplete manner, with significant data missing here and there.

Some of the data was swallowed up by another expanding microscopic singularity. The strength of Totch’s being overwhelmed the basic physics of that singularity, and forced drastic changes in what should have been a benign universe to what became, well dear reader, you and me, and all the rest. We are now living out its history.

Life will go on, and one cannot put out the Totch of creative energy, good or evil.


The End


Epilogue:
The Baby Bang or Launched on Alert

Merde is softly crooning to herself in the heavens looking down at her son’s handiwork:
"Sirens in the night, oh distant sirens, lonely in the night, few lonely missiles, missing in their flights, oh you’ll sleep tight tonight, for-ever in the night.



Wild Horses



A small icon appeared on Hoss Willard's taskbar. He had a new email. "Hmm. Okay. I'll look at it later. They can wait. They always email me early, before it's really serious."

Willard returned to his roast beef and pepper jack cheese sandwich. His life was simple these days. He was officially a Special Consultant to the Government with a cushy Million-a-Year stipend and a strict rule that he would only take one case per month. That was more than hubris however. His gifts came at a terrible price - his elliptical insights carried a terrible price: He risked driving anyone he conversed with into a slippery brand of insanity.

<Cut out: Interview, (conducted online, under strict conditions, exclusively for Government Training purposes).
<Querent #1: "Mr. Willard. Please state your theory of your consulting benefit."
<Willard: "Sure. I am an Empathic Mood Compiler. At my best I can read the currents below the tenor of the news to offer bits of advice."
<Querent #2: "Very well. Mr. Willard, please state your theory of the risks of your services."
<Willard: "Anyone above 1.4 on the Self Monitor scale risks going dangerously crazy. This effect proves dangerous in proportion to the projected impact of errors in their normal professions."
<Querent #3: "Please elaborate on that, Mr. Willard."
<Willard: "Forget Hollywood - there are thousands of afflictions which are simply labeled "unclear conditions" because they are not yet glamorous to make the DSM-IV medical reference. Briefly, I have this effect that my linguistic style appears to inhibit correct rational thought in most live subjects I encounter over any extended period. Over to you."
<Querent #4: "We need more information, but according to my notes I have to insert this sentence between both of yours. What happens to the subjects?"
<Willard: "They will almost sound normal, so the effects escape notice, but at the peak of stress in their professions, they prove unable to maintain such stress, and risk lives around them, with subsidiary damage of economic unemployability thereafter."
<Querent #5: "Thank you, Mr. Willard. This will be noted in bold in your file of Terms of Consultancy. See you next month."

---

After his sandwich, Hoss Willard took a nap. After all, his consultancy problems were big stewing issues, not tactical emergecies. A few hours were never at issue. It was like how the late Chessmaster Capablanca avoided excitement because he saw endgames. By the time they called on him, the Government had already assigned the corporals to take the phone calls. His duties were more diffuse. At 8Pm he decided to look at the email:

<To H. Willard ; From Major General Alec Hoffman. Re: This Month's problem
<Hello, Willard. We have selected this month's problem for you.
<You have your usual three days of study followed by our request for your First Piece of Advice.
<Problem: Since the capture of Bin Laden there is something wrong with the tenor of the news. Please advise. My associate Cadet Smith will take your initial reply at this email address.

Willard mused, "Oho! This was one of the better ones! Plenty of room to thrash it about." He pondered it for is usual Three Days then sent his first Piece of Advice:

<From Willard ; To Cadet Smith ; Advice re: Post Bin Laden problem
<"Obama set out for a slam, to take the country by the horns,
<"He has done a lot, though often flawed,
<"He set the stage, like a court hall mage,
<"But there is much to do and he must not lose;
<"Even now there is a path that he must choose;
<---
<"He conquered racism easily, he proved we have moved on.
<"But the trade he had to make, was Hollywood for the Pentagon.
<"Now the decison has been made, the platform has been laid,
<"The choice has been made, for me and you - Big Brother.
<"With a side of Aldous Huxley, it is a Brave New World
<"Your task is now to restore the faith, in the country for me and you...

Per instructions Cadet Smith blind-forwarded this to the committee of two who each only read one half of the total message. Now, if the Government itself could avoid going crazy, there might yet be hope for this land.


The End



Across the Maddening Gulf



For many years I had collected books, my favorites being those that contained the weird tales of cosmic horror by H. P. Lovecraft. The language of those tales of eldritch planes; alien geometries; arcane abominations; and protagonists wrestling with gibbering madness seemed to be a melancholy aria to me, in tune with my very soul. But as certain recent events in my life occurred, I felt my interest in Lovecraft’s work begin to veer into obsession. At every opportunity I would scour the dark and musty stacks of used book stores for rare editions of Lovecraft’s work. In my quest I would, from time to time, come across another who shared in my bibliomania. And in each case when I befriended one, I would be introduced to others who also shared our strange obsession.

This was the case with Adrian Sudlow. Reaching almost simultaneously for the same battered copy of The Outsider and Others buried in the musty corner of one of the Dinkytown book stores is how Adrian and I first met. He looked like a college student, probably twenty years my junior, although a bit on the alternative side, with body piercings and tattoos. I noticed the dark and sunken character of his eyes and a wanton glassy stare that I figured was the hallmark of a drug addict, but possibly something far worse. We immediately began to parley about the book, and only after I agreed to buy him lunch did he release his hold on the cover.

As I nursed a cup of decaf, Adrian wolfed down a burger and started telling me of the others he knew who were also fans of the dark mythos. Before long he was hinting at secrets he was not at liberty to divulge, rituals he had participated in, and occult experiences he’d had. It was only then that I realized Adrian was a true believer. One who thought Lovecraft was not a writer, but a prophet of the dark intangible, that his stories were inspired by eldritch dreams, and that his words held illicit knowledge. I had to fight to contain myself, for I had no patience for his type. I knew that anyone who had been exposed to the mind-twisting enigmas of the uncaring cosmos would not be so glib. And yet, if there was only the slightest chance that he was legitimate… I felt myself urged to meet with him again… and with his friends.

***

"This is the place?" my cousin Charlie asked.

I looked out of the passenger window of the car at the weed-choked parking lot behind a moldering abandoned factory. The car sat under the lot’s only security light, a wan cone impregnated with millers and mosquitoes.

"Yah, I guess so. Bad idea?" I asked.

"Well, this should be entertaining," he said. He took a seat on the hood and took a swig of beer.

Adrian had called earlier that day. He seemed nervous, but told me the group had approved his petition. I had been invited to a ceremony. Charlie, who had crashed at my apartment for the weekend, was itching for something to do, so I agreed to come.

Ominous clouds crowded the moon in the late summer sky. Shadows were everywhere. Then six figures came out of the amorphous darkness at the edge of the lot. They were all clad in fiendish costumes, black robes with capes of long, dried grasses. Their heads were covered with heavy monstrous masks, each carved with an expression more perverse than the last.

They formed a circle around me and began to sway back and forth. The sound of their grass cloaks was like the rasp of files.

“Watch it,” Charlie yelled heckling. I felt dizzy.

They lifted their legs and arms in an awkward primitive dance and circled close around taunting me with waving fingers. And then close up under the pale light, I realized that their costumes were nothing more than Halloween remnants and thrift store junk. One of the figures fell down onto the pavement. His mask fell off with a plastic clatter. He laughed with drunken delight and clutched his ribs. It was Adrian. It was all a prank.

I felt queasy and suffocated. Charlie was laughing. And I realized too late that I should not be here, that I had been the dupe of an unspeakable evil. In my head I could hear an angry chuffing. I screamed with fear but everything blurred and “Run!” became a distant hollow echo.

***

I awoke in the car next to Charlie. The streetlights sped by in a lilt. All the blood had rushed from Charlie’s face; his hands shook as he struggled to keep hold of the wheel as we careened down the boulevard.

I didn’t need to ask. My hands were stained with blood.

It had happened months before. Randomly. You might say I was abducted, but that implies motive. There were no rituals or chants. I was just in my apartment enjoying my mundane existence, when suddenly, I was snatched up by the uncaring cosmos, a mote in the wind. My mind was stretched across the maddening gulf of endless space. The size of the universe is unfathomable to the human brain; the magnitude blinded me with insanity. My mind was stretched thinner and thinner until it passed into the formless abyss far beyond any stars. Eventually… I came back, but when I did, something came back with me, an undimensioned stowaway, shackled to my bones, and just behind my eyes.

Only Lovecraft’s stories came close to describing my experience. I devoured everything he’d written, hoping for answers, while the abomination grew within me.

Lately I have been having dreams where the abomination is not looking out of me, instead I am looking out of it. Stranger still, I haven’t seen Charlie since that night, but for the last five nights I've dreamed of Charlie screaming and the red of his blood dripping down my thread-like fingers.


The End



Nobody Understands



Mark Holder the local mailman climbed up the six-steps that led to Glen’s door. He rapped three times then waited. Another three raps, and after a five second wait with no sound coming from behind the door, Mark left the notice to pick up a certified letter at the post office.

Once back on the sidewalk, Mark looked up at the old-framed house and glanced at the un-kept lawn and flower-bed that once were the pride of the neighborhood. But not any more. Not since Glen’s mother passed away years ago. A birdbath sitting alone and still upright and able to hold rainwater for a few days, remained unchanged by time or events that secretly grew their way into the rumors and stories now surrounding the old-framed house.

Mark shot a quick look up at a second-story window, and observed a shadowy figure withdraw itself.

Glen watched Mark deliver mail to the Martins, his next door neighbor.

“What didn’t you kill him?” Glen’s dead brother said. “You killed me when we were playing fire-escape tag at Henley school. Because I threatened to tell Mom about the cigarette you smoked. Huh? You pushed me off the third floor landing.”

“That was your fault. You shouldn’t have said you will tell!” Glen said. Glen’s dead brother Tyler stared at him out of the mirror above the field-stone fireplace. Behind Tyler, his mother, his aunt Rose, his sister, Kayla, his other friend, Don, and the three dogs that he killed when only eight-years old, stared at him. One dog silently showed its teeth.

“You are the prisoner within a prison that you built. Ha, we might be dead but you are not alive!! Ha!” Don said. “No, we can go and come here as we please, but you are stuck here in this stone-house with every door bolted, every window locked and every visitor turned away. Even you ex-wife who must have known you better than you knew yourself! Ha, what a loser.”

“I can’t help it,” Glen said. “Something I don’t understand washes over me---it takes control---it becomes me. I can’t stop it!

“Oh-my-God. Did you all hear that?” Kayla said. “My poor, poor brother…the little boy that could never control himself. No, wet the bed, get into my diary. Hide all the candy and cookies so that no one could have one. Oh, Glen, Glen what a little bastard you were

“See what your brother has done, Kayla,” Gretta, Glen’s and Kayla’s mother. “He has made a fortress and now shuns the world because he doesn’t want to go to the Electric Chair. No friends anymore, no wife anymore; in fact no family anymore. Just this house and Glen with his electric trains and computer and T.V. as his friends”

“I told you I can’t control it!! Why didn’t any of you listen to me?” Glen said.

“Listen to you? Listen to all your ranting and raving and pouting about things? Listen to how you blamed all you problems on others! Listen to how all the teachers and Sunday school teachers had it out for you!” Gretta said.

“You set me on fire when I was asleep. You little son-of-a-bitch. An alcoholic like me, helpless and friendless. You killed me for what? Nothing!” Rose said.

Glen picked up a chair and smashed it into the mirror with such forces that both the mirror and the chair broke-up into small pieces, and dropped before the fireplace. He walked into the kitchen and pushed all the dishes and pota and pans onto the floor that were piled up at the sink. He opened the basement door, but stopped just as he was about the go down and view the graves. No, he thought, let them alone.

Glen turned all the burners on at the gas stove and opened the oven. He blew out all the flames and let the gas ooze out and around the kitchen. He turned on a fan and aimed it over the stove so that the gas would flow out into the living room and dinning room. The old stove didn’t have an automatic shut-off valve that closed when it sensed no flame.

Glen slowly walked into the living room and sat down on a comfortable chair that he used to watch television. He looked up at the cobwebs and dirty curtains and pictures with dust on the top edges and all were slanting. He took out a cigarette but didn’t light it.

“We are waiting for you.” Glen thought he heard something and looked around, but nothing present. “Yes we all are waiting for you, here.” Again he heard something only this time he understood what was said.

“I can’t control it---please you must believe me. I-can’t-control-it!!” Glen yelled.

Dizziness started to overtake Glen as he sat in his chair. The gas, he thought has filled the downstairs. It must be dense.

Glen picke up his lighte, placed the cigarette in his month, but before he click his lighter, he said again, “I-can’t-control-it.” He then click to light a bright-blue flame dance out.

Mark was having coffee at the local convience store to blocks away. The explosion sounded muffled but loud enough that it could be heard. Mark and some other patrons walked out and watched the smoke rise up. With a few minutes police and fire-truck were scrambled.

Mark stood and watched, then turned to one of the patrons and said, “I just delivered mail there about a half-hour ago.

The other patron said back, “Lucky you weren’t late on your route today!”


The End
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Post July 28, 2011, 11:49:00 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

To vote, rate these stories using the form below with scores of 1-10 (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.




The Mangoes Made Me Mad
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

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

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

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

Totch and Go
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

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

Across the Maddening Gulf
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Nobody Understands
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

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Post July 29, 2011, 09:47:38 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

We're back!!
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Post July 29, 2011, 07:28:53 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Tesla estar vivo Peru!
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post July 30, 2011, 07:25:21 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Tesla lives in Johnstown pa. and not peru!!!
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Post July 31, 2011, 01:30:24 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

My votes are in.

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Post July 31, 2011, 09:52:19 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

TaoPhoenix wrote:My votes are in.

So are mine!!!
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Post July 31, 2011, 01:55:43 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Because of technical difficulties where the stories were missing for a day, I'm going to extend the vote by a day to make up for it. Votes will end Monday night at 9, my time (Central US).

So if you're out there, lurking, we need your vote! Yes, it's kind of a hassle, but those writers desperately need your input and rankings to gauge how well they're doing. It doesn't matter your skill level or your familiarity with the genre--all opinions are valuable. Your vote matters.

VOTE TODAY! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
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Post August 01, 2011, 07:17:05 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post August 01, 2011, 06:02:20 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

I was just talking with Tesla the other day downtown. He's going green.
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Post August 01, 2011, 10:03:44 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Congratulations to George T. Philibin, winner of this month's challenge! His story, "Nobody Understands" topped the tally board, but by only just one point against some very close competition.



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

The Mangoes Made Me Mad by N.J. Kailhofer
Darkness by J.B. Hogan
Bebarlangs by Sergio Palumbo
Forever by Michele Dutcher
Totch and Go by Richard Tornello
Wild Horses by TaoPhoenix
Across the Maddening Gulf by J. Davidson Hero
Nobody Understands by George T. Philibin




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



The Mangoes Made Me Mad : 330
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 6
# Perfect 10s: 3
# Zeroes: 0

Darkness : 341
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 7
# Perfect 10s: 2
# Zeroes: 0

Bebarlangs : 323
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 5
6) Challenge: 7
# Perfect 10s: 4
# Zeroes: 0

Forever : 294
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 5
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 5
# Perfect 10s: 0
# Zeroes: 0

Totch and Go : 201
1) Overall: 4
2) Characterization: 4
3) Plot: 3
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 3
6) Challenge: 4
# Perfect 10s: 0
# Zeroes: 0

Wid Horses : 223
1) Overall: 4
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 4
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 4
6) Challenge: 4
# Perfect 10s: 0
# Zeroes: 0

Across the Maddening Gulf : 338
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 7
# Perfect 10s: 2
# Zeroes: 0

Nobody Understands : 342
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 7
# Perfect 10s: 6
# Zeroes: 0

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Post August 01, 2011, 10:40:14 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Congratulations George on winning the race by a nose.
It was a close one and J.B. deserves congratulations as well for the very close second. Well done both.

Now how did Nate's story end up with a 6 in the "challenge" category? :lol:

John

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Post August 01, 2011, 10:58:41 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Thanks for the votes. I can't believe I won. I didn't get a chance to edit this story because my computer's hard drive crashed and I was down for five days. I rushed this story in and only made it by a few minutes.

Winning this is a big deal with me because so many good writers contribute to the challenge.

Just by entering this contest you become a winner in my view!!

Again, thanks much!!!
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Post August 01, 2011, 11:05:03 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Megawatts wrote:Winning this is a big deal with me because so many good writers contribute to the challenge.

I am very proud of you George. You so richly deserve recognition for your work and your ability.
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Post August 01, 2011, 11:27:58 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Now how did Nate's story end up with a 6 in the "challenge" category? :lol:
Damned if I can guess . . . I gave it a ten.

It also tied for first in my rankings with George's story, but I liked the mood of Nate's better. Not as dark, maybe a little tongue-in-cheek, but I could really sympathize with the poor character. J. B.'s was great, too.

"Wild Horses" got my lowest score, with only a 2 in the Challenge category, since the troubled/troublesome character seemed to care little and do even less to suppress his evil impulse -- which turned out not to work very convincingly, anyway. I mean, I read the story, and I'm no crazier now . . . then again, I once read Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow, and that didn't work for me, either.

Anyway, congratulations, George! Fine job!
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Post August 02, 2011, 04:11:09 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Congratulations for your great result, very well done, indeed!!! :D
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Post August 02, 2011, 08:47:58 AM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Congrats. Hey .009 second ahead wins in swimming, you get the idea.

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Post August 02, 2011, 12:45:18 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

In response to Mark's request last month for more criticism of the stories, I took some notes this time as I read the stories and scored them. Feel free to disagree or not, but remember, it's just one reader's opinion. :wink:

The Mangoes Made Me Mad by N.J. Kailhofer
Good standout title. I imagine it is what the main character would be screaming as the police hauled him away in a straitjacket after he murders everyone. The last line is very good. I think it pops when you read it and it stayed with me after reading all the other stories. The horror in this story is subtle because it is just being hinted at in the last few lines. Does the character actually use the knife to murder everyone or is he just cutting the mango?

I did think the main character was a little too flat. Many of us have probably experienced some aspects of his frustration with family. But in the story he seems to have only one emotional note; he just hates everyone in this family. I think this makes it harder to be sympathetic towards him. I found myself wondering why the character doesn't just get divorced.

I rated this story highest. Nate does a very good job of constructing a scene, and the dialogue feels very naturalistic.

Darkness by J.B. Hogan
I didn't think the plot of J.B.'s story was overly dramatic. The events are pretty simple and straightforward. The main character almost lets his evil out, an evil revealed through the character's memories, in order to kill a nursing home patient who annoys him. He suppresses his evil urges and then quits his job to prevent the event recurring. Since the plot is pretty simple, the success of the story hinges on the characterization of the main character and his potential victim, which J.B. does a good job with. I think J.B. also did one of the best jobs (along with George) of meeting the challenge requirements of showing the main character's struggle to keep the evil in and also to create an element of horror when the potential victim is reduced to pleading for his life.

Bebarlangs by Sergio Palumbo
Too much telling, not enough showing in this one: a lot of the story is just exposition that sets up the situation. I like the plot; the man who is a psychic vampire has been keeping himself away from civilization but because people want to help they bring him to a hospital. However, I still think the exposition about the plot needed to be more balanced with an actual scene showing the horror taking place. I admire Sergio for writing in a language that is not his native tongue. I can not do that myself. But there are some awkwardly structures sentences and word usages. Still, Sergio did a good job of meeting the challenge requirements.

Forever by Michele Dutcher
I thought this was a well enough written story, but I didn't think it did a very good job of meeting the challenge requirements at all. First off, I didn't think this was horror. It seems more to be straightforward science fiction. And the "evil" that the main character is struggling to keep in, (the sister's name?), is only evil in the context of the society Michele creates in the story. To me, the reader, it didn't seem to be evil at all. It was actually noble that the main character stands up for his dead sister's memory. One might argue that there is an element of horror in the story because we might see a society that exiles people for simply saying someone's name as horribly extreme. But again, this construction of an extreme society to show us something about our own society (how we think about both suicide and dementia in this case) is a common use of science fiction.

Totch and Go by Richard Tornello
This too was a good story, but didn't, I feel, do a very good job of meeting the challenge requirements. It details, in a somewhat humorous irreverent way, a new mythology. But even while Richard did make an effort to have a character who is trying to keep an "evil" within, I didn't think there was any element of horror involved. This story reminded me of Douglas Adams for some reason.

Wild Horses by TaoPhoenix
And again, my biggest criticism is that this story doesn't do a good job of meeting the challenge requirements, as I saw them. I thought the story was interesting as perhaps science fiction, considering the main character is an "empathic mood compiler." Or more probably this story should be classified as political satire. In fact I'd say it's a good bit of satire, actually, from the government contractor who works once a month for a huge salary to the irony of the last line, (isn't the government already crazy?) But it's not horror as the challenge required.

Nobody Understands by George T. Philibin
I liked the plot of the story: the murderer isolated in his house having discussions with his dead victims and being driven to kill himself as he killed everyone else because he can't control his evil impulses. I also think the characterization was good. And I liked the structure of using the mailman at the beginning and ending. The mailman triggers the events by leaving the note and also wraps the story up at the end, which gives the plot an extra layer. There were at least 5 typos in this story though, missing "s's" at the ends of words for example that were a distraction to the reading, but considering George's computer problems this month I'll cut him some slack. :) Overall, I think George did a very good job of incorporating the challenge requirements. Congratulations again on a well deserved win.
Last edited by davidsonhero on August 02, 2011, 02:33:05 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post August 02, 2011, 12:53:06 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

I was going to say that I really enjoyed Davidson Hero's ode to Lovecraft, but then he just ran me over when I pushed the submit button. It was funny, really. Hi Hero - enjoyed your story best, kiddo.
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Post August 02, 2011, 01:03:17 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

meeting the challenge requirements at all. First off, I didn't think this was horror. It seems more to be straightforward science fiction. And the "evil" that the main character is struggling to keep in, (the sister's name?), is only evil in the context of the society Michele creates in the story. To me, the reader, it didn't seem to be evil at all. It was actually noble that the main character stands up for his dead sister's memory.

Davidson Hero is quoted above, and he is absolutely right, this is not horror in the traditional sense. In fact, when I write, I tend to be trying to figure out something in my own life. My sister-in-law killed herself years ago and my mother-in-law recently went senile. We were invited to come to the house, but we weren't supposed to mention the daughter's name - because it might upset her, if she was reminded of the daughter. It got me to wondering about society's unspoken ban on talking about suicide - like it was something evil and infectious...thus my tale of woe.
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Post August 02, 2011, 01:13:16 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

davidsonhero wrote:In response to Mark's request last month for more criticism of the stories, I took some notes this time as I read the stories and scored them. Feel free to disagree or not, but remember, it's just one reader's opinion.

Wow Davidson, fantastic analysis. You are an informed writer with apparently editor/critiquing abilities.

Events have not allowed me time to read most of the stories this month, however I am pleased Nate that you had the time to write again. You have lost nothing in the lapse of time since your last story. Your style is fresh and unique and is unlike any I have read. This story reminds me of "The Troll and the Lime Tree". A good morale throughout.

I hope to write next month, so everyone be ready for me to steal that 6th place spot. It's beckoning me!

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Post August 02, 2011, 01:17:34 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Michele wrote:
I was going to say that I really enjoyed Davidson Hero's ode to Lovecraft, but then he just ran me over when I pushed the submit button. It was funny, really. Hi Hero - enjoyed your story best, kiddo.


Thanks Michele, and sorry for running you over. I really thought your story, as well as Richard's and Tao's were very good stories outside the context of the challenge. I've probably stated it before, but if not, you do a very good job of creating very believable and realistic characters that step off the page, no matter what the context is. And you were tackling some hefty themes in Forever as well which is also why I think it's a good story. :)

John
Last edited by davidsonhero on August 02, 2011, 02:36:44 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post August 02, 2011, 01:25:09 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Mark wrote:

...I am pleased Nate that you had the time to write again. You have lost nothing in the lapse of time since your last story.


Mark, instead you should tell him he seems a little rusty and not up to his usual standards. That way he'll probably get mad and write another one next month to prove you wrong. :P :wink:

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Post August 02, 2011, 01:30:21 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

I’m going to critique all the stories in the next two days. I have to finish a front U-joint on a '86 jeep, then will have time. When you're reitired like I am, everybody wants a piece of your time! Friends, daughters, grandsons....
Tesla Lives!!!

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Post August 02, 2011, 02:12:42 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

I want to add my congratulations to George (I always want to just call you Megawatts!) on his excellent story. I didn't save my own scoring this time (I usually do) but I'm pretty darn sure that your story was my #1. Good work.
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Post August 02, 2011, 05:20:54 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Horror

Definition: 1. intense fear: a very strong feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. 2. intense dislike: a feeling of distress or distaste.

(copied From googleland, the horror of it ALL!)

There are a number of ways I view horror. One might be the microcosmic, the individual horror imposed upon one, or a small group, (family) in whatever action IT might be that causes the above definition to come into play..

Then I might slightly expand the view to where horror extends to a larger playing field, say a few unrelated individuals, or town interacting in the horrific act, thought or even non-action when said action might be called for and the non-action is in and of itself horrific.

And then there is the macro cosmic view of horror, where by the whole universe is at play and there is no rhyme or reason for the condition of ones life, except for the happenstance of being in a set time and place, acting out whatever it is that one might be committed to do. The gods may play some part in all this, and in effect, affect the manner in which we as humans act out in conjunction with a strong feeling of distress over our inability to really do something about the state of affairs, or natural disasters.

And then... arg... choke, go back Totch I know I promised never to reveal your identity, but I had to do something for this contest since my good story was squashed.

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Post August 02, 2011, 06:20:52 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Lester Curtis wrote:"Wild Horses" got my lowest score, with only a 2 in the Challenge category, since the troubled/troublesome character seemed to care little and do even less to suppress his evil impulse -- which turned out not to work very convincingly, anyway. I mean, I read the story, and I'm no crazier now . . . then again, I once read Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow, and that didn't work for me, either.


Heh Lester, you weren't the target!

And when faced with a danger, you take all the emotion out of it and Manage it. Did you observe this weeks's Budget craziness? : ) (Trying to cop the recent news for a speculative story 2 weks ago!) :)

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Post August 02, 2011, 06:44:16 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

rick tornello wrote:Horror


There are a number of ways I view horror. ...

And then there is the macro cosmic view of horror, where by the whole universe is at play and there is no rhyme or reason for the condition of ones life, except for the happenstance of being in a set time and place, acting out whatever it is that one might be committed to do. The gods may play some part in all this, and in effect, affect the manner in which we as humans act out in conjunction with a strong feeling of distress over our inability to really do something about the state of affairs, or natural disasters.

And then... arg... choke, go back Totch I know I promised never to reveal your identity, but I had to do something for this contest since my good story was squashed.

RT


Well, I was trying for the Macro horror, and take 10% credit for almost nailing it, because if we HAD defaulted we would be seeing horror indeed! However, I took the Totch for a 5% tribute to my own ... er... "shitty" piece a while back, so I gave it lower overall marks but one high mark in Characterization because I saw the joke.

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Post August 02, 2011, 06:45:51 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Rick,
From Horror Writers Association website:

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives the primary definition of horror as "a painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay." It stands to reason then that "horror fiction" is fiction that elicits those emotions in the reader.

If we accept this definition, then horror can deal with the mundane or the supernatural, with the fantastic or the normal. It doesn't have to be full of ghosts, ghouls, and things to go bump in the night. Its only true requirement is that it elicit an emotional reaction that includes some aspect of fear or dread.


http://www.horror.org/horror-is.htm

If the key to horror is "elicits those emotions in the reader," I'm not sure any of us were all that successful with this challenge. :roll: Although it seems to be relative since what elicits horror in one person might not effect someone else at all. I guess Nate decided all the stories met the challenge requirements, but for me, as I was reading, some didn't feel like horror.
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Post August 02, 2011, 06:59:30 PM

Re: [Poll] VOTE: July '11 Flash Challenge (repost)

Horror is not one of the venues I use, except for the story Experiment 1919. That was creepy even to me. It spooked my wife thinking I thought about things like that.
www.nonofficialrhymes.com


In this contest I didn't get any feeling of horror from any of the stories. And yes my story was sort of a spoof on the whole subject. However the things that we, as a species, do to each other is horrific, and part of my point of my story, bla bla bla.

BTW, Totch's mother was a real shit too for letting him live.

RT
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