May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting


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Post May 20, 2018, 11:55:43 AM

May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Write Your Own Flash Premise Contest
The May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2)
Conceived and Inspired by Megawatts


General Thoughts:

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

Wormtongue, the Archive Editor wants the stories posted in separate posts so he can link onto them for the archive.


Commenting Rules:

01. Feel free to comment on the stories or on general writing subjects within the contest topics throughout the voting time periods.

02. If you have something unfavorable to say about a story, make it constructive, so the author can benefit from your viewpoint and insight. No foul language.

03. Never speak negative about the authors themselves.

04. Praise and encourage the authors with any element that is worthy of it. Let them know they did good.

05. No one may post any creative material into the contest topics including stories or story excerpts. All creative material must be posted by the moderator.


Timeline:

Voting and commenting for "The Write Your Own Flash Premise Contest" begins today and will continue through Saturday May 26, 2018.

The results will be posted after the voting.


To Vote:

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

____________________

The titles of the 7 stories in this flash contest are:

Varad Lert - The Hook Up
Robin Lipinski - Just a Moment
Stuart Cormie - The Seventh Bones
Jim Statton - Too Much Time On My Hands
Jolene Wilkerson - RV Paradise
Sergio Palumbo - Black Thumb
Megawatts - The Family Business

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Post May 20, 2018, 11:57:02 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Hook Up
by Varad Lert

She saw him staring at her from her vantage position at the bar counter. She turned, made a nanosecond’s worth of eye contact, flashed a picosecond smile and went back to nursing her gin & tonic. She knew he’d come to her within the next three minutes.

He sidled up to her in two. She grinned. It was textbook. They sat in comfortable silence, elbows brushing, sipping their drinks. Few minutes later he decided enough was enough and turned to face her.

‘I’m sorry! But do I know you?...’

She threw her hair back and laughed. Her laughter made a mellifluous symphony with the mild jazz music that was playing in the background.

‘Are you trying to chat me up, Mister? Coz that was one bad pick up line.’

He looked affronted, ‘No, no! I get that it belongs to the corny pick-up line category, but I do feel like I know you from someplace before. I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.’

He turned his back to her and signalled the bartender for a Scotch and Soda. He knew she’d re-initiate the conversation. It was textbook.
He felt her hand on his elbow and smirked. He drained his glass and turned to face her.

‘Slim pickings, eh?’

She shrugged, ‘Present company’s not that bad.’

‘Can I buy you a drink?’

‘Alright! G&T with a twist and no more corny lines.’

He ordered their drinks and ran an appreciative eye over her. ‘You look beautiful, Miss?’

‘Miss would be just fine, Mister!’

He ran a hand through his wavy curls. ‘Are you sure we haven’t met before? I could swear I might have seen you somewhere.’

She stirred her drink with a long index finger and licked the drops before they fell, ‘Maybe in a different life. Are you from around here?’

He shook his head, ‘This is the last place I’d be from. What about you?’

‘First time here. But it feels like I’ve been here before.’

He raised his glass, ‘To first meetings and déjà vus!’

They clinked glasses. She learnt that he was a marketing personnel who was travelled a lot, and he nodded and smiled when she said that she was the trophy wife of an Industrialist. They talked fondly about their children and shared stories from past.

‘It might be the drink talking,’ she slurred after her fifth drink. ‘But, I too feel that I’ve met you before.’

He felt a bolt of daring course through him, ‘Maybe, this might bring back some memories.’ He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. Her eyes froze for a moment and then she returned the kiss with fervor.

He broke the kiss after what seemed an eternity, ‘You know, I have a room here.’

She got up in one languid motion and hooked a finger towards him, beckoning.

‘I’d love to see the interiors.’

They stumbled into the room like a weird eight-limbed creature. After a long and passionate session of lovemaking they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

An hour later, she woke up feeling dizzy and out of place. She took a long moment to assess her situation, then noticed the man fast asleep next to her and screamed.

He got up and looking completely bewildered. She pointed a finger at him.

‘Who the hell are you?’

‘I’d like to ask the same question, lady!’

‘I’m calling the Police, you bastard! Did you drug me?’

He tugged on a stray strand of hair that was dangling on his forehead, ‘Lady, I don’t know what the hell is going on. I came to this hotel for a conference. That’s all I remember.’

They dressed up in silence. She opened the mini bar and grabbed a water bottle from it.

‘So, you don’t remember how we ended up here?’

‘I’m sorry! I don’t.’

She passed him the bottle, ‘Neither do I. What do we do now?’

He finished drinking and tossed the bottle into the dust bin, ‘Lady, I don’t know your name or where you are from. I think you don’t know me either. Let’s just forget everything.’

They didn’t speak a word after that. They didn’t even glance at each other as they went their separate ways.

Back in the room, Tom and Gina were howling with mirth.

‘This is the part I love the most, Gina!’ Tom hovered near the air conditioner.

Gina came floating up to him, ‘Ha! I love the first eye contact they make after we leave their bodies. I never tire of seeing the reactions.’

Tom tried to kiss Gina, but passed right through her. ‘Dammit! It’s been fifteen years and I still keep forgetting.’

Gina chuckled, ‘That’s why we enlist the assistance of such beautiful human beings. Say, you up for one more go?’

‘Sure! It’s Saturday night after all!’

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 11:58:10 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Just a Moment
by Robin B. Lipinski

Once upon a time, there existed the magical world of the candy store. It was a wonderful place filled with so many varieties of sugared treats.

On the racks and beneath the shiny class counter lay so many different types of candy it was hard for young minds to decide which, or what, they wanted.

Inside this store there was also a wooden countertop where one could sit and sip an ice cream soda or even order a hamburger. For a child, it truly was an ideal place to shop in with, or without, parents.

With magic there is always the allure and attraction of wanting. For children walking on the sidewalk outside, there was the constant call of the delicious food inside. Even a milkshake made by the young teenager wearing a white hat and white apron behind the wooden counter, was fantastic.

Day after day, week after week, year after year, the tide of adults and children entering the store was never ending. So many smiles showed and rarely a tear, unless a sad child happened to drop their ice cream cone. But even then, it was soon forgotten as the shop owner would gladly replace the cone, sometimes even doing a double topping, at no charge.

Yet, there existed one small piece of sadness inside the shop. A small, insignificant piece of sadness to be sure, but sadness none-the-less.

Sadness is universal as is the smile. For the four-year old boy named, Robin, he was sad this day. As to why, it does not matter to most but it mattered to his father.

Robin’s father knew his son was mostly quiet as well as he knew he was very sensitive to the world around him. Often times, Robin would start to cry for seemingly no reason but soon, the reason was made clear as on the news there would come the reality of a tragic accident where an entire family was killed by a freak accident.

Today, Robin was sad and quiet. So, in an effort to cheer his son, he took him into the magical candy store.

Even opening the door of the shop was amazing as there was a large brass bell that sounded very nice as the door swung open and then made a different amazing sound as the door closed.

Robin’s father knew the shop keeper as they were good friends since school. The shop keepers son behind the counter, the one with a huge smile, was the shopkeepers son.

“Take a look around Robin, pick something nice.” His father said, trying to cheer up his young man.

With no response other than a small nod of his head, Robin looked around and then sat on the floor and started drawing circles on the floor with his small fingers.

His father and the shopkeeper were lost in a story about hunting but the young man behind the counter said, “Hey Robin, would you like some ice cream? Maybe a milkshake?”

Robin said nothing. Shaking his head from side to side to signify, no.

Suddenly tears started for fall from his small face. There were no sounds, just the silent drops of tears falling upon the floor. He took his small fingers and added them to his circles now growing larger.

“Have you found anything you like Robin?” His father asked with concern as he saw the tears and seated form upon the floor.

Again, there was no answer, only the shaking of the head from side to side, again, signifying, no.

And then, out of the blue, Robin smiled. He smiled as he looked up and what he saw was the underworld of what no one cared for or took the time to see. It was the bottom of the countertop. And on the bottom of this counter were many colorful pieces of well chewed gum.

None of the old gum held Robin’s attention, but one thing did indeed, not only cause him to smile, but to also cause the young boy to rise up his arm and grab.

Reaching up, there was an old mint embedded in a wad of purple bubble gum. It was this forgotten piece that radiated the real sadness in the entire magical store of candy.

Using his small fingers, Robin carefully removed the mint and popped it into his mouth. From the heavens, a bell rang as the door open and then closed. It was then that Robin laughed loudly and clapped his hands. This startled everyone in the store to include the father.

“Did you decide Robin?” His father questioned as he did not see the actions his son had just completed.

“Yes father, we can go now. It is… good now.”

“But you did not pick out any candy? Don’t you want something?”

“No. I found what needed to be found.” And so, with a skip in his step, the two caused the bell on the door to ring again as it opened and closed. The forgotten mint now had a friend for life and was no longer sad. As for on the floor back inside, if one looked very closely, the circles spiraled and spun the magical world of candy into a wonderful world of imagination.

And, as the story oftentimes goes… They all lived happily ever after.

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 11:59:44 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Seventh Bones
by Stuart Cormie

Jane and Euan Baird turned into the gravel track and stopped the Range Rover. Trenoweth Farm lay before them, stretching all the way down to the river at the base of the valley. A dilapidated grey stone farmhouse stood surrounded by sagging outbuildings amidst overgrown fields.

Only three months before, their land agent had phoned to tell them that their offer for Trenoweth had won the blind auction. Its previous owner, a Miss Pengelly, had died with no known heirs. With share options and their Chiswick flat sold, the farm was theirs; a new life in the country beckoned.

#

The group filed down into the barn cellar by lantern-light. A female figure stood at the head of the stairs, moon-face flickering in the glow, and inelegantly closed the trapdoor behind them.

Footsteps echoed off walls of as more lamps were lit. The cellar was empty save for a large table of wood bearing a single candlestick. On a far wall, a large stylized bird, wings spread, was stencilled menacingly in black.

The well-dressed gentlemen surrounded the table. One of them stood at its head and lit the candle. From a pocket, he withdrew a compact, leather-bound book. A metallic embossment on its front cover glinted in the candlelight – the same unnerving image as on the wall.

“Sir Henry, are you certain?” said one.

“Hush your noise now, William,” spat another opposite him. “We will proceed. We’ve come too far.”

“Indeed,” said Sir Henry Beech Stokes, Member of Parliament for North Cornwall, calmly. He lay the volume on the table and placed one hand over it. “I do not need to remind you gentlemen of the astonishing effort and expense that has been required to deliver this tome to our gathering in its fully formed state. The Ancient Order of Corvus is grateful for the assistance you have each provided in this regard.

“And now,” he said, opening the book at a red leather marker, “our final verses.”

#

This one barn had intrigued the Bairds. Large sections of its roof were missing. Old farm machinery, some of it apparently built for horse, was piled peculiarly against one wall, the one that was built slightly in to the hillside.

Together, Euan and Jane began to clear the junk away from that side of the barn, making good use of the Range Rover’s winch. Some two hours in, their efforts had revealed a trapdoor set in the floor.

The two of them at full stretch could barely pull the door open, but eventually it freed up and they pushed it over and let it clang back on the barn floor. A thin cloud of greyish dust rose from opening.

“Hey! Look at that,” said Jane, pointing to the underside of the trapdoor. Great gouges had been ripped in the woodwork.

Euan grunted and shone a torch down the revealed staircase. Jane screamed at the same time as Euan convulsively lurched back. In the beam of the light, they’d seen a pile of bones, including skulls, lay spread down the stairway, some spilling out onto the cellar floor below.

Eventually, Euan leaned over the edge of the opening. There appeared to be six skulls on or around the staircase, and he assumed that the bones had once been the six skeletons that carried them. He noticed remnants of what appeared to be very old clothes, like something that would have been worn in a Downton Abbey episode.

Further back in the gloom, the torchlight picked out a seventh set of bones, but this skeleton was relatively intact, and it didn’t seem to have any clothing left round it. But its skull … something wasn’t quite right with the head. It was too wide, the eyes too far apart, the sockets too big.

And then Euan watched in awful silence as this seventh pile gathered itself together and began to rise up.

#

After the Baird couple's violent end, the police searched the entire Trenoweth site in detail. The personal diary of Rose, William Pengelly’s wife, was found concealed in the farmhouse attic.
Rose’s diary chronicled her misgivings about her husband’s regular nocturnal activities during the winter of 1904 in the barn cellar with the others from his gentlemen’s chapter, who were mostly from Launceston and the surrounds. She’d thought at one time – and he’d never denied it – that he was engaged in some kind of plot for Cornish independence, but the involvement of Sir Henry tended to negate that.

Each time she closed the trapdoor behind them, and stayed above to listen to the bizarre intonations that would eventually emanate from below, she was most wary.

And then, suddenly, Rose writes about the abominable screams from the cellar. She records rushing to find the door being banged upon and pushed up repeatedly from the underside, whilst an unseen grip on the handle was trying to keep it closed. The screams were human – but the monstrous roar that perforated them was absolutely not. She caught a glimpse of two faces at the top of the staircase; her William’s, irreparably damaged, and another’s too close behind him, only this one wasn’t possible. It was too wide, hairless, and yellow.

Rose managed to close the door and weigh it down with heavy implements to hand in the barn. Thus the men – and that creature – were condemned to their fate.

Rose had the presence of mind to claim later that they’d gone out on a night fishing trip in the Channel from Looe port, and that their boat had simply never come back. No meaningful scrutiny was made thereafter.

The police examination of the cellar found an interesting old book, with a leather cover and a stylized engraving of a bird on its front. It had evidently been damaged in the fighting but remained largely intact. It was removed as evidence, but its current location is unknown.

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:00:33 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Too Much Time On My Hands
by Jim Statton

The sky has folded in on itself, black, blocking out most of the sun, the rolling clouds an errant gray.

They use to call it war. There isn't any war these days. They were too good at it.

Killing is an ugly business. Nuclear weaponry made it impersonal. You cannot see millions of people incinerating in a holocaust, but only the after effects of tens of millions breathing in the radiation and toxic atmosphere.

Six billion people were lost, there are now only hundreds, spread out in safe havens of underground dwellings. Time will tell if disease and pestilence will win the day.

Green and blue are sparsely seen colors. Brown and gray are the landscapes this day, except for the artificial colors of broken buildings. No communication, no power, only ingenuity remains.

I have to scrounge today. Those of us left do not know how to recreate the world we lost.

I have claimed a dozen acres surrounding my home. I'm trying to grow food from seeds I discovered in an old abandoned hardware store.

Everyday at this time, I wonder why couldn't the world love - instead of hate. Why could they not look upon each other as themselves?

[Edley hit the ground, his knee giving out.]

I don't know how much longer I can hold out? What will happen to me when I can't plant or gather food?

[He dragged his sore leg as he moved toward his garden of weeds and vegetation. He would eat just about anything that he thought was safe.]

I remember hearing the saying, treat others as you want to be treated. If we only did that. We would be safe.

Be good. Be kind. that's what we should...What is that? Who is that person hunched over my garden pulling greens?

[Edley hastened toward the white haired stranger in brown tattered clothing.]

"Who are you? What are you doing in my garden?

[Edley was angry and yet afraid as he spoke to the stranger.]

"There is no property rights in this world anymore? I take what I want."

[The older man had to be seventy years old.]

"I planted this crop," Edley said with the sound of rising anger and indignation in his voice."

[The man paid little attention to Edley's words. He just continued picking greens and stuffed them in his sack.]

[Edley began to push the older man away. The man pushed back harder. They began to wrestle stomping on the remaining green vegetation as they struggled. In a little while it became dark and the silhouette of the two men now only a night shadow in front of the pale moonlight.

If only Edley had listened to his own words about love, this could have been avoided.

Oh sure, yeah...that would have done it.]

The End
Last edited by Jim Statton on May 20, 2018, 12:32:30 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:01:21 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

RV Paradise
by Jolene Wilkerson

As she drove down the Virginia highway, on the way to work, she saw an old recreational vehicle driving by with two kids in the back waving and making faces. It was a white trailer with a broad brown strip down the side. In that moment, she was transported in time and she was eight years old.

###

She grabbed a marshmallow from the bag and poked it on to the end of a long pointed stick and immediately stuck it into the fire. Flames engulfed the marshmallow in seconds.

“You’re not spose to do it that way,” her brother said. “You wave it over the flame till it gets all toasty and golden colored.”

Shaylee blew out the flaming marshmallow with a giant puff. Outside it was charred but inside it was all melty and delicious. She popped it into her mouth.

“I like it this way. You don’t know everything,” she said.

Shaylee was always in competition with her brother. She wanted to do anything he could do and better. Jared was one year older, but everyone mistakenly thought of them as twins.

They found themselves at another state park campground, somewhere in Virginia. They went camping every summer with their parents, who usually spent their time in long boring card games with other campers, or just sitting around a campfire talking. So Shaylee and Jared would always set out for adventure.

“Be home in time for supper,” their mother said.

“Okay,” Shaylee said, as they headed out looking for hiking trails.

They soon came upon two trails. One said “nature trail, mild terrain.” The other said, “adventure trail, advanced.”

“Let’s take this one,” Shaylee said, pointing to the nature trail. She was wearing a straw cowboy hat with a draw string under her chin, her favorite sneakers with no socks, and a pink t-shirt with green shorts. She had a slight overbite and her red hair hung down on her shoulders.

“That’s for wimps,” he said.

“I’m not scared,” Shaylee said. “It’s just... that... we’ll never get back in time for supper if we take that one.”

“Like I said, you’re chicken!”

So the two headed down the adventure trail. Shaylee could tell it was not an ordinary hiking trail when their path became extremely narrow as it winded its way along a cliff. A rapid stream rushed by far below. Then, the path became so rocky that they had to hold on to each other to move forward.

“Careful or you’ll fall,” said Jared.

“I can do it!" she said. “It’s just more adventurous than what we are use to. It’ll get better,”

But it did not get better. Soon they came to a fork in the path. They had been on many explorations and hiked on many trails. But they had never seen a trail like this.

“This is stupid,” Shaylee said. “How are we spose to know which way to go?"

“Maybe if you take one and I'll take the other, we can find out what’s ahead?” Jared said.

“We are better off sticking together,” said Shaylee, as they agreed to take the more well trodden path.

This was the first time she and Jared ever agreed about anything. It felt good. But, nightfall was setting in and she just wanted to get back to camp. High grass soon began to cover the trail, until it could scarcely be seen. Dogs barked, as they stood in the middle of an open field.

“We should go back. I'm hungry,” she said.

“Let’s keep moving. Anything beats going back to those rocks and cliff,” Jared said. “Besides, I saw some berries and mushrooms in the brush back there.”

“No way! We would be better off starving!” she said.

In the distance they could hear sounds of traffic. Thinking they were getting near the camp, they trudged through a thicket of brush, and they came to a fence, small, wired and bent over directly in their path.

“If we make it out of here, I am going to tell the camp ranger what a stupid trail this is,” she said, as they climbed over the fence.

“A little up ahead, I hear something. I think we are almost there!” said her brother.

They pressed through the brush, which suddenly opened up on the side of a vast open highway.

“Boy, are we lost,” said Shaylee.

Shaylee realized that the only one she had to compete with was herself. She tried not to cry. Just then, a beat up large blue pick up pulled over.

“You kids lost?” said the gruff man, with a nice smile, wearing overalls and a baseball cap.

“We are looking for the state park,” Shaylee said.

"Which one?" the man said. "There's one about twenty miles away!"

“He’ll slice us into a million pieces,” Shaylee whispered to her brother, as they argued back and forth, until they finally agreed and jumped into the back of the old truck and huddled together for a bumpy ride.

“Is this it?” said the man, through the open glass window in the truck as they came to the entrance of the park.

Shaylee was cold and tired. She had been holding on to her brother through out the trip.

"Mister, you saved our lives," Shaylee said.

She walked through the campground with her brother looking for their camper, a solid white RV trailer with a large brown stripe down its side. As she saw it from a distance it looked like an oasis. She rubbed her eyes as if she was seeing a mirage.

“Well, I can’t believe it,” mom said. “You two actually made it home in time for supper.”

###

Shaylee gripped the steering wheel with a gasp. As the RV passed, she looked around and was surprised to see a big old beat up blue pick up truck. A gruff looking farmer in overalls and a familiar baseball cap smiled and waved hello.

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:01:56 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Black Thumb
by Sergio Palumbo

Those little dark-greenish offshoots… They had become very popular and had spread almost everywhere, since that day when an unexpected comet had passed near Earth, after entering the Solar System a few months before. No such comet had ever been spotted or reported before - at least not as far as most humans knew - and great was the surprise of astronomers and scientists worldwide who were determined to study it closer.

Anyway, the comet came and went, quickly passing through the solar system itself as comets usually do - although after its fleeting appearance something unexpected and unpredictable happened, and the news began to spread worldwide like wildfire.

Many species of plants, especially the ones that people had long kept as ornamental plants in vases or in gardens, had started dying. No one understood how it was happening and there was no clear reason for the unexpected extinction. However, it was occurring very swiftly, and many were certain it had to be connected to the passage of the newly discovered comet. Actually, in the distant past, many strange illnesses and the rise of deadly plagues were thought to have been caused by a comet, though these allegations were just suppositions not grounded in reality, and certainly weren’t supported by science of course.

Eventually people attributed the dying-out of common household vegetation and such to the increase in air pollution that the modern world was facing. There were dangerous levels of Carbon dioxide on Earth and no one seemed to be doing anything about it. Other people thought the die-off could have been caused by many other dangerous substances that industries had released into the air, into the water and into the soil.

While most other plants were disappearing from our planet, there was a new species of plants that started thriving on many continents. Many people thought that this new species was bound to be connected to the comet, or that the same industries that had increased the deadly pollution had made them grow and spread everywhere, possibly. Other people reasoned that perhaps it was just a matter of one newly evolved species taking the place of the previous ones, who knows. Maybe the death of common household plants now allowed this other species to thrive - perhaps this was nature’s way to efficaciously react against a dangerous drop in vegetation, also this was a possibility, in a way.

From the point of view of science community, these plants were not from another world but they did have some vividly colorful flowers, they required less care than the others had always demanded, and they didn’t need as much watering. Perfect to be cultivated, sold and appreciated by the public, especially by the women who soon started buying them to put the newcomer vegetation in vases or pots, or in their gardens.

Actually, from a certain point of view, some online newspapers said that such plants might be the cause for the growing disappearance of the native vegetation, although there was no evidence to support that kind of hearsay, nor had a single scientist been able to confirm that these were an invasive species. The simple fact was that since they had appeared on Earth, many other plant species had been affected by diseases and were now on the brink of extinction on all continents…

’Green thumb’ was the term usually used when referring to someone who had the personal ability, along with the deep love for gardening, to make plants and flowers grow effortlessly, benefitting from human care. But when talking about people who chose to keep this new form of vegetation in their homes, they were said to have a sort of ‘black thumb’, because their interest in the new plants caused people to neglect all the traditional others. People simply didn’t notice the increasing extinctions of most of the known species previously native to Earth, ignoring their continuing disappearance.

So, that day that short dark-haired housewife named Martina Ildefonso was spraying water on her rows of new plants that she had recently put on all of her balconies at her apartment. The woman was really fond of this new species and it seemed to appreciate her care. The fruits of her labor were unbelievable: these plants were growing and displaying flowers as beautiful as she had never seen before. How spectacular they were, undoubtedly!

“Grow fast and grow tall, my beautiful dear one!” the young woman said, addressing one of the small plants she was eyeing at present. “Make me proud of you!”

From its ceramic vase, the healthy plant seemed to really appreciate the compliments, along with the gentle strokes the merry Martina gave its leaves. More than that, it even appeared as if such vegetation was smiling - if a person only had enough fancy to imagine such a thing in their mind.

The reality was that the plant certainly knew what it had to do, as it had been carefully designed that way, after all…Everything that was going to happen next was all encoded in the instructions written in its well-hidden, indistinguishable alien cells: at first, they were to kill and get rid of all the other small ornamental plants that people liked to put in their houses, then they were to destroy all the domestic pets in the homes. ‘In the end, slowly eliminate humans living on the target world, too, and prepare the ground for our coming…’. Then, their mission will be accomplished, and they could simply self-expire. End of instructions…

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:02:34 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Family Business
by Megawatts

In the hills of Western Pennsylvania, forested with greenery, streams, deer, and hunters in certain seasons, but hikers always, we find a nest of big foots. Behind thick oak trees, fur trees, boulders, and outcrops they linger, undetected and secure in the forests.

“Hum, these Doritoes taste good--- very good,” Akura said, the leader of the clan.

“Yes father----that young female human likes me. She leaves things on the flat rock down by the riverside. She is cute for a human . . . but----oh so ugly!” Billarn said, Akura’s son.

“Don’t judge a thing by how it looks. That is not nice! I thought we taught you better manners than that,” Jeanetta said, Billarn’s mother.

“Well they are ugly----I seen one scare a bear half to death with one look!” Kaytia said, Billarn’s sister.

“Enough!” Akura said. “Let’s have a nice supper for once without all this fuss.”

The family of big foots continued to eat in a moment of silence, but Akura knew that Billarn would start something. He knew his children and before Billarn came up with some smart remark, he said to him: “ Some day you will be leader, and I think that tonight you must come with me on business. Our friends are coming, and they expect that we have fulfilled our agreement with them. Without them, we would be in want of many things.

“Yippie!” Billarn said.

“Why can’t I go along?” Kaytia said.

“It is not in your place, daughter,”

“Well why not?”

“Things are as they should be–it’s in tradition,” Akura said.

“Well, so much for tradition----it really sucks,” Kaytia said.

“Some things are to be, and others are not to be,” Akura said.

“But you said . . . ,” Kaytia started to say.

“I”m the dad------that’s why!” Akura finally blasted out.

“Kaytia grabbed some Doritoes and sped away from the eating rock. As she left she said, “I see that I’m not wanted here!”

“That’s putting her in her place Dad!” Billarn said.

“Enough of this! Kaytia come back . . . why do you all get me so angry!!” Akura said.

“Calm down, Akura . . . they have a lot to learn!” Jeanetta said.

“Yeah—I’m going to learn tonight, right Dad,” Billarn said

I can settle all disputes with the Clan, but can’t come home and have a nice dinner!” Akura said as he grabbed another Doritoe.

The moon’s rays beamed down as Akura and Billarn hid just in the forest next to a clearing late at night. The cool night air settled over the clearing as Akura waited. Three long-slow flashes in the clearing were seen by Akura. He replied with three grunts, soft, yet loud enough to travel to the light source. Another two flashes. Akura said to Billarns, “That’s our signal, come on.”

Akura and Billarn walk out into the open.

“How many gallons you got for us?” John asked one of the three standing by the one-ton truck.

“About 100 gallons,” Akura said.

“They are human Dad!” Billarn screamed.
“It’s okay. We give them this and they give us Doritoes and other things that you like,” Adura said.

“Boy, they really smell–ugh!” Billarn said.

“Watch you manners!” Akura said.

“Well, you guys smell too, but we never left that interfere with business now did we? We didn’t come out here to smell each other,” Bill said another one standing near he truck.

“No, we didn’t,” Akura said. “Billarn just listen and learn, please!”

“Potato chips, Coke, Seven up, pretzels, donuts and I even threw in some Dr. Pepper and Reese's Pieces------you guys outa like them. The ETS do,” Roger said the third one standing by the truck. All three giggled like a bunch of young boys when Roger said that.

“Dad,” Billarn said. “What’s Reese’s pieces?”

Akura didn’t know the answer, but Bill heard Billarn ask the question, and he immediately broke open a box and offered Billarn some.

“Can he have some?” Bill said.

“It’s okay son, take some,” Akura said.

Billarn was hesitant. However after a moment he quickly snatched the Reese’s piece from Bill’s hand, and slipped behind Akura in one swift motion.

“Well?” Bill said.

“YUMMIE . . . This stuff is good!” Billarn said.

“Good,” Akura said. You guys like always keep you word. I like that. That other bunch of humans in the next hollow tried to cheat me. Never will I deal with them again,” Akura said.

“Oh, that would be the Belles from Passer Hollow. They are a bunch of cheats. Don’t ever trust them----- Jake Belle still owes me for that hound dog I sold him three years ago. Every time I see him he says, “Next week I’ll have the money.”

“My sister married his brother—can’t really do anything much to him, you know a family things now,” Bill said.

“I really don’t know how you hide your still, but that’s not important now,” John asked.

“Oh, I’ll tell you. See, we have this odor about us----you just mentioned it a moment ago. That odor cancels the odors that a still makes. It works out good for us. We hide the still ----deep in the forest away from trails and back roads, and with the still not giving off odors, the Feds never know it’s there,” Akura said.

“Well, you guys keep on smelling—you make the best Moonshine around!

“Can I have some more–Please!” Billarn said.

“Yeah, here’s a box full,” Bill said.

“Not too many----I don’t want you getting a stomach ache tonight,” Akura said.

“Okay—I guess we’re done. Well-- load up the Moonshine and we’ll be gone,” Bill said.

“Next month at the full moon, okay?” John said.

“Good, we’ll have another 100 gallons at least,” Akura said. “How about some beer this time. I heard it’s good stuff,”

Bill slowly turned his head as said, “I’ll bring you up some next time. Something tells me you guys will really like the stuff!”

The End

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:04:41 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

This concludes the story listing in this contest.

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Post May 20, 2018, 12:06:01 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Here are my comments for the stories within this contest.

Varad Lert - The Hook Up

Two souls meet in a bar with slow jazz for atmosphere. Each person choreographing dialogue in witty interplay in hopes of a warm body to hold that night.

The author has skill in dialogue and knows how to deliver punches when called for as well as setting the mood of the story with excellent word choices.

Now this is how you show romance without overt sex. Masterly done. Riveting to read.

Not only one twist, but two under 1,000 words.

Well worth the time to read.

***

Stuart Cormie - The Seventh Bones

This being the second story I've read from this author, I must say his literary voice is strong and solid. His style of writing reminds me of stories such as Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper.

He knows how to write a story in great detail without taking away from the story's mood or plot.

Visualizing his story is easy, he has done all the work and done it well.

This is an interesting read as well.

***

Jolene Wilkerson - RV Paradise

This is a delightful tale of two siblings coming of age on a camping trip. The style reminds me of "The Little House on the Prairie" books. The author captures children's wide-eyed innocence of the world and it's mysteries. This story sees through a child's perception where everything is bigger than life.

I loved it!

***

Robin Lipinski - Just a Moment

This is my favorite story by this author to date. Another story through the eyes of a child, but this one is seen by a unique special young boy, a genius in the making who finds beauty and wonder in all things that surround him.

It reminds me of the movie, Little Man Tate" starring Jodie Foster.

This story is highly imaginative and precious.

***

Megawatts - The Family Business

If you want to know how to develop a story with dialogue alone, this is the story to study. The story is fascinating and believable. The characters are also well described more by dialogue than exposition.

I think this author has found his voice.

***

Sergio Palumbo - Black Thumb

This author is a conceptual genus in my opinion. The story begins with a simple plot of a comets appearance causing new species of plants to become the next "thing" for society. However, the down side is the regular plant species begin dying off. An encoded plan within the new plants began to prepare the world for an alien invasion, eventually killing off animals and humans.

These concepts are strong foundations for story writing.

***

Jim Statton - Too Much Time On My Hands

Theory is all snow cones and cotton candy until put into practice.

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Post May 21, 2018, 06:32:03 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Another colourful collection here! My two cents' worth:

Varad Lert - The Hook Up
Despite the supernatural setup, it's not too difficult to envisage such a scenario for real in the coming years once the required technology's available. A humourous take on what could transpire to be a sinister opportunity.

Robin Lipinski - Just a Moment
A delightful hint of 'otherness', colourfully realised with a soul.

Stuart Cormie - The Seventh Bones
My own humble submission, borne from a vacation in Cornwall (the south-west tip of England) some years back and a simultaneous immersion in the wonderful words of H P Lovecraft.

Jim Statton - Too Much Time On My Hands
Jim highlights an inevitable truism in a gripping manner - that the rules will always change when push comes to shove, when conditions are such that one's very survival is on the line. Civility is all too often a mere illusion.

Jolene Wilkerson - RV Paradise
Beautifully observed interaction between two siblings. The story is topped and tailed with an intriguing but perhaps too archly presented scenario that this shorter form is perfectly suited to - any further "explanation" could spoil it.

Sergio Palumbo - Black Thumb
An original concept (as far as I'm aware), which would for me would have benefited from an injection of occasional drama and, perhaps, fewer words.

Megawatts - The Family Business
An entertaining yarn, and a fine example of how to weave one using mostly dialogue alone. Alludes to more going on than is immediately presented, as flash fiction should.

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Post May 21, 2018, 11:37:31 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Comments

These are the best stories I've ever read from all of these Flash Contest. All seven stories deserve a win.


The Hook Up- Romantic and clever. Unexpected ending. Made me smile.

Just A Moment- Excellent character development. Scene description A+!
The main character was extremely likable and believable. I had empathy.
I liked this father's empathy and understanding as well. I just wasn't ready for it to end.

Seventh Bones- Intrigue and suspense, it really had my full attention. Motion picture worthy.

Too Much Time- Transports the reader to a very different reality and it ends with a strong moral of "practice what you preach." It shows the height and debts of humanity with selfishness and fear at its core. Good scene description. I could see the garden and feel the struggle.

RV Paradise- I applaud Megawatts suggestion for the pick your own theme contest. In some ways it was more difficult because it was wide open this time, which made me think of camping.

Black Thumb - His best story ever! I cheered when I read the dialog because when this writer fleshes out his great plots with dialog like this to advance the story, what you have is powerful.

Family Business- Very fun and imaginative! This writer creates a new interesting world here and at the same time, speaks to the universal issue such a prejudice in a very subtle way.


As to voting, I think all the writers deserve praise and acknowledgement.

Hook Up - Most clever
Just A Moment -Best Character Development and Strongest Emotional Impact
Seventh Bones - Most Suspense, Best Intrigue and Entertainment Value
Too Much Time - Most Insightful
Black Thumb - Best Plot Development
Family Business - Best Dialog

But I only voted for one!
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Post May 22, 2018, 02:21:43 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Unfortunately, I have not had time for reading all the stories yet, having been out of town for a scale model show, but I'll complete to read them all soon, and then I'll post some comments...As far as I saw in the first lines, there is a lot of fancy at work in all the entries, it will be a GREAT read...eh,eh :D

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Post May 22, 2018, 03:28:53 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

4 votes are in so far. Thank you Stuart and Jolene for your good comments. The writers needs them for encouragement and instruction.
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Post May 23, 2018, 03:09:08 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

My vote is in...eh,eh :D

And here some comments:

The Hook Up
by Varad Lert

I liked very much the surprising revelation in the ending, really an interesting story.

Just a Moment
by Robin B. Lipinski

I found a very magical atmosphere throughout the whole story.

The Seventh Bones
by Stuart Cormie

I liked the setting, and the description of the place.

Too Much Time On My Hands
by Jim Statton

It reminded me of that movie, The Day After, though the meaning of it all and the rest was different, and interesting.

RV Paradise
by Jolene Wilkerson

I liked it very much, it has a deep meaning, and I must say that it also gave me an idea for a possible ghost story about a sort of old, burnt RV park…something between Friday 13th and Shining in a way, who knows:D

The Family Business
by Megawatts

This is certainly the funniest of all the entries this month, in my opinion… :lol:

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Post May 23, 2018, 04:48:34 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

The Hook Up by Varad Lert

I like this one. Good dialogue, good characterization and good word choices. The story was easy to follow which is always a plus for me. I love the smile: They stumbled into the room like a weird eight-limbed creature. That was a good one! I going to remember how the author combined the two into a single entity. Nice technique! Good twist at the end.

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

Just a Moment by Robin B. Lipinski

I always love the fairy-tell beginnings! Grabs my attention with expectation because it’s taking on the form of a fable! Nice one. Life through the eyes of a child are unfiltered! Children often see things that adults don’t because the mind of a child isn’t contaminated with education.




The Seventh Bones by Stuart Cormie

Love English ghost stories. Dickens wrote a few and of course Doyle and many other great English writers. This story was presented in narration almost entirely. I like that approach for variety in reading is a must. Often too many use just dialogue. Good one. Good use of the language for I could easily understand the story as it unfolded. Good job!!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Too Much Time On My Hands by Jim Statton

Nice story one with a moral: We might become what we hate! Almost a fable set in the aftermath of a nuclear war. I like how brackets were used to give additional information. I’m not sure what that technique is called, but I think I did read about it’s use once. I love experimental writing!! The man was about seventy in the story, but by the use of silhouette and the suggestion that they struggled as the moon can out, shows the Edley wasn’t too strong! Nice.

Good job.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------RV Paradise by Jolene Wilkerson

Love those out-of-time stories! Good beginning. Reading the story and enjoying every minute of my read, this reminded’s me of how I love ‘Kid’s stories in which the kid’s get themselves in weird or eerie situation!’ This story is a find example and an excellent one that fits into the 1000 word frame of Flash Fiction. I must say that I really did love every word! And the end? Great Twist!!

Very good job!!!



Black Thumb by Sergio Palumbo

An invasion from aliens who want to extinguish life on earth. An interesting way of accomplishing that feat for the plants were nurtured by us humans! I like the telling of this and find it hard to see how dialogue alone could have been used successfully to make this story happen.

Good job!!
______________________________________________________________________________

All good stories and once again it was hard to judge. Last time I couldn’t decide, but this time one story jumped out at me, and that’s the one I voted for.

Again, they were all above average stories!

Great Job to everyone!!
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Post May 24, 2018, 03:57:55 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

This 7th contest is opening into what I envisioned and worked for these last 3 1/2 months. Topics about writing - talking about writing specifically on the stories within the contest - or - writing topics in general.

There are "5" writers who have fully commented on the stories this month. I really can't believe it has happened this soon. I thought it would take a long time.

Thank you Stuart, Sergio, Megawatts and Jolene for encouraging your fellow writing companions. I'm very proud of you all for making the time to read and comment. That really is the pay off for the work.

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Post May 24, 2018, 04:01:24 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

There are 5 votes in so far. You have 3 more days to read and select your favorite story.

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Post May 25, 2018, 02:22:07 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

First time here.

1. The Hook Up - I cobbled up this story just before I left for a family vacation. I'm glad that it came out well.

2. Just a Moment - I liked this very atmospheric piece. The few characters in the story were well defined and the narration was easy to follow.

3. The Seventh Bones - Very chilling tale. The author has an eye for the macabre and brings it out easily. The author also has laid seeds for a follow up to this story and I'd be very interested in reading that.

4. Too Much Time on My Hands - A very breezy, contemplative read with a delightful ending. What was will always be.

5. RV Paradise - I loved this delightful tale of the MC recalling a memory from a long time back. The dialogues are well written, totally relative to the age of the characters and there's a pleasant twist towards the end. Nice work.

6. Black Thumb - I'm always a sucker for the SciFi genre. A very interesting premise and good execution.

7. The Family Business - Very witty tale. I chuckled at quite few places while reading. The setting envisaged by the author could be easily exploited into a series of tales or a longer story.

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Post May 25, 2018, 02:37:37 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

6 writers have now posted full comments in this flash contest. There are no words to express my satisfaction and gratefulness. Thank you people for making this a win for all the writers.

With 2 days remaining there are 8 votes in.

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Post May 26, 2018, 04:02:09 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

What a crop of stories! Every one was good.


The Hook Up

Quite an interesting premise. This really makes a person wonder about what (or who) motivates people to do the things they do.


Just a Moment

I can just imagine how little Robin felt, being able to see this scenario through his young eyes.


The Seventh Bones

I would love to see this one written as a full length novel. I would most definitely be willing to buy it as well as books by this author.


Too Much Time On My Hands

What a sad realization. Despite all the horrors and losses brought on by the ravages of war, this tale shows how quickly humanity reverts to it's most base behavior.


RV Paradise

Boy, don't we all have tales to tell like this! this brings back memories of adventures I had as a child. This one gets the "Warm Fuzzies" award. I would like to see more chapters added to this one.


Black Thumb

I love this one! it has a definite Twilight zone feel to it. What a chilling finish.


The Family Business

I was thoroughly entertained by this story. I really enjoy this authors work! I look forward to his next offering.

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Post May 26, 2018, 01:12:01 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

7 full comment posts! This is so wonderful! This is what I want these contests to be about! Honestly encouraging each other.
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Post May 26, 2018, 06:11:47 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Comments:

* Varad Lert - The Hook Up

The reveal in this one threw me. I found the transition between these characters' 'occupied' lives and their normal lives to be abrupt and disorienting. When you're going to do a thing like this in a story, it's good to prime the reader for it with some kind of hints.

Your story is of a 'setup and payoff' sort, but you've failed to give the setup, so hitting the payoff cold was like tripping over something.

Foreshadowing of some sort would help this a lot, but aside from that, I liked it.
----------------------------
* Just a Moment by Robin B. Lipinski

I like the way Robin seems to find the unexplored sides of things. This store is just wonderful; I knew a number of places with some of its features when I was a kid. Drugstores all had counters with stools and soda fountains, and the Kresge dime-stores sold hot food as well.

So here we are in this magical place where everything is possible and nothing can go wrong, but the little boy is inconsolable ... until he looks up from the floor and sees what, to everyone else, is invisible, the hidden treasure.

To be fair, I thought it was kinda gross that he ate the thing, but maybe that's an adult judgement.

Try to find time to proofread ...
The shop keepers son behind the counter, the one with a huge smile, was the shopkeepers son.

Nice story.
---------------------------------
* The Seventh Bones by Stuart Cormie

This one has potential, but it seemed flat to me because I don't find much of a character arc in it.
-------------------------------
* Too Much Time On My Hands by Jim Statton

I can't understand the use of brackets in this story. Style conventions can be successfully broken, but I didn't see a reason to do it here.
-----------------------------
* RV Paradise by Jolene Wilkerson

I liked this one best and voted for it. Nearly the whole thing is an extended flashback of a rash childhood decision and its frightening result. The characters are well-rendered, as are dialog and setting details, and the PoV character has a nice character arc. Plot is good, and the ends are tied together nicely with the RV and the pickup truck.

One thing seems lacking to me, though; the character's brother seems to have nearly no involvement between the past events and the present. I'd like a little "where is he now?" to round this story out to perfection.
---------------------------------
* Black Thumb by Sergio Palumbo

Oh, those nasty aliens ... "What? Occupied world? Gee, that's too bad, but they would have blown themselves up anyway."

As always, terrific plotting, with a little foreshadowing so we can get an idea of what's on the way.
----------------------------------
* The Family Business by Megawatts

Who'd have thought the Sasquatches would be just as corrupt as we are?

This one was a fun read, but very thin on character arc, so it lacks staying power.
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Post May 26, 2018, 06:22:24 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Lester is a professional at finding underdeveloped areas in stories. He could make a living as a proof reader.

This makes 8 complete comments on the story line up for this contest.
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Post May 26, 2018, 11:00:03 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Jim Statton wrote:Lester is a professional at finding underdeveloped areas in stories. He could make a living as a proof reader.

Thanks. I learned it by nitpicking my own work to death, lol!
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Post May 27, 2018, 11:30:28 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Results

This contest has been satisfying and inspiring. I placed first...I never would have believed it. Although I am the moderator, Wormtongue is the Flash Editor so I will be sending him the list of who voted since I had the most votes.

Thank you everyone for your time and talents. You people mean a lot to me.

First Place: Jim Statton
Second Place: Varad Lert, Stuart Cormie and Jolene Wilkerson
Third Place: Robin Lipinski, Sergio Palumbo and Megawatts


Total Votes - 12

Varad Lert - The Hook Up - 2
Robin Lipinski - Just a Moment - 1
Stuart Cormie - The Seventh Bones - 2
Jim Statton - Too Much Time On My Hands - 3
Jolene Wilkerson - RV Paradise - 2
Sergio Palumbo - Black Thumb - 1
Megawatts - The Family Business - 1

The next flash contest is now in progress.

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Post May 27, 2018, 11:34:33 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congratulations Jim!

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Post May 27, 2018, 11:36:57 AM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congrats, Jim! I voted for you because I loved the premise of your story and also the tongue in cheek voice of narration. A well deserved win. Best wishes to the other participants as well.
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Post May 27, 2018, 12:03:02 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congrats, Jim; good job (except for the unconventional punctuation, haha).

Given all of flash's difficulties, this was really a pretty good collection of work, especially with a tighter time constraint.

I don't favor posting comments before the vote--I don't like the possibility of influence--and I don't read them until I've voted, but we're getting a steady flow of feedback, and that's what we're here for. Since this seems to be working, let's keep it up.
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Post May 27, 2018, 12:06:59 PM

Re: May 2018 Flash Contest (Part 2) - The Voting

Congrads to Jim. All stories I though excellent!
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