Another fantastic turnout this week with stories from heartbreak to heaven.  Our judge was once again the ever-thorough David Ludwig.  Without any further ado let's get to the results!

Honorable Mentions

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@Rowanwolf66 – Ooo, violet glow from a syringe… Creepy opening, definitely got my attention. Heh, got me good there! I was right there with the woman, and Trevor totally got me too with his “first feel of a woman’s flesh” I was totally expecting it to be his last instead of an elaborate ploy. Rich characters and a great twist within the word count. Particularly loved how “her feet fly even faster than they did at track meets” since I ran track in school myself.
Definitely makes honorable mention for so completely immersing me in the scene, and pulling so brilliant a plot twist at the end too. Always impressed by successful plot-twists in short fiction.

@rastrohman – Will’s not the only one the words hit “like a punch to the gut”. I saw the twist coming but you did a beautiful job of building up to it—and having the drugged out prostitute open with The Tempter’s line definitely grabbed my attention. Great job characterizing Will with his relationships.
It's your elegant characterizations and the emotional gut-punch that earned you honorable mention in my book.

@jezri1 – Another $50 hooker opening… Now I wonder if that’s a common rate. Agh, and you get right into the creepy. Yeah, Jarrod freaks me out. Very strong language throughout, and loved the sharp and revealing characterizations, of Jarrod, the hooker, and the neighborhood. Particularly creepy because the way we basically get in both their heads is well executed as him being in her head. “She was trying to decide, fight or flight. Either would be fun for him.” And “there were a few do-gooders in any borough” were my favorite lines. The first for characterizing Jarrod and the second for introducing an element of decency that makes the darkness of the story seem blacker.

Great Stories the Judge Loved

Stacey Jaine McIntosh [You can find her on Facebook] – I get a Jane Austen sort of vibe from this one, and the tale is a very poignant one. I feel like it would be stronger if we stayed in Haydn’s view-point instead of slipping into Jessa’s with things like “Jessa hated to admit it”. I loved the frequent comparisons of the dirt to blood, especially as I go back and look at your “A Cursed Land” title again.

@WakefieldMahon – Eek! Got me with the “rather die” line, almost never a good idea to say those words! Also caught my attention with the man named Morrigan… I’m fascinated by the magic of the amulet and Morrigan’s about-face when it manifests. I want him to be the ‘cool-old-man’ character who will be Clara’s ally now that the necklace has shown her to be the rightful owner, but I also can’t shake the feeling that it changes his designs but not necessarily any more in Clara’s favor.

@SweetSheil – The constant stream of dialogue flew by quickly enough I had to laugh at “Yes you are my Vampire Queen” since that’s a pretty big title for the set-up to have breezed by so fast. Maybe consider spacing between lines or else filling out more of the available word count to slow the reader’s path to that line to raise its impact. I’m also a little confused who the characters are, sounds like Eva, Brett and Marco? Two guys and one girl? I’m guessing both guys are vampires? Over all I may be with Eva on this one, “I don’t understand any of this Marco.” Though if that lands me the Vampire Queen gig maybe that’s okay.

@zombiemechanics – Gave me a smile at the end. Somehow I don’t see this working out for Melanie either way, but it could be very interesting to see how it goes. I liked the way you moved between dialogue and action, keeping the senses engaged.

@ChuckWesJ – Very curious about this scene, but more specifically the larger story of your alternative immortal—who I know I’ve seen pieces of in various flashes. I’m not sure if my vague familiarity with the character/story works for or against you though. I’m not sure this vignette gives me anything I didn’t already know other than the names of his family, but I’m also not sure if I could understand what was happening in this piece if I hadn’t already seen other fiction with the character and his struggle. “His tiny fingers are dark with necrotized flesh. Dried blood soaked into his pillow.” That line is probably going to haunt me for some time. Very creepy.

@solimond – Another eek! Both creepy and disturbing, you paint the corruption powerfully and suggest an epic conflict—feel really bad for Jos that Frieda ended up corrupted, and unsettled that not knowing how the corruption works I’m not sure it was voluntary or not and the implications are bad either way. The setting, characters and especially the corruption are extremely fascinating to me so it was a hard choice not to include this one in the honorable mentions, but I feel they have greater impact if they are fewer in number.

@klingorengi – Awesome, “they walked through them Pearly Gates and straight for that fried chicken.” You do an amazing job with the colloquial voice so that every word and the sentence structure itself seems to tell us about our humble narrator, and is just fun to read in general. I was concerned that it was going to be “that Ole Devil Man” offering the chicken at the end after the initial set-up, so can’t tell you how relieved I am that at least in death things seem to have worked out for Shadrach.

The Winner

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@SiobhanMuir – Wow, tore MY heart out with that one… I feel like Jakran does love Tricia and the feeling is just so alien to him they don’t realize it. But then I’m big on the happy endings even when not reached during the story itself. Beautiful language throughout, especially lines like “But rag-sot-riches stories only worked if the people got together in the end,” simple but evocative.
With so many strong entries this week I’m going to have to fall back on my own love for the sappy-happy ending—and I really believe if we spent more time with Jakran and Tricia they’d get there. Maybe not a universal criteria for good flash-fiction, but this one’s my favorite because it makes me want to read more.


The Winning Story

“I can give you all of this.” Jakran’s hand swept across the vista before the tower window.

“That’s the thing, Jakran. I don’t want ‘all of that’.” Tricia waved vaguely.

He turned his golden eyes on her, his expression resigned. “What do you want, then? Lands?”

“No.”

 
I don't think I could hang for 40 days in the desert.  Fortunately, I don't have to.

The Judge

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Lets give a warm welcome to last week's winner and returning judge David A Ludwig.
Find out more about this great storyteller and the Lost Girls Society on his website:
http://by.davidaludwig.com
Friend him on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411117396
Check out is artwork on DeviantArt
http://lunken666.deviantart.com/
And of course you can follow him on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/DavidALudwig

The Prompt

This week's prompt comes from a conversation well-known to most of us.  You are welcome, of course, to take it wherever you want!
"I can give you all of this"

The Rules

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Great turn out this week.  A big thank you to all of our participants!  Click here to read stories from:

Charles W. Jones
Siobhan Muir
Lisa McCourt Hollar
Sheilagh Lee
Wakefield Mahon
David A Ludwig
Cara Michaels
Stacy Bennett-Hoyt
Nellie
Ryan Strohman

Once again a big thank you to our judge Lupus Anthropos

Not a very easy choice, but here we go:

Honorable Mentions

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Honourable Mention #2: @solimond - Yum!

Honourable Mention #1: @caramichaels - If the paladins are superior humans, maybe his name should have been Eugene.  ;)

Winner

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Winner: @DavidALudwig - After all, vampires need reflections, too.

Thank you, everyone who participated and especially our host, Wakefield.

The Winning Story

We try to be like him. It can be hard, and is rarely rewarding, but it is what we do. There are twenty of us. Usually plenty, but on occasion nowhere near enough. We don’t complain, except when he does. His name is William, and while he can’t hear us, he does see us.

There have been close calls over the years. On groggy mornings one or more of our number have overplayed William’s sleepiness and almost not made it in time. Of course until he’d had his coffee he was unlikely to notice. He may have suspected, but all would have been fine if he hadn’t visited the Hall of Mirrors on his trip to France. We were spread too thin.

William didn’t see himself where he expected to, and one of us made the critical error of jumping to fill the gap. It was then William realized he did not have a reflection. Our lives were ruined overnight. He sequestered himself from anything reflective and we could no longer be like him.

Fortunately his paranoia led to William being institutionalized. During a breakthrough hypno-therapy session one of us was able to trade places with William and secure release with a clean bill of health. It isn’t the same trying to be like one of our own, and William isn’t happy at all.

But it is a life.

By David  A Ludwig
 
 
Another great week of stories.  Thank you to Lisa Hollar (@Jezri1) for judging this week

Contestants

@rastrohman / Ryan Strohman
@ModernBard1024 / Nancy P
@LupusAnthropos
@SweetSheil / Sheilagh Lee
@ChuckWesJ / Charles W Jones
@solimond / Nellie

Check out all of the stories including one from our judge here!

Honorable Mentions

@ModernBard1024 That last line had me cracking up.
@ChuckWesJ I loved the idea of a monster trying to preserve the woman he loved.

Winner

Winner is @LupusAnthropos I found his story interesting, with the concept of putting humans down, the way you would a horse.

The Winning Story

If People Were Horses
By Lupus Anthropos

It was an act of mercy. That's what they had said, anyway.

Margaret Green had just finished eating lunch when the phone rang. It was Miss Martin, the nurse at the grade school that Margaret's son, Timothy, attended.

 
Again continuing with the season of reflection theme

The Judge

This week's judge is author Lisa McCourt-Hollar, Mistress of Jezri's Nightmares.  Visit her website at http://www.lisamccourthollar.com/

The Prompt

It was an act of mercy
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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

 
So many great stories this week.  I'm glad I didn't have to judge.  Let's see what guest judge Stacy Bennett-Hoyt had to say

Thanks, Wakefield, for a great prompt.  And I want to thank everyone who wrote for your delightful entries!  I had a great time reading them all.
@etcet|Rafe 
@theglitterlady|Stevie McCoy 
@jezri1|Lisa McCourt Hollar 
@SweetSheil|Sheilagh Lee 
@DavidALudwig|David A. Ludwig
@WakefieldMahon|Wakefield Mahon 
@LupusAnthropos|Lupus Anthropos
@SiobhanMuir|Siobhan Muir 
@klingorengi|Jeffrey Hollar 
@rastrohman|Ryan Strohman 
@solimond|Nellie 
@MLGammella|ML Gammella 
@etcet|Rafe
Awesome last line:  “an irony that was so old it had rusted through.”  
@theglitterlady|Stevie McCoy 
Most embarrassing predicament! I felt really awkward for the poor guy.  
@SweetSheil|Sheilagh Lee 
Poor Reilly, she really broke his heart.  
@DavidALudwig|David A. Ludwig 
Be careful who you screw, or screw over – it’ll get you in the end.  
@WakefieldMahon|Wakefield Mahon 
Even in Biblical times, the customer is always right.  
@LupusAnthropos|Lupus Anthropos 
A sad tale of bullying by the bullied. Where will it end?  
@solimond|Nellie 
Corruption is everywhere, even in the fantastical realms.  
@MLGammella|ML Gammella 
Nice char development.  Is there a brewing romance here? I’d like to think so.

Honorable Mentions

@klingorengi|Jeffrey Hollar 
Wow!  Talk about regrets.  So poignant, ripped my heart out.  
@rastrohman|Ryan Strohman 
What a sad twist, a bully who really isn’t.  
@SiobhanMuir|Siobhan Muir 
Best Girl Power Story!  Love kick-ass females. You go, girls!!  

Winner

@jezri1|Lisa McCourt Hollar   I can't help it, I love this piece! So twisted, so psychotic, so delusional. Yet totally rational if you believe in mother ships, Santa Claus  and the Evil Girl Next Door.

The Winning Story

Psycho Babble
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

I should have been nicer to him. That’s always been a problem for me. If I hate someone, I can’t just make nice and pretend otherwise. I’m not a hypocrite and this is something I’ve always been proud of. Until now. Now, my animosity towards Richard could be my undoing. I’m the only one that hated him enough, to want to see him dead. Since he was now lying on the floor of my kitchen, with a cleaver through his head, it made sense that I would be the obvious suspect.

 
This week we're continuing with the theme of the season of reflection

The Judge

This week's judge is the lovely and talented Stacy Bennett-Ho​yt.  Find out more about her on her site: http://www.ajaroffireflies.com/
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I’m a single mother of two wannabe-teens and two delightful rescued pets.  My current WIP is a fantasy romance, The Black Keep, which is nearing completion of its final revision.   (Querying hell may commence at any time.)  I love nature hikes and actually do my best thinking/plotting/crafting in the woods.  By day, I’m a medical transcriber, typing endless line after line of the worst English known to man, often by non-English speakers.  My favorite food is chocolate, which also happens to be my illicit drug of choice. At Starbuck’s, I always have a tall café mocha with whip which I like primarily because it doesn’t sound like some obscure secret society code.  I do reiki, cast spells on occasion and turn into a wolf only on the bluest of full moons.  Recently, I’ve become addicted to #flashfiction and, if you like to write scenes more than novels, you should definitely try it out.  Yes.  Here. Today.  Right now.

The Prompt

I should have been nicer to him
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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!