Friday, October 17, 2014

#ThursThreads - Week 140 - Winners

Week 140 of #ThursThreads had some terrific tales. I'm honored to see all of the returning writers and read your stories. Thank you for coming back again and again to write and for helping me celebrate these years of flash. Great thanks to Alex Shippe for judging this week. Be sure to check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on FB to keep up with news, etc.

  • Sandi Layne | @sandyquill
  • Sheilagh Lee | @SweetSheil
  • Veronica Jorden | @RevolutionaryVJ
  • Anna Lund | @AnnaLund2011
  • Siobhan Muir | @SiobhanMuir
  • Kelly Heinen | @Aightball
  • Olivia Starke | @OliviaStarke
  • Silver James | @SilverJames_
  • Cara Michaels | @caramichaels
Alex says: Every story in this week’s flash fiction had an impact on me. I enjoyed the variety and the clever way the authors incorporated the prompt. Some authors used poetic license, while other authors used the prompt verbatim. It takes a measure of confidence and life experience and a good dose of imagination to explore the reasons why he, or she, or they should get what they deserve.
With that being said, judging this week’s entries was a definite challenge. Each story offered something different. The quality in the writing was superb. I was transported several times to distant places — some closer than others — and I enjoyed every word. Thank you for letting me read your stories. I had so much fun. It was a privilege and an honor.

Winners Announcement:

Honorable Mentions

Veronica Jorden | @RevolutionaryVJ
Alex says: Super-virus stories have a special place in my heart. They remind me how fragile we are in the presence of an organism we can’t even see. It is a paralyzing feeling, being held under host arrest, and I have to say, this story really captured something special. Bio-warfare is a serious issue, one we shouldn’t take lightly. Contaminating the very moisture in the air is perhaps the most fiendish, indiscriminate form of attack. Still, I wanted to know how anyone, anywhere, could survive rainfall. How would people go about getting treatment? The story didn’t answer that for me, but my imagination surely did. And that’s why I enjoyed this story. Some people are meant to survive, while others are not. There is no higher power at play. There is no natural selection; no one is immune to infection. It’s just luck of the draw. Were you or were you not standing under a rain cloud, and if you weren’t did you get the treatment you needed so that you could, if you wanted to . . . not that anyone seemed all too eager to tempt that fate. Apocalypse survivor guilt is a powerful emotion and a character study RVJ captured well.

Olivia Starke | @OliviaStarke
Alex says: The more I read Olivia’s story the more I realized I was descending into madness. The normal every day things we take for granted when flip-flopped anchored the narrator’s psychosis. The imagery — feeble attempts at soothing the few fragmented, incongruent pieces of what remained of the character’s soulless though not gutless humanity; the recollection — feeble tactics at convincing herself that murder was necessary; the ring finger — a bloated sarcophagus filled with broken promises, a license to kill, pointed to the horizon, through the barrel of the gun she stashed under her seat. She was free at last, spiraling in her evil, cheering her double homicide. A good villain is difficult to write. A really badass villain is a treat to read. And that surprise ending...who knew she would keep the gun as a souvenir? Yikes!

Cara Michaels | @caramichaels
Alex says: I wasn’t sure what to make of this story on the first pass. I recalled the mythology behind Circe. I knew she played an important role in the Odyssey. I knew that Odysseus survived her enchantments. I knew that the men trapped on her island were turned into swine for behaving like pigs. But there was something about the conversation between the archdruid and Circe that left me unsettled. Yes, I wanted the archdruid’s name. I wanted to know if he was Gandalf or Radagast or Merlin or some other such famous wizard from lore. Only after reading the story a second time did I realize why I enjoyed the story so much. It’s October. It’s fire season. It’s been two hundred years since the trees had any reason to celebrate. Eldritch wood is untouched by man. The so-called swine enchanted by Circe’s magic is a metaphor for arsonists who destroy the natural wonders of the world, and the family the archdruid lost. A beautiful, haunting story with subtle details filled with open windows into the human soul. I saw ash and fire, what did you see in this Rorschach?

Week 140 Winner

Alex says: The muffled, dispassionate narrative of this story gave me chills. Early on I had a feeling that Sandi was going to surprise me, and she did. I was riveted. By the time I arrived at the story’s ending I wasn’t sure if I was a Searcher-trainee looking on or if I was reading a report filed by the narrator. And although I’m generally not a fan of sci-fi horror, this story had just the right mix of elements in such a short amount of space. What really had me going round in circles was whether or not the Searchers were motivated by compassion or by scientific curiosity, and that’s when I realized the true horror of the story. Without the Searchers, without their influence, without their presence, there would be no story. Nicely done.

They found The Remnant on an island that had been ignored in prior searches due to its seeming inability to sustain life.

The Searchers sent word Home that survivors had been found. It would have been cause for a celebration save one thing.

“Are they multiplying?” their Leader inquired.

“They did just have a war,” one of their number remarked. “They are likely recovering.”

“And look, they cling to one another so tightly; there is no room for further intimacy. You know their kind require privacy.”

“Usually, yes.”

The small satellite continued in its orbit for a few more cycles until something changed.

“Look,” the Searcher whispered, delight and awe in his tone. “Those two. The dominant male and scarred female, look at them.”

“Ahhhh,” the others chorused. Curious, they focused on those who had not gone off by themselves. “No one protests or calls after. This bodes well.”

The Remnant seemed to celebrate in the pair’s absence and one of the Searchers always minded the male and female, to make sure they were indeed seeking to multiply.

They were. “It is awkward, the way they go about it,” one observed, making notes to send back to Him.

“Look two others are now following their example.”

“We should get them off the island.”

“No. They need to regain their own balance, now that they have taken this step.”

“No, we cannot just leave them there alone. It’s not right. Remember what He said? It’s what—“

“They deserve peace.”

Congratulations FOUR TIME WINNER Sandi, Veronica, Olivia, and Cara! Don't forget to claim your badges and display them with pride. You certainly earned it!

Pass on the great news on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, shiny mirrors, Morse Code, and signal flags. Check out all the stories here. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading! :)

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