Aug 302015
 
Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

It’s Sunday. That can mean only one thing! Tomorrow is Monday. Oh, and Micro Bookends results of course. First a huge thanks to Steph Ellis for picking the winners. Here’s what she thought of your suped-up stories:

To find myself judging at MB, or anywhere else for that matter, is a daunting process. I’m well aware of the high standard of those who contribute week in, week out; I know what it takes to keep submitting, hoping for kind comments and, even better, a placing. I know how it feels if you don’t receive any of these. So to all those who entered this week, I would like to say thank you for giving me the privilege of reading your stories, all 41 of them! It was a difficult task and one which I hope I have done justice to. I read all the stories more than once and even when I sorted out my winning order there were many others which just bubbled under and which I wish I could have included.

Honourable Mentions

Eve of Creation by A V Laidlaw

And God created man in his own image but when he stood up, he looked ‘a little unfortunate’, a phrase that made me chuckle. Then he made Eve, he did better.

I, Tiger by KM Zafari

Having made the beautiful animal extinct, man is reduced to creating a synthetic version and still learns nothing. What a sad state of affairs.

What Immortal Hand or Eye? by Karl A Russell

A humorous take on the Creation story, over-worked Azrael misses date with a dragoness, so gets his own back on God and modifies the tiger’s brain.

Sun Flag by Richard Edenfield

A story of the perennial clash of man with nature, perfectly described as his ‘midnight mass of blind ambition’. Even when extinction occurs, violence is still the weapon of first resort. Another lesson not learned.

4th Place

Body of Evidence by Rebekah Postupak

Powerful little story of triumph over adversity. A daughter born with spina bifida, survives against the odds and has a normal life proving the experts wrong time and again. Touchingly told with the pride and love of a mother who turns the experts own words on themselves, they were the ones who needed modification, not her daughter.

3rd Place

lunch by Jack Koebnig

One of the most seamless uses of bookends this week. A lovely dark (but humorous) monologue by a food critic of another kind delivered in such a matter-of-fact tone to make it seem completely normal. You can almost see him drooling as he discusses his favourite cuts … until his little bubble of satisfaction is burst when he bites into some delicious human morsel and finds a repair made out of metal. Wonder what he would have thought of silicone enhancements?

2nd Place

Broken by Marie McKay

A beautifully crafted chunk of darkness. The juxtaposition of the evilness of his deed in the setting of what is normally a haven – the family table where his innocent daughter does her homework, where the family take meals together, the place often described as the centre of family life – was particularly clever. But then again isn’t this the perfect place to make his creation, a mother for the child, albeit one made from the body parts of others, for isn’t she the heart, the centre of the family? Very little is described, there is a reference to a body, drilling, the table becomes a mortuary slab, eyes, apron, there is no need for anything else, we can already see what is going on. Yet this erstwhile Frankenstein is also protective, sensitive; he covers the body and takes his apron off when his daughter’s ‘midnight feet’ approach even as he hints that his daughter is aware of what he is up to, ‘Mommy will be ready by Christmas’. It makes you wonder, did he also create his daughter?

Winner

A Hungry Business by dazmb

I have been considering taking up yoga again but after this I think I will stick to the gym! As soon as I started to read this, the words just fell away and became a movie in my head. The immediacy of this effect, brought about by clever and sparing use of dialogue and narrative is a sign of a truly skilled writer. I was there, in that exercise studio. I could see the women posing (the ones who give you an inferiority complex as you struggle whilst they maintain their air of annoying perfection); Durga manifesting the power of her Goddess namesake to become the tiger, the creature of destruction; the screaming, the killing, the aftermath. I was there and I could see it all. I also enjoyed the subtle touches of humour, the slip-of-the-tongue reference to devouring instead of taking the lesson, the use of the last bookend to ‘yoga, with some minor modifications …’. All done with so little telling. This writer made it look deceptively easy. A gem of a story, a potted perfection.

A Hungry Business

dazmb

“…body and mind aligned; push back into downward dog”.

The blond, skinny decaf lattes who took this class meant nothing to Durga.

Her attention returned to the class instructor. ‘Yogi’ she insisted on being called, as if she understood the deeper rituals.

Durga channelled her energy into the tiger’s eyes taped to her chakras.

“…and forward on all fours, left leg raised, into tiger pose.”

Summoning the power of her namesake Deity, she willed the transformation.

Padding forward, amidst the screams of fear, she growled deeply “I’ve come to devour…I mean take this lesson.”

She calmly pawed her whiskers. ‘Think of it as yoga, with some minor modifications…”

Micro Bookends 1.17 – Results

 Results  Comments Off on Micro Bookends 1.17 – Results
Feb 082015
 

Photo Credit: [Duncan] via CC.

Photo Credit: [Duncan] via CC.

Evening, all. What a great weekend. It turned out to be England delivering the lessons in rugby, and you lot delivering the lessons in how to write great flash fiction. Here’s what this week’s judge, Emily Livingstone (thanks, Emily), had to say:

There were a lot of really striking entries this week and it was difficult for me to choose only a few to highlight. I enjoyed reading the variety of responses to the prompt. The ones I chose here had the strongest impact on me, both with their ideas and their language, but there were others that also packed a punch.

Honourable Mentions

Aberfan (1966) revisited by Geoff Le Pard

This story presented an interesting perspective, that of the journalist struggling to bear witness to tragedy. The passivity in some of the language (“letting the images try and explain,” “morning rendered mute”) emphasizes the feeling of the speaker that he “should help.” Nice job.

Unwelcoming by Susan O’Reilly

There is an experimental feel to this with its rhyme and the harsh, cynical tone, competing with the pain and yearning in the speaker’s situation. Interesting play with language.

Drowning Ghosts by Steph Ellis

I like the idea in this one of the warning they’re attempting to heed, and I was especially impressed with the last line, “As if in answer, the howl became a roar and the waters rose again, a merciless torrent conducting the men in mocking chorus towards the cage and the rescue’s gate.”

3rd Place

The Shoot by Jack Koebnig

I was fascinated by the dystopian idea that provides the center to this story. The author did a lot of world-building in a short space, and created a chilling atmosphere that made me see the prompt in a new way. Good choice to end with the image of people treating death as a spectacle—this highlights a real, though unsettling part of human nature.

2nd Place

Passing Through by Brett Milam

This one really disturbed me. Really. I can’t deny its power, with lines like “My wet orange jumpsuit seemed to add an amphibious human to my back, but one steeped in the history of…that place” and “scraped my carcass from the cold, damp floor.” Great imagery. Strong impact. Thought-provoking. A close call between this and number one.

Winner

God of the Diggers by Nancy Chenier

The author created a really haunting idea of the two brothers entering the mine, and praying to it for safety, then being betrayed by it in the end. I like that the mine is positioned like an older family member, called “Tio,” one who might “protect” or “poison.” There’s something very intimate about this scene because of this familial language. Some fantastic, powerful lines in here: “Tio’s poison fingers reach for me” and the ending—“A man mutters the Lord’s Prayer. Foolish. Only one power reigns within the shaft’s gate.” Their sacrifice of water was not enough, and Tio got his blood in the end. Well done.

God of the Diggers

Nancy Chenier

“Water?” Ricardo shuffles. “Blood’s better.”

“It’s all we got.” I make the offering. Tio, protect us.

“Behind me, hermano,” I warn, but he hustles ahead. The recent discovery of a zinc vein convinced him there’s silver ore hidden in here. Foolish. Tio hasn’t spit up silver in years.

Ricardo halts, drops like a coal sack.

No!

Tio’s poison fingers reach for me, but I can’t leave Ricardo. I tug him toward the main tunnel. Talons claw my throat. I cry out.

Answering shouts. Hands hook my armpits. But Tio’s breath is deep in my lungs.

A man mutters the Lord’s Prayer.

Foolish. Only one power reigns within the shaft’s gate.