Finish That Thought

Finish That Thought 2-29

Finish That Thought - 2-29 was full of Flash Dogs this week. With the famous dragon lady Rebekah Postupak our host this week I had to put a dragon of some sort in it. Not to mention a Warren Zevon reference too. Welcome to 'Splendid Isolation':

Splendid Isolation
Rebekah slowly opened the window to drink in what she knew to be her very last sunrise. Her plan was scuppered by an eastern front which brought a disappointing grey-wash sky.
She’d known this day would come, when her past would catch up with her. It was at the very least what she deserved. Penance for the accident.
She’d caused it. That’s what she’d been told. So accident wasn’t the right term was it? She was guilty of causing all those deaths. Young and old. Lives smudged out in messy instant. Her fault. Her penance.
Rebekah sat on the edge of her bed feeling the bag against the small of her back. Her meagre possessions. These would be all she would take. Her choice. It was penance.
The broken mirror said much to her and she rubbed her roughened knuckles. The room was strewn with boxes, bottles, cardboard detritus of a life that had fallen apart. She couldn’t look after herself anymore.
The magazine picture of the limestone pinnacles pinned to the wall the only decoration. A clue if anyone wanted to look for her, should she be missed.
Her watch told her it was time to go. She took it off and left it neatly on the bed. She threw the rucksack over one shoulder. It dug in painfully to her clavicle. Pain she must take. She needed it. It was the one thing that showed she was alive. She could control it, inflict it. Penance.
The coach took her west. Another three progressively smaller buses took her into the mountains. She gulped when she first caught a glimpse of the monastery perched between the serrated teeth in perfect isolation. One of the monks was waiting for her at the stop and drove her up the rickety track in silence. She took tea with the monks, who were calming. There was no judgment. Not even questions.
She was pointed to the peaks where she would find a west facing cave. Where she could sit and contemplate life; death, accidents and blame. She needed to feel it all. Sometimes she felt totally responsible and hated herself. Sometimes she felt it hadn’t been her fault and she’d hated herself more.
As she walked through the mountainside brush she could see her cave in the distance. There were plenty of others but this cave chose her. The monks would bring her alms each day. She would get better out here or die trying.
When she was a child Rebekah had wanted to live in cave, she hadn’t envisaged these circumstances. She never saw the sunrise, but she got to see many fiery sunsets. A dragon started appearing in her dreams and one day she scratched the outline of one onto the ceiling. It would be the one and only companion for her journey, it would look after her.
As the weeks and months passed in her splendid isolation she had confidence that she would get better.
(496 words)

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Judging - FTT

Flash Friday Fiction - Judging

I was tasked with coming up with the first line and the Special Challenge for this week. And then I had to undertake the judging.

There were eleven stories from some fabulous authors. I judged them blind (the names and twitter handles removed for me) and gave them all several reads through before going through and commenting on them all.

The range of stories were as ever very wide. I quite quickly selected my favourite stories and reread them a few times before selecting my winning tales (one winner, two runner ups and a Special Challenge winner).

Loved all the stories and the winners were posted on the same night, which were;

  • Mark Driscoll - Second Runner Up
  • Erin McCabe - First Runner Up
  • Holly Geely - Winner

Congratulations to all of them, it was an enjoyable task but it'll be nice to get writing again rather than judging next time.
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Finish That Thought & Flash Dogs Anthology

Judging - Finish That Thought

A week on from the win at Alissa Leonard's 'Finish That Thought' and it is my time to turn judge for the challenge. If you haven't tried the challenge before it's straight forward enough - you get the first line, with a bit of flexibility on it, and then 500 words to tell your story. There is also the Special Challenge, should you wish to accept it.

I'll be blind judging all the stories tomorrow - so what are you waiting for? Head on over to
FTT.


Click on the badge to get through to Alissa's site.
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I should have finished reading the Flash Dogs Anthology by tomorrow. Currently about half way through and there has been some truly great stories in there. The creativity of the 34 authors is something to behold. Will put a review up - on here and on Amazon UK - once I've ready every last morsel.

Flash Dogs Anthology: it is literally literary tapas.

Click on Tamara Rogers cover pic to get through to Flash Dogs website.

FDcover 250W

Or on the Amazon link to go get the book itself (UK Amazon).

FlashDogs Are Here
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Finish That Thought

Finish That Thought - Win

Woke up this morning to find that my story for Alissa Leonard's Finish That Thought (2-23) on Tuesday had been chosen as the winner! Boy that is damn fine; my first full win FTF - have won the Special Challenge before.


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The judge was one
Tamara Shoemaker one of the FlashDogs - we do get about don't we! Tamara's in depth reviews of all the stories were well, in depth. She was judging as she'd won the week before, which means - you guessed it - that I get to judge next week. Eek! My first solo judging - following the duel judging of Flash Fiction Friday a couple of weeks ago with fellow Poised Penner and Flash Dog @fallintofiction.

Finish that Thought is a weekly challenge held every Tuesday over a 24 hour period. It is for up to 500 words and the first line is provided by the judge. In addition the Special Challenge is given to add specific elements into the story - in this case it was the addition of at least 3 specific literary characters. Links to the website and Alissa's Twitter below:

Finish That Thought
@lisajean7

The story is reproduced below:

Death: Hand Delivered

Three strangers appeared on my doorstep and in their pockets they bought death; and I welcomed them.

“Here you go, mister.” said tall hoodie.

One of the two mini hoodies handed me the packets.

“Thanks.” I nodded.

Their faces were covered in shadow, which was the point - the lack of eye contact was welcome.

“Anything for us, mate?” asked the second mini hoodie.

He looked nervous as he shuffled from side to side; unsure of his role.

“It’s all been paid for.” I said to the taller boy.

“Don’t mind him,” he said. “Thinks he’s delivering a chinese him.”

The younger lad stepped back with a shrug.

The taller said, “It’s why we have the on the job training. He’ll learn.”

A rye smile passed my face as a gust of wind blew rain into the doorway as if a full bucket had been thrown over us.

“You better get of and out of this.” I said. With that I closed the door on them and to the world.

In the kitchen I finished making a tea I knew I wouldn’t drink; the wine bottle was calling. It was just plonk, but I always liked the brand and it would be a shame to waste.

The packets were scrunched up by the glass to look something smaller - less important. I picked them up with the wine.

The plonk went down easily as one by one the packets were left to drop on the floor empty. My head began to feel protected from the world; fuzzy. The TV was muted, but I could hear people talking in low voices.

Blue lights from another disastrous day at Casualty flashed through the room turning it into a silent disco. Deep bass began throbbing through the walls in time with my heart.

Harry Potter shouted something from behind the bookshelf and a blue white electric flash scalded my eyes as he fought against something behind me. I couldn’t turn to see, but nothing came for me - I knew Harry had won. He always did.

I heard a crash, as someone broke in through the slide doors. They must have been waiting for me to be off my guard. I caught a glimpse of something behind the chair. I could make out the tip of a bow and knew instinctively it was Katniss. Was she was hunting me or whatever was behind me? Perhaps Harry hadn’t beaten the beast. I was confused, I couldn’t remember how Harry knew Katniss.

Despite the noise I was drifting. I could see snow, it must have been coming in since Katniss broke the back door. So much snow and I could smell tobacco.

My eyes closed then I heard a resonant voice from the kitchen.

“Watson, I believe this untouched mug of tea is the key to the entire case.”

I felt warm breath on my cheek. The last thing I heard was another voice.

“By Jove! Holmes, there’s a lady collapsed in the lounge with barely a pulse.”
(500 words)

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A Probing Question - FTT

A Probing Question

The day it all began, the sky was wrong. It was smeared like a fresh bruise with purples, yellows and browns. It looked alive, sentient even, smears flowing in opposite directions, stopping to let other colours slide past, but it wasn’t just that. The most wrongiest thing of all to Arthur was that it was mostly below him.

Arthur shook his head and then slapped himself hard, expecting the vision to change, but still the bruise pulsated below him. He looked down at his hands and saw he was holding a towel and then noticed he was in a strange pair of pink shorts.

“What the hell type of cheese did have last night?” said Arthur to the window. He then tried to remember what he had eaten, or had to drink the night before.

He burped and recoiled remembering the spicy chilli.

“No cheese then,” he said. “but I must have had something in it perhaps those mushrooms from the seven-eleven were not all they seemed.”

“And why am I talking to myself?”

A door opened behind him and briefly the sky stopped moving for Arthur as time slowed. He was deeply fearful to confront whatever mushroom borne monster his head had concocted.

Then there was a gentle cough, something a monstrous beast would never do - they never get a frog in their throat monsters, unless they are really frogs.

And so he turned around and there was Derek from accounts smiling at him. “Hello Arthur, you okay?”

‘Well, there’s a question,” Arthur said, pointedly.

“I’m surprised you have only one.” Derek said.

Arthur turned to the sky and pointed. “Err, can you see that, what I’m seeing?”

Derek went up on his toes. “Approximately.”

‘Well, what do you see?”

“Earth on a peculiar day Arthur?”

Arthur realised he was sweating profusely now and wiped his face with the towel. “Definitely the mushrooms.” he muttered.

Derek moved over to the window, while Arthur couldn’t make out where the door he’d come in through had gone.

“I need to lie down. I’m not used to this,” Arthur said.

Derek looked at him. “Good timing Arthur, I hope you enjoyed the view, you won’t remember it of course when you’re back.”

“What the hell Derek?” said Arthur.

“Derek? You haven’t quite got it yet have you?” he said.

Arthur looked at Derek like a man who had lost his mind many moons ago.

“I’m too old for all this,” Arthur said, “you know, drugs and all.”

Derek smiled as Arthur started to lie down on a convenient table.

Then Arthur felt a soft juddering as the table adjusted around him. He saw Derek over by a console press a button and some metallic clasps erupted from the table and tightened around his legs, arms and neck. He could only just see Derek out of the corner of his eye and he saw he was even more alien than an accountant now.

“So Arthur, are we ready for that probe now?”



____________


(500 words)

- by A J Walker for Finish That Thought 30 September 2014
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