First off, "Her Name is Mary" received a Daily Deviation on September 12th (as I said, I'm a bit behind with this). I rather liked what I did with it, and evidently so did some others. If you're here because of that, thanks for your attention and I hope you continue to enjoy my work! Thanks also to akrasiel for featuring (and do send your DD suggestions her way!).
Her Name is MaryI was about to close up and hang the sign on the door when the knock came, timid, as though it wasn’t quite sure that it wanted to be heard. For half a heartbeat I thought of leaving it unanswered, but no matter how late the night, turning custom away leads only to hunger; so I opened the door, and found before it a woman, with a large oval mirror clutched to her breast. It was an older piece, framed in tarnished silver, but her eyes were what caught me: large and dark, and almost frightened.
She hesitated a moment on the doorstep, until I waved her inside. “Come in,” I said. “Are you selling, then?”
She shook her head, setting the mirror down carefully, face-down, on one of my end-tables. “Only as a last resort,” she said. “Do you do repairs?”
The question startled me, and I checked in the midst of closing the door. “Generally not,” I answered at last, but closed it all the same. “I resell antiques, Miss –
"Her Name is Mary" was written for the second week of A Game of Genres, the results for which have at last been finalised (handy links: Week 1 Results - Week 2 Results - Week 3 Results - Grand Prize Winners), and in fact won third place for that week, which is the other half of that news. As is so often the case, I've found that my own tastes and the judges' aren't perfectly aligned; so here are my own favourite stories from each week:
Week 1: Urban Fantasy
"Moonlight Meeting" by squanpie is a lovely story containing some beautiful imagery.
Moonlight Meeting We stumbled from the dockside pub, laughter and the final bell ringing in our ears. She held my hand as if the world was ending, and tugged me across the road to the promenade. One night only, she’d told me much much earlier, when the line of empty glasses stood at one and a half. And boy was I going to make the most of that night.
A light fog had rolled in off the sea, just enough to blur the lights of the pier and cast a halo round the moon as it sank towards the waves. In the damp air, her hair moulded to the curves of her face, a trail leading from cheek to full lips that tasted of sea spray and worlds unexplored.
A taxi slowed as it passed us, the driver hopeful, but I never looked up. Her deep dark eyes held me ensnared, drowning in the sorrow held back below the surface.
“Shh,” she said, holding a finger to my lips, though I’d said nothing. “The moon is bright; the ni
Week 2: Paranormal Mystery
ThornyEnglishRose tells ghost stories in a wonderfully matter-of-fact way, and "Robbie and the Birds" is no exception.
Robbie and the BirdsDue to circumstances that I don't wish to go into, I once had to secure a new home for myself and my six-year-old son Robbie, and I had to do it with very little money – that is, very little in terms of buying a home. It seemed a miracle when I found a two-bedroom house within my budget. It even had its own little back garden.
'There must be a catch,' I said to the agent.
'It's been unoccupied for a year,' he said, 'and the year before that it changed hands three times. The back door needs the lock fixing, but apart from that there's nothing wrong with it in practical terms.'
'Does that mean it's haunted?' I asked.
'I think it's something like that,' said the agent.
I didn't know whether or not I believed in ghosts, but I was sure that if they did exist, they didn't harm anyone. I'd been worried about having to buy a place that had problems with the plumbing and electricity, or holes in the floors, or at the very least no separate bedroom for Robbie.
Week 3: Post-apocalyptic Fairy Tale
Leonca's "Just Right" makes for a very neat (and surprisingly realistic, considering) reversal.
Just RightSomething was off about the Woods that morning. Papa Bear couldn’t define it, but the feeling lifted hairs on his back while he suggested the family cut their pre-breakfast walk short. The feeling solidified when they found the front door open. He poked his head inside the cabin and huffed in the intruder’s scent. A human female, young and injured. As he took in the last detail he noticed spots of blood leading to the kitchen.
Mama picked up Baby and held him tight. The scent of her fear pricked those hairs on Papa’s back as high as they could go under his shirt. He knew she was thinking the same thing. An injured human cub, in their house. Were the parents tracking it? Few things were more dangerous than a human who believed you were a threat to its cubs. Even unrelated cubs drew this ferocity from them. It hadn’t been a year passed since Big Bad Wolf found that out the hard way. Mama still made pies for Papa to drop off at the widow’s house on his way to
Some other things that are going on:
THE GAUNTLET is running until the end of September - which, because I've put this off for so long, means you'll have to hurry to join in. It consists of nine flash fiction challenges in ascending order of ridiculousness, and while it's meant as a month-long challenge, you can still jump in and see how far you get! Sometimes a sharp deadline is more of a help than a hindrance, after all.
Memnalar's annual Halloween contest is on in a few days. Check his page on or after October 1st if you'd like to enter, or right away if you have prizes to donate or want to try your hand at judging.
Cinestress is holding a short film competition (deadline: December 21st), for those of you who are interested in film-making!
The Flash Prompts with which FlashFictionMonth fills the eleven twelfths of the year that aren't, in fact, Flash Fiction Month, have gone from monthly to every other month, so the current prompt doesn't expire until the end of October.
The fun anecdote would go here if I had a fun anecdote:
...but I spent my morning watching a flock of doves repeatedly take off, fly in a few circles, and then settle back down on the same roof they'd started on, so there's not much to tell. I'm currently suffering an unexpected loss of enthusiasm for the Gauntlet, which would usually be exactly the sort of thing I'd be excited about; I hope to regain it in time to finish off the last three stories, but, well, we'll see if that happens.
Thank you, and I hope your autumn/spring/current tropical season is going well.