Monday, November 06, 2023

11/5/23 flash fiction contest results




Some of you confused hoard with horde.

(insert evil shark laugh here!)




Members of the Steve Forti Prompt Word Fan Club:



Tim Lowe

ParmCharm (with a lovely mention of my favorite color fuchsia!)

Colin Smith


J.R. Raglow



Winner of the Steve Forti Prompt Challenge: Steve Forti, who used xylophone in a very distinct way.

Foiled AGAIN!


None of you took a guess about what provided the inspiration for this week's prompt words: Beowulf.


Herewith the semifinalists.


french sojourn

Anonymous Noise?


“Hi, name’s Hank and I have noise issues, more issues than National Geographic actually.”


The group whispers. “Welcome Hank.”


“I’ve lived a vengeful life; merely eating beside me pisses me off, unless there’s a T.V. blaring.”


“We’ve all experienced this, Hank.”


“My damn cat walks around intentionally stamping it’s feet.”


“Well… that might be a bit...” He rose and nodded. “It’s o.k.”


“I know people hoard their noises and lie in wait for me.”


“Well, I doubt...”


“And don’t get me started on those irritating voices in my head.”


“Alright people, good job today, see you next Monday.”


Great line: I know people hoard their noises and lie in wait for me.

Fortunately, I know the voices in my head are blog readers.




Beth Carpenter

“There it is again! That noise!”


“Go to sleep, Edna.”


“Who can sleep? It’s like a hoard of bees in my brain. Do something, Ralph!”


“Fine.” Lights on. Window opened. I lurk, a mere shadow, while he crashes about. Finally, he closes the window. “I think it’s gone. Happy?”


“My hero.”


Lights off.


A vengeful lust spurs me to act, but I must wait a little longer. Soon, he begins to snore. Just before she follows suit, I approach and whisper in her ear, “Hello. My name is Inigo Mosquito. You killed my mother. Prepare to itch.”


I had to stop and laugh for a full minute here.






"I am a mere scientist, a humble forensic herpetologist," he cried. "I am no warrior, but my heart is pure.


"And you? You are a noisesome fire-breathing theropod, roosting on your ill-gotten hoard! But I have tracked you down. I shall avenge the villagers and return their stolen xylophones!


"And the worst of it, you didn't want them for the melodies -- you wanted them for the scales!"


I had to look up theropod (I love new words. Then I had to suss out that the way you'd used it meant that you're relating dragons and dinosaurs, which I find amazingly clever.





Michael Seese

"You know what really anoise me? People who can't spell."


Perhaps you should look in the mere, I thought.


"Though I can live with the occasional faux pas heror there."


"Daddy," our daughter said, skipping in, "is a tomato a fruit or avengetable?"


"Actually, that question was addressed by the Supreme Court in…"


My mind wandered to another world, one where spellcheck isn't "some government plot to stifle free expression."


"Well," he said, placing his perfunctory peck on my cheek, "off to civilize the untamed hoards through the beauty of freshman composition."


Our daughter definitely is going to private school.


Unfortunately disqualified for posting a non-entry in the comment column!

Sari Michael!



Dimitrius Harmata

Night again. I hate nights because I’m only seven.


I hear scary noises outside the fragile shell of our apartment.


It’s just my dream, though.

I am no longer a mere little Soviet boy – I am now a middle-aged American. Yet, this hoard of dreams from my past life still inhabits me.


My mom – the hero that she is – hurries to the door clutching rubles.

It’s only kolkhoz folks selling stolen meat to city dwellers door-to-door. I exhale. We’ll have fatty borsch tomorrow.


Nothing to fear, no one to avenge. I can leave this little boy and wake up now.


Not quite a story, but VERY evocative.




"Xylo, phone me quick, I hear noises!"


Xylo shook his head, his new bride of merely one month was frightened of everything, or was she? He had enjoyed playing the hero while they were dating, acting like one of the Avengers. Thor one night, Hulk the next, but now she was calling him at work daily. He'd wait until he got home to see what the trouble was.




"Honey, I'm home, what's this about noises?"


"Whhaat?" She emerged in a tiny negligee from the bedroom where she hoarded chocolates and gossip magazines. "Uhh...who was Captain America this afternoon?"


oh my!




Just Jan

A mere two minutes into the Holiday Mascot Support Group and everyone’s making noise: Twenty-four-hour shifts, rotten eggs—believe me, these folks ain’t heroes.


I keep my trap shut and my hoard under wraps. I’m about to refill my pint when in walks Elvis, slick, sequined, and sun-glassed.


“Dead Celebrity Support’s down the hall,” I say.


Too late. He spots the Big Guy talking to Cupid. “Santa’s real?”


Not just real--he’s a vengeful elf. “Who d’ya think brought you them blue suede shoes?”


“Seriously? Thanks, man! And if anyone asks, I wasn’t here.”


I smirk. “Neither was I.”


Very imaginative!



John Davis Frain

Supplementing writing income, Frain started a nighttime gig.


“Literary 911, what is your emergency?”


“I’m on Broadway watching a buxom blonde—”


“A walking cliché? On it.”


“Will you be coming?”


“And hoard all the fun? No, I send editors.”


Phone rang again. “I’m reporting a murder.”


Frain simmered at the voice. “Yesss...”


“Apartment next door. Lady killed her darlings.”


“Listen, if you call agai—” Click. He’d avenge that caller in his WIP.




“You’re a cowardly, self-destructive antihero—”


Frain didn’t accept AI (or second person!) calls, so he disconnected. Time for another stab at the writing gig.


Not quite a story, but no one can resist JDF!





And the finalists are:



We knew the Silence was coming so we hoarded noise: water lapping on the mere at dawn, the crackle of an unwrapped Hero bar, the clumsy notes from a child’s xylophone. Sign language classes were oversubscribed; earplugs languished unsold.


We put our hopes in last-minute diplomacy, negotiating our sovereignty for sound.


It failed. There was nothing anyone could do.


The Silence rolled in.


We screamed and cried but couldn’t hear ourselves. The noiselessness was deafening.


There is only one thing left, now.


We will avenge our loss of Mozart, of laughter, of nursery rhymes.


We will take their eyes.


holy moly.


I've come to expect great work from NLiu, BUT HOLY F/ING MOLY.



Madeline Mora-Summonte



Please don't be mad. I'm getting ravenge for what Mr. Crawley did to Jenny.


She rote about him in her secret diary.


Hoardes of angry bees keep buzzing in my brain, Daddy. I have to do something.


He'll let me in because I look like Jenny, and he wants another taste of what he did because it's always sweeter when no one knows, like when we sneak candy before dinner.


I'm sorry I took your gun. It will make a mess, smere his blood everywhere.


But its noise will make the bees be quiet.


I hope.


Love, Mandy


You guys just terrify me an awful lot of the time.

Grate writing!





The intrepid hero ventured stealthily into the cave and began to climb, certain that the mystical hoard at its heart would be hers. Others had tried and warned that it could not be reached, but she was no mere amateur. She would reach the end without disturbing the useless noise traps strewn about the lower ledges and alerting the monster -




"Mittens? Are you in the pantry again?"


Mittens hissed with irritation, leaping up the ledges with a vengeance, but soon found herself firmly grappled well before she'd reached the tuna.


Stupid human. One day those cans would be hers!


If the Duchess of Yowl were still with us, this would be her choice.





And this week's winner is NLiu.

Nliu, drop me an email and let's figure out how to get you a delicious, tasty prize.




Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries.

They were great fun to read.


We're going to have a break next week so I can work on some blog posts that aren't flash fiction.






Timothy Lowe said...

Knew Nliu's was the winner the moment I read it.


Lennon Faris said...

NLiu's gave me chills. I loved many of them but hers was my fav. Congratulations!! Congrats to all the other entries, too, very well done! I enjoyed reading through all of them.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Janet - thank you! Believe me, I terrify myself a lot of the time, too.

Congratulations, NLiu! Your entry gave me chills and that last line was just perfect.

Well done, everyone!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, NLiu! Your writing is so beautiful. I'll have to come up with an exquisite topping for your congratulatory fudge.

I had to miss the contest this time. I was so excited to work on my MG novel over the weekend. When I saw there was a contest, I gently but firmly told myself, "Not this time." But I sneaked a look at the prompt words before going to sleep Friday. Maybe I dreamed an entry.

Congrats to all who entered!

Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, NLiu! Horrifying!

And to all the finalists and semi-finalists. Diana's and French Sojourn's are my personal favorites, but all are amazing. I'm honored to have made the shark laugh.

BJ Muntain said...

Congratulations, NLiu! Well-deserved!

Steve Forti said...

Congrats NLiu! Way to make Janet drop two f-bombs! Fantastic entry and a well deserved win.

John Davis Frain said...



LynnRodz said...

Congrats Nliu, great entry, and thank you, Janet, for the mention. My personal favorite was Mallory Love, it just cracked me up.

Craig F said...

Jeez, I was floored by some of these entries. It is no wonder mine didn't fly competing with such talent.

Congrats NLiu, the other finalists and to all who entered to compete with such luminaries.

Luralee said...

Congratulations NLiu!!! Exquisitely done.
There were so many good stories. Homonyms are my nemesis. Sunday morning I realized I’d mixed up hoard with horde, and deleted my entry. Next time, I will use spellcheck.

Dimitrius Harmata said...

Congrats, NLiu! Even though I am just getting to know this super-fun contest and its regulars, I echo Timothy Lowe in that I, too, knew that yours was a winner instantly.

J.R. Raglow said...

Wow! I found something in each entry that made me stop, reread in admiration. NLiul's was a lesson in STORY TELLING in 100 words or less.

Colin Smith said...

Wow, NLiu! Congratulations on the well-deserved win.

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

NLiu said...

Wow, thanks everyone, and thank you Janet! I am super duper uber thrilled to have won!! I will go and munch my congratulatory fudge (thank you Amy) and use it to summon energy for my languishing WIP.

(Also, sorry for the literary jump scare to everyone who doesn't like that sort of thing.)

This was so much fun. I especially loved Beth Carpenter's, which made me laugh so much my husband asked me what was wrong. And Casual T's FORTISSIMO tuba player brought back memories of past orchestral mishaps and absolutely cracked me up.

Looking forward to the next contest, whenever it will be, and wondering what the Shark's tasty prize could consist of. Sushi? Kale a la Mare?

Dimitrius Harmata said...

I wonder if you would allow the winner to throw in one more word into the set for the following contest? That could be fun, no?

KDJames said...

Huge congrats, NLiu! I too strongly suspected your entry would be the winner. Chilling and so well written.

I want to note, for the record, that I was playing with hoard/horde, amusing myself. I do know the difference. In fact, I almost added, "Fucking xylophones! Er, homophones." But decided my entry was already weird enough. I'd spent hours Saturday at a birthday party for a 3-yo and can't be held responsible for the brain melt. :)

Just Jan said...

Wow, NLiu! Terrifying and beautiful (terrifyingly beautiful?), well deserved win. Congratulations! I love having the chance to read everyone's work again.

KDJames said...

If I could, I'd edit my comment to read: "I, too, strongly suspected..." Suspecting it "too strongly" is something else entirely. Oops.

Note to self: commas are your friend, you lazy person.

french sojourn said...

NLiu, like many others, after reading it I knew. I love the utopia you described, ha!

Well done everyone, there were some truly incredible entries.

And thank you Jetreid for hosting this shindig.

LynnRodz said...

Careful, Dimitrius Harmata, you may be heading to Carkoon soon. Then again, if Janet agrees, I may be the one packing my bags. Yikes!

Janet Reid said...

Dimitrius Harmata doesn't know the Carkoon rule!
I think the first offense gets a warning, though.
We can't evict all the newcomers or we'll stagnate!

Dimitrius the rule here on the blog is no one can make suggestions that create more work for the Sharque.

Offenders get sent to Carkoon.
That is NOT a place you want to spend any time at all.

Some blog readers are STILL THERE.
I think they've started building houses.

Dimitrius Harmata said...

My sincere apologies.
I promise not to make any noise, nor hoard more offenses. Wasn't trying to be a hero, either.
I do appreciate being let off with a mere slap on the wrist instead of becoming a vengeful Carkoon inmate :)

french sojourn said...

Dimitrius; Although very clever, submitting a second flash fiction entry does get one booted to steerage.

NLiu said...

Poor Dimitrius! Here, have a kale sandwich. They're not bad if you hold your nose.

Mallory Love said...

Congrats NLiu! Beautiful writing. Feel free to write a whole book about it. I would definitely read it! Thanks for the shoutout LynnRodz! Your and Beth Carpenter’s entries make me laugh.

Casual-T said...

Glad you got a good chuckle out of the vengeful Tuba solo, NLiu. Many good memories from when I was a young music student in Vienna (many moons ago). And congrats (somewhat belated, I admit) on your well-deserved win. Any story that mentions Mozart, is a winner in my book!

Dimitrius Harmata said...

Thank you, NLiu. The phrase "kale sandwich" has reminded me of a funny (and true) story that concerns Frank Zappa's visit to Russia...I don't know if I can tell it here, given my apparently now multiple transgressions, especially since the story involves a certain four-letter word :)