ATA Flash Fiction Winner
Week 4 Judge's report
While there were only two entries, in this week’s competition, they were both excellent stories. They were well written, thought provoking, and haunt me in different ways.
One of the advantages of writing a character’s journal is the fact that everything that is written is them. It’s their writing and any grammatical errors are theirs. Writing dialog involves a little more grammar because you’re weaving characters’ words into the story. You have to rely on your use of punctuation etc. again, both entries executed this well.
The stories were very different in style and genre. One was a mystery/adventure/SciFi story and the other a people study focused on industry and society and the effect they can have on one another. One brought to mind ‘War of the Worlds’, and the other, ‘The Man in the White Suit.’ (Great movie about science and its effect on people/society)
Judging was made difficult because the decision should never come down to ‘Writer (X) wrote in my preferred genre.’
Both stories were solid, Grammar, spelling and punctuation were well executed.
The stories each have a beginning, middle and end, although both endings trail off.. In one you assume the writer is gone - and you’re the one reading their journal left to figure out what happened or suffer the same fate. In the other story, the ending leaves you with a philosophic thought- who is of more value in the end? Who will survive? The story is told in first person but it is the secondary character who delivers the last line. We never find out why the narrator was there or if the woman has any effect on him/his world view.
What it really came down to was descriptions and the endings.
Again, both stories were excellent and it was a hard decision to come to. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and I look forward to reading more from both of you!
Honorable mention goes to: Mark A. Morris - Cannery Row.
This story was well written and thought provoking. It really does say a lot about people and ethics, and the fact that ‘just business’ doesn’t mean it isn’t personal to the people affected.
This week’s winner is: Allison Garcia - The Place Time had forgotten.
Another very well written story that edged out the competition by telling a complete story that left only one question unanswered… well two— “Who are the aliens?” and “What happened to the narrator?”
Well done, and I hope to see you both tomorrow for week 5.
The Place Time Had Forgotten By: Allison K. García
Vacío Outskirts – January 25, 34 P.A. 4:15pm
I would never have believed it myself, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. An entire city deserted. A reflection of a new, desolate era.
Where had they all gone? And what sort of things had they left behind? It is our job to find out. A modern day mystery.
My team and I stepped foot on the streets of Vacío this morning. A few miles out of the city, the roads were so poorly maintained that we had to make the rest of the trek on foot. Abandoning our vehicles, we strapped on armor, weapons, cameras, food, and medical supplies. I managed to squeeze this journal into my back pocket. The rest we locked inside and hoped the looters would respect government plates.
Not a soul for miles. No one coming in or going out, except for us. No bodies alongside the road. No animals. Only lonely, potholed roads and broken signs.
The entrance to the city had a blockade covered in bright, green vines and a dark, dried substance that Melissa confirmed as blood. A few hand-written signs, nearly disintegrated with age. A red circle with a line striking through something green in the center. Almost like a man with long arms. We took pictures and one sign to further examine back at the lab.
Upon first sight, the city also appears completely empty of all creatures, alive or dead. The only sign of life is the bright green vegetation covering all surfaces. Paula and Barry had an argument on whether the plants were standard ivy or kudzu. It got rather loud. Even with that, no sounds can be heard apart from the wind and ourselves.
Vacío Residential District – January 26, 10pm
We found a place to sleep, falling apart and overrun “with regular old ivy” (not kudzu, to Barry’s disgrace). Everything is completely untouched, just like the rest of the city. Nothing packed up nor currently being used.
We’ve found more of the strange signs and a few painted on sides of buildings.
I might sound crazy, but to me they look like the crude drawings of aliens. Now that I’ve written this down, I realize how silly that seems. Aliens. And green ones at that. Like in old science fiction books.
I think this place is getting to my head.
Vacío Center – January 27, 2pm
I feel like we’re being watched. I have no scientific or logical explanation for this. Juana thinks they’re spirits, of souls who never left here. But, I think we need to be more careful. I told the guys to turn off their radios. I pretended it was to save batteries, but they knew. Poked fun at me for a good half hour.
I didn’t care. I know it’s irrational, but whatever it is makes the hair on my arms stand up. Almost like a static in the air but full of fear and anger. I told them I wanted to leave. I even packed up my sack. The feeling gets worse after dark. I might find a spot to lie low.
Vacío Center, beneath the fountain – January 28, morning
They came last night, the strange creatures. Weapons did nothing against them. They took most of the team, disappeared in a horrible flash. But they couldn’t find me. I was always the last to be found in hide-and-seek. In another day, I will run out of food. I’ve heard starving to death is a horrible way to go. And it takes a long time. Two or three weeks. I doubt I will make it that long, but I hope to. What I saw was worse than any pain starvation could bring. The screams of my friends are etched forever on my soul.
All I need to do is stay quiet.
Vacío Sewers – January 29
If you find this notebook, run away and never look back. They are coming. They will never stop. There is no escaping.
They are here.
It is time.
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Tune in tomorrow for a new challenge