If it seemed like a long list this week, that’s cause it was. Duets & Duvets Part 2 brought together ten authors for a decathlon of dreamy and sometimes deadly flash fiction stories, breaking the shortlist record of 9 made two weeks ago by Duets & Duvets Part 1. Stick with us through the recap, every single one of these writers earned it.
Sophie Macdonald’s bittersweet “The Pact (Part 1) drew a homage from Tobias Madden, who offered us his own idea of an ending with I’m Here:
Footsteps. High-heeled shoes. They stop at my bedside. “Mrs. Hart, are you ready?” It’s a woman. My doctor.
While Sophie offered her official version of events with Part 2:
You are holding my hand, but it’s too tight. I want to squeeze back. “It’s okay,” I am saying. “I’m right here.”
C.R. Gardner brought us the musical and action driven conclusion to A Dangerous Love with ‘Ulka‘
He backed towards the far right corner of the room, catching his breath, his pursuers dropping from the ceiling and stepping through the broken wall where the girl still stood. ‘Our daughter! She has Rayvenn’s face and my white hair.’ He couldn’t take his eyes off her.
And Paula M Carlson returned with the treacherous Did I Need To Sell My Soul:
She thinks back to the last time she heard that song. It was the summer before that IED in Afghanistan.
While Amy Short’s Secrets & Lies was an equally gripping companion to part 1’s Vodka:
“…Then the vodka comes out, it changes you, changes your personality. I’m not doing this tonight, I’m going to sleep. Happy fucking anniversary.”
It was great to see Charlie K Gorden back on the shortlist, replacing spectacular carnage with spectacular cleavage in Life Changes:
It read simply “8pm tonight, Think Red.” Followed by the address to a popular restaurant downtown. Think Red, he thought again, what an odd phrase.
And Alicia Bruzzone riffed off Cam Dang’s Rain with Rain Part 2:
You unlock the door as if I’m not there, but it’s too late for that. I heard your breath catch, saw the flush heat your cheeks. I’m done waiting.
The sexual energy is palatable, with Alicia showing a different side to her usually comic, offbeat sensibility. Meanwhile Cam Dang showed us the official record with her follow up to Rain, Rock & Roll Queen:
“…It’s been four weeks and not a day goes by when I don’t feel like breaking everything around me. So tonight I’m going to her house, uninvited, to see what the hell is going on.”
There was just enough time for Jeanette Stampone’s clever meetcute Perfect Strangers Part 2:
“So you like books?” I asked, in a feeble attempt to regain some kind of composure. She smirked and leaned closer, “I love books. They transport me to a world of fantasy and mystery.”
A warm hand slipped onto my knee, fingers gently crept upwards. She leaned in closer and whispered, “Maybe I can show you my collection.”
And the beautifully bizarre surrealism of Lydia Trethewey’s Brain Strings & Disconnection:
“…It’s only self-indulgent if you can grasp the ends of your own thoughts, which we both know you can’t. I don’t exist on purpose.”
Closely fought as always, our duelers spared between the covers and beneath the sheets, traipsing through the rain, giving in to wild abandon, violent absolution, or abandoning their wild side for something deeper.
In recent weeks we’ve seen ties and three-ways creep into the winners circle, but this week it’s a solo show, taking first place by 2 whole points, it’s the excellent Sophie Macdonald!
Sophie’s ‘The Pact: Part 1’ set the standard two weeks ago, and it’s heartfelt and emotive conclusion left the judges breathless. Well done to Sophie, who is fast turning into one of 2016’s bright lights!
Up now, the Company Mannequin Award is this week’s rebellious short list, bringing together some of NiTH’s current in form authors like Nick Lachmund, C.R Gardner and Cam Dang and pitting them against the rising talents of Chinthaka Nanayakkara, Georgia Willis and Tobias Madden.
We also welcome back Deborah Stanbridge and open the doors to newcomer John Falconer, who looks set to stake his claim at NiTH with a strong showing on debut. You can find all these stories and more on the Homepage, and keep an eye on the contests page for an interesting new award coming up in the next few days.
In other news, our Writers Services Page has received an overhaul, with a bunch of new courses and discounts for all our Patrons & Subscribers. And if you’re not already backing us better act quick, tomorrow will mark the release of our first Patron exclusive short novella, Strange Days Vol 1 by Charlotte Cross, so what are you waiting for, get over there and support us!