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FLASH MASTERS 2 – July 2014

Flash Masters 2 Grey Matter Press Flash Fiction Contest

 

FLASH MASTERS 2 – July 2014 WINNERS


Following a second exciting week of FLASH MASTERS, the winners are in! They are as follow:

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Angela L. Jones for “Syndrome.” Angela wins a trade paperback copy of EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED.

READER’S CHOICE WINNER: Erik Hofstatter for “The Wandering Pilgrim.” Erik wins a Kindle copy of EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED.

VOTING WINNER (selected by random drawing): Lindsay Bodily wins a Kindle copy of EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED.

 

Honorable Mentions go to following authors for their exceptional 100-word fiction:

 

HONORABLE MENTION: Steven Grassie for “Final Wave”

HONORABLE MENTION: Craig McGray for “UNTITLED”

HONORABLE MENTION: John F.D. Taff for “Pretty in Pieces”

 

Congratulations to all the winners and honorees of FLASH MASTERS 2. We will be contacting you shortly to get any necessary details for awarding individual prizes.

Everyone at Grey Matter Press would like to extend our appreciation to all those who participated in this month’s contest. The next edition, FLASH MASTERS 3 will takes place in late August. Hope to see you all again very soon!

 


 

FLASH MASTERS 2 – Flash Fiction Contest for July 2014


THE BASICS

The FLASH MASTERS Flash Fiction Contest celebrates and awards the exceptional creativity of both current and up-and-coming authors of dark fiction. FLASH MASTERS allows you to share your talent for short, concise storytelling with the horror-loving community. Held monthly, FLASH MASTERS will offer up a series of prompts to inspire your creativity and winners will receive prizes from Grey Matter Press. There will always be at least one winner.

READERS HELP DETERMINE THE OUTCOME (AND CAN WIN TOO!)

FLASH MASTERS is an event that’s not only for authors, but one that’s also for readers of dark fiction. Each installment of FLASH MASTERS encourages readers to participate by playing an important role in selecting the winner. Helping to influence the outcome, readers vote for their favorite piece of Flash Fiction submitted to FLASH MASTERS. The piece of fiction receiving the most votes will be named the Reader’s Choice. This Reader’s Choice piece will receive one point in the overall judging, effectively making the voting public a member of the FLASH MASTERS panel of judges. And even better, one voter (selected at random) will win a prize from Grey Matter Press.

JUDGING

In addition to the point and vote awarded to the Reader’s Choice, Grey Matter Press will assemble a panel of judges to review FLASH MASTERS Flash Fiction Contest submissions. The members of the panel may change monthly and could include members of the Grey Matter Press staff, professionals from the dark fiction publishing industry, or representatives from the horror media and fiction reviewing communities. Each member of the panel receives a single vote, equal to one point and equivalent to that of the sum total of voting readers. When all votes have been cast, a winner (or winners) will be selected.

 

FLASH MASTERS 2 Flash Fiction Contest – JULY 2014

Equilibrium Overturned The Heart of Darkness Awaits from Grey Matter Press

FLASH MASTERS 2 GRAND PRIZE – CONTESTANT

The Grand Prize Winner of FLASH MASTERS 2 receives one trade paperback copy of the most recent bestselling horror/science fiction release from Grey Matter Press, EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED: THE HEART OF DARKNESS AWAITS.

FLASH MASTERS 2 GRAND PRIZE – VOTING PUBLIC

In addition to July 2014 FLASH MASTERS 2 Grand Prize Winner, Grey Matter Press will award a Kindle copy of EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED: THE HEART OF DARKNESS AWAITS  to one non-contestant voter. The winner will be determined by random selection. Grey Matter Press may also award prizes to any number of other contestants in the FLASH MASTERS Flash Fiction Contest. We can’t say who, what, if, or how many, as we enjoy tension and like to keep you guessing. 😉

FLASH MASTERS 2 PARAMETERS


WORD COUNT: 100 (no more, no less).

INCLUDE A TITLE for your story. (TITLE DOES NOT COUNT against/for/as your word count.)

SUBMIT YOUR STORY using the LEAVE A REPLY section at bottom of this page. (Include only your SUBMISSION = TITLE + STORY.)

SHARE YOUR WORK in an effort to win the Reader’s Choice Vote and to get its point on the judging panel. Use #FLASHMASTERS for more votes!

READERS VOTE by clicking the REPLY button under their story of choice.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 12:01 AM (CST) Thursday, July 31, 2014.

DEADLINE FOR VOTING: 12:00 PM (CST) Thursday, July 31, 2014.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT(S): Afternoon (CST) of Thursday, July 31, 2014.


FLASH MASTERS 2 PROMPT(S)


USE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING WORDS IN THE BODY OF YOUR FLASH FICTION SUBMISSION:

(Any of the following words may be included [at your discretion] in the TITLE of the STORY,
but they are REQUIRED to be used within the body of the piece.)

SIFT

GENTLE

SIDEWALK

DISGORGE

AGONIZE

 

Get your pencils ready.


The time has come.


FLASH MASTERS 2 IS OFFICIALLY LIVE!

 

 

Comments: 122

  • Pingback: FLASH MASTERS 2 is Coming! | Grey Matter Press July 29, 201412:37 pm
    • Erik Hofstatter July 29, 20146:25 pm

      THE WANDERING PILGRIM

      He crossed the sidewalk and entered the room. The monk’s crystal clear eyes bore into hers.

      The wanderer spoke whilst she listened, spellbound.

      Alexandra slipped out of her gown, his melodic voice commanding so.

      The monk gently stroked his member.

      He snapped his fingers after the deed. An agonising grin stretched across his face.

      Alexandra disgorged, shocked at the sight of her own nudity. The hypnosis was over.

      “What have you done to me?”

      He sifted water through his fingers, drops landing on her forehead.

      “My child, those who deliberately commit fornication and repent bitterly will be closer to God,” the monk answered.

      • Sorrell July 29, 20147:07 pm

        I like this, creepy old bald men give me the shivers at the best of times!

      • Logospilgrim July 29, 20147:44 pm

        Chilling. A monk who is more like a dark magician…

      • Ryan July 29, 20148:22 pm

        Creepy old guys always make for a creepy story. No matter how short the story is. Thumbs up. 🙂

      • Cee Martinez July 29, 20148:25 pm

        YIKES! Effectively creepy and horrifying, especially when you think how often this scenario still plays out all over the world by people in power over the helpless and the “hypnotized” . Great work!

      • Tessa Lee Deming July 29, 20148:35 pm

        The Wandering Pilgrim… wow, very awesome piece! This is certainly the best of the lot. I think it even broke my brain a little.

      • vanessa Hoar July 29, 20148:51 pm

        Wow…what an awesome, creepy tale! I love it! It leaves me wanting more and asking questions.. Very cool! I’m dying to know… Is the monk blind or are his eyes only crystal clear when he induces hypnosis? Hmm.

      • Megan Cleary July 29, 20149:34 pm

        This short story, is creepy but very dark at the same time. That vision of a man of god pleasuring himself is never nice. At the same time you can picture that in your head and it’s one of those things where you can’t help but be intrigued by. Very much my kind of story. Always ebnjoy Erik’s stories 🙂

      • Rebekah A July 29, 201411:16 pm

        Well that’s going to keep me up. I enjoy the intense undertone to this. It really sets up for the “shudder factor” I so like wihen I am reading a story like this. Seriously, this is incredibly creepy and in only a few words, my skin was crawling. Creepy guys are one thing…. creepy OLD guys that just happen to be monks are soooo another. Well done!!

      • Kelli Haley-Gilmore July 30, 201412:57 am

        Successfully brought out a dark, mystically creepy effect in one short paragraph. Nice job Mr, Hofstatter, you’ve done it again! : )

      • Kim Miller July 30, 20142:51 am

        What an Amazing super creepy story! Definitely wanting to know more about this Devil in disguise. Great Job!

      • dani July 30, 20146:25 am

        Old rapey men for sure give me the creeps. The worst, which makes for a good absolutely horror short story.

      • Zoë Rose Smith July 30, 20148:56 am

        The thought of hypnosis has never been more disturbing. Especially accompanied by the image of an old monk touching himself… It makes my body shudder with disgust. What a brilliant dark and perturbed short story, but you are the master of them!

      • Emma July 30, 201411:16 am

        Very dark and intriguing, makes you want to find out more on what this girl is involved with, how she ended up there… if under some kind of spell and what the monks intentions are ? Has he baptized her into a cult or religious group,without her consent ? So many questions from such a short paragraph !!!

      • Lafleurdeplume July 30, 201411:57 am

        Oh…creepy AND realistic! Nicely done Erik 🙂

      • Alyssa Cooper July 30, 20142:46 pm

        Very nice, my kind of creepy.

      • Trapper July 30, 20143:37 pm

        Very creepy. I enjoyed how Erik conveyed a mood and a true sense of horror with a very few, well chosen words. It’s a perfect gem of a piece, complete in itself. One vote for Erik.

      • Victoria Hodgson July 30, 20146:04 pm

        Wow! A very creepy but awesome tale! It leaves me wanting more! 😀

      • JillyG July 30, 20147:21 pm

        Chilling and provocative
        one questioning their existance and sexuality
        the other stern and deceptive
        Well done

      • Melissa Holden July 30, 20148:24 pm

        Ooh it’s creepy! Certainly wanted to read more!

      • Lola July 30, 20148:29 pm

        Very nice. Creepy monks rule. Great story

      • Craig McGray July 30, 20148:34 pm

        Great piece, Erik. Monks are creepier than clowns to me!

      • K Stray July 30, 20148:45 pm

        Creepy, dark and leaves you wanting to know more all the hall marks there. Really enjoyed it!

      • K.R.Rowe July 30, 20149:37 pm

        Great Story Erik! Being hypnotized is scary enough without it being done by a creepy weirdo.

      • Sarah July 30, 20149:46 pm

        Really like this, weirdly creepy and dark. Love the atmosphere it sets..

      • J.R Wargo July 30, 201411:46 pm

        Creepy monks always make for a good horror story

      • Talia Marie July 31, 201412:02 am

        This was pretty good. It left me wanting to read more which is a very good thing.

      • Jen July 31, 201412:11 am

        I like this one, it’s all a bit creepy and wrong…..

      • Heather Herrman July 31, 201412:58 am

        Great story. But beware the revenge of little girls….. 😉

      • Rayna July 31, 20144:08 am

        Realistically horrific, especially for innocents who have been taken advantage of by those in religious power.

      • Sarah July 31, 20144:12 am

        This definitely left me wanting more!! Great use of words.. I’m able to have this vivid picture in my mind, Very chilling and erotic! Best of the bunch

      • Gabor July 31, 20148:25 am

        Food for thought. That is a good ability to have. 😉

      • Celia M. July 31, 20143:44 pm

        Loved it! A very haunting piece!

    • Anthony Crowley July 29, 20149:45 pm

      Terror on the sidewalk

      The depths of terror were beginning to echo further into the pitch blackness of the sidewalk upon Driftwood Pier, and with the gentle approach from the masked killer’s hand strangulating the innocence from the feminine throat while gazing at her ornamental fading stare. Her secluded reflection of suffering was an image to agonise with perpetual fear. The killer began to sift through the nearby trashcan and noticed a metre length of rusty barbed wire and began to tighten it around the woman’s neck while to disgorge the blood masquerading a thrilling moment to never forget, only remnants of still life.

      • Bernard Harold Curgenven July 30, 20144:15 am

        This is an amazing write, and a true reflection on the brilliance of the ‘Horror’ master!

      • JillyG July 30, 20147:23 pm

        Tony
        You written words always thrill me.
        Miss you brother!

    • Kenneth Whitfield July 30, 20142:38 am

      Need a clarification of the rules. Are we to use the designated words as they are given, or can we use other alterations – such as plural, different tenses, etc? Many stories are being submitted using other forms of the keywords. Is that OK?

      • Sharon Lawson July 30, 201411:55 am

        Yes Ken, it is okay to use various forms of the word.

    • Nicole S. July 30, 20146:46 pm

      5 SECONDS

      There is no point agonizing about something that has already been done, but it didn’t stop him. There is no taking it back, at least, not for him. Walking from the sidewalk to the sand, he recollected as the seconds ticked by.

      One, the door opened . . . two, the smile fell from her face . . . three, he raised the gun from his hip . . . four, she turns to run . . . five, he pulls the trigger.

      One, the sand sifts through his toes . . . two, the gentle sway of the waves reaches him . . . three, the water engulfs him . . . four, air disgorges from his lungs . . . five . . . nothing.

    • David Copeland July 30, 201411:06 pm

      An Unplanned Rendezvous

      I venture onto the sidewalk, sudden claws flash, reaching for my throat. Teeth grabbing, reaching for the back of my neck. I turn and bite, my only defense. My claws dig for the soft underbelly of my attacker. There is none. I can’t retaliate. My life is at stake. I must fight harder than ever before. I can’t. I agonize. My opponent pauses and I desperately grasp hope before having it ripped away. Razors sift into my abdomen and disgorge lengths of intestine. Before gentle vision fades I see a horrible fanged mouth descend to feed. I am a mouse.

    • Heather Herrman July 31, 20141:06 am

      First Bite

      The monk had a thing for little girls. Alexandra was the cook’s gentle daughter. Timid. Wary of authority. Alexandra brought the monk his bread and he took her virginity. The monk was cunning. He forgave her afterwards. The cook was an old woman. She was not timid or wary. She did not agonize over her decision. With her husband the butcher’s help, they bashed the monk’s head on the sidewalk. Watched the blood disgorge.

      Feast day. The cook sang as she worked. Fresh meat for the pie. Ground bones sifted with fine powder.

      Alexandra had the first bite.

      • Mouth Crimes July 31, 20141:17 am

        Ground bones, ground bones, ground bones, ground bones….

    • Celia M. July 31, 20143:43 pm

      Loved it! A very haunting piece

  • Stephanie Ellis July 29, 20143:43 pm

    Chance

    The subway exit spewed its contents onto the stinking sidewalk. The gentle breeze did nothing to freshen the polluted air, instead it merely emphasised the staleness of humanity that the underground continued to disgorge onto the earth’s surface.

    To sift through all those faces was going to be a difficult task and Aidan had no time to agonize over his decision, he needed the money.

    Then he spotted her.

    “She’s down there,” he said into his cell.

    “Your call,” said his contact.

    “Heads.”

    An image of a coin spun on his screen. Eventually it stopped. Tails.

    Aidan pulled the trigger.

  • John F.D. Taff July 29, 20143:43 pm

    Pretty in Pieces

    I agonized over her. I really did.

    I was gentle as could be, under the circumstances, so very careful.

    I slipped it in, eased it out. Its tip glided across the surface of all that pink, pristine skin, parting in its sharp wake. The clefts that appeared were moist, pink and raw inside, yellow-white the deeper they went.

    And still deeper. The saw hummed in my hands, and white powder eventually replaced the red liquid, sifting down onto the sidewalk like snow.

    She had to be pretty, even in pieces, when the earth disgorged her, when they found her.

    Eventually.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20143:16 pm

      This is a lovely description of what the other side of unconditional love and care feels like. Excellent.

    • Craig McGray July 30, 20148:43 pm

      Love the shift in this piece, John. The first half had me thinking pleasure, but the second half was nothing but pain 🙂 Great job!

    • David Spell July 31, 201412:27 am

      Hot and creepy at the same time. Not sure how I feel about that.

    • Gary Cecil July 31, 201412:51 am

      Here’s a point! Good shit!

  • Jamie Mason July 29, 20146:29 pm

    From the sidewalk, Joel watches the Razor Wind sift paint from rotting automobiles and flesh from bone. He checks his watch. This moment in history – the hour and minute Deenie broke up with him – should have dissolved by now yet Joel remains anchored in this temporal null-zone, unable to disgorge the past.

    He must feel gentle inside, at peace before he can move beyond shredded metal and regret, sprayed blood droplets and Razor Wind. He could agonize about what might happen to him if he remains here too long, but instead just stands there, watching the past dissolve.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20143:24 pm

      Very interesting take on sour relationships… that Razor Wind is mysterious, given that it sounds like a proper noun. It’s like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction… it has importance, people want it, but the viewer doesn’t not know what’s inside because it’s never revealed. This guy is just tearing himself up over it.

      • Jamie Mason July 30, 20148:22 pm

        Thank you for those thoughts, Joshua. Melancholy and autumnal regretscapes are perennial themes in my fiction. This piece might be a bit too thoughtful for some mainstream horror fans but I love Grey Matter Press. I never pass up a chance to throw my coin in the fountain.

        • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 201411:16 pm

          You are quite welcome; thank you for the great read! Grey Matter Press has become a recent love of mine. I only wish I have heard of them sooner in life and I am sure to have been involved in their projects.

      • Kendra Swingle July 31, 201412:08 am

        I vote for Josh Felthoff

        • Jamie Mason July 31, 20148:13 pm

          Awesome, Kendra! Vote early, and vote often.

  • Brandie Hyde July 29, 20149:02 pm

    Dear Diary
    I know it’s a silly thing to do, writing in these pages is like prayer, it helps, even if the conversation is one sided. There were no sidewalks between home and where chose to rest, the journey was as gentle as it could be under the circumstances leading up to disgorge of his mortal coil that came by projectile through an oddly silent mouth. We shared that desire. They sift through messages and agonize over how no one saw it. The bastard beat me to it. I always assumed that I would be the first to go; damn. Check please.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20141:39 pm

      This was sad, but I like the overall tone! Especially the interpretive end. Brandie, you got my vote. 🙂

  • Angela L. Jones July 29, 201410:17 pm

    Syndrome

    It was late. The music from her ear buds was too loud to hear her own footsteps, much less the struggles of the child she was about to stumble over. She went sprawling, her purse disgorging its contents onto the sidewalk. She crawled on scraped hands and knees to the girl. Gentle hands turned the little body, but there were no signs of life. Only blood. A man crouched beside her, absently sifting through the contents of her purse.

    “What did you do?” she whispered.

    His crazed eyes met hers, appearing to agonize over what to say.

    “Hungry,” he growled.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20143:26 pm

      The title and final three words are amazing. I liked the word choice beyond the requirement: they get the point across quickly without elevated language to complicate description. Very nice.

    • Ashley Gant July 30, 20145:48 pm

      Yup, those last three words did it! It’s… evocative. Enough to understand the fundaments, but leaves so much to the imagination at the same time.

  • Jason DeWitt July 29, 201410:30 pm

    Awake

    I remember falling, and the disgorge of blood from my head. I remember the ambulance driver making jokes about my weight cracking the sidewalk. I was lifeless, and totally awake.

    The incision was gentle, like running a marker down my flesh. I could feel them touching my heart. Paralyzed, eyes open, I could see the team around me and hear their banter. The anesthesiologist confirmed that I was completely under.

    I tried to sift through my muscles to see if just one would work and act as a signal that I was awake. But all I could do was agonize.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20143:51 pm

      This touches on an actual fear of mine when I went to the dentist years back. They put me under the gas and asked that I could to ten out loud. Not only I reached for it, but the person preparing my for surgery and I had about a 2 minute conversation! One of my questions was “Will I wake up from this mid-surgery?” She said no, but I didn’t believe her. Not after the minute mark.

  • Rebekah A July 29, 201410:59 pm

    Well that’s going to keep me up. Seriously, this is incredibly creepy and in only a few words, my skin was crawling. Creepy guys are one thing…. creepy OLD guys that just happen to be monks are soooo another. Well done!!

  • Image Ronin July 30, 20141:37 am

    The Saviour

    Sift strode along the sidewalk into Times Square. The place bustling with life. She gently let her mind reach out, seeking a suitable target. First, a middle-aged male, consumed by thoughts of sex and pizza.

    Meek.

    Next a woman, agonising over bills.

    Undeserving.

    A little girl navigating through tourists with her father. Sift plunged deep, a realm of burns and beatings disgorged into her mind. The mantra of how much he loved her as he lashed out.

    How long sleeves hid the scars of cigarettes on her skin.

    Sift’s hand flicked out, burying her knife deep into Daddy’s throat.

  • Kenneth Whitfield July 30, 20142:19 am

    CREATURE OF THE NIGHT

    The daja vu is overwhelming. I watch the blood disgorge from her chest wound, run down the gentle slope of her breasts, pooling on the sidewalk. At one time I would agonize over if I had done the right thing. Now I kneel beside her; feeling nothing. Going through her purse and hot pants pockets, spilling condoms wrapped and unwrapped, needing to sift through this debris and find proof to justify my actions. Nothing. I rise, holstering my pistol. Her breathing stops. I walk away, knowing I have taken one more creature of the night out of the world. Probably.

  • Chad Stroup July 30, 20143:44 am

    HOW TO GUT A CORPSE AND STILL MAKE IT HOME IN TIME FOR DINNER

    Ever wondered what it’s like to sift your fingers through a disemboweled corpse in a back alley, hoping you will locate the key?
    Now you know, so you no longer need to agonize over the eventuality.
    A putrid substance begins to disgorge, a smell like rotten potatoes dipped in raw sewage. You feel a mix of hunger and revulsion, a gentle tug in your belly, an esophageal identity crisis.
    Then—a mad dash along the sidewalk, your hands cleansed with provided baby wipes, your tie flapping behind you like a fishtail. You insert and turn the drenched key.
    “Honey…I’m home!”

    • curtis silverberg July 30, 20143:07 pm

      His dinner’s in the oven!

  • Ashley Gant July 30, 20147:29 am

    ON BIRCHWOOD ROAD

    From windows, I watch him. Pacing the sidewalk by the bed of begonias, phone in hand, his cracking voice asking her why, how long. Tears trapped in his long eyelashes like nightmares in a dreamcatcher.
    From windows, I’ve watched him so long. Chubby legs taking first steps on summer grass. Scrawny arms throwing pinecones at the neighbor girl. Scarred knees shaking on their first kiss.
    Now he kneels, agonizing in the garden, his tarnished heart disgorging grief.
    Oh, little lamb.
    I will sift each sorrow from your soul. I will visit them upon my own.
    Gentle boy, I’ll chasten her.

    • Angela J July 30, 20142:34 pm

      Holy crap. Win.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20144:11 pm

      What a story, riddled with sorrow, grief, and possibly regret. This is a wonderful story that could be expanded upon in a later installment.

    • Lindsay Bodily July 30, 20146:04 pm

      Wow. Amidst the dark tone of this I feel a sense of urgency to fix what has been broken, to seek revenge and yet, there is also love. It’s great, well done!

    • Stephanie Ellis July 30, 20146:27 pm

      I dread to think what the watcher’s ‘chastening’ will involve. Those last 3 words contrast so strongly with the almost dreamlike quality of the story that it made the watcher seem almost psychotic – extraordinarily effective. Loved it.

  • Matthew Booth July 30, 201412:07 pm

    Scavengers
    The ragged old man cried out as the ripper gang ran past and snatched off his plastic hood. A sift of grey snow brushed his face, sizzling as it dissolved into the agonized flesh, an already ruined face growing new scars like craters in a jaundiced moon. The gang ran on, giggling like idiot children, searching for their next target. Scavengers of pain in a city of scavengers. Indifferent yellow clouds disgorged more grey flakes on to the cracked sidewalk as the old man repositioned his hood and returned to sifting the gutters for rubbish that survived the acid snow.

    • Matthew Booth July 30, 201412:31 pm

      Damn, I just realised I pasted the wrong version, I’ll add the last version below.

      • Matthew Booth July 30, 201412:34 pm

        Scavengers
        The ragged old man cried out as the ripper gang ran past and snatched off his plastic hood. A gentle sift of grey snow brushed his face, sizzling as it dissolved into the agonized flesh, an already ruined face growing new scars like craters in a jaundiced moon. The gang ran on, giggling like idiot children, searching for their next target. Scavengers of pain in a city of scavengers. Indifferent yellow clouds disgorged more flakes on to the cracked sidewalk as the old man repositioned his hood and returned to searching the gutters for rubbish that survived the acid snow.

  • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 201412:17 pm

    Number 37

    “Didn’t agonize over it.”
    The doctor behind a 3-inch glass wall blankly stares at me. The first interview after thirty years here. He puckered those chapped cherry lips, just like she did, before he began.
    “Was she the only… victim?”
    Gentle strokes of cool air flow across my body, but only my head is exposed in this jacket; comforting. I sift through happy thoughts before speaking.
    “She was slowly eating ice cream on a stick. I love those treats.”
    “Was she the only one?”
    Silence.
    A disgorge of cream oozing down my hand is just one happy memory. I smile.

    • Matt Frady July 30, 20142:20 pm

      Sick and twisted. I like it.

    • Diane July 30, 20142:33 pm

      That is pretty messed but awesome job! I vote Josh

      • Diane July 30, 20143:01 pm

        *Up. Damn you autocorrect!

    • Stacy Murphy July 30, 20142:35 pm

      Way to go! This is amazing!

    • Brandie Hyde July 30, 20145:05 pm

      You totally nailed the creepy. Nicely done!

    • Steve Harrison July 30, 20148:47 pm

      Josh is sex, sex is love, love is pain, pain is god, god is dead.
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      I vote Josh, my Christ lord and savior

    • Theresa Ennis July 30, 201411:56 pm

      Pretty strange. Pretty sick. I thought it was disturbing but I liked it. I vote Josh

    • Chris July 31, 201412:16 am

      I vote for Josh!

    • Doug Ford July 31, 20142:04 am

      Icky! And sticky!

  • Matt Hitchcock July 30, 20143:07 pm

    Loved it. One vote for Josh!

    • sarah voigt July 30, 20144:29 pm

      I can relate to this, I too enjoy ice creamon a stick. My vote goes to Number 37 by Josh

  • Matthew Masucci July 30, 20143:51 pm

    Every Chef Has to Keep His Knives Sharp

    Detective Franks felt childlike sifting through sand. CSI collected blood while Franks agonized.

    Flashbulbs cast momentary shadows across the scene while officers handled the press none-so-gently.

    Blood led to the sidewalk. The perp stabbed her left kidney as the vic ran toward the ocean. He tackled her, slicing. Her throat disgorged pints of blood within moments.

    The cut reached the spine.

    A chef’s knife lay nearby. The wound’s edges revealed this knife was kept professional-sharp.

    One witness said the woman exited an eatery, and a reporter recognized her as a food critic.

    Apparently, the chef didn’t appreciate the review.

    • Joshua Felthoff July 30, 20144:48 pm

      I like how the action is described through Detective Franks observations from the dead body and the blood trail. The chef wanted to cut the conversation short.

      • Matthew Masucci July 30, 20144:48 pm

        Ha!

      • Doug Ford July 31, 20142:01 am

        I don’t want any more ice cream. Ever.

        • Doug Ford July 31, 20142:03 am

          Oops meant that for Josh. I like your story too Matt. Maybe I will have ice cream.

    • Stephanie Ellis July 30, 20146:30 pm

      Traditional crime and some dark humour. Great.

  • Craig McGray July 30, 20148:21 pm

    The vomit on the sidewalk at his mother’s feet told quite a story. Tommy wiped a dangling strand of puke from his chin.

    Tommy cowered as his mother raised her hand. “Sorry, Mamma.”

    She gently wiped her son’s chin clean with her shirt. “It’s okay. I’ll get it cleaned up. You go on inside.”

    Tommy bolted into the house, brushing by his father on the way.

    “Did it again?” His father asked scanning the street.

    “Yup.”

    The agonized parents stood over the disgorged remains of the neighbor’s cat, sifting through their minds’ catalog of excuses for their son’s malign behavior.

    • Erik Hofstatter July 30, 201410:09 pm

      Sounds like a young Jeffrey Dahmer! Good stuff, Craig!

      • Craig McGray July 30, 201410:26 pm

        Thanks, Erik!

    • David Spell July 31, 201412:31 am

      Damn fine writing Craig!

    • Rich July 31, 201411:51 am

      Awesome story Craig!

      • Craig McGray July 31, 20146:31 pm

        Thanks, Rich! This contest is a blast!

  • Brett Milam July 30, 20149:05 pm

    Contract

    Leroy sifted through targets. The homeless man he saw disgorge his own toenails on the sidewalk was too easy a target for Leroy. Children in the park were off-limits. Even he was too gentle for that.

    Then, he saw the man in the suit, Bluetooth in his ear. Important man with an important life. A future. Moving fast, oblivious.

    With the syringe brimming with his blood, the blood ravaged by HIV, he did not agonize.

    Once close enough, Leroy swiveled and injected the syringe into the man’s neck.

    Maybe he’d contract it. Maybe he wouldn’t. Waiting was the real killer.

  • Amanda Niehaus-Hard July 30, 201410:22 pm

    Here’s What’s Going to Happen:

    You won’t agonize over the breakup. You’ll stand on the sidewalk and yell at the front door of the house—your house now—while I sift through four years of photographs, drawings, and father’s day cards for the vows we wrote. You remember: the ones I kept and you broke. The cat will disgorge half a mouse on the porch, the neighbors will call the cops again, and Alexander will give me his sweet, gentle smile. We’ll splash in the gasoline puddles I poured, and light birthday candles.

    Keep the house and cat, you bastard. You’re not taking my son.

  • A J Walker July 30, 201410:32 pm

    Splatter

    There’s no point in deliberation. Don’t agonise over it. It’s them or me.

    The wind brings plastic smoke and unworldly noises. I sift the sandy remnants of a demolished building through my hands. A nearby explosion sends cascading gravel down a scree. Hairs bristle, I can sense them, yards away beyond the rubble.

    Disgorge their rank bodies, rip them apart, before they get you; my guts speak.

    Jumping around the granite rampart I feel time slow my movements into a gentle ballet as my guns disgorge their miniature missiles into the horrific melee. Lurid blood and gore splatters the sidewalk.

    • C Connolly July 31, 20149:42 pm

      Powerful writing! Gets my vote!

  • Steven Grassie July 30, 201411:21 pm

    FINAL WAVE

    He hears the explosion like it’s inside his head, falls to his knees on the sidewalk. There’s a keening in his ears as he straightens, turns, and – no time to agonize – staggers towards the corner from around which the blast came… around which Tabitha walked after a final wave.

    Vehicles disgorge their occupants, stunned and bloodied and panicked. Frantic, he claws his way through the chaos of silently screaming faces, a lone salmon navigating rapids.

    Rubble, bodies, smoke, blood, glass… Tabitha.

    His fingers are gentle as they sift through the wreckage of his wife’s body.

    There: a tiny proto-hand, limp.

  • Michele Garber July 30, 201411:31 pm

    Tweet and Meet (title)

    Perfect.

    She sipped tea in a deserted restaurant, frowning prettily as she agonized over the menu. Would he be gentle, take his time, with an artist’s care? Or fast and hungry, devouring her with startling greed?

    A merry tinkle as his beloved night disgorged him, and he traded the empty city sidewalks for the restaurant’s dim interior, the promise of delectable flesh driving him.

    “EKidNa?”

    She beamed up at him. “FanGBoy, right?”

    Sifting through potential lines, he froze as a reptilian tail wound around his waist and drew him closer. “What’ll you be, meat or mate? Momma’s hungry, lover.”

    #DatingBites

    • Ronni July 31, 20144:56 pm

      VOTE

  • Donald Jacob Uitvlugt July 30, 201411:56 pm

    Cracks in the Sidewalk

    “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.”
    Olivia’s mom gave her a gentle tug as they hurried down the sidewalk. Dang. She landed on a line.
    The cracks in the sidewalk disgorged a funny little man. A man made of shadows. Olivia let go of her mother’s hand.
    The dance of light and darkness sifts truth from falsehood.
    The man stood on his head. Olivia laughed and clapped her hands.
    He gathers the chaff while the wheat perishes in agonizing fire.
    Olivia took hold of the funny man’s hand and the cracks in the sidewalk swallowed them both.

  • Gary Cecil July 31, 20142:37 am

    Number 501

    The first was Kelly—I used to use their names—and I nearly disgorged my breakfast all over her naked corpse. It wasn’t the sifting through skin and bone; it was the smell. I’m beyond that now. Gentle with my touch. Seasoned.

    Beneath me is Number 501: white male, mid-forties, obese. Oh, he had it coming. You know, I often wonder what Gacy and Dahmer would have done to be as privileged as I. Yet, here I stand in agony on this proverbial sidewalk, waiting for a bus that never arrives. Must I only be a mortician and nothing more?

    • Gary Cecil July 31, 20142:45 am

      Sorry, didn’t know any other way to let you know, but my post says 07/31/14 @ 2:37 A.M. It’s actually 07/30/14 @ 10:45 P.M. right now, so I made the deadline! 🙁 🙂

      Thanks, guys!

  • Rebecca J Allred July 31, 20142:40 am

    In the Rough

    To the casual observer, it was just another crack in the sidewalk; to Sean, it was his own personal ATM. He visited the jagged slit several times a month—always after another body had been lowered gently into the earth at the cemetery across the street—waiting for its inevitable postprandial expulsion.

    Sifting through the slurry of disgorged refuse was slow, agonizing work. Acidic vapor stung Sean’s eyes and burned his airways. He often wondered if it was worth it—the blood, the nightmares, the risk—but when his gloved hands finally closed around the fist-sized diamond that had once been a human heart…

    • Sean Igo July 31, 20143:24 am

      Nice!

  • Sean Igo July 31, 20143:23 am

    SO worth it. Nice!

    • Sean Igo July 31, 20143:23 am

      (oops, that was meant for Rebecca J. Allred’s story)

  • Michael Kamp July 31, 20143:37 am

    Knocking

    She came in the middle of the night.
    Knocking at my door, moaning in agony.
    “Mindy,” she cried. “Mindy, please.”
    I ignored her at first, but the wet sound of her disgorging was unsettling. She was sick.
    “Please, Mindy. I won’t tell anyone.”
    I tried to sift her noise from the silence of the night, and it worked. She went away. I sighed and faced the wall.
    A gentle tapping on my window made me turn back and see a dark silhouette against the lights on the sidewalk.
    “Mindy?”
    My sister was always so stubborn. We buried her last week.

    (I’m on CET, so I’m seven hours ahead of you guys.)

  • Joe Humphrey July 31, 20143:50 am

    BLACKMAIL

    The boy’s head hit the sidewalk with a thud. Even as the blood disgorged from his neck in rhythmic pulsations, his eyes drifted up and connected with the woman. She held a scalpel in her hand. Drops of his blood ran down her face in thin rivulets and pattered onto her blouse. A gentle wind teased her hair, and for an agonized moment he needed to kiss her. She was beautiful, even then.

    Picking up his backpack, she sifted through his meager possessions until she found what she was looking for: the phone that contained hundreds of photographs of her.

    • Joe Humphrey July 31, 20144:33 am

      For the record, even though it says I posted this at 3:50am, It’s 9:30 on the west coast right now.

    • Sara Wells July 31, 20141:12 pm

      Love it. Great work.

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