Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flash Fiction Week, Day 3

Today I’d like to present “Strays,” by Sarah Ahiers (AKA Falen), the third second place short story entry for the Cosmic Coincidence Contest I hosted with Simon Larter. I won’t comment on it up front, but I think you’ll see right away this story’s appeal.

[Story Retracted for publication]


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When we first received this story, I sat down, drink in hand, took a sip, and started reading. My first thought: Oh, I see. A cat lady story. How nice. And then I read the last line of the first paragraph and nearly splattered my screen with Coke Zero, thinking: What? What! Vampire strays?!!!!! Hahahahahaha!
So, yeah, this story takes the cake in originality. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I had to read it a second time because the first time around, I missed everything as I tried to digest the notion of stray vampires. But it’s not just the originality of the piece that makes this one so remarkable. The end of the story was so beautifully set up. Indeed, a mythos was developed in the span of a single conversation in a restaurant—that of the vampires in this world.
The character development in this was gorgeous as well. Marcia felt like she could very well be me cat lady neighbor, except instead of cats, Marcia was a sucker for vampires because “…dog food attracted raccoons and stray cats always stuck around.” Clever, no? We come to understand Marcia to be this overly sympathetic, rather naive woman, so that by the end of the story, all the pieces fall into place. We are surprised, and yet we’re not, when Antonio arrives.
“You let me in,” he said, his voice deep and soft in the room that smelled of spilled blood. And because she knew nothing else to do, Marcia nodded. 
Love this…the imagery, the irony, and the sense of utter inevitability…beautiful. The final line won me over, I think: “…all Marcia could think was who will feed the strays?” I just about wanted to bonk this woman on the head with a cast iron pan—and if you can elicit that kind of emotional response from a reader, you have a winner.

Many thanks, Ms. Ahiers for your remarkable submission. What a pleasure to read your story. Please be sure to send your address and your choice of books (Maas, Lamott, or Bradbury) to carolsimoncontest AT gmail DOT com. Moreover, if you are interested in five page critique(s), these will also be available to you.

If you liked Sarah’s story, be sure to check out her (witty) writing blog, Falen Formulates Fiction. As always, thanks for your considerable support.

17 comments:

  1. This is an outstanding story. I too had to go back and re-read about vampire strays. As I read the bar scene I was thinking, "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..." Congratulations Sarah. GREAT piece. Yea Carolina and Simon. You solicited and received true winners!

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  2. Definitely the most original vampire story EVER! Very clever and fun to read. Good job Falen!

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  3. Yay, Sarah! I love Falen Formulates Fiction - great blog. This piece is fantastic. Congratulations. :)

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  4. I Love. This. FLASH! Seriously. So clever--who in the HECK would ever think about writing about a woman who feeds strays... INCLUDING VAMPIRES! Oh, and talk about a twist at the end! I totally thought Jacob was going to be a vampire...

    LOVE.

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  5. Onwards and upwards, Sarah! Keep it up!

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  6. What can I add to the comments. Super fantastic story Sarah. I read it second time. Had to. Just had to. That last sentence was awesome. The whole story had me transfixed. =)

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  7. o.m.g. i saw this post at the worst moment, right before i was going to a work meeting. Needless to say, i didn't hear most of the meeting i was SO EXCITED!
    I can't believe you picked my piece! the other winners are so so great i just thought there was no way mine could even hold a candle (especially since i look at mine with such a critical eye).

    Thank you so much everyone for the wonderful kind words. I can't express my gratitude enough.
    my year has totally been made!

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  8. Terrific story. I read it through twice! The voice is absolutely perfect.

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  9. Great story! Keep on writing! I want to read more:)

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  10. Fantastic! One of the most creative short stories I've ever read.

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  11. Yay, to Sarah Ahiers!

    Bloody brilliant :)

    Sorry about the common as muck comment...!

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  12. I really liked that! Stray vampires - too cool!

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  13. Very, very well done and entertaining :D

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  14. Good job! This story is FANTASTIC! : )

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  15. This has win written all over it. I loved the voice of the MC. The dialogue was natural and the ending was perfection. Well done, Sarah!

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  16. WOW. So great and original. I am rarely surprised but the ending but, especially the sensory imagery... I smelled the blood! Wow. Excellent job.

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  17. Thank you for all your lovely comments, everyone. So kind of you to express your kind thoughts.

    Falen, your story was remarkable. Truly. Thank you for your submission. What a wonderful read for us. So glad to make your year ;)

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