I've been reflecting a bit on the flash challenge and what I wrote from a critical standpoint. There are three things about my piece that I don't like, which I'll touch on here before I crank out another draft.
First, I tried to change the Monster. No disrespect at all intended to my predecessor, but one of my motivations for subversion was my enormous dislike of that character; while I'm certainly permitted to change what I want, part of the challenge was working within the framework of what came before, and I tried to do too much with the limited space I had.
This leads into the Panther character I introduced, who was essentially a stand in for the Monster. In his scene, I had more dialogue and more of a revelation in regards to his purpose and what he's chewing on, (hint: it's the Monster!) but even after major cuts I was still over the word limit. This led to a stilted interaction and a weak transition to the next scene--her hitting her head on a rock.
The problem with that resolution to the encounter is protagonist agency: Savannah isn't doing something (protag-ing!), something is happening to her. A better approach would be a showdown with the Monster--which I tried intentionally to avoid, since I felt railroaded into it--and trust that the ending is strong enough to support it.
I'll take this back to the lab and cook up a rewrite before the weekend is out.