Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Prediction - spooky goings on

And so we approach that annual witching hour that we call Halloween where spooks and spirits seek to suck our souls to hell (depending on what beliefs you subscribe to). Me, I see this as a gloriously wonderful time of year where the scary gets celebrated and we get the chance to see some glorious tales to chill our very cores.

I'm hoping that the Predictioneers will all rise to the challenge this week and give me something with a ghostly tinge to honour this time of year. But before then I am sure you want to know who the winner was from last week.

After much deliberation I have decided that my winner is......RR Kovar with Impact. Rebecca - this is a tale which I confessed in my comments that I didn't grasp at first (my dimwittedness rather than your writing) but when I understood the fullness of it, boy was I blown away. Clever, clever stuff which I would encourage everyone to go back and read.

My runner-up this week is Matt Farr with his two takes on Only the Mundane Vices and its sequel. Matt - a sombre tale which shows the depravities of men which are often supported by the blind eye and deaf ear of those around (how topical it seems). Two well presented takes on how the victims react, each with an incredible ending.

And an honourable mention to Mr John Xero for two pieces which put a smile on my face twice over with both sets of words I provided for play.

As always, congratulations to my winner and runner-up accompanied with huge pleasure at having read all the other wonderful entries. I do so hope you all decide to come play again this week.

So, to the spooky words that will be provided for our delight....well my tome is getting quite exciteable as we get closer to the 31st, it's like Christmas for him and I'll be leaving him out a special mince pie if he behaves (though I won't divulge the filling to you dear friends). Oh, oh, oh, he's telling me something....
  • Tumour
  • Farm
  • Lucid
The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy or science fiction. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine. Just have fun!

You have until 9pm (UK time) Thursday 1 November to get your entries in. New words will spill forth and winners will be announced 9am Friday 2 November. If you can, please tweet about your entry using the #fridayflash #100words or #flashfiction hashtags and blog if you feel like it. Please tell your friends and do give feedback to your fellow Predictioneers - everyone appreciates it!

Astound me with your brilliance this week!

118 comments:

  1. Thanks, Phil. More than happy with an honourable mention. =D

    Congratulations, Rebecca and Matt. =)

    And thank you, Antonia, for mentioning that ghost story comp in the Times... I found out today I'm one of the three runner ups! Should be printed in tomorrow's paper (in the Saturday Review section), if anyone's interested. =)

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    1. Congratulations John - I assume there were hundreds of entries - and since I've not heard I assume mine was nowhere, unsurprisingly.
      And congratulations too to Rebecca, whose writing makes her a winner for me every week, and to Matt whose mind goes places I would never dare.

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    2. Thanks, Sandra. =)

      Susan Hill tweeted that there were 1500 entries in the end!

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    3. Oh John, that is AMAZING!!!! I know we always say about the quality of writing that everyone produces on here being top drawer but this just re-emphasises it. Hope it helps you in getting more of your writing out there as I have always thought that the wonders within your mind deserve a far wider audience!

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    4. So so pleased, John! I haven't heard, so my offering got lost in the 1500 entries... shame, I worked at it! I don't buy the paper and you can't read it on line, like others. But many congratulations! Post it on here so we can read it?
      Rebecca, Matt, many congratulations on the fine stories last week.
      I couldn't 'play', think I have mentioned spiritual traumas before, yes? It just got worse this week. Living a spiritual life alongside a material life causes untold problems at times, when spirit companions move on without explanation and cause serious mayhem in the realms when it goes pearshaped - as it always does. I have just re-secured the home we shared, didn't want it to go anyplace, thank you people who got it back for me. Don't ask too much, it gets very complicated and I am not entirely sure I understand it all of the time...
      But, now the shock of his leaving has passed (believe me, human/spirit relationships can be VERY intense) and the matrimonial (stately) home is mine again, I can settle down. This week's words are intriguing. Let me at them!!

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    5. You can read it online here:

      http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/competitions/article3580545.ece

      Although slightly stripped of my original formatting for the paper's own style and column considerations, etc... ;)

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    6. Congratulations, John!

      Of course, we always knew you were brilliant, but it´s nice to see that others realise it too =) Great job, you should be proud of yourself!

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  2. Lying in wait

    'Farm-reared’
    Sounds so healthy doesn’t it?
    But this lump, this spherical solidity tucked below my ribcage, which keeps me uncurled and sleepless, is not the life-threatening tumour it deserves to be (and which I in more lucid moments pray it will be) but the head of an as-yet-unborn, factory-facilitated male child.
    Not mine.
    Not that of any man.
    Any ordinary man.
    For what man can impregnate twenty kidnapped virgins in one night?
    Nine months in a row.

    The first are scheduled to give birth tomorrow.
    But to what?
    And to what use will our vertically sliced-open bodies be put thereafter?

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    1. This is... unpleasant, in many ways, and has me reading it over again in a horrified fascination.

      Good horror lingers, and this certainly leaves a few dark threads curled up in my thoughts...

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    2. This is incredibly dark on so many levels. Women used as live incubators ready to birth......what?!?!? And that question at the end. I have my guesses and most of them involve lunch. Great horror.

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    3. Oh, this is scary!

      So many of us dream of giving birth. To what? you ask, cleverly. Hm, what if we want to do it no matter what?!

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    4. There is something very unsettling about farms in horror. Maybe it's the conditions that life is treated there, the fact it often seems somehow behind modern laws and culture. Or maybe it's because farms are almost hidden. Either way the setting is fertile ground in many ways for a horror writer. This fertility story is a great example, farmed women caged like battery hens.

      But what will happen after the removal and slaughter? I don't want to know. But actually I do. A great germ for a promising earthy horror tale.

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    5. I was gritting my teeth at the end. Fight or flee in full chat, with fight in the lead. Could stand as a parable giving voice to the human trafficing abominations of the world. Real horror is almost always a faceless unknown, the literary "other," a question without an answer. As you can tell it rang a whole lot of my bells. And I was grinding my molars at the last line.

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    6. Thank you all for your comments - if anything this is a tribute to my fellow Predictioneers and the site itself, because I truly do not know where this came from, and certainly could not have written it a year ago.

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    7. This hits all my buttons: forced pregnancy, captivation, and that terrible weight of not knowing what will happen next. The horror goes deeper than the words.

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  3. superb horror, Sandra! absolutely incredible. Not a 'here we go again, farm bred babies' scenario but twisted and even nastier than anyone could contrive, but you did it!

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  4. Fall Planting

    Ben rubbed his sun-cracked skin to make the goosebumps fade. Damn furrows. Looked like tumors. He climbed from his dead tractor as if it had caught the dormancy of the farm fields. He clomped through the till. He'd seen dozens of seasons, but shivered looking at this dirt. It breathed.

    His foot caught on a white bone. He tripped. Fell. Stared into the worm-eaten eyes of a skull. Laura's lucid gaze.

    He screamed. The bones of his wife gouged his flesh splattering blood like rain. Death remained. He squeezed into the cab, pounding the ignition. The windshield shattered.

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    1. A staccato sort of horror to this ...

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    2. Aidan, great to see you, been a while but hope things are good with you. Clearly your writing is as fine as ever.

      Nicely paced horror with some wonderful scene building. I really sensed the tension and need to escape in that final paragraph and the last three words exploded through my mind.

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    3. The wife's bones splattering blood like rain and the windshield shattering made my neck hairs stand up. Very cool.
      AJ

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    4. Aidan, good to see you here! this is wonderful, visceral and edgy writing. Loved it.

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    5. What starts out with a pastoral lethargy becomes a frantic kind of insanity. I feel a little freaked out...

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    6. The laconic start was a fine blind for what would follow. I loved the earth breathing, the blood-rain, and that desperate scrabble at the end.

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    7. This is some lovely horror, Aidan. "It breathed" is what did it for me =) That and the last sentence.

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  5. Fried Ends


    My brain, so heavy, filled with clay, won´t travel those paths anymore. Won´t recognise the source code that writes my lucid dream worlds.

    I´m stuck here it seems. To be or not.

    The farm brings apples and dust, I eat one and breathe the other, and realities bleed into each other. I forsake my old ghosts years ago, there´s only silence left.

    I´m on the floor, the sweet smell of rotting apples and blood is very present, and my cheek hurts. Ants come feasting and they´re right; only one wrong in this house, only one tumour here, and it´s me.

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    1. This speaks loudly of the horrors of solitude, of abandonment and I can hear the silence of the sky in it.

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    2. So sullo, this. The rotten apples and ants. The sweet scent of corruption. Like a Bosch painting. Very moody and true.

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    3. Erm . . . "So sullo" is supposed to be: So subtle. (Yes I am a dope)

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    4. yes, subtle but speaking absolute volumes of loneliness and solitary living. Wonderful.

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    5. Asuqi, lovely to see you here, seems like we have a number of old Prediction players coming back to delight us.

      I'm torn here as I can't tell if this is in the digital or real world but the beautiful thing it works so well in either, both giving subtle differences to interpretation of the words throughout. The phrase To be or not is so powerful and that concluding sentence is excellent.

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    6. Your writing is like brush strokes, Asuqi, building and evoking images and feelings beyond mere words. Beautiful, dark and insidious.

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    7. What really struck me was the resignation, as if this fate - real, virtual, or dream - was somehow earned. There's more behind this than is shown.

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  6. Killing Field

    It had been a long trip to the quiet farmland.
    They lifted him from the trunk.
    A pistol prodded his back.
    "Walk," a flat voice said.
    "You got it wrong," he said.
    "Please," he said to no one.
    "Stop."
    A voice dark as bottom land gumbo.
    "You have planted too much in my field," the voice said.
    Around him . . . things . . . like suppurating tumors rose from the muck.
    There were screams, then gurgles. None even remotely lucid.
    Then silence.
    "Thank you God," he said.
    "I am not He," the voice answered.
    And pulled him down.

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    1. Lovely shape to this, but 'A voice dark as bottom land gumbo' won the prize for me.

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    2. yes, the shape is captivating, the images as revolting as they should be for horror writing.

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    3. Thanks for popping by AJ, really pleased you decided to join us.

      Simply told and you let our imaginations fill in the blanks as the screams echo round our skulls. I love the phrase 'like suppurating tumours rose from the muck'. Such a well written piece throughout.

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    4. The structure and build of this work really well, the short sentences and economical descriptions build a rich scene, and a great horror story. =)

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    5. I like the noir feel bleeding (literally) into the horrible realization at the end. Despite scant description, this was really visual for me.

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    6. Great atmosphere! I love "You have planted too much in my field." And the title is perfect!

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  7. Not exactly pillow talk

    ‘‘Tumour’ and ‘tumescent’, is there a connection there?’
    I looked over the top of my Financial Times to her head on my belly.
    ‘Are we talking medical or etymology?’, regrettably aware of my demonstration of the power of the spoken word.
    She snorted with amusement and, retaliating, I murmured ‘You can take the girl out of the farm but ...’
    A mistake; the nip of her sharp teeth completed the rout.
    She slid off the bed. Muffled, as she pulled her dress over her head, she answered ‘Etymology’ then, suddenly lucid, ‘But you really should get that lump seen to.’

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    1. Headsnapping turn that came out of nowhere like a brick to the face. From Oscar Wilde to Q. Tarantino in a microsecond. Gorgeous.

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    2. I just love killer last lines and there is a truly fine one!

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    3. Love a bit of playing with context and this does it so well. Nice interaction between the two characters which is very well crafted with an ending I wasn't expecting.

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    4. Interesting character study, Sandra, something a little different. It works well. =)

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    5. The end totally took me by surprise, a perfectly normal sort of horror coming out of nowhere.

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    6. This is the sort of realistic horror that always sort of makes me regret I read it! But in a good way! Well done =)

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  8. Greetings all..
    Congratulations Rebecca and Matt. Yay John on the Times competition. What a talented bunch. My wee family and I are preparing for monster storm Sandy. It would seem she is going to beat the ever living day lights out of us. Batteries, water and plenty of Richard Laymon and Stephen King will help.

    It is strange...you can see the dark storm hovering on the coast. She seems angry and almost evil; churning her winds to abuse the little people of the coast. She looks like Medusa with wings. Lovely, scary and looming...I think she is frighteningly lovely.

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    1. Hope that you are safe and sound Marietta.

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    2. Thank you Mr. Phil. We are well. Blessed. Your tips on getting out of a rut really helped. I am reading a zombie story. Yeah baby. Bring on the apocalypse.

      We woke this morning to a crystal clear and brilliant Halloween morn. The sun always shines brightest after a gale.

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  9. John, congratulations on the ghost story!

    Sandra, lying: chilling. I like how this redefines farm-reared and the ending snaps, taking this chilling proposition and cranking the terror. pillows: whiplash wordplay.

    Asuqi, this tale makes me think of a science fictional singularity. I like how it concentrates on blood and apples and the body left behind.

    AJ, the gumbo line stands out. I like how he thinks his plantings will save him, but his dark deeds pull them down in the end anyways.

    Marietta , love the way you write about Sandy. Hope everything is well.

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  10. I haven't been here for a while, but I'm back playing again! ^_^ Here's my attempt at those quite difficult words:

    The Body Farm

    She awoke on a bed of straw. The pungent smell of the farm filled her nostrils. She attempted to sit up, but ropes held her fast. Dizzy, her thoughts not lucid, swamped her mind. A feeling of nausea swept through her as she realised she was naked and her belly swollen like a massive tumour.
    “Awake?”
    The voice broke into her muddled mind like a knife slicing through butter.
    “Who are you? Where am I?”
    “Soon be all over when I’ve cut it out.”
    Her heart pounded; the knife glinted in the soft light, warm blood flowed across her skin.

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    1. Difficult to avoid this angle isn't it? That "soon be all over" chilling in it's insincerity.

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    2. the farm bit is giving me difficulties this week, you did it well in this piece. Great writing.

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    3. Welcome back Helen. This has a real feel of a horror movie about it. Love the way you just thrust us straight into the piece with some great descriptives, let us build the back story with the snippets you give us, before that strong ending. Just what is sitting inside her?

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    4. A well-captured scene, Helen, with that final line leaving me cringing.

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    5. Farms lead inevitably to breeding, but it seemed to me this pregnancy was a surprise to our narrator. How quickly had she gestated whatever it is that's due to be cut out? Very, very creepy.

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    6. Pregnancies described as tumours make me cringe! Great horror scene =)

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  11. @Sanda loved that last line!
    @AJ - very dark and delicious!
    @asqui very visual writing. It does speak of terrors.
    @Aidan Nice horror! Writing as always good.
    @Sandra - Lying in wait - very chilling and disturbing.

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  12. Up to your devilish tricks again, HH. Short and to the very sharp point. Could feel that warm blood across her skin. Brr.

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  13. Initially I abandoned all idea of continuing my would-be serial with these words, but ...

    A change of focus [2]

    Suspicion, and a single question, swelled like a tumour: why?
    Why her?
    Why now?
    She’d been due to return tomorrow, to the farm she’d vividly described, red earth, big skies and far distant horizons.
    But someone had prevented that; at least, not permitted her to return alive.
    He’d understood she knew nobody here.
    And only mentioned one man there: Jake.
    Who, she’d said, in the lucid moments between waking, guilt-entwined in the furrow-sheeted dawn and her engulfing him again, would never forgive what she had done.
    ‘Need he know?’ he’d asked, matching rhythm.
    ‘He always knows,’ she’d told him, distant-eyed.

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    1. words to fall into, descriptions vivid enough to live on after reading. I just love the guilt-entwined in the furrow-sheeted dawn

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    2. Had to jump back to re-read part one to put this in context. This is a good build on the first part, grows the intrigue and fleshes out the characters (dead and alive). Great final line, too. =)

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    3. Oh, this is so good. The mystery deepens, and one suspects Pettinger will not recuse himself from this case nor reveal why he ought.

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    4. Just jumped on the train =) Well written and I´m excited to see where you´ll be going with this!

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    5. Like John I had to have a quick scoot back to last week to remind myself of the plot of part 1 and glad I did as this follows on so well. Has a noir-esque feel to it and you put some nice teases in there to intrigue to find out more and I sincerely hope that we will over the coming weeks.

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  14. Some cracking tales already this week, I can see that the Halloween spirit is definitely infesting your writing. As such, here's an earlier than normal entry from me.

    EC97249

    EC97249. Probably the most innocuous letters in history scrawled on a Petri dish in indelible ink.

    Professor Wichelstein was the genius who started it, a man capable of the most lucid arguments about the most complex theories. And the man who destroyed the mankind. Oppenheimer times one thousand.

    EC97249 was his breakthrough. A lab grown tumour, an isolated cancer cell left to evolve. It was a beacon for life, a cure for death, the Holy Grail and it was farmed in its thousands.

    It took six months for the last human to die, staring at spores clouding a darkened sky.

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    1. Frighteningly possible. Isn't it?

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    2. "Oppenheimer times ten thousand." Man, the history in that casual -- and absolutely right on -- reference could fell an elephant. The scientists not knowing whether the chain reaction would ignite the atmosphere or not. An entire generation lost to the Spanish Influenza, which has now been resurrected from the frozen tundra and played with by well meaning fools in white coats. The scariest thing about this scary story is the absolute true fact that it could occur. Brilliant scrying, Phil.

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    3. The lust for life, and immortality, brings about the end of life... an eternal death. Nice one, Phil.

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    4. Wow. Talk about an entire race hoist by its own petard. The fountain of youth turned harbinger of death. AJ is right, this is all too plausible.

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    5. Yay! One of my favourite subjects! Now make the film =) "... staring at spores clouding a darkened sky." is poetry.

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  15. Treatment

    Harsh words slap like hands, flat and callous, incomprehensible.

    “A ritual,” he explains.

    He smiles, like when we first met, just days before my life changed. He’d stuck with me, even so.

    “This is a sacred place.”

    I stare at wood-slat walls, decorated with leather harnesses and ancient harvest blades.

    “My family farm,” he supplies, as if that might increase my appreciation. “My life’s work, to restore it.”

    I’m barely lucid, as usual. “I’m not able help you.”

    “Lindsey, your body is riddled with tumors. Here, at least, your gin-soaked blood will do some good. One last sacrifice. For love.”

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    1. I could smell the alcohol wafting of her as she slowly came to her senses. That phrase 'one last sacrifice' mixed with the 'tools' hanging up gave me a real chill as the weight of what restoring his farm actually meant. Great horror.

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    2. A well-written and interesting scene, enough to hook a reader, and a last paragraph that really does slap you hard around the face and make you re-read and re-evaluate the whole thing. Fantastic.

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    3. This is really fascinating. I appreciate that you´ve created such a multi-layered story in so few words.

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  16. That farm's been there a while, at least it goes back to the blood sacrifice days. The earth abides. Shudder. Understated terror. Cool.

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    1. What will he do? There's a cold terror about it.

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  17. I came up with an entry ... make of it what you will, Predictoneers...

    The flesh is trapped in a clamp, tightening painfully. No words of protest, the gag prevents all cries though tears fall steadily, endlessly, the suffering goes on unabated.
    Heads turn, yes, others are equally trapped. In a lucid moment they realize what they are and can do nothing about it. The fluid must be given, there is no choice.
    But one, just one, holds a secret not to be revealed. The tumour contaminates the fluid and none will know.
    The farmer collecting the human milk may one day regret not checking his livestock.

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    1. Hell's bells - this I find more horrific than babies for some totally illogical reason - hauntingly horrible.

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    2. The more I think about this the more I wish I could stop thinking about it... 'horrific' doesn't even begin to cover it. Thoroughly disturbing.

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    3. Deeply, deeply disturbing, this one. The immobilization combined with the gag makes the terror of being "farmed" even worse. And now I'm wondering how dreadful life must be for cows.

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    4. This is a wonderful mixture of science fiction and horror coming together to create a perfect moment of shock. The way you portray this makes the images so vivid in my mind and it feels part of a wider world which needs to be told and could spread into a full length novel. And to say that you struggled this week!

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    5. I love the whole "farmed" idea -- very "Matrix"! And the way they´re going to fight back is intriguing and horrifying!

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  18. Oh scary stuff! the idea that someone is farming humans and spreading something unknowingly.

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  19. thanks, people. It bothered me when I wrote it, which says a lot.
    Sandra, I think you may find it more horrific being female, it is our precious possessions being utilised and brutalised here.
    I discarded four or five pieces before this one came into my mind. I wish it hadn't!!!

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    1. Interestingly, I didn't read the narrator and the others as women, Antonia... Milk, as I read it, was a euphemism for another fluid being forcefully collected.

      I've tried reading it both ways now, with the victims as men or women... pretty horrific stuff either way. Although, understandably, I find the idea of them being men slightly more disturbing... *crosses his legs*

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  20. Inherit

    Son, listen, please, for your sake. In his lucid moments my father tried to warn me of the curse, of inevitability. But when a madman tells insane, unbelievable truths, how do you pick those rare gems from among the ravings?

    It begins as whispers. Whispers and whimpering, like angels sobbing. Neverending.

    It's a tumour, filling the sane places inside with a crawling, gnawing sickness.

    Believe me, son. My father warned me. And that day on the farm, when I killed my him, it came to me. It will come to you, too.

    For your sake, son, don't do this.

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    1. This is insidious indeed as I find I am unable to trust his words, about anything. Totally belies the 'Whispers [...] like angels sobbing'

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    2. This is a mobius-strip of dread, the sins of the father inevitably visited upon the son and back upon the father. It's impossible to believe him and yet...

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    3. Now do I call you John or is it Mr Xero now that you've appeared in The Times ;-) I loved the phrase Whispers and whimpering like angels sobbing - so glorious. In my mind this piece is the final words of a man begging for his life...powerful John, very powerful.

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    4. "It begins as whispers", now there´s a mighty curse! Great writing about the horror within =)

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  21. Inhuman

    There's a place, down in South Carolina, where they farm hatred.

    These are the markets you know nothing about. The trade in things to turn your skin. The secret economies of the world.

    The smell of hate is bilious and sour. Tumours ripple and shimmer as they swell through the children's skin. When the growths begin to seep they are ready to harvest.

    The children, cattle, are bred for purpose, a different species, a line centuries deep, Homo Domesticus. Sometimes they learn words from the workers, but they have no lucid thoughts - we promise ourselves that, trying to believe it.

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    1. Chilling. Dreadful and haunting, and the label, in its aim to make it official, makes it far, far worse.

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    2. That is scary the thought that they really know deep down that the children know.

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    3. From the first line to the last, this was riveting and frightening. Too many parallels to the realities of slavery in America for this to seem unreal.

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    4. A disturbing image John to make us sleep fitfully this evening. We all tell ourselves it's just a story but what if, just perhaps, this farm in South Carolina is real. Chilling.

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    5. John, I love this! The first sentence is brilliant! Love the idea of farming hatred. And then it just continues to impress, until the final deeply horrifying end. What a gem of a story!

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  22. wonderful writing, John.
    Odd, isn't it, I never thought of men when I wrote my piece!
    I edit and sell erotica, the biggest selling titles we have are those relating to breast milk, to the point when the company who lease our titles asked if we had any more, as they were outselling everything else, no matter how good the other books are. I think once the pattern emerged, it had to be breast milk, not anything else, for me, nothing else would work. Having said that, I re-read it and yes, it would work both ways. Fascinating how one piece can mean different things to different people.

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    1. I assumed female and then on re-reading, the opening words - 'The flesh is trapped in a clamp' confirmed it ...
      breast milk = erotica? weird.

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  23. Helen : intriguing questions here like how long she has been asleep. It seems long enough for the tumors to grow. I hope she escapes the farm.

    Sandra : focus I like the red earth big skies reference that grounds this drabble.

    Phil : genetically manufactured organisms will make me cringe every time. I'm certain Professor Wichelstein never meant for this outcome.

    RR : strong characters in this piece, cancer is enough to keep anyone from maintaining lucidity. I hope she recovers enough to understand the drawbacks of this treatment.

    Antonia : revenge is sweet. A horrible world this might be, but this could be an interesting hook into events that are going to change with the tumor apocalypse.

    John : inherit , one reaps what they sow. A well deserved curse that leaves me wondering how they came by this in the first place. I like the way this captures the inevitability of their situation. inhuman , deep. The lies we tell ourselves to make things easier.

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  24. Based on a True Story

    Your life changes when they tell you about the Tumour. The room falls away, white walls and the paraphernalia of modern medicine fading like ghosts into the background, and the people around you, trying to smile, become supportive shadows, ephemeral, a presence without real substance. Whatever future you had becomes a battery-farm animals life of tests and measurements, fluid lines in and drain lines out, a non-lucid dream from which the goal of awakening is that distance future when maybe, just maybe, they tell you that your tumour is gone, and your life can change again.

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    1. So hard to say anything about this except yes, that's what it's like, even when it turns out they were wrong. And you always hope they were wrong, even when they weren't. Maybe especially then.

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    2. A poignant tale Matt which I is too familiar to so many families across the world. You've captured the emotion and reality of this so well. Great writing as always.

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    3. The matter-of-fact tone of this adds to the well-described horror of findng oneself in such a situation.

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  25. Matt, that is flat out scary and written so dispassionately, too.

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  26. I thought Seth was going to sit this one out, but he changed my mind.

    Reflection

    When I was young, Nate protected me from others at school. He didn't know I could and would stop them. We were all damaged, so his defense was precious.

    Under a blood-moon, we swore oaths of brotherhood. He meant every word – then and now – but he suffers for it.

    “Seth,” he says, “you awake, lucid?”

    I open my eyes, nod.

    “We’re coming up on the farm. Are you with me?”

    I hate that he has to ask. His mistrust grows like a tumor, but removal must wait. I tap my magic, check my gun, and follow him into the darkness.

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    Replies
    1. The phrase 'his mistrust grows like a tumour' is so good and I wish I had thought that up myself. Wonderful to see Seth and Nate making an appearance before we shut the party down this week. Now I must know what is waiting for them out there in the dark...

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    2. "removal must wait" sent a shudder down my back. Mistrust is a serious word when you take the hand of darkness. Cool.

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    3. Yes, that 'mistrust grows like a tumor, but removal must wait' is powerful but so are the other subtle references to their complex relationship. Was certainly glad both Seth and Nate did not miss a week.

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  27. This one comes from Colleen Foley, who had to go to work before she could post:

    Misstep

    Back on the road felt right. The farm Jimmy had sent us to looked deserted but well-kept. Perfectly normal, really. I still couldn't figure out why we were there. He'd handed us a slip of paper, told us to check out the produce, then stalked off to his library.

    When Jimmy says check, we check.

    Yep, row upon row of gorgeously fecund tomatoes.

    **splut**

    Seth gagged. "Dude. That's ....”

    I nodded. “ A tumor tomato.”

    Lucidity slipped. I saw red. Then black. Then nothing.

    "Nate? Ah, dammit!"

    I regained consciousness slowly. Seth’s anxious gaze confirmed my fear. I was infected.

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    Replies
    1. I always think that 'fecund' is such a glorious word in terms of the way it rolls around your tongue and such a great use above. Tumour tomatoes - what a brilliant concept and now poor Nate is infected. Will Seth's magic save him?

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    2. There certainly is horror in the idea of tumour-infecting tomatoes, and I certainly hope Seth knows how to rescue Nate.

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  28. Almost time to call last orders but I'm a nice guy so a little bit of leniency whilst I comment on the outstanding stories above. Suspect will be done in about 20 to 30 mins so any last entries had better be polished and presented quickly!

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  29. And that's it for this week. I've commented on all stories above but don't let that stop you from feeding back to your fellow Predictioneers if you haven't had the chance yet. I know that everyone likes to get thoughts on their superbly crafted tales.

    I shall go off to judge now and lay down fresh words for next week. Do hang around and finish of the nibbles and dips, just watch out for those tomatoes, I think Colleen brought them round...

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