Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Prediction - nano nano

So, it's NaNoWriMo at the moment or, as I believe it is called, National Novel Writing Month where people have one month to write a novel. I am envious of people who are capable of doing this as it takes me ages to craft such a thing. However, I would be really interested to hear from any Predictioneers who are taking part and how they are finding it.

What I do tend to do quickly though is flash and I was pleased that 99 Fiction decided to published my flash fiction piece Screamless this month. Take a look here and see what you think.

Right, you read that, back now, good. That brings me on to this week's winner which is.....drum roll please.....

......well I've got joint winners as I just cannot separate them, both being so good that it wouldn't be fair for one to 'lose'. My winners are AJ Hayes and Zaiuregrey.

AJ - I loved The Ladies In Hats. There was something about the way you intertwined the exquisiteness of the fine Sunday morning dining and the elegance of the aunties with the grotesque of the caged/chained child. The ending was uplifting as much as it was darkly disturbing. Such a well balanced and executed tale.

Zaiure - Favors was a punch to the gut of a story. Packed with excellent description, this is a vivid depiction of a 'lamb' fighting back against a cunning predator. I was reminded of the superb film Hard Candy and this was more than a match for it. You truly captured the scene to perfection within 100 words.

No runners-up this week, just my admiration for how well everyone used that curveball that was myopic.

So, onto this week's words. It's late and my tome seems slightly docile at present, a nice juicy steak washed down with some chianti seem to have abated him this evening but I do wonder how I will get the stains out of his pages. Anyway, no matter, let's see what words he will whisper to me....
  • Interfere
  • Pitch
  • Shade
Innocent enough looking words but where will they take you this week. And I am going to give you a fortnight, in fact, as in typing this up I realise that the deadline would be my dear wife's birthday and I doubt she will be very happy for me to be judging when I should be wining and dining her. So a fortnight you shall have.

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 22 November to get your entries in. New words will spill forth and winners will be announced by 9am Friday 23 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!

Show me what you have and make it pitch perfect!

152 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Phil. I agree with you about joint custody. Congrats, Zaiure. Favors was perfectly executed (no pun intended -- well, maybe a small one)and just full of beautiful language like: "voice rough as Papa's sandpaper" That just blew me away.

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  2. Wow, thank you so much! And congrats to you, AJ. Your tale was chilling and exquisite. :)

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  3. Congratulations AJ and Zaiure - I agree with 'voice rough as Papa's sandpaper' and the subtlety of Ladies in Hats had something of an Impressionistic painting in it for me.
    And Phil, 'Screamless' was definitely the stuff of nightmares; congratulations on its publication. No NaNo for me this year - I'm still re-writing last year's effort!

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  4. congratulations you guys, stunning words!
    Don't want to put everyone off but ... I think my entry last week was the start of a serial... and that was before I saw this week's words!

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  5. Looking forward to it, Antonia.

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    1. thank you, Sandra, AJ! I think I will have fun with this one. I have begun to explore zombie writing without getting too deep into reading zombie writing, so what is coming is from this somewhat troubled mind of mine...

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  6. I haven't written for any of the prompts from this site for a while, but with NaNoWriMo going on, I thought a shorter flash fiction piece would be a nice way to break up my normal writing day and get the creative juices flowing. Hope you enjoy it!

    shadeslayer
    His helm pitched to the side as the shade’s sword made contact. He staggered backward, feigning flight but not the pain. The pain was real.

    The shade took the bait, closing in with twin sabers whirling. He hoped his injuries wouldn’t interfere with his plan. As the shade bore down, he pivoted. His right leg caught the shade’s left foot. The shade’s momentum tipped him forward, impaling him on the hero’s blade.

    “You won’t live the night,” the shade hissed.

    “Nor you,” he spat back.

    Thin wisps of smoke rose from the shade’s body as death took hold.

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    1. I like it, in the moment but with a sense of a events either side. Exciting, and leaves me wanting more. =)

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    2. An In media res tale like tis better be good and it sure is! History implied and future predicted working on either end in perfect harmony. This ain't over yet, damn bet'cha! Cool.

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    3. There are stories and there are epics. This feels epic.; grand and lush with heroic passion. There must be a grand villain waiting. Can't wait.

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    4. Great action sequence with a lot of back story hinted at. I hope this is part of something larger, because there is a lot of room to grow in this piece!

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    5. It feels like it was part of an epic story - nice one!

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    6. I think I am reading this wonderful tale slightly differently to everyone else. In my mind I see this as a mortal wound to our hero before he slays the shade. I hope I am right as I love the idea of dying a hero's death for the greater good. Either way, as everyone else says, epic!

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    7. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement!

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    8. You're welcome Dex. Do feel free to feedback on other's stories as they all appreciate too.

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  7. good to have a break from Nanowritemo, for sure and this fantasy piece is a good way to go, Dex!

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    1. 'feigning flight but not the pain. The pain was real' - this is the sort of writing which is simply perfect. Great fight description.

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    2. I loved that line as well. Perhaps the shade should have been more tentative about their encounter with such a name as shadeslayer. :)

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  8. Dilemma 2
    The mole has interfered with my eternal rest! Even in the pitch black of this subterranean home I can see his agitation and he surely senses mine. I want out. I want to drag this body, rotting or otherwise, outside into the air. I want to feel sun, see shade, see people…
    Oh. They will not want to see me. Foolish creature, why had I not thought of that?
    Because, oh foolish creature, you are fresh woken from sleep by a mole, of all things. You cannot think rationally.
    Yet
    But you will. Oh yes, you will…

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    1. And when you do ... I doubt you will be so foolish. Watch it, mole!

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    2. Ha ha! The befuddled 'early morning' wonderings of a freshly woken zombie. Really like this, Antonia. =)

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    3. I'm wondering when we're gonna hear from Mr. Toad :) This thing is like salt peanuts. More, more, more. Cool.

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    4. Mole equals coffee me thinks. Delicious. Sounds like a confident undead. Could there be a bit of revenge in his future? I hope so. Yay to a more refined zombie.

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    5. I have already begun the next instalment, just waiting on the words to complete it... this zombie is going to be such fun to work with. Not done this before, it's intriguing and satisfying in an odd way.
      Thanks for all the good comments. I am enjoying this one a lot.

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    6. Such a great feel to these pieces. I don't read much zombie fiction, but I'd read this. I like the slow awakening and the sense of so much more to come.

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    7. Oh just awake, I wonder what he'll do???? Not so much the walking dead as the waking dead eh!

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    8. Haha Helen, waking dead indeed! I love how the zombie is considering his next move. We don't often get a peek at a zombie's thoughts and I love this new approach. I'm also very curious if the mole is the reason he's awaken?

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    9. When I read the first part of this I felt that you could build this into something larger and I am so pleased to see that you have done just that. Love the way you give us a befuddled zombie to start with but close with some serious menace!

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  9. Once upon a time I was an unpublished writer of romantic novels

    ‘Interfered with’. A far too genteel euphemism, implying for those willing to be so deceived little more than an unwanted pseudo-accidental brushing of a breast, sweated hands’ weight on the inside of a thigh, a dirty-fingered tug at innocent and unbreached knicker edging.

    Reality was different. Was out-and-out invasion, agonising as the shades of innocence were jagged peeled away. Was ugly, as the blooded blooming of the iris-darkened eyes saw all too clearly what to next expect. Was noisy as the scything pitch of protest rose up and then rebounded, multi-multiplying fear.

    But I earned a fortune from the films.

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    1. The greatest horror is routed in reality, but the worst horrors of all are 100% real. Dark, Sandra, and exceedingly well written.

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    2. Horror always lurks in the parallax view. The one that overlaps what we want to see with what we really see. The pedophile's sly smile within the garish grin of the clown. Excellent. The rtitle is perfect too.

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    3. Dark dark stuff Sandra. Bubbles naked emotion to the top of mind. Horrifying because it is sad. Well done.

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    4. ice cold and vivid, horrifyingly vivid. Wonderful writing, Sandra.

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    5. Thank you all - I am intrigued to see how much has 'rubbed off' as a result of regularly reading other's work on this site, and of course how effective is the discipline of the 100 words.

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    6. Oh, this is a dread-filled bit of work. Truly evil in the way it builds. The last line is like a punch to the gut. I read it thrice, even so.

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    7. Brilliant final line! I wasn't sure that was where it was headed, being wrapped within the sadness and fear in the piece.

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    8. I really like the way that you parallel the 'fantasy' against the reality here. The gritty reality of rape and molestation versus the portrayal (which we see too often in the media) of innocence willingly offered and taken. Very dark, very hard hitting and very good.

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  10. Hello friends. I will be back to comment. Off to ready children for school.Here is my attempt:

    Flesh and Blood

    The smell of meat drove him to frenzied rage. He stalked across the once familiar room. The fleshy odor pitched through his nostrils, roused his primitive brain. Reason no longer interfered with his animal instincts. Maniacally he tracked the scent to a closet beneath the stairs. A reading lamp threw a circle of light against the door; the glow seared his milky eyes. His moldy fist destroyed the wood. The thing, once named Patrick, cast shade over the hiding, mewling figure. His mouth fell wide; his ravaged tongue lapped at her salty cheek. His open throat clicked and growled, “Mother.”

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    1. The licking had me shuddering, the final line just makes it altogether worse. Great piece of horror, Marietta. =)

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    2. Oh man! Promise me, MM, that you will be sending this out to every Mother's Day issue of every magazine there is. It's just so damn good good good!

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    3. Enough to turn one into a vegetarian, perfectly disgusting.

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    4. it stalks you, drags you in line by line.
      The standards here are getting higher by the week... brilliant, Marietta, just brilliant.

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    5. There's such a primal feel to this story, all growly beast in a man's shape, but the ending is a screeching turn to something even more horrific. Very well done.

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    6. I really loved this line " The thing, once named Patrick, cast shade over the hiding, mewling figure." The whole thing was very visual.

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    7. And I think this is our first matricide here at Phlambler's World. The stalking was visual and scary but that final line was just disturbing. Remind me never to take a peek inside your mind Marietta!

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  11. Wow! Looking good people! I'll be commenting after I post this thingee.

    Beneath My Feet The Sands Of Ozymandias

    In the glow of my guttering fire her hair was the exact shade of the barely risen sun. The thousand scarlet silks of her costume did not interfere with the promise of her dusky rose nipples or the laughter in her anthracite eyes. Her voice was the morning wind.
    "Who are you?" I asked
    "I am tomorrow," she said. "And you will never see me again."
    I looked at the hundred pitched campfires of my enemies, waiting for the dawn, in the valley below and knew she spoke the truth.
    When I turned back, she was gone.

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    1. Oh wow, and wow - this is so gorgeously effective in evoking the scene - I can feel the chill of the retreating night and hear the rustling of the other waiting troops in the tents around him. Chill down my spine too.

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    2. Gorgeous images and wonderful emotion. I could feel the grand nature of this one man's future. His possible end being so important yet personal. Arthurian in a way.

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    3. there is more to this, of course, much much more... yes?
      brilliant imagery, so vividly depicted with so few words.

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    4. This is stunningly beautiful, so visual and evocative that I want to walk right into the scene, tragic ending and all.

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    5. That's just wonderful AJ - a lesson in how to write - I might learn yet ^_^

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    6. Brilliant line "I am tomorrow...and you will never see me again." So true we cannot relive tomorrow more than once. :) I also thought it was perfect you said her voice was "morning wind" as it implies something moving, something coming... implies change. Lovely!

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    7. That is gorgeous AJ, a flawless little gem.

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    8. This piece carries the exoticness of the desert winds as we are held in its sway. Excellent writing as we are coming to expect and loved the description of anthracite eyes.

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  12. A change of focus [4]

    Hands in pockets, so as not to interfere with evidence, was second nature; balled into knuckle-dustered fists rare but Pettinger had just learned, from a manageress barely able to believe it herself, that the pitch-dark hotel room he’d left seven hours earlier had been ‘mega-steam-cleaned’.
    Good insofar as his two-day occupation with her might evade detection, but less so if she’d been forcibly brought to this shaded room before being killed.
    Not to deny her, but were his involvement known he’d be taken off the case: it was essential he handle this one himself, especially now the chambermaid was implicated.

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    1. Suspenseful and rich. Ooooh a good villain is hard to turn away from. Unless he has you tied ankle to wrist of course.

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    2. again, I want more! sometimes 100 words is not enough!!!

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    3. Oh yeah! The noir part of the journey begins in earnest now. Cool.

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    4. I like that he's not motivated by fear for himself but rather a determination to discover what happened to his lover. The tone is everything I want in a noir tale.

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    5. Oh it's not finished, what happened next! ^_^

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    6. This proceeds apace! Good work, Sandra. =)

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    7. A further tease for us as the tale develops at the most fitting of paces; leaving us wanting more but delivering enough to keep our interest piqued. I cannot wait until next week to see what will come our way.

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  13. it's probably a bit derivative.... Matt said "it's alright" but I never know over email what type of "alright"...










    >>Black Box Holo; Lv10 Bio-Hazard Interdicted, Segment JX12H17732M Classified Red<<

    *External Viewer shows static*
    Aurelli swears.
    “...audio... interference... unusu... flora......... greeeeeeeeeee....” The oscillating pitch of Guillard squeals feedback.
    *Aurelli pounds the controls*
    “...That better, Lieutenant?”

    If in doubt, percussive maintenance, she murmurs.

    The picture returns; scanner grounded, sideways. A smooth, pale leg flips the thrashing Guillard; flesh shaded puce and skullcorroding.
    “They s-said you were…..” Aurelli recoils, horrified. Viewer static.
    *Airlock Alarm*

    Aurelli retreats; the woman with iridescent eyes and emerald veins, casually ruptures the airlock with treelike potency, holds forth cupped hands…
    -Join me, beloved; it’s sooo wonderful…
    *Holo blackout; audio only*

    *Agonising screams… then…*
    -Ohh…

    >>Transmission Ends<<

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    1. I love 'percussive maintenance' my partner practices that a lot... with keyboards, telephones, anything breakable ... this is intriguing! like, very intriguing!

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    2. I'm sort of reading this like a tennis match, head turning from one impression to another and then back again, but it's obviously some sort of intergalactic, terrorstruck and stuttering game with a fractured soundtrack. Good indeed.

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    3. This is so reflective of life with my sons: they are in game worlds I don't understand that make me vaguely uncomfortable - but in this case there's the horror of something quite real on the other side of that box.

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    4. I agree with Antonia, 'percussive maintenance' instantly jumped out at me. Love the imagery of this piece and as a player of games, I can picture this vividly.

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    5. Paints an interesting picture, Zoe, in splashes of static and flashes of imagery. Frantic and intriguing. =)

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    6. Ah, so Mr Farr's better half joins us and what a pleasure it is to see you here Zoe. Love the hinted at backstory we have going on here, 'They said you were...' I fear that poor Aurelli's reunion with our lady with the iridescent eyes and emerald veins was not quite what she was expecting. An excellent first entry to The Prediction. Hope to see you here more often.

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  14. Visually popping as a movie or tv establishing sequence. Could hear the sirens and alarms and general panic. Looks like they messed with the wrong god-like alien or transgressive human. Cool. I also have been a member of the ADW method of computer problem solving (i.e: if it ain't workin', hit it with a hammer) school. Complete as it is, a warning parable or cautionary tale, but I wouldn't mind the further adventures of this death-ocked trio.

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  15. Congrats to AJ & Zaiuregrey!
    My offering this week is:-

    Instructions

    The pitch of the voice in my head came down a tone or two. It was for a while interfering with my thoughts, but now things had become a shade clearer. I always did what the voice told me, but I didn’t like it when it got excited. Now as he looked up at me, I knew what I had to do. The voice said to start at the middle of the collar bone and work my way down to the abdomen, then all would be revealed to me.

    The first cut was the deepest, he hardly yelled at all.


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    1. Ooh, this made me shudder. The character is fulfilling the voice's instruction so calmly!

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    2. The sense of being occupied by another, of having one's actions dictated, of obeying with complete passivity is what gives this its horror.

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    3. My voices like this story very much HH. Me, I liked the drop of cold sweat down my neck that started in line one and avalanched into a river at the last toe-curling sentence. Cool.

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    4. What scares me is that this is the voice being calm, this is what she is willing to capitulate to... I really don't want to know what the voice says when it gets excited... =s

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    5. I go with John here, I don't want to know what the voice says when it gets excited either... one scary story!

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    6. Ah Helen, shades of Dexter here and his dark passenger. I love the juxtaposition of being forced to do the crimes but not liking what the voice is asking to be done in its excitement. Such complexity wrapped up into one simple line. A chilling tale which will leave many of us with nightmares I am sure.

      On another note Helen, do feel free to share your Crooked Cat news here with all as I am sure everyone will be delighted to hear more.

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    7. Thanks Phil! For anyone who is interested Crooked Cat Publishing has just signed me for my Novella 'I Know You Know" - it's a psychic thriller to be published early next year. Of course I am delighted! ^_^

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  16. Evangeline

    His masked face hung above the woman in the shade, keen eyes tracking her parasol as it performed another restless twirl.

    Attired in a pristine blue dress cut in a modest, youthful style, Evangeline the Collector looked deceivingly goodhearted. A glance would not expose her pitch black heart, nor her chilling pleasure for pain.

    As she smiled pleasantly at the world around her, the man who held her death slid an obsidian blade into his palm and braced himself against the tree. The knife was black, black for her heart.

    He would fulfill the contract. Evangeline would not interfere again.

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    1. 'Parasol' such a light-hearted, innocent word, and 'the Collector' so chilling because one wonders straight away what it is she collects, knowing it cannot be good. Renoir could (should?) have painted this.

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    2. One thing sure. You are going to take a quick look to check what's occupying the space above your head sometime during this read. Somehow it reminded me of that old, French optical illusion of the lady sitting at her huge, round mirror combing her hair -- until your eyes flip flop and you realize you're staring at a death's head skull. The obsidian knife shiny, with its chipped, scalloped edge is perfect. I'm yapping so much, Zaiure, because you just speeded up my heart rate and my pulse rate and . . . oh hell . . . you just scared the you-know-what out of me. beautifully done.

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    3. This has me thinking beyond the story; Evangeline and he have a history, I'll wager. I'm not so sure he should be so confident of his kill, either.

      Love the idea of the black knife for the black heart, too.

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    4. I loved the term Collector for Evangeline, give rise to all sorts of thoughts, what is it she collects? It starts so simple, almost lulls you into a false sense of security and then you twist it to a scary ending. Nice!

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    5. it's the coldness which shows in this, the blackness which indicates cold. Brilliant!

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    6. What I particularly like here Zaiure is the almost doll-like external image I have of Evangeline which masks her internal blackheartedness. She is the most chilling thing of the piece and I actually fear for our obsidian wielding masked man. Wonderfully imagined.

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  17. The Empty Space in the Soul

    Last week I smiled and the guilt nearly overwhelmed me.

    We never saw the truck, over on our side of the road, until it was too late to do anything but swerve to avoid it, pitching over the rail in a tangle of car and inadequate barrier. We lay there, nothing to interfere with the inevitable, as we hung in the wreckage and all I could do was cling to her hand as I lost her. All I could to was watch the light pass from her eyes.

    Life is shades of grey and I have no right to smile.

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    1. Such straightforward, simple but hard-hitting horror here, Matt, proving once again that it is the real which makes the biggest impact.

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    2. You captured so much emotion in the first line; very powerful.

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    3. Heart wrenching, Matt. Painful.

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    4. All the sorrow in the world in one wrenching moment. Haven't we all felt the hopelssnesss of watching someone drift away forever. This one cuts deep, Matt. And lasting.

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    5. superb writing, the simplicity of an accident and its aftermath captured in so few words.

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    6. Damn you Matt, you went and wrenched my heart right out of my chest yet again. You do the horror of loss so well and this is another masterful example. The most poigniant piece is the guilt our narrator feels at a fleeting smile. When is it ok for us to live our lives again after such a loss?

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  18. Driven

    Keys wrested from reluctant fingers, I consigned Nate to passenger. If a stasis spell occurred in the exchange, he needn’t know. It was that or listen to him pitch a fit, and we’d squabbled enough lately.

    My ethics diverge from the norm. The world is not black and white, but shades of – no, not grey – yellow and green and red.

    Always red.

    Blood is power. I needed Nate’s…and a dark field microscope.

    “University, it is.”

    Engine rev muted Nate’s reaction.

    I answered anyway. “To identify the illness.” And magically track its maker, but he didn’t need to know that, either.

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    1. It's not just the story - although that, and so much in this particular episode that if I try to pick out individual phrases I'll have to highlight the lot, is compelling - but there is something addictive in your writing, your use of words. A brilliant follow-on to Colleen's last.

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    2. I agree with Sandra, I love your use of words in this piece. It feels very organic in its narration.

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    3. There is an almost kaleidoscopic edge to this, and the serial as a whole. With just a slight twist, what you were looking at becomes something slightly different, but always wondrous.

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    4. You leave us wanting to know what happens next.

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    5. As ominious as the jungle drums in Lord Jim's head. And as inevitible. Still, there's room for what comes next to be something other than we expect. That's the great part.

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    6. waiting for the next part with bated breath... it's good!

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    7. What a brilliant phrase about the world not being black and white. So often have I heard the 'it is grey' trotted out that this was such a superb variation. Menace, hope and power play all contained beautifully within 100 words.

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  19. Fade to Black

    Sam was wearing his best suit. He always was.

    Brian tapped his pen. "OK, Sam, what's your pitch today?"

    "A ghost story. An unquiet shade haunts a movie studio."

    Brian frowned.

    "It's called Fade to Black. A scriptwriter interferes with a mob-funded movie. His murder is made to look like a suicide but his ghost writes a film exposing the killers."

    "It's a little 'Hamlet'."

    "Brian, please."

    "I'm sorry, Sam."

    Sam paled.

    Brian rested his elbows on his desk, then his head in his hands. The same time, every day.

    "I'm sorry, Sam," He whispered to an empty room.

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    1. Repetitious nightmare apparition - small but oh so horrific.

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    2. Poor Sam. He's a shadow of his former self. But take heart O Restless Pen Monkey, you can walk through walls and Brian can't. That makes for one hell of an elevator pitch opportunity, right? Loved this bunches and bunches.

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    3. clever use of repetitious ghost themes!

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    4. Now that's a ghost writer and a half! Poor Sam and Brian forced to repeat the same scene again and again. But what I really like is the way we get a whole back story woven into the centre of the tale. Are those mobsters still out there and is Brian safe?

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  20. Shadows

    Imagine a prison with no shade, for a killer afraid of the dark.

    Karl flicked the lights off and on.

    "Don't interfere," Jorgen pleaded, "I made a deal."

    Karl's hand hovered over the switch. "Does the widdle psychopath need a nightlight? Want some warm milk, too?"

    "Please. She'll kill me."

    "Bullshit. You made her up. Tell me the truth, or..."

    Karl plunged them into pitch black. Fingers of cool air caressed his face. A voice like snowfall whispered, "Thank you," in his ear.

    He slammed the lights back on. Jorgen's head rolled across the floor, eyes staring, mouth still gasping.

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    1. OMG that's a scary visual! Nice one John!

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    2. Once again, the area where your mind takes you is breathtaking in its originality, and in the use you put it to. That first line is full of slow-seeping menace.

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    3. Oh, loved this! Truly gives you a chill reading this when you wonder what a killer could possibly be afraid of. Feels like a victim just got her revenge.

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    4. John, I want to run around inside your mind sometimes with the concepts that you come up with. I'm cursing myself for never thinking of an eternal sunshine prison, a ghostly variation on Pitch Black, to keep the prisoner safe but also confined (why would he leave if the darkness outside would kill him). Chilling, creepy and very cool.

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  21. The last line makes your eyes dart back to the one you just read and that's when the shudder runs down your back and the hairs on your nape stand straight up, because when you read that line again, you heard that breathless voice in your ear and felt the cool air on your neck. W.O.W. and cool.

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  22. very visual and very scary, loved it.

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  23. Okay. This just popped up out of a dream. I will be back to comment on other stories in a bit. Hope everyone is having a great day.

    The Island

    In a bramble thicket covered by night the menfolk huddled. The hunting party was done; the men finished with the girl in every way. They pitched her into the deepest well; leaving no sign. Underground, organisms of the pit fed upon her while she still took breath. They were hungry. Day turned to undying night and sunrise passed many times. Her skin receded from bone and her eye sockets grew darker than shade. Still they crawled over her; weak sobs did not interfere with their feast. Marie feared living would be eternal; she feared she would not die.

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    1. Dream? Nightmare more like! This is truly horrific, and so well evoked.

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    2. Man! Thrown down a well with no Lassie in sight! I'm still suddering at the touch of those unseen but well known organisms from the undergound crawling my skin and the quite different iteration of the life eternal that they teach in Sunday school. Grim. Diabolical. Lovely.

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    3. perfect horror writing, has all the elements needed. Good one, Marietta!

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    4. Marietta, I felt this was going to be a tale of revenge on the wretches who raped her. What you deliver to us is total and utter despair which has left me as hollow as her eye sockets. I was thinking of what other writers do that to me and Shirley Jackson sprang to mind; not bad company to be keeping.

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    5. Like Phil, I thought we were going to get vengeance risen. But this is horror, and horror is unrelenting, horror has no happy endings. Chilling, Marietta.

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  24. Well hello my lovelies, so nice to see you keeping the place filled with delightful tales whilst I have been otherwise engaged. I have been reading from afar and will be commenting later this week before judging. In the meantime, please find below a rare foray for me into the world of poetry, although it may best be described as rhyming sentences as I'm sure my pentambic whatsisname probably isn't quite hitting its beat ;-)

    A word from the wise

    "Dinnae interfere with things far beyond yer ken,"
    Soft words spoken in a lilting pitch; a warning, an omen.
    Stories of screeching Banshees, feasting whilst they wail,
    Were just that to his mind, a superstitious tale.
    Whisky fuelled, he boasted of treasures he would free,
    From barrows in the tor on the moors of Dungoree.
    She warned him from the fireside, where she warmed her aged bones,
    That the shades were far more gruesome than just fear inducing moans.
    Now those words echoed in his head, deep inside the barrow,
    As barrow-wights feasted heartily on his eyeballs and bone marrow.

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    1. Shades of William McGonagall? Except the last four lines, which are just great ...

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    2. Ha ha! I love it , Phil. The last four lines are spectacular, and I couldn't help reading it in a (bad) Scottish accent, like a gap-toothed old man by the fireside in the pub on a dark and stormy night... ;D

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  25. A nice set of rhyming couplets! with a tinge of the dark attached.

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  26. Pentameter, schmintameter. I love it a lot, Phil. For me classic rhyme is like coming home. Stories like these have formed all of our codes and myths since time began. Cool. (It even inspired me to assay a poor imitation of my own below.)

    The stories are the stories
    and they's lasted for a reason
    Down through the all the ages,
    all the eras, times and seasons
    They're simple sideroad warnings
    As plain as Odin's Arrows:
    keep your eyeballs on the road ahead
    and keep your asses out of barrows.


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  28. And now for something completely different(without typos this time).

    Vows

    Bespoke gown laid out, she turned to the mirror, a shade of her former self.

    “Come now, girl. They’re ready.”

    “Wish they’d pitched me off the ship.”

    They’d plundered her treasure cave and left her parchment-dry, always thirsting for a life they’d forever denied her.

    “You could interfere,” she pleaded, black eyes large and watery – the last things left to her, if only because they couldn't be hidden or sold.

    “’Twould be my life forfeit.”

    Outside, waves washed over a dune, revealing an edge of sealskin. It called to her.

    “I’ll wed on the beach.” Restored, she’d make them pay.

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    1. A selkie tale! Melancholy and yearning, and the mirrored eyes so haunting.

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    2. I'd totally forgotten about selkies. My youthful self would be so disapproving of me.

      Such utter sadness runs through this piece before turning to thoughts of revenge, an oh so deadly revenge. Beautifully captured, especially those black eyes, and you make me want to go read the myths of my youth now.

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    3. Ah, I had also forgotten selkies in all but name. Feels like a bigger story bursting to get out. I hope she gets her revenge.

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    4. oh I do like selkies and this is so so good!

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  29. Back when I was a kid I had an album(yes, vinyl) by, I think, The London Philharmonic playing Fingals Cave by Mendelssohn. I loved the ominous music and I loved the cover more. It was a sort of impressionist rendering from the mystical darkness inside the cave looking out toward a misty barely luminous sunlight. The combination of the cover and the music ran chills up and down my spine that I remember still. Just got that same chill reading Vows and I swear I heard that masterpiece playing. Thanks SD. I dig your music. It took me somewhere.

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    1. I, too, was raised with records and vinyl, with their great covers. My nieces and nephews still have an affinity for them in this digital era, so my siblings raised them right. I think I'll hunt down the album you mention. Thanks for the feedback and music suggestion!

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    2. I can't check to see whether that is the recording we have ... I can hear the music and see the cover you describe, but our vinyls are unsorted and too tightly wedged, and my Dad's up in the loft, I cannot (as I hoped) scan it for you ...

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    3. Thanks for the thought, SD. I'm glad we both remember it. :)

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    4. Sorry for the typo RR, of course I know Vows is your story. Chalk it up to too late at might, too tired and far too stupid (thass me).

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    5. Sandra, there is the basis for a whole new horror story...
      'our vinyls are unsorted and too tightly wedged and my Dad's up in the loft... how long has he been there? Is he playing all his vinyls up there and sending down a bucket for food and water and
      Antonia, stop being silly...

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    6. 'Antonia, stop being silly.' Yes, indeed ... the poor mans's been dead for some seventeen years .. which actualy makes thing's worse, doesn't it? Shades of something nasty, let's hope he doesn't pitch himself out next time we lift the loft cover, claiming we have interfered with his peace and quiet ...

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    7. 'mans's' ??! - I meant man's of course

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  30. Time for one more?
    There's always time for one more, of course, now whether you should or not... that's the trick. ;)

    I was looking at killer whales the other week. Not whales, of course, but they do attack sharks, even great whites! Anyway...


    Mer

    Simon staggered and tried not to puke as the boat pitched. The ocean washed across him in shades of brine and bile. Nature was angry with his interference.

    With each heave of the ship, each glimpse of the sea, he saw them. Their lithe bodies, perfectly toned human torsos and sleek tail flukes. Their savage joy at the raging ocean, their hunger for him.

    Orca DNA had seemed the right choice, a new breed for new times. But he could see their sharp teeth as they called to him. There was too much of the killer in them.

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    1. Lovely alliteration, and what watching whales has brought forth from your pen, once again.

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    2. Another nautical tale to grace our pages this week and a scientific mash up brings us horrors from the deep.

      This tale tells us exactly why man should not play God (or whatever deity you believe in). Loved the way you caught the playfulness of the Homo Orcanians (ok, I made that name up) as they toy with our future victim from the ocean. How soon before they work out how to board the vessel?

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  31. perfect pitch, (excuse pun!) here.
    and it has given me the idea that if my zombie gets a move on, I can write two episodes a week...

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  32. is it just me or has this set of words produced even more superb writing than usual?

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  33. And that's this party brought to a close for this week (fortnight) as I remove the vinyls from the record player and wonder to myself, 'Just what did happen to Antonia's dad, he just went to the loft for a five minutes....'.

    So, pens down, I will be away to judge and new words will spring forth shortly. Adieu

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