Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Predition - serial killer

So Halloween has been and gone. I trust that you came through it with your souls intact and your demons sated.

Now before I go into judging mode I want to make note of a couple of things. The first is, for those who didn't clock it in the comments section last week, that our very own John Xero came runner-up in The Times' 50 word ghost story competition out of a field of about 1,500 entries. Our sincerest congratulations to John, the talented bugger, whose story can be found here: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/competitions/article3580545.ece.

And secondly, I have not paid tribute to Sandra Davies for her long running serial The Blacksmith's Wife. For 41 episodes (which is equivalent to ten months!) Sandra kept us enthralled with the tales of our headstrong heroine. Some of us, me included, were unsure if she would survive the end of episode 41 but our worst fears were realised. A toast to Sandra whose complete work can be found here: http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-blacksmiths-wife-serial.html.

I urge you to go check out both John's and Sandra's pieces using the links above.

Now onto the winners for this week. Well, I have to say that the standard was exceptionally high this week, and we know that high is the norm here, so it made it tougher than usual. After much procrastinating I have forced myself into a decision and this week's winner is.....

....Asuqi with Fried Ends. Asuqi, there was just a beauty to the writing and the whole feel of this piece which just cried out to me. A feeling of loneliness permeates throughout. There is just one word to sum up this piece for me. Perfect.

My runner-up this week is AJ Hayes with Killing Field. AJ, this was a lesson in how to let the reader's imagination do the work. Hints of what is happening dangled before us, glimpses at best, which tantalise us all the way. And I loved the way the reprieve for our potential victim is so short lived. Top writing.

So congratulations to my winner and runner-up mixed and the gentlest of curses on the rest of you for making my task so hard with such great writing. Do keep it up!

And onto this week's words if I can just get our trusty tome to co-operate. He's always crabby after the Halloween period once the pumpkins flames are extinguished and the spirits tend more to the alcoholic than the otherwordly. Let's give it a try.....and the words are: 
  • Chamber (will allow chambermaid, chamberpot, etc)
  • Myopic 
  • Divert
Hmmm, seems like he does have a grump on as those could be tough, especially myopic, but let's see what you can all come up with. I have thoughts brewing already.

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

I look forward to your entries this week to divert me from the mundane!

77 comments:

  1. Thanks Phil. Every single story here was polished to a fine shine. Congrats Asuqi. Your subtle and telling tale of existential loneliness knocked my socks off. Just proud to be included in this gathering of eagles.

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  2. Okay I should'a gone to bed by now . . . but the idea wouldn't let me alone. We'll see how grumpy grumpy us.

    The Ladies In Hats

    My Aunties would take me out to the veranda on Sunday mornings and drink cafe au lait and feed me bits of sugared beignet under the table. I remember the soft sunlight glinting off my chain and the primary hues of their hats.

    Now, the sun slashes the Arabian carpets with gold and sends highlights reeling off the dark furniture.

    Now, my Aunties' eyes are sunken black holes. Myopic with the distance eternity imposes. Their voices quiet. Diverted by blood.

    The hats give back the sunlight in soft rainbows.

    The black iron chamber they kept me in seems far away.

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    1. 'sun slashes the Arabian carpets with gold and sends highlights reeling' - what a wonderful sentence in a profoundly entertaining post which merits multiple readings and never fails to intrigue. Truly loved this.

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    2. AJ, this needs to be read a second time immediately after finishing just to grasp the enormity of the piece. I hadn't quite understood the whole 'feeding under the table' bit until then and, well, that just blew me away. Casual cruelty mixed with what feels like an elaborate revenge years later and all told so beautifully.

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    3. The story chilling, the words lovely. The images are rich and gorgeous. I want to know more about the little "pet".

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    4. Ah, this piece draws a cruel imagery that hits beautifully! Great stuff AJ.

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    5. Bad Aunties! Good writing!

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  3. congratulations Asuqi and A, brilliant writing, both of you and AJ proves the talent with this seemingly enchanting tale of family outings which turns quickly into something so dark it's scary.

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  4. Phil, I´m honoured and happy =) Thank you so much! And congratulations AJ, I was thrilled by ”Killing Field”, very fine writing indeed!

    (Blogger has been wonky lately, not accepting my comments, but I figured if I write this here, it will somehow in some backward kind of reasoning, make things work again -- it has before!)

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  5. Phil - thank you indeed for the tribute for The blacksmith's wife - have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of it and would like to pay tribute to this wonderfully supportive crowd of Predictioneers, without whom she would have stuttered to death a lot sooner.
    And congratulations to John - tremendous achevement - and Asqui and AJ.
    For reasons beyond my ken, the final few comments and posts on last week's Prediction failed to reach me for several days so I'm going over there to re-read and comment now, having been in Germany for the past four days.

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  6. Congratulations to Asuqi and AJ! Those were both beautifully wrought tales.

    Also congrats to John for that great accomplishment. And to Sandra I say thank you not only for the tale but for raising the bar on turn of phrase.

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  7. Tainted

    Retrieving gloves from the car, I paused to draw protection runes. Invisible, they still crawled over my skin like ants.

    When I returned, Nate was standing. Naturally. He solves problems by chambering another round – or ordering one. With no way to divert fear, he faked bravery.

    “No spells,” he warned.

    “This isn’t witchcraft. The flavor is wrong, corrupt.” Traumatic myopia drove me to reveal secrets I shouldn’t. “I can’t cure you.”

    Red lines blossomed under his skin. “I thought tumor fruit was a myth.”

    “Apparently not.”

    “Then before I die, let’s torch this crop and hunt down whoever created it.”

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    1. There's a very workmanlike air to this, but one that is shot through with threads of something other. Such pleasure to be had from the interaction of these two, at all levels.

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    2. it is workmanlike, efficient and chilling, all at the same time. Good one!

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    3. "Chambering another round or ordering one" oh what a phrase you turn. Great story.

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    4. Love the opening line! Always good to draw protective runes. Just in case.

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    5. Oh crap, so Nate is infected now from the tumour tomatoes! Love the way that he wants to go out in a blaze of glory though!!!

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  8. " With no way to divert fear, he faked bravery." hit me like a satillite falling on my head. Absolute, universal truth in nine words. Like the sadness underlyng the Adept's narration. The last line recapitulates the faking bravery blockbuster perfectly. Cool. Way cool, this. Thanks for this gem, RRK.

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  9. Myopic. Egads and jinkies. Okay. Here we go. I shall be back to comment once cozy in bed with hot cocoa.

    Death Prayer


    Curse these myopic glasses. Without them I cannot see the dying. With them I cannot read the psalm. Therefore, I watch the old man. I wait in his death chamber; not entirely sure he merits prayer. Minutes drag. Perhaps he is worthy, deserving. No. Sadly time reveals truth. I see arrogance in those eyes; a secret sin happily recalled. He diverts from regret. With a lift of his chin it is decided. I pitch over the bed and pull him apart. With the press of my lips I take; what was his is now mine and he is no more.


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    1. Now that's a head snapper of an ending. Loved it! Juked me right out of my shoes. Cool!

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    2. Dark and red-eyed horror, superbly told.

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    3. stuffed solid with images that are pure horror writing, magical!

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    4. Very neat story Marietta! You delivered the horror feel well.

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    5. What a great concept that the 'priest' at our death beds is not a comforter but a judge. Wonderful conclusion where the soul is sucked straight from the body.

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  10. Apologies for my absence of late - I don't even have a letter from my mother! Well done Asuqi and Aj. Both great stories.

    OK, I'm a tad rusty but here goes...

    Mrs Salvatore

    “I come to clean room,” the chambermaid said.

    Breathtaking: olive skin, brown eyes and shoulder length dark hair.

    “I was just about to shower,” I mumbled, having to divert my eyes as she bent over the couch, plumping cushions.

    “No problemo.”

    I’d just washed when the shower curtain was pulled back. There she stood, naked and beautiful. She stepped in, myopic in her intentions.

    ###

    Checking out and there’s a framed picture behind the reception desk. It’s her.

    “Who is that?” I ask, taken aback.

    “Mrs Salvatore. She opened the hotel in 1957 but died tragically in 1959."

    ~End~

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    1. Phew! Think I'll step outside into the cool breeze for a minute or sixty. I need some iced tea right about now. If that's a ghost I'm gonna start hanging around haunted houses.

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    2. If you keep posting pieces of this quality you'll need more than a letter from your mother to allow absence, David - truly loved this oh-so-well-written tale.

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    3. how to write a horror story in 100 words... and some of the authors I get submitting work need 5000 words to do it!
      Brilliant, David!

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    4. Sexy and intriguing. Hmmmm. Is this a one night stand or something more? I hope there are more pages to this excellent beginning.

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    5. Naughty ghost! I like this take on horror stories, it's chilling and entertaining in the same time.
      Bravo, David!

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    6. E L James meets M R James in this raunchy ghost tale David. If that is you being rusty then I feel for the rest of the Predictioneers chances when you are on your 'A' game. Great way to build erotic tension before hitting us with the reveal at the end.

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  11. A change of focus [3]

    Allowing her to seduce him had been unprofessional.
    Allowing her to do so in the police-station car-park foolhardy in the extreme.
    Wincing at both his myopic inability for coherent thought (presumably some sort of sexual hangover) and his DC’s insensitive ‘Know her, boss? Brilliant! Easy ID then’, John Pettinger attempted to divert his mind to such questions as why was Sally-Ann Hopgood not where he had left her?
    Who had stabbed her?
    Was it connected to her parents’ murder?
    And could he hope that the chambermaid who’d balefully eyed his departure – after two days’ occupancy – had failed to recognise him?

    Earlier episodes of this tale, and the fore-running stories, can be found at http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/p/a-change-of-focus.html

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    1. Yay. Off to check out the entire story. This is such a good story.

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    2. I agree with AJ about the way you layer this with so many hooks to entice the reader into wanting, no begging, to know more. Parents' murder! When, where, whom and is it the same killer back again. Tell me Sandra, just tell me!!! Great stuff.

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  12. Ironic. Laconic. And, best of all, the story has hooks big enough to reel in The Kraken. Which completes the "nic" portion of my trilogy with: Iconic. Loved it. Wrapped me up proper with this one, Sandra. more please.

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    1. Comments like that, AJ, it'll be a pleasure - many thanks indeed.

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  13. not saying I am in a strange mood this week, not even admitting to a five day migraine complete with full scale flashing lights, but - this is one weird entry and it refuses, absolutely refuses, to go away! I tried, really I did, said this won't do and can't we have something more dripping in blood and gore and nastiness but no, the image sat and laughed at me and defied me to write something else. I didn't. Here it is.

    Dilemma
    The chamber is very small, not sure how I got into it but here I am. The creature who shares it with me stares through myopic eyes, no doubt trying to work out what I am and why. I have no answers… In an effort to divert my thoughts; I try working on an escape plan but that – excuse the pun – escapes me.
    There are two problems.
    The first is, the creature appears to be a mole and I am in his chamber.
    The second is, I seem to be dead, if my rotting flesh is anything to go by.


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    1. There's a good reason why this entry won't allow you to ignore it - it has to be the definitive response using these prompts. Tone is perfect, tale succinct.

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    2. Ooohhhh you have done it again. Such a chilling atmosphere and the last line opens up so many intriguing questions. Who is our dead friend?

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    3. Such a matter of fact acceptance of death. I have the voice of a Victorian gentleman in my head as he tells us his ghoulish tale. Definitely one to be told around a roaring fire with a glass of brandy.

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  14. There's another reason you couldn't ignore this, Antonia. It was the ghost of old E.A. Poe whispering into your ear, "If you ignore this I will be very disappointed in you and send my raven to peck at your nose." I believe that this means Mr. Poe likes your story very much. I do too. Perfect is a very good word.

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  15. Far from certain of the merits of this, so apologies if it lowers the standard ...

    Divertimento

    Not thick? How can you tell?’
    ‘Her glasses, she's myopic, only thick thing about her is the lenses ...’
    She continued up the stairs; their eyes diverted to her breasts.
    ‘If she is it wouldn’t matter...’
    ‘Musical too...’
    Unspoken agreement, they headed for the staircase, caught her up, stood either side, arresting mode.
    Startled, she looked from one to the other.
    ‘Violin?’ the tallest asked, nodding at the instrument case.
    ‘Viola.’
    ‘Orchestra?’
    ‘Chamber,’ still wary.
    ‘Goosey, goose gander?’
    Slight smile, ‘Baroque.’
    ‘Have you said your prayers?’
    Before she could answer, hand over her mouth, they seized her and bore her away.

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    1. No worries about lowering anything, SD. Bore her away indeed. To an uncertain future. One we hope for, another we fear. Characterization by dialogue alone is tough tough tough. But it works well here. Cool.

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    2. I feel bad for the poor girl. Yet these two "villains" seem mighty interesting.

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    3. they are interesting, Marietta, you're right! Sandra, more please!

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    4. Very nice use of dialogue to build the tension. You could feel the air hang heavy as the devious duo played word games with our dame. I fear that the music may be playing out for this young lady.

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    5. Poor girl! But I must say the conversation between those two unknown gentleman worked very well for the piece and their interaction with the victim was scary but fun to read.
      I agree, more is needed!

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  16. feeling more whimsical this week...

    The Last Voice You Will Ever Hear

    Welcome, please let me take your coat. Do not mind Mrs Wittering, her myopia gives her the squint and leer, it is nothing personal. An accident caused you to divert? I trust the country roads are not too alarming this late at night, although…yes! The rain is becoming harder and I understand why you would not wish to continue your drive. It is fortunate you found our little hostelry, far from the beaten track and away from the beeps and bings of modern technology that so vex the ear. Is that your bag? Let me take it to your chamber…

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    1. Superb use of title!! And the voice so accurately deployed, too, so that fearful anticipation is ratcheted up with each succeeding sentence.

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    2. I thought "man, that title's gonna be hard to live up to." But, you did that in spades -- aces of spades -- Matt. I can hear that obseqious, breathey voice in my ear. And it makes me shudder. Far from the beaten track indeed. Cool.

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    3. I like this, such easy laconic dialogue that leads you to...

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    4. Such exquisite tale! And then I return my eyes to the title and the words become more chilling, more fearful.

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    5. A devilish Basil Fawlty welcoming our diverted guest into his, well, I'm not quite sure where they have ended up but it feels that, just like the Hotel California, our guest will never leave. Loved the menace of your last sentence.

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  17. Evening all, bit quieter this week than last. Either NaNoWriMo is occupying everyone or 'myopic' has scared everyone off ;-)

    Anyway, here is my own entry (ok, I can't win) this week for your consideration.

    Tortured

    Squint, just a little bit, let the world blur before your eyes. Let the lights elongate like fast moving cars on the midnight freeway.

    A pinch of paprika to the cornea now, no stronger, crushed chilli seeds sending searing pain into your myopic world.

    You can hear his footsteps echoing as he stalks the chamber, taunting you with accusations; names, places, dates.

    A slap resonates across your face, diverted blood flushing underneath week old stubble. Still you won't talk as your eyes continue to weep. Only when the blade slices your scrotum do you ask yourself if she's worth it.

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    1. Now who's getting blokes to cross their legs, pdq? Truly nasty this - too vivid by half.

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    2. A question I hope I never have to answer, Phil. And a cracking good story to propose the inquiry with a razor (OW!) sharp conclusion. Way cool.

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    3. Ahh. I don't have a scrotum but if I did it would be shriveling after reading this story. Indeed, was she worth it...great great story. I want to know about the fella with the knife please.

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    4. seriously nasty, from the pepper to the end. Oh my

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    5. I love how the last line cuts right in!
      Very vivid story Phil, full of mystery that abducts in the night and asks questions to which the answers are unknown, but "She" is to blame for that! Chilling.

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  18. Favors

    She diverted the water with one small foot, rusty liquid darkening the patent leather Mary-Janes. Small and doll-like, lemon curls framed a cherub face and flat black eyes.

    “Please,” he said, voice rough as Papa’s sandpaper.

    Jenna didn’t answer, staring at the water as it swirled red ‘round the Headmaster’s broken head, poured down the chamber’s drain with a sucking sound. Myopic, he’d called her, his voice patronizing. As if he’d thought she didn’t know what it meant. As if she couldn’t understand.

    “I earn my grades,” she said, eyes defiant.

    He flinched, gasping, as she chambered another round.

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    1. I have to agree with Sandra. Excellent character study. Heroine or villain? Questions remain.

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    2. Zaiure, welcome to our little club and what a treasure you bring to us for your first offering. The descriptions in this are excellent, the tension palpable and that menace in her voice at the end is viscious. I do hope you visit again if this is the standard you are going to share with us.

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    3. Thank you. :) Really enjoyed reading everyone's entries so far and glad to take part!

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  19. Blonde, cute and a 9 millimeter GPA. What's not to like? Very cool.

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  20. How cleverly this zig-zags my expectations, sentence by sentence, and paints a completely-drawn character in so few words - superb.

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    1. this is sooo good, jumps from one alarming image to another and ends on a point when you want it to go on.

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  21. *Meep!* I am without RR's usual invaluable assistance, this week, in making my scribbles technically viable. One hopes I did well enough on my own.

    Descent.


    Grey-green smoke wafted upwind as the crop burned.

    “Smells like chamber pots in hell.” I chuckled, aimed and fired one round at the biggest fruit still not burning. It died in a satisfying spray of tumor and tomato guts.

    Seth gave me a “What the shit?” look and diverted me, pointing skyward.

    “Ok, Mr, Myopic, focus!”
    “What if it's airborne?”

    I headed for the car.

    “Call Jimmy from the road. We'll figure it out. C'mon, chop chop.”

    “Nate, what're we doing?”

    “We're gonna find whoever did this and make tomato soup out of them.”



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    1. Nate sounds more than a little hysterical - understandable under the threat of imminent death - and as ever the rapport and dialogue between the two are so convincing. The prompts sneaked in so well, too.

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    2. Colleen, as always you pick up so well where RR left off. Thought the dialogue was great between the two, really captured that sense of being brothers, and I loved the last line; made me chuckle.

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  22. Evening all! These words came to mind just before I was about to give up and not participate in this week's fun. So this is my contribution, hope it works.

    Release

    In the mind of the self-repressed figure, that humble in society, but secretly in desire to strip naked body and soul persona, forms an idea.

    Beyond the center, where the artificial red starlight of passing cars is gone, the path is diverted by own choice for the first time ever. Pulled by curiosity fed with fear and mixed with excitement, the chambered till now personality shatters while inhaling the scent of piss and sweat, blood and seed. Thoughts become myopic in the consummation of this new world. The behavior alters in the building sensation of wanted exposure.

    Then, it’s easy.

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    1. Wow Cindy, is this the birth of a psychopath that we see before us, their mind revealing the hidden truth within. That final phrase, 'Then, it's easy' tells so much in just four simple words.

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    2. Read this late last night when my brain could not cope with the amorphous; this morning I see it more clearly, and am the more disturbed. Great stuff.

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  23. I'm starting to not consider pizza for dinner tonight, darn you CF. I think it was the tumor and tomato guts that did it. Our two adventurers are revealing more and more about themselves. Cool.

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  24. Sorry for lateness, have been out playing tennis and just got back in. Going to spend some time commenting and then will judge so any late, late entries can still sneak in but probably only about 30 mins to do so....the clock is ticking!

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  25. That's all folks, party time is over for another weeks. Make sure you grab your coats and put your rubbish in the bin on the way out. But don't fret, there's another party starting in just under an hour so pop on by and see what gorgeous treats we have in store for you by way of three little words and also a couple of presents to be given in terms of this week's honours. As always, it's been a pleasure.

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