Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Prediction - shall we dance one last time?

Well, this time next week I shall be posting up the winners for the final time before rushing on over to Colleen's place at http://predictionfiction.blogspot.co.uk/ to find out what the new words will be. Exciting times. I for one cannot wait to continue the party over at her place!

But, before I announce this week's winners, I have some news to share. I was greeted with a rather wonderful package in the post today. Sandra Davies has collated her tale The Blacksmith's Wife, crafted at The Prediction (both under Lily's and my watch), into a wonderfully illustrated printed version and more can be found out about it on Sandra's blog. Thank you so much Sandra - a pleasure to be re-acquainted with her and to see her in print.

Now this week's winner I suspect will not come as much of a surprise to anyone looking at the comments made. With a runner-up spot in his last visit, David Barber goes one better this time round with God's Work. Dave - you made me weep at the end of this tale of a man cursed to live out each day as the last, all for the crime of saving his wife's suffering. And yet I think he would do it again without a second thought. I feel sadness just thinking about it again. Such a great tale in 100 words.

Just the one winner this week, I fear that I would have six runner-ups easily this week otherwise, so comparably well written were the other entries!

So, congratulations to Dave and my continued joy at reading the amazing entries from everyone else which we see week in, week out. Such inspiring writers, the lot of you.

Now, onto next week's words. But, oh my, what is this? For those who read this blurb, you may recall a gluttony had crept upon my tome recently, his body slowly threading with gossamer. I went to disturb him for the words one last time but all I was greeted with was a cocoon of some kind. Oh well, I shall package it up and send on to Colleen. I wonder what form he will take from now on - especially as this is the book's first time overseas.

So what about the words? Well, on 7 May 2011 I posted my first Prediction entry at Lily's place. As always, we were given three words and here are the very same words I was given then for you to play with. Thought it might be kind of poetic:
  • Jigsaw
  • Capture
  • Pimento (and yes, I had to look it up at the time too)
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 31 January to get your entries in and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter on this site. New words will spill forth at Colleen's place on Friday 1 February but remember that there is a different time zone to contend with. Speaking of time, my time as custodian of the tome has passed now and I look forward to seeing what new words Colleen will pluck forth when she takes ownership.

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!

Let's see what tales you can piece together at Phlambler's World for one last time!

203 comments:

  1. WOW! Thank you, Phil. Congratulations to everyone who takes part every week, though. I know I don't always comment but I do read them and I consider myself to be very lucky to be in the top 3, let alone win. I will try harder to leave a comment on everyone's story.

    Good luck this week, fellow Predictioners. Let's send Phil out with a bumper week of stories.

    See you guys later...

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  2. Congratulations, David! I could not agree more with Phil's choice.

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  3. And so we wind down, both Phil's time as our fearless leader and this portion of Nate & Seth's journey. Thanks to Phil for hosting it and to all of you for coming along for the ride. (Note: there may yet be more than one post from me this week, but those words are... challenging.)

    No Mercy

    Pimento-red eyes beseeched – to no avail. This creature had never been human, never been kind. She nearly destroyed Nate. Fearing the effect should he taste her blood, I pulled my strength from him. His legs held for a moment before he lurched sideways, losing purchase in a tilting world.

    “Should’ve captured my conscience instead of my heart,” I scolded. “Your master’s plan has failed.”

    She gave a jagged smile. “Victory comes in small steps.”

    “Death more swiftly.” With the last bit of accrued magic, I ripped her into jigsaw pieces.

    Both depleted, Nate and I struggled out of the pit.

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    1. 'losing purchase in a tilting world' my favourite phrase from this ... but I'm not convinced we have seen the last of her.

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    2. I also like the line Sandra mentioned, but also the exchange:

      "Victory comes in small steps."
      "Death more swiftly."

      Another great instalment. =)

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    3. Some awesome words You've delivered there.

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    4. Captured his conscience indeed. I hope she lives to try that tactic. What ever she is I am hooked on her evil. Great job. Again.

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    5. I think it fair to say, given the comments here, that the individual phrases throughout are beautifully written. My favourite was 'pimento-red eyes beseeched'. The parting shot of victory comes in small steps is also excellent - really sets things up for a sequel (oh do say that there will be a sequel!).

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    6. I'm pretty new to Nate & Seth's journey but if the previous installments are as good as this I need to read them. Excellent writing and, as already mentioned, some great phrases. Well done, RR.

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    7. Well done with your use of pimento! Not quite sure how I'm going to work that into a story yet. :) I agree with John, love the two lines "Victory comes in small steps" and "Death more swiftly".

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    8. David, the entire series can be found in order here: Nate and Seth Series There's a link at the bottom of each installment that takes you to the next. I hope you enjoy it!

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    9. Thanks, RR. I'll take a look.

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    10. Ooh, I'm intrigued! I'll certainly be checking out the whole series too. =)

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    11. Echoing the above, wonderful phrases! Finally out of the pit. I too need to retrace the story some episodes back. Thank you for the link.

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  4. Congratulations, David! well worth the winning accolade, for sure!
    (my zombie keeps saying, for sure, and I keep repeating it. I will have to have words with him.)
    Rebecca, superb instalment - jagged smile, says so much.

    The zombie is being philosophical at the moment, what's good about being dead, what's bad about being dead. Comes out about equal, in his mind. It will be in the book, the story has to move on. The gnome is dead and he is munching on the flesh and ruminating. Poor guy. More later.

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  5. Well done David - well deserved, and look forward to reading more of your.
    And thank you Phil for the heads-up for the now-in-print 'The blacksmith's wife'
    Tao lost no time this week to attempted extrication:

    Bare-faced lies

    Unmoving, patient resignation, Tao told the man who threatened him, ‘Not me; my brother. He the yellow-bearded Cain deserving capture, I blameless Abel, seeking his reform.’

    ‘They say there is a way to prove identity.’

    ‘Birthmark? Aye, stripped we can be told apart, he bears a three-piece pimento-stain, jigsaw of a butterfly ‘neath his left arm.’

    Implacable. ‘Remove your shirt.’

    'Outside.’

    Turning, Tao led the way into the barrel-piled rear yard, made as if to laboriously lift both shirt and jerkin, awkwardly twisting. As the mark of Cain appeared; the man’s eyes occupied with checking, Tao swiftly slit his throat.

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    1. I think I said it before, but there is something poetic in the way Tao speaks.

      "He the yellow-bearded Cain... I blameless Abel..."
      "...a three-piece pimento-stain, jigsaw of a butterfly 'neath his left arm."

      Very nicely written. =)

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    2. I agree with John brilliantly written and so poetic

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    3. Poetic speaker. I love the quick thinking fella. Excellent dialogue. Excellent.

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    4. Such a convincing and casual liar, I suspect he could talk the very clothes of the back of the devil himself. The same casualness in the way he dispatches his accuser makes this one very nasty individual Sandra.

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    5. Great prose, Sandra, and a killer last line. Really enjoyed that.

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    6. I agree, this definitely reads poetically with the dialogue. The man should know better than to look away. :)

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    7. A gloriously concise ending to a very tense scene. Cunning. Great stuff.

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    8. Tao never disappoints! I found myself, for the barest moment, wondering how he'd get out of this one. I should have known better. And I must add my solid agreement to the compliments for your prose. Lovely stuff, always.

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    9. You imbue these few words with such richness - a visual feast - and Tao is such a clever villain I can never seem to feel for his victims, though I'm sure I ought.

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    10. That first paragraph is just divine! Such a cutting ending! (nooo pun)

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  6. oh nasty way of getting out of trouble, but good just the same!

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  7. the zombie moves on. This section is actually 161 words in the book, cut back to 100 for the Challenge. I have not been this involved in a work of fiction for a very long time, it is going to outpace the Challenge at this rate, then what will you all do to follow his adventures... unless I post the instalments regardless. Let me know.
    Meantime...

    But I could feel even better, so I will eat some more. A leg, perhaps, or the fat-as-butter belly. That’s rich and good and with luck, if I nibble here and there the powers that be will put it down to a wild animal.
    Do you realize, Skullface, that you are captive to the need in you?
    Yes. Nothing I can do about it. The need is but a part of the jigsaw that I am.
    It’s tasteless. A pimento or two would help. Anyone know where I can get some, without attracting too much attention to myself?
    Thought not.

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    1. Love his self-realisation and shrug of so-be-it. More self-aware than some of the living, with regards to their driving desires.

      Enjoying this, Antonia. =)

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    2. A great concept you have going on her Antonia, loving it.

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    3. thank you!
      the story grows apace, I now know where he is (a copse on the island, not a park at all, he has just woken up to that realisation) and the fact he lies to himself (all the time, he didn't find the jacket, he took it from the still warm body of the first kill and the second kill didn't speak, he just looked tasty) so we have this dilemma going on, which is the original title, actually! he tries to justify killing as it was beyond his moral code and is now essential to his survival. Quite a problem.

      More coming soon.

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    4. This is a great installment. I cannot read more. This is really dark and thoughtful to the core. Great writing and character building.

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    5. Like John, I find the way that you are slowly getting him to reconcile with what he is a fascinating piece. How long before there are no longer two voices in his head but one, the one who likes the taste of butter belly.

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    6. Got to love a zombie, and especially one who talks to himself. Am I wrong in feeling slightly sorry for him? Great stuff, Antonia.

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    7. Did I read it correctly in that he's finding his snacking tasteless? Interesting thought. Wonder if it's true for all zombies? :) Or perhaps an acquired taste? I'm enjoying his journey!

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    8. I found it unsettling that a zombie was acquiring a more sophisticated taste. Where will this take him? That's a pretty frightening journey sure to be filled with unimaginable horrors. Think I'll enjoy that ride :) Really enjoyed this.

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    9. I love a story that keeps me guessing. I find myself wondering if Skullface will go from pragmatism to horror at what he is, or if he'll even embrace it wholeheartedly. I can't wait to find out. I for one would love to see you posting the whole story, even if chapters do go over one hundred words. Would you like me to set up a separate page for you on The Prediction, so you can post longer bits there and we can all keep up easily?

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    10. Colleen, it would be wonderful to be able to post regular instalments, longer ones. I have extended the previous sections, I am somewhere around 5000 words now and he is walking toward the Briddlesford Road and his next destination, aware of a shadow tracking him. It is actually me, I was doing that in meditation Monday night, when I walked with him along the road. If you really don't mind setting up that page, I will be pleased to post there.

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    11. This story continues to intrigue me. I love his journey of self-exploration, and the realization that despite his somewhat more cerebral approach, he is still a flesh-eating zombie. I'm so glad you're continuing with it.

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    12. "The need is but a part of the jigsaw that I am." alone is a powerful line. It has a..certain depth in it. Liking how the Skullface story evolvs.

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  8. 'the jigsaw that I am' the perfect summary of his persona(assuming, of course it it one of those infernal double-sided ones). Love the laconic tone.

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  9. Alpha

    Adam is considering the olive in his martini. It has failed to protect the pimento it shelters from the savage cocktail stick. Both have been speared by cruel destiny. Captured and impaled.

    Adam cannot feel the cold marble of the bar, and this martini will get him no more drunk than the nineteen before it. Adam is a superhero.

    He has a friend, Jigsaw, who sees glimpses of the future. For her entire life, Jigsaw has been plagued by flashes of a distant apocalypse.

    This morning she told Adam that it will be his daughter who destroys the world.

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    1. Jigsaw - what a brilliant idea to use it as a name! Please, please can we have a serial about her and Adam ...
      (and the use of olive + pimento gives the piece such vivid colour.)

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    2. Love how understated Adams character comes across to me, it makes him more powerful. Agree with Sandra great name for a character (inspired)

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    3. Xero shoots and scores. You have taken an epic and made it feel real. Simply put this seems like a much bigger story that I want to read.

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    4. Wow - great last line John! You build this story so delicately from the start, weaving a great world aroud it and then kapow! Really liked this.


      Btw - reminds me of the old superhero drinking joke. Goes something like: Drunk guy in a 20th storey hotel bar says these beers can make you fly. Other guy says "liar". 1st Guy - seriously, watch and jumps out window, flies around, then comes back. Other guy takes a swig and copies him and hits the pavement. Barman - "Superman's a real asshole when he's drunk!"

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    5. Brilliant word usage in the first paragraph. The description of the olive and pimento and the words "failed", "savage", "cruel", sets Adam's emotional state without having to say how he's feeling. I'm always a sucker for superhero stories. :)

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    6. A new superhero mythology has been born here I think. If this isn't bought by Channel 4 or BBC Three then I'm throwing my TV out of the window.

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    7. wonderful images created with so few words, the use of colour and coldness combined. Magical.

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    8. John, I really can't say much more here than what's already been said. This is brilliant. The idea, the imagery brought by your use of the prompts, everything. Knockout story telling by its very simplicity. Thank you!

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    9. The tone of despair is set from the start, and the matter-of-fact delivery of who and what Adam is creates the perfect set up for the last line. Very tight story that could go further but also is complete as it stands.

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    10. Great piece, John. I hope it was shaken and not stirred.

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    11. His having those drinks like he knows he's going to hear something bad. The knowledge of an inevitable destiny is one hard to swallow. Brilliant superhero piece!

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  10. Congrats David on a deserved win last week, sorry I didn't get to drop by, I just published my collection of 50 dark verses "The five daughters of Spite" on Kindle (available free 27/01/2013)so was a bit exhausted. The prediction has given me so much over the years, it encouraged me to start writing again, and rekindled my love of writing poetry. Thanks Phil for everything you've done to keep the show going and I look forward to stepping over the threshold at colleens place. Here's my entry.


    Pretty Fragments

    Her life lay there before her like a broken vase.
    Each tiny fragment glittering, like a scattering of pimento stars
    Entranced by the beauty of captured moments from her life
    A rich tapestry of entertainment, from her birth to the afterlife.

    She no longer sees as we do, her worlds a jigsaw shape,
    made of tiny pretty fragments that outline her ethereal shape.
    A life cut short before her chance to shine
    So much promise that she had, but she just run out of time.

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    1. Such a lovely visual: 'a scattering of pimento stars', and congratulations on 'The five daughters of Spite'.

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    2. Thanks Sandra, I hear from Phil that you've published "The Blacksmith's Wife" Congratulations, sounds like a great project and achievement.

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    3. What a rich and romantic piece.not to offend with comparisons but it had a Poe feeling; Annabel Lee. Lovely descriptions and so sad. I suggest everyone enjoy more of your gorgeous words...Five Daughters of Spite. Mr.Davoll has a new collection available. Grab it soon.

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    4. Beautiful. Moving. Wonderful. And did I mention beautiful. No more to say, the tale speaks well enough for itself.

      And for those wanting to know where to purchase William's the Five Daughters of Spite take a look here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Five-Daughters-Spite-ebook/dp/B00B3IKJU4

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    5. Beautiful. I agree with Sandra, loved the visual created by "a scattering of pimento stars". Creative word usage!

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    6. This reads like a eulogy of someone well loved but lost too soon. Simply gorgeous.

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    7. Gives you something new each time you read it. Wonderful imagery, William. =)

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    8. Beautiful and sad, William. Love a bit of poetry and this didn't disappoint. Well done, my friend, and congrats on the short story collection.

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    9. Beautiful. A heartbreaking last line. Brilliant.

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  12. Whoops - managed to edit out 'capture' - here's the revised version:

    A change of focus [16]

    Pimento-flush of temper paled, anticipating Pettinger’s explanation.

    ‘Ma’am, there’s some as-yet-undiscovered link between Hopgood’s parent’s murder and Khakbethia...’

    I didn’t name the country, so how...?’

    ‘The gunman’s from there, his sister mentioned Cherriman, whereupon two separate puzzles became double-sided jigsaw.’

    ‘Sister?’

    ‘The alleged princess. Also operates as high-class whore.’

    ‘Then bring her in!’

    ‘She’s better use as bait, will enable us to capture the un-esteemed Judge Jenkinson.’ Mutual acknowledgement of a long-desired piranha.

    ‘You’d better go and pacify the ambassador.’

    But appeasement was an over-optimistic option: His Excellency greeted him as ‘Yanno’ and Pettinger recognised his traitorous, black-hearted eldest brother.

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    1. Your words always entice. How do you remain prolific and with such quality. I am jealous. Not in a bad way just a happy I get to read it way :-)

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    2. Oh more layers, upon layers, upon layers which you always do so well Sandra. This is the writing equivalent of a luxury lasagne, all meaty with oozing creaminess.

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    3. Another creative use of "pimento", well done! Loved "pimento-flush of temper". Another great introduction, who is this traitorous, black-hearted ambassador brother! :)

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    4. pimento has brought out the best in you all! this is good, Sandra!

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    5. I am in awe of your ability to set up and deliver twists that feel organic but still surprising. I cannot wait to see how it all connects up in the end.

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    6. Ha ha! I like Phil's description, layers upon layers, enticing and exciting. =)

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    7. Thanks all, for comments here and Tao's tale - suh support so much of what Predictions is all about, and Phil - I shall treasure forever your lasagne remark ... :-)

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    8. That is great writing, Sandra, but I need to catch up with the previous installments. Links???

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    9. Thanks David - all episodes are to be read on a page on my blog, labelled 'from Rhodes' - at http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html
      (apologies, I've never yet managed to find the right combination of < and > to turn this into a click-on link)

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    10. Sandra, I loved the use of pimento, I agree with all the comments before, this is excellent writing.

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    11. A lot going on here. And ever so entertaining. I wonder where does the next one take us?

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  13. Okily dokily folks...here is my attempt. Writing dark is not easy when tiny pink sparkles and fairy like giggles keep breakng into the shadow. I woke early to try. I hope it is good.Argh.

    Lunch
    Buster liked bologna sandwiches with pimento cheese on white bread. When momma made his sandwich she always topped it with a fresh, red tomato. He reached forward to sip his tea and smiled. Touching the empty tumbler his memory snapped like a rubber band. Buster’s head bucked, capturing images. He recalled there was no lemonade, he remembered feeling unhappy and then momma was sad.
    “Momma?” he called. “Anymore tea?” he tiptoed into the sunny little kitchen. The old copper kettle whistled. Momma was a jigsaw puzzle splayed across the black and white tile. “Don’t worry momma, tea is just fine.”

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    1. Children like these seem to be on the increase ... Insidiously horrific.

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    2. Interestingly I read this as a man of low intelligence, still living at home and mollicoddled by his mother until he snapped. Very well written - the type of horror I like, no graphic violence, just leave it for the reader to paint the picture.

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    3. I got the same picture of him, Phil. He doesn't even remember/realize what he's done! Definitely gave me the chills when I think about how long she might be lying there. Great, chilling scene Marietta!

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    4. oh oh scary image alert, one to haunt you when you least expect it...

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    5. Now this is old-school, subtle horror - the kind that sticks with you long after the story is over. It made me wonder how many times he'd stepped over her to make his tea, then promptly forgotten what he'd done.

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    6. Shades of Psycho. Violent non-violence, a gentle touch. Good stuff. =)

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    7. WOW! Marietta, I agree with a couple of the others in that I thought he was an older man. You reeled us in and shocked without the gory details. Excellent!

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    8. A Chilling tale told so well. This was awesome Marietta.

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    9. Gentle violence if I may call it. It's almost forgivable. But I got chills.

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  14. Change of plan

    New-positioned barrel hid the body but was insufficient to disguise the blood pimento-edging of the cobblestones, glistening jigsawed evidence of murder.

    Money, knife and letters extracted from the dead man’s pockets Tao, knowing capture likely if knowledge of his birthmark was wide-spread, urgently sought clothing, since his ship of choice sailed within the hour. A fellow valuing life above modesty solved the first, and the addressee of the letters changed intended destination to Dun Laoghaire, where he’d need to avoid a man who’d vowed to kill him, for the taking of his sister’s virtue, and his wife’s.

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    1. The line about the fellow valuing life above modesty did make me chuckle - a sensible man methinks! And as this unfolds I do wonder if there is anyone on this planet who has not been offended by the rascal that is Tao. A miscreant if ever there was one.

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    2. the formal language so suits the character and his devious doings, as if one inspires the other. Classic horror writing.

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    3. glistening jigsawed evidence of murder - fabulous phrasing and imagery. I admire Tao's survival skills but, like Phil, wonder if there's a port where he's not a wanted man.

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    4. Seems like all Tao's sins are catching up with him at once, and oh how many there are...

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    5. A hell of a lot of imagery in 100 words, Sandra. Another great read.

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    6. Definitely sounds like quite a bit is closing in around Tao! Excellent word pairings as always. Loved "pimento-edging", "jigsawed evidence of murder", and of course "a fellow valuing life above modesty". Well done!

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    7. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Might Tao fall as well? Or is he just a bit too good and can survive? I root for him!

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  15. This is a bit of a cheat but I'll be back with another and to leave comments.

    Phil mentioned above about the words inspiring his first attempt at the Prediction over at Lily's place back in May 2011. Well, this is a re-working of my story from that week. (In the original I missed out "capture" - a trait that has never left me.)

    Untitled...

    “What’s that?”

    “A jigsaw, the kid loves jigsaws.”

    “Of a pimento?”

    “Pimento is American. It’s a pepper!”

    “Whatever, it’s still a picture of a vegetable. Why couldn’t you get a picture of something he likes, Spongebob or Ben 10?”

    “What, you think I just grabbed it off the shelf and wrapped it?”

    “Well...”

    “Well I didn’t! I took that photo. I put time in to capture that shot and then had it made into a jigsaw for him.”

    “I…I…”

    “Love was put into that present...something you never put into our marriage.”

    ~End~

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    1. That's right you bitch..oops. Sorry. Obviously you were able to grab my attention and get me emotionally involved with a few tight lines of dialogue. Bravo dude.

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    2. Jigsaw, tick. Pimento, tick. Capture, tick. Congratulations on using all three words this week David ;-)

      An innocent tale to start with which builds and then reveals a disturbing undercurrent of a loveless marriage. I wonder how many similar scenes are played out across the country week in, week out (minus the pimento picture of course). You do know how to grab out emotions Mr B.

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    3. True indeed, and the inevitability so well spelt out and so dispiriting, how you get from jigsaws to 'you-don't-love-me' in one easy step, while man stands speechless.

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    4. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Just one thing, Sandra, what makes you think that the man is standing speechless?? :-)

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    5. dialogue carrying the undertones of dissent and nastiness. Love it.

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    6. There is such a great tension here, evidence aplenty why the marriage didn't work. And there he is, giving his son a thoughtful present, only to be derided. I see violence erupting - or very nearly avoided - in the seconds after this. I know you didn't give either party a gender, but the gift-giving parent seems male to me, which makes it interesting that it is the woman who failed to love.

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    7. Seems like a bit of silliness, and then the ending - ouch! Believable and striking transition.

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    8. Dialogue can indicate so much with just the right words and you definitely presented a capture of a broken relationship with this piece. Sad, cutting final line.

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    9. Ouch! Sometimes one neednt question the simplicity of things.

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  16. Well done David - I know I don't tend to comment on other stories but I do read them (although I'm no critic). Anyhow, here's my attempt...

    Preserve and Cherish Your Memories Forever...

    You've seen the ads: send in tacky snaps of your holiday, fake smiles as Father kneels, Baby coos and Mommy lovingly passes Timmy pimento loaf almost as speckled as his face.

    Captured on camera for us to stick on a mug, a calendar, a jigsaw...

    Didn't pay for Steph's bills so I moonlighted at a funeral parlour. Still wasn't enough, so she died (in pain) at home.

    I got the idea then.

    Stole some gear, made up her face, clothes, hair. Drained her blood; replaced by glycerine.

    Eyes closed, smiling, angelic; as if she'd wake if you called her.

    Always...

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    1. The ultimate way to preserve memories of a loved one. The anguished madness that loss can drive us to evoked in the tale above.

      Thank you for sharing this tale with us Zoe and do feel free to comment. One of my favourite things about The Prediction is the supportive comments which everyone gives each other - I know that they spur on my writing.

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    2. This was one of those soak in slowly sort of horrors, with a really creepy final line.

      And, being a comment-junkie (and I'm sure I'm not alone!) I echo Phil's sentiments - the support here is what makes the site so addictive. That and the words.

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    3. delightful, Zoe, dark and delightful. Please leave some comments, then we know we are reaching you just as you reached us with this one.

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    4. Oh, this is truly macabre! The irritation with consumer culture created "memories" being rejected, only to be replaced with a different sort of preservation is fantastic and horrible.

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    5. Sad and creepy. I wonder if the whole family's in on it or if Steph's stashed somewhere and he pays her secret visits. =s

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    6. A great piece of horror with an undertone of sadness. Well done, Zoe.

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    7. Oh that gave me the chills! Better than a picture? Eek! Like John, I'm kind of wondering if Steph is stashed somewhere to be viewed.

      I was just thinking it's interesting how readers assume gender, and sometimes we think differently. I think it's important for making a connection with the character, but always find it interesting. In this case I somehow felt that Steph's lover was a woman. :)

      Well done Zoe!

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    8. I echo John's words - sad and creepy. Very creepy.

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  17. A wonderful description of sadness growing to madness. A very stirring piece.The title pulls it all together so well. Good job.

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  18. Falling To Pieces

    Before I could tear her throat, dizziness slammed into me, turning vision into a grey-fuzzed jigsaw puzzle. I fell sideways and sat down hard, back against the wall.

    I could only watch Seth capture her and turn her slowly into splatters of chopped pimento on walls and floor.

    He took his time and he was brutal. She kept screaming long after she had no mouth to scream with. I think he did that, made her able to feel and shriek long after death took her.

    Terrified acceptance filled me as my brother helped me stand and we began to climb.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised Nate's feeling terrified - Seth has shown an unexpectedly nasty side: 'He took his time and he was brutal'. Wonderful stuff.

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    2. And my final entry as host. Hope it the fullness of it comes across.

      Friendship

      Pimento juice ran stickily down our grizzled chins, fresh and succulent after the harvest.

      We did this every year, when the sun was high and the winds just whispers, capturing our thoughts as we set the world to rights.

      Bob was lollygagging about some new dame he was seeing, at his age too, when he stopped mid-sentence, his face crumbling like a jigsaw.

      I never could bring myself to visit him at the home after that. I came each year thereafter to our spot under the spreading cherry tree and still do today to sweep the blossom from his grave.

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    3. Phil, this is one of those terrifying visions of the future, sweetly told but with the maggot of the inevitable in the centre. It 'comes across' all right, in spades.

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    4. Colleen - I cannot express enough my appreciation for how you push me. I was afraid to admit how far gone Seth is, but you did it for me. And in such a colorfully gory way! Thank you.

      Phil - There are so many ways to take Bob's decline, from the common to the supernatural, but the end is always abandonment, death, and regret. So powerful.

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    5. Colleen - Brutal is the word for it, more and more so as the serial progresses. How far those two have come.

      Phil - you have a great touch with human nature and nailing down the essence of a situation. This is a great example.

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    6. Oh arse, I encroached on your space Colleen, explains Antonia's comment of nasty, nasty as I couldn't see how mine was. Mind you, who better to share space with than the new host.

      A true insight into the darkness which has been bubbling away inside Seth seen through Nate's eyes. Dark and, to pinch a word from John, brutal.

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    7. Colleen - another serial that I need to catch up on. The visuals in this are horrific ans delicious at the same time. Great work.

      Phil - this is a great "slice of life" piece of writing with a heart wrenching finale. My father had a massive stroke just over 2 years ago and pulled through with flying colours (although we did think we were going to lose him). For me, that's how I read what happened to Bob. Well done.

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    8. Thanks David - yes, you did read it right and glad your dad pulled through. My gran suffered a stroke years ago which was a trying time for us so can imagine what you would have gone through.

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    9. Colleen - Definitely brutal, bloody imagery in this. Definitely don't want to get on Seth's bad side!

      Phil - Very touching, sad piece. Having experienced strokes in my family I definitely felt the emotion.

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    10. Colleen - The man becoming a monster, even for a time. It's Nate who I sit with in this piece. Sit and watch as horror unfolds.

      Phil - I had "Danny Boy" playing in my head as I read. Has the same poignant feeling about it. Very touching.

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  19. Step One

    Uncle Jim was a silhouette in headlights, shotgun on his hood, another in his hands. He held steady as we emerged. “I’ve seen prettier pimentos stuck to the sink after a two day martini bender.”

    I shielded my eyes. “Good to see you, too. Could you kill the lights?”

    “Depends. You both you?”

    Nate looked at me like a jigsaw puzzle he thought he’d finished only to find the center missing. “As much as we can be, after that. Got whiskey?”

    “Yeah, that’s you.” Jimmy shut off the lights and grabbed a bottle. “Capture the critter?”

    I flinched. “Not exactly.”

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    Replies
    1. Rebecca, I really don't know how you do it. Not only have you come up with totally new ways to use pimento but this is a masterclass in brilliant, yet unshowy writing (I'm having trouble with finding the better word)
      And that says nothing about the further tension engendered in this vividly evoked piece. Wonderful.

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    2. I do like sharp cutting dialogue and it doesn't come much better than this.

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    3. You really get a strong feel for the scene, great writing, Rebecca. =)

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    4. I think Uncle Jim is my favourite character, his dialogue is always so good (as is your writing throughout). Wonderful way to head us to a conclusion.

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    5. Excellently written scene, RR. I could really see it as I read and the dialogue was great. I do love dialogue. well done!

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    6. Well done! Quite a few great lines. My favorites were “I’ve seen prettier pimentos stuck to the sink after a two day martini bender” (made me laugh!), and "like a jigsaw puzzle he thought he’d finished only to find the center missing".

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    7. Dang, this is great! Dialogue flows so well. Bravo, RR!

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  20. The Mouths of Babes

    Jessica plumped her daughter into the highchair and began pulling toys from a box on the kitchen table.

    “Let’s see. We've colouring books, blocks…”

    “Cklobs.” the toddler said.

    “Yes sweetheart b-lock-s. Abacus and what’s this?”

    “Bigjaws.”

    “Clever girl. Yes a jig-saw.”

    She handed her the wooden toy and continued baking.

    “Bigjaws.”

    Jessica turned, the toy abandoned.

    “Do some colourings love, Mummy’s busy.”

    “Bigjaws.”

    Jessica noticed a shadow captured in her daughter’s eyes.

    “Bigjaws.”

    Pimento rivers meandered through the floor tiles.

    “Bigjaws Mummy.”

    Jessica never heard her daughter say Mummy for the first time. She’d already been dragged into the furnace.


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    Replies
    1. Ha! out of the mouths of babes ... almost a Grimm fairy tale, this!
      Good to see you, Antony, especially with pieces like that!

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    2. Now this is classic. I love the way the baby speaks absolute truth and the mother hears gibberish. It may be true more often than we realize, though generally without such dire consequences. A nice, grizzly tale.

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    3. Clever mangling of language, though I fear for the child now...

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    4. The tone of this is so normal, everyday, believable ... the ending one I hope is not, but suddenly I begin to doubt. Well written dialogue.

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    5. Good to see you here for my last show Anthony.

      Really like the way you play with language here. A distressed warning ignored at the mother's peril. Strong writing as always.

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    6. Ha! A great piece of horror, Anthony. I'm glad my daughters are older or I'd be locking them in their rooms at night after reading this. Nice one, buddy.

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    7. Great piece of chilling horror! I knew something was coming when the child kept repeating the same word. I love when something is implied and not spelled out, loved "Pimento rivers meandered through the floor tiles". And the final line, perfect conclusion... now I'm going to lock my door. ;)

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    8. From the mouth of a child this sounds scary. In the eyes of a child this is even scarier.

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  21. My zombie is on his way... just needs an idiot to give him a lift to his next adventure, which I cannot wait to get into!

    In my previous zombie stories, they spoke. So far Skullface hasn't, I am wondering if I can get him to the end of the book without speaking, just for the hell of it. Make everyone else do the talking.

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  22. Gosh last post here, that feels kinda sad. So thanks Phil, for all the hosting and judging. I don't want to end on a down note, so this week I've gone with something more whimsical...

    Hello, and welcome to this week’s “MasterTroll”

    As we all know, cooking wild human is always a bit of a gamble; stringier than farmed produce but the excellent gamey flavour can make them worth the extra effort of capture. Remember that if you do your own butchery, a good jigsaw is a solid investment!

    Today we’ll be doing a light platter with meat cooked on the bone as a starter, and for the main we’ll be barbecuing a ribcage stuffed with Olives, Pimento and Garlic along with pan-fried mushrooms and a light vinaigrette. All with wild human freshly caught yesterday, just up-state in the ruins of Brooklyn.

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    Replies
    1. Is it wrong that I want to try this? It just sounds so tasty! I love the light tone and the wry humor. Adding the bit about the ruins of Brooklyn was a beautiful finish.

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    2. Nice! Post-apocalyptic troll-mutant cookery course. Surviving doesn't get tougher than this! ;D

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    3. Zoe, if you're in danger just post 'eeeek' and we'll send someone to come get you. ;-)

      Matt - I think the darkest thing in this post-apocalyptic vision was not the show or the ruins of Brooklyn but the innocent phrase about farm reared produce leaving me with visions of massive battery farms filled with humans. A chilling future.

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    4. Nicely done, Matt. Great imagery that, dare I say, has made me feel hungry. Great writing.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. Loved this! I laughed out loud with the first line and had to read it aloud. Loved the humor of this and the originality, would not have thought to do this! I agree with RR, t does sound like something that could be tasty. ;) Brilliant mix of savagery and sophistication!

      (Deleted previous comment, was logging in with my old account on accident ;)

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    7. How did the trolls come up with this idea?! I wonder if they found tapes of old TV shows in the ruins and now mimicking our entertainment has become their culture... Can't wait to see their version of Top Gear! Great stuff, Matt. =D

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    8. black humour is hard to do well and here it has been done well, Matt, brilliant offering!

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    9. I wondered how long it would take till someone used the power-tools... ;)

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    10. Hehe writing down the recipe!

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  23. TV Worth Paying For

    “Thank you and welcome to Get Ready, Cook - LIVE.”

    The family were sat round the television, minus their dad. He was on the TV.

    “So, show us your ingredients, Brian. Ooh, what a collection. A pimento...” the host said, adopting an American accent.

    Laughter from the audience.

    “Pepper.”

    “Sorry,”

    “It’s a fucking pepper!”

    Nervous laughter.

    “Language, Brian, we’re filming,” the host hissed.

    Brian grabbed the nearest knife and pounced on the host, instantly turning his face into a crimson jigsaw.

    He turned to the camera, “Did you capture that? Now that’s TV worth paying for!”

    ~End~

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    Replies
    1. A tale which started innocently enough but then becomes filled with hatred. You had me recoiling from the computer screen as I read it.

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    2. Regrettably I can think of several reasons why this might be a Good Idea ...

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    3. I definitely would not want to be in that audience! Interesting introduction with the family at the beginning. Wondering if they're somehow involved.

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    4. I love the start being so mundane (is anything more mundane than daytime TV?) with the family watching their own father's sudden switch. Was this planned? Was this always going to happen? Good stuff!

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    5. you can imagine a Jeremy Kyle type audience sitting there, agog with all this and secretly loving every moment of pure car crash TV. I loved every moment of this piece.

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    6. In a grim, bit pesimistic way I can see this being done on telly. Great twist.

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  24. Jigsaw Day

    Tuesday is jigsaw day with Sosie and the boys. I bring pie and she supplies the booze. Mind you we don’t get smashed or nothin’, have the boys to think of, but it takes the edge off. Little Harry, nothing but big blue eyes and sweet, pimento cheeks, likes to swallow the puzzles pieces, and it falls to me to keep him occupied when Sosie’s trance begins.

    My girl’s a nightmare catcher, and when those dreams take hold she’s captured in whatever sick web they think up. She didn’t ask for this; they just come, like flies to the dead.

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    Replies
    1. I'd be open-mouthed with admiration were it not for the flies at the end - this is tremendous writing of a compelling and original scene (and of course yet another example of the huge amount of talent that takes these prompts and spins them into yet another new-thought tale) Brilliant stuff Zaiure.

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    2. Oh yes!! A fine story in 100 words. Great final line. Well done, Zaiure.

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    3. Thank you! It definitely inspires my writing reading all the scenes everyone comes up with. Love this community. :)

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    4. Didn't see that last section coming. Very nice indeed!
      Intrigued about what a Nightmare Catcher is now... would love to see that idea expanded. =D

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    5. definitely needs expanding, it could be a whole new concept. Loved it.

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    6. Love it, great voice and flies to the dead would make a great title for a story.

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    7. Made me think about if it happened more than once a week, and what other distractions the boys had on those occasions...

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    8. Such an innocent opening to this mystic tale. The idea that the girl captures nightmares, albeit unwillingly, is intriguing and seems like the opening to a wider piece. Excellent stuff.

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  25. Congratulations, David... well done!

    I've been absent more than I've been here, the last several months, but I'm still going to miss the Prediction. Thanks for all you've done, Phil!

    Okay... what's everybody been up to...

    Yikes! I'll be days reading all these! Lol!! Oh well, might as well toss mine in the pot, eh? I'll be back later to comment on everyone and congratulate the winner.

    I think I've set a record... less than 48 hours to come up with a title this time... I just might be getting the hang of this writer stuff! *wink*

    ~*~

    BECOMING ONE FLESH
    By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

    ~~**~~

    Silver bell’s soft ringing announces arrival of Mr. Angleton.

    Angry chatter of jigsaw… cutting through bone… echoes from the back room.

    The man sniffs the air… once… twice… as if to capture the redolent scent of the butcher’s shop.

    Waiting, he surveys the sliced meats in glass countercase… salami… pimento… head cheese.

    White-aproned butcher emerges through curtained doorway… with a nod, he hands paper-wrapped packages across counter.

    “Good to see you again, sir… enjoying the new missus?”

    “I am indeed, Thomas.”

    Gentleman and butcher exchange barely concealed winks.

    Soft tinkle of silver bell announces departure of the Angletons.


    ~ finis ~

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    Replies
    1. I've already had one 'yikes' moment, and this is another - the 'soft tinkling bell' the perfect counterpoint to the horror of the 'paper-wrapped packages' Well done.

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    2. Love this, Veronica. I could actually smell the interior of the butcher's shop and hear that bell. Mr Angleton becoming the Angletons leaves the visuals in the back of the shop to the reader's imagination. Well done.

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    3. Humorous and horrifying at the same time! Loved the banter between Mr. Angleton and the butcher and I agree with Sandra that the "softness" in the final line was the perfect way to close.

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    4. 'enjoying the new missus?'... Love it!! XD

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    5. that is unbelievable, so natural, suburban and chilling all at the same time.

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    6. Ha great stuff. I could smell the sawdust and blood. Reminiscent of A League of Gentlemen, dark horrors swaddled in even darker humour.

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    7. Like Anthony, I too was put in mind of The League of Gentlement and Mr Briskett (was that his name) and the stuff. Not sure if it's made it to the States but worth checking out if you can - very dark, sightly surreal comedy series. Anyway, back to your tale Veronica. There's a playfulness from you amongst the darkness, a wryness to the writing and, until David pointed it out, I had missed the wonderful subtlety of that additional s on the surname at the exit. Brava!

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    8. Oh my. This is such exquisite horror!

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  26. Haven't done one of these in a while, so forgive the clunkiness!

    Try And Try Again

    A whole shattered into fragments becomes an enigma. Like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces spilled out and no clue as to what picture it might make. There are flashes of the familiar amongst the chaos; it captures our attention, holds it and draws us in.

    Emerald green eyes. Pimento stained lips. Pale peach skin.

    There’s a potential there; an excitement as to what I might rediscover in putting the pieces back together. My hands tremble and I can barely control my excitement as I set aside the knife.

    This time she will be beautiful… This time.

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    Replies
    1. If that's clunky I look forward to being astounded when you're in full swing - excellent.

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    2. Nice job. I agree with Sandra. Great story really glad you sent it in.
      This time she will be beautiful...creepy stuff

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    3. A little bit of Frankenstein in this! Starts off from the perspective of a philosopher, followed by the introduction of madness with the intro of the knife. Great, chilling read that paints so many pictures.

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    4. images and gore combined, to make something that will linger in the mind. Don't let it escape, turn this into a longer piece of flash fiction and submit it somewhere, fast.

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    5. Made me think of a mad plastic surgeon... brrrrrr!

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    6. Paul - great to have you back for the final time round here. Hope that you will pop over to Colleen's when she takes over tomorrow. I am sure that everyone would love to read your stuff over there.

      This was devoid of clunkiness, a wonderfully crafted opening, thoughtfully presented and that chilling ending. You captured the innermost thoughts and madness of the narrator so well here.

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  27. Apologies, Pettinger woke me up first thing with this.

    A change of focus [17]

    Red green yellow patterned carpet, reminiscent of the triple-packaged peppers piled high on a market stall, behind which leering eyes had sought to capture the interest of the prettiest women. Same eyes as now smiled lies, hiding behind jigsawed pomp and circumstance.

    Pettinger, his authority less cardboard cut-out than his brother’s, said ‘You try harassment with me, brother, and I’ll have your balls!’

    ‘Gunita says you turned her down ...’

    ‘I like not goods well-used by scum.’

    ‘Hopgood not in that category?’

    Diplomacy discarded, Pettinger leapt upon his brother and kicked him hard, until His Excellency’s balls resembled squashed pimentos.

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    Replies
    1. Loved the imagery in the first paragraph of the market peppers (great visual for a carpet!) and the jigsawed pomp and circumstance. You definitely have a way of painting vivid pictures. Also loved the shotgun dialogue, as always. :)

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    2. I love it that someone else is woken by their characters... I don't feel so alone now.
      This is sooooo good, so sharply drawn and vivid it isn't true.

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    3. I am crossing my legs as I type this, the thought of those squashed 'pimentos' is making me squeamish it seems! Glad that Pettinger was able to make one last appearance here and I'm looking forward to following his adventures at Colleen's place.

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  28. quick update, I can't post the ongoing saga just yet, as none of the key words are in it, but as I am sitting here giggling like the idiot I think Rich is, I wanted to share two bits of the story. He has a coat and hat, stolen from a car.

    *Now look at me, every bit the man about town, or would be if I had half decent shoes. These are mud covered and scuffed, but it’s muddy and scuffy out here so… perhaps no one will notice.*

    Then, after a lot of nonsense, including finding two tickets in the pocket of the jacket, we have this dialogue:

    *Excuse me, Skullface, scuffy?
    So I am inventing a language. Any complaints?
    No, just commenting.
    That’s fine. Now let’s get going, shall we?*

    Now I can reveal what the tickets are for,
    a zombie convention...

    Now tell me, seriously, is this horror writer totally off his head or what? And, even more important than that, is he infecting/affecting me as well...

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    Replies
    1. Always good to have you share Skullface's adventures with us. Will be interested to see what you do with him as I noted that Colleen is setting you up a separate section at her's for him. An honour indeed!

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  29. Oi, oi, awfully late I am! Congrats David!
    I wrote this in haste, but didn't want to miss the goodbye party.

    Subject

    She ambled painfully down a pimento colored road, her limbs weary, threatening to bring her down. The parasite lapped at her blood, extracting her empty while its poison injected into her system, intoxicating her.

    The hospital gown she wore reeked back from the waste flowing in the culvert.
    Far behind her the giant eye of the Watchtower searched.
    She was near the hangars.

    “Halt!” Two soldiers stood before her having her at aim. They announced. “We’ve captured the subject.”

    She looked at them, her eyes glowing. A step further - their bodies falling apart. Shredded; a deformed jigsaw of man.


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    Replies
    1. Cindy, you must know by now that I always leave the door open a crack for you at the end as you always bring us such delicious treats.

      You are so good at misdirection that I swear you were a magician in a former life. We think that our weary woman is the one in danger, stumbling along at her perile but that twist delivers the reality of the situation with a whopping punch!

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  30. And for the last time at Phlambler's World, The Prediction party is coming to a close.

    The champagne has been flowing, caviar and truffles have been guzzled with great gusto and everyone has worn their best party frocks.

    A delight to behold and to host. Now away I must, before I turn into a pumpkin, and finish commmenting and then pass judgement on the fine, fine entries above. Thank you friends for coming - winner(s) to be announced shortly and I will then eagerly await the new words to be plucked forth by Colleen tomorrow.

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