Saturday, 30 March 2013

Good Evening!

The tome and I are oddly energized this evening.  It could be that it was warm enough to open windows for a bit today, and there's been a lovely, cool breeze all day.  The evening is a bit more chilly, and there's an almost wild scent in the air tonight.

The tome is stretched out at the edge of my bed, sniffing mightily at the curtain as it blows inwards on the wind.  It seems content enough for a few minutes while I announce winners.

I had a very hard time this week.  Every story used the prompts beautifully.

This week's winner is Jon Xero with (Alpha):  The visuals are what got me in this story.  You do a brilliant job with description.  It's one of the things I consistently love about your work.

And my runner up this week is RR Kovar with Uncommon Courtesy:  I just love this piece.  Knowing RR's writing style as I do, I'm sensing there's at least one twist here that we haven't seen, even if she doesn't favor us with any more from these characters.  Though I really hope she does.

And now...new words!

Turbulent (Turbulence, or any form is fine)

Grunt

Handbook

Hmmmm...interesting combination there.


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, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine.

You have until 11:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time) Thursday, April, 4th to get your entries in.  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:00 PM on Friday, April 5th.

The tome has gone to sleep.  Go and create, my friends.  We'll be waiting...






104 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Congrats John & Rebecca! Well deserved for sure. :) Both of you are such an inspiration each week.

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  3. OK, so it WAS only 4 a.m. and brain clearly not functioning! Even so,
    I don't think it was anticipation of discovering the new words that propelled me out of bed before 3 a.m. but I have to say they have promise indeed ...
    Well done John and Rebecca and to all those who came so close behind, and particular thanks to Zaiure who always comments even after the doors are shut.

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    Replies
    1. I enjoy all the lovely comments on my submissions, so I try to make sure to comment on everyone's pieces as well. :) Though some weeks are so crazy I only get time by the end of the week!

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  4. Wow! Thank you, Colleen. =)

    And congratulations to Rebecca too. =)

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  5. Congratulations John and Rebecca, brilliant writing. Good words this week, I should be able to play again, how good is that??

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  6. Congratulations John and RR - well deserved!

    The Offerring - Part 4

    Jacob’s progeny fell forwards with a grunt and lay quivering. Elspeth now free, stared at his prostrate form, knowing HE was taking possession. The air around her moved with a turbulence that whipped her hair and clothing into a frenzy. Time was short.
    Can I do it now? Will HE awaken before I’m done?

    She knelt down.

    What was it that the Handbook said? Call HIM into existence then deliver the world from his influence forever. Will my blood be enough?

    Her hand shook as she slipped it under her petticoats and grasped the cold steel hidden within its folds.

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    1. Twist and twist again. =) Well-played, and bring on the next part!

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    2. More questions in the ending, once again. 'Jacob;s progeny' a biblically portentous intoduction.

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    3. I did not see that twist coming! Elspeth seems capable and resourceful, so while I'm sure she can do what is necessary, I wish she didn't have to. Great character.

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    4. Well! That was a lovely surprise. Elspeth becomes more and more interesting. I'm dying to know more about her, and to read what happens next!

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  7. Another surprise! I'd thought Elspeth was a willing "lamb" to whatever He had planned, but seems she has her own devious plans. I'm really curious about the handbook. :)

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  8. Wow, Thanks Colleen! I will toy with those characters. The story wants desperately to be a YA book. Congratulations to John, whose stories never fail to inspire.

    I apologize for not commenting last week. My parents had their 50th anniversary, and I drove 1000+ miles round trip to cater and attend it. I shall make up for my lack this week.

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    1. I was going with Elspeth being the meek one too, the ending caught me by surprise, which is always good.

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  9. Cutting Out The Middle Man.

    Things had become too turbulent, and I was done.

    ”Carlos” had let the sword fall when he’d grabbed Seth. Seemed he’d discounted me as a threat.

    “Oh. Hell. No.”

    I strode forward, sweeping up the blade and drove it into his groin.

    “Kid marked me and I got no handbook.”

    Grabbing a handful of hair, I yanked him toward me, jabbed under his sternum, twisted, yanked it out with a grunt.

    “Want.. some answers…”
    The blade sawed through his neck…

    Blood.

    Screaming.

    Good.

    “And you…are in…my way.”
    I dropped both head and sword at Seth’s feet and glared.

    “Dude...the fuck?”

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    Replies
    1. Ha! Brutal, visceral, and funny. You do not mess with these boys. =D

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    2. Thank you, John! That is exactly the feeling I was going for when I wrote it. So glad I succeeded!

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    3. Gritty action delivered through gritted teeth!

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    4. I love how these scenes are so often carried by the dialogue between the brothers, and how what they're physically doing is almost just an accompanying background; both together make the perfect, hilarious scene!

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  10. Well he certainly did cut him out. Very visual writing.

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    1. visual indeed, gore and guts spilling and enough sharp dialogue to carry it forward. Brilliant!

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  11. No Good Deed

    Huh. Nate’s ancestry contains Vikings. He went full berserker, then dropped his kill at my feet. A grunt indicated I could be next. And there I was, tapped out magically and physically.

    My “handbook” doesn’t cover the turbulence life-altering enchantments might inspire. Only a fool would be stupid enough to brand spells into flesh, then slough them off onto an unbalanced warrior.

    Swallowing hurt, talking more. “The ink is protective.”

    “Remove it.”

    “Can’t,” I rasped. “Your blood is still tainted. Tattoo keeps you from becoming a zombie slave.”

    He glared.

    “At least I made it pretty.”

    I ducked. Too late.

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    1. Oh yes!! Sibling stand-off once again, and superb punch line following snapped and snappy dialogue.

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    2. Still a certain amount of tension between them. I agree with Sandra snappy dialogue.

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    3. Glad that Nate had dropped the sword already! There's always a great sense of the depth of the relationship between the two of them.

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    4. Love the banter, and nice parting shot by Seth. "He went full berserker" definitely sums it up!

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    5. Nate spends a lot of his time hitting Seth. That's brotherly love for ya! I love this. And honestly? It's not entirely what I expected! Keeps me on my toes! As always, many thanks, sister-mine.

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    6. more tight intense and story moving on dialogue, with so much happening between these two to keep the story rolling for some time to come - I hope!

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  13. Can't read my own writing and misread 'grunt' for 'ground'

    Contemplative conversation

    ‘I need to convince Cotterdale the task is done...’
    Tao’s thoughts were turbulent: Cotterdale’s condition for returning the Lisbon letters was Jack’s death, punishment for his enticement of the herbalist.
    They’d watched her walking in the garden, until Jack sighed, ‘Truly callipygian but sadly inexperienced...’
    ‘Aye, and after last night... ‘ reminiscent, 'But her handbook’s like to list a disappearing spell?’
    Grunted, ‘Likely one to strike me dead! I trust her less than I do you.’
    ‘She’s more threat to me than you...’
    ‘Because of your brother’s wife...’
    ‘You believe that?’
    ‘It’s not true?’
    ‘Christ’s undergarments, no, I’m not that stupid!’

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    1. This is so intriguing, look forward to seeing where you take this.

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    2. Heh. "Christ's undergarments" made me laugh. As did looking up "callipygian" - not what I expected! Intriguing, as Helen says, and definitely makes me want to see how they work this one out.

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    3. This story turns back on itself in so many interesting ways. I want to not like Tao; he's a very bad man. But he's a very good bad man. And I do still blame him for the ills that befell the Blacksmith's Wife, so I'm having none of his protest.

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    4. Haha, I had to look up 'callipygian' as well and 'Christ's undergarments' was the perfect phrase! Hilarious! I agree with RR, hard to dislike him despite his despicableness.

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    5. Thank you - 'callipygian' was given me by my youngest son - I've been wanting to use it ever since!

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    6. it all fits together so well! You've used the prompts so smoothly you hardly notice they're there.
      Not sure if Edward Teach can do the same, but we will see. I plan on writing an instalment tonight, you've inspired me.

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    7. Yep, I had to look it up, too! And my how I chuckled! I must agree: Tao is insidiously likable, in spite of being a wicked, wicked, man....or perhaps because of that. Any rate, as always, this was good reading!

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  14. (rise)

    The man behind Olivia grunted in surprise as he too heard the sound of creaking joints and turning gears, of metal tips clacking on cobblestones.

    Twice-hinged legs arched across the alley's exit, and then with uncanny speed the rusted carapace slewed into sight, steel claws twitching below, eyestalks wavering from side to side, searching.

    She had seen the mechanical crabs from her window before, studied sketches in the margins of her father's technical handbooks, but having one just there, so near, stopped her turbulent thoughts dead still. Her body and mind felt paralysed.

    Her captor shoved her towards it.

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    1. No. Sorry but no. Can't read any more, too too scary.

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    2. I must be the only one relieved that Olivia is menaced by the machine instead of the scary man. The machine has yet to show what it intends, so she could be going from bad to worse, but I want to believe this is actually a reprieve for her.

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    3. Very curious how her captor is shoving her towards it and not away! Does he not fear the crab for some reason? Also like the image painted of her childhood with the mention of studying the crabs in the margins of her father's technical handbooks.

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    4. now that is intriguing, mechanical crabs, Olivia being pushed toward it, is she a sacrifice or just a means of escape? Can I wait to find out? no.

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    5. Hmmmm...this is all quite intriguing, and rather horrifying at the same time. I love it! I heard the crab. Fantastic job on the description!

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  15. A change of focus [32]

    Yanno, no,’
    Raptor’s expression pained, ‘how could I have killed him? I was with you, he in custody...’
    Pettinger grunted. ‘No... released on diplomatic bail... as per the fucking handbook.’
    Then, doggedly reverting, ignoring the turbulence of messages from his superior, questioning his absence, ‘How come my brothers knew, when I did not?’
    ‘Guessed. I sent you here, paid for your education.’
    ‘Manufactured reasons for me not to return?
    Sharp gleam of surprise, not sufficiently fast-hid, ‘Kept you safe...’
    ‘Why not protect me there? Since you need me to eventually return. And why, for fuck’s sake, why the tinpot embassy?’

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    1. So many layers being peeled back between these two! Loved the line 'Sharp gleam of surprise, not sufficiently fast-hid'. Great description of his visual reaction. :)

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    2. Pettinger has a sharp mind... inherited from Raptor, no doubt, and something Raptor may just be appreciating...

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    3. getting deeper and more twisted by the week!

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    4. I feel like Oliver Twist. May I have some more? Pettinger is fast becoming one of my favorite characters!

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    5. The combination of fury and hurt is apparent in every word Pettinger utters, but his curiosity has it held in check for now. Loved the 'turbulence of messages'.

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  16. Well done John and Rebecca :D

    Well, back to the grindstone...

    Bring Me the Head Of... (7)
    ---------------------------

    The cellar was spartan but dry; dining furniture, narrow bunks. 'Nina' was squinting through the locked door's keyhole, but turned round when the others appeared.

    "'Nina', don't..." Ame reached out, then shrieked, convulsing out of Gonzo's surprised grasp. He quickly recovered, dragged her to a bunk. Her hood fell back; he saw blood everywhere, scalp completely denuded.

    Conrad backwards-whistled, grunting, gesticulating: ***Aura: turbulence, spikes. Hospital?***

    "Through these riots, with her fake ID?" 'Nina' shrugged. "It's your funeral..."

    "I think the 'What To Do If Your Buddy Goblinizes' handbook has been officially scrapped," Gonzo sighed.

    "So, what now?"

    "We wait..."

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    1. And obviously we have to wait too to find out wht next :(
      Superb pace throughout this and Gonzo's handbook line brilliant.

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    2. Really loving these characters and their unique abilities! I always get a very 'cat-like' feeling when thinking about 'Nina'. Loved the line "Conrad backwards-whistled".

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    3. Hints of backstory, hints of current story, hints of character, loads packed into a hundred words, again, and a compelling read too. =)

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    4. I liked the Gonzo's handbook line too! ^_^

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    5. and me! Very clever! and so many hints, as John says.

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    6. I must agree with the rest. Your use of "handbook" was brilliant. "Nina" piques my interest. Gonzo amuses. Thank you for writing such interesting folks!

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    7. So what does one do when a buddy has "goblinized"? Is she actually transitioning into something else? And what will that do to their chances of moving through an already riotous crowd? I like that every reveal leads to more speculation.

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  17. Deep

    They arrived on my third hour repairing the underwater platform, a bloom of bioluminescent comb jellies caught by the light of my welding torch. One bumped against my faceplate, dragging shimmering cilia across the glass.

    "Dave," I said, radioing my diving buddy topside. I could picture him at the communications console, feet up, coffee, and a Playboy tucked inside the diver's handbook.

    His grunt confirmed my suspicions.

    "They're back," I said.

    The sound of slurping coffee crackled through my helmet. "Turbulent up here," he said. "Freak storm."

    "Like last time," I said.

    Something scraped across the back of my suit.

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    1. I love this. The opening jellyfish are very cool, well drawn. The flash of character in Dave's description grounds it in reality. The freak storm sets atmosphere. The ending could be so innocent, and yet...

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    2. Scene set, characters defined, lights, camera action - this has it all (and John puts it so well). Fingers crossed.

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    3. Oh you can't leave it there! Love this line: " a bloom of bioluminescent comb jellies caught by the light of my welding torch."

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    4. Glad its peaking such interest. ;) I think it'd be so interesting to be a deep sea welder!

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    5. I love the dichotomy of the darkness under water and his (her?) partner above decks relaxing in sunshine. It makes the last, ominous line stand out even more.

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    6. This is just gorgeous from one end to the other! Beautiful visuals, great characters and lovely phrasing. Love the last line!

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  18. (alpha)

    Inside the Keep, Alpha strides towards Jigsaw's quarters. Thunder puts a hand on his shoulder.

    "Before you say something you'll regret. How long have we known Jigsaw? Has she ever led us wrong?" Thom holds his hand up, ignoring Adam's impatient grunt. "Wait, I know how turbulent this must make you feel. Everything's back to front, I mean, look, I'm the one holding you back. We've said time and time again there's no handbook for the superhero game. You take each play at a time and you work out how to win."

    "This isn't a game, Thom. It's my family."

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    1. "no handbook for the superhero game" - resounds like the chorus of a song - or a eulogy.

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    2. I'm curious how this will play out. I like the way Thunder attempts to reason with him, calm him down like a good friend.

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    3. I can see all of this so clearly, and their interaction has the weight of long friendship that is so hard to capture.

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    4. I felt this conversation. I've HAD this conversation...well...ones similar anyway. There's an easy sadness mixed in with the tension, that only comes from long time friendships. Well done.

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  19. Having struggled for the first one, this came along soon after ...

    A change of focus [33]

    Raptor’s smile a recrudescent memory. ‘Part of their grand scheme to wrest power; naïve belief that allying themselves with Britain in these turbulent times...’
    ‘Christ, don’t tell me they’re stupid enough to trust the EU handbook?’
    ‘They wanted a hand-out to support their fight against the Dubnovaskis. I merely encouraged.’
    ‘Is Khakbethia really that poverty-stricken?’
    ‘It’s known hunger... as I know hunger now.’ Standing, ‘Time to eat, Yanno.’
    ‘You still have to tell me about Sally-Ann. You knew her, had her, passed her on to me...’
    Quietly, ‘Did not kill her.’
    ‘But caused her to be killed?’
    Raptor strode ahead.

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    1. Always good to address an empty stomach! :) I like Raptor's reaction to the question at the end. He clearly does not want to lay all his cards on the table.

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    2. Raptor rarely seems to answer direct questions, coming at everything sideways to protect whatever plots he still has going on. And yet, he does seem to care and have some moral code, albeit an odd one.

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  20. Raptor’s smile a recrudescent memory.

    brilliant line.

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  21. New serial!
    Infinity (1)
    Draw close, me hearties, and I’ll tell you a tale of adventure on the high seas. It started the day the Infinity sailed out of Shipton on a turbulent tide, heading for the Indees, looking for any merchantmen daring to make passage. First thing I did was throw the damned handbook over the side. First Mate grunted his disapproval but he shoulda known health and safety don’t rule my ship. Not once we leave shore.
    Blackbeard’s been dead too long, time he had fun again, says I. And I’m right sure I know how to do it, too.

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    1. Oh good - almost makes me wish Tao was still at sea. You've captured the tone so effectively and this is set up for a multitude of adventares, I trust.

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    2. Definitely. Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) doesn't waste his time, he divides his days between ship building at Shipton, a small port/cluster of houses with no facilities, so he's busy building them as his men work on his ship - he's putting his original crew back together again, he tells me) and will set sail on what will be called the Infinity as soon as everything's done. Meantime he drops in and out of my life, larger than life and twice as big, full of energy and driving enthusiasm. He's been waiting for me to be through with Skullface so he can come in with his own ghost/horror book. Should be fun... Skullface was, in part. I am wondering if Captain Teach's book will be as deeply moving in parts as Skullface turned out to be. I hate crying as I write. Means I can't see the screen properly.

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    3. Must've been in 'Girl' magazine I came upon Edward Teach - his cartoon image has stayed with me and certainly influenced Tao's appearance en route from Rhodes.

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    4. Oh I could see that ship sailing out and the captain throwing the handbook away! Very good!

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    5. Oh I love a good pirate tale! Can't wait to see where this is going. :) Definitely captured a sailor's tone and I can picture the roguish grin on his face. Great final line promising lots of good things to come. ;)

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    6. Huzzah for a pirate's tale! Very excited to see what you do with this one.

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  22. Unknown

    I lie face-up in the ditch with all I’ve left in this world clutched against my chest. It’s funny really, I think, as I lick blood from my lip. Damn grunts stole my food, my motorcycle, but left my most valuable possession - my handbook on the Weapon.

    My modified human shell is staunching the bleeding, making repairs, and I stare at the sky as I wait. It’s turbulent, a mess of grey and amber, and storm-light fissures the haze like a veined infection.

    I was lucky they hadn’t recognized me. There was still time to make the rendezvous.

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    1. OK I want to read the whole novel now ... especially love "a mess of grey and amber, and storm-light fissures the haze like a veined infection" a perfect description of the sky.

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    2. I too love this line "
      My modified human shell is staunching the bleeding, making repairs, and I stare at the sky as I wait. It’s turbulent, a mess of grey and amber, and storm-light fissures the haze like a veined infection."

      and yes I want to read more too! ^_^

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    3. and me! this is a seed, ready to explode into a (poisoned?) flower of strangeness.

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    4. Thank you! Hmm, how to continue... :)

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    5. The description gives more clues than just visuals, instantly making me wonder who the grunts are, what the Weapon is, who would be at the rendezvous - providing he makes it.... really great hook.

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  23. Well, back to more of mine.... two more (shock)... it must be all the talk of pirates (but they were already there in the background...)

    Flashback(6)
    -----------

    Nose against the rain-streaked window, she watched Jiro converse with tattooed suits down below. The Oni looked up before she could withdraw; his turbulent scowl deepened as he noticed her.

    Moments later re-entered the flat.
    "More Triad grunt-work. Handbooker's skimming the profits; extra muscle required.”
    "You should’ve let
    me negotiate; my Chinese is… “Jiro silenced her with a look.
    "I
    swore I’d protect you: a deathbed promise. Even from yourself. Those hoods? No better than your pirate friend."

    "Jiro," she pleaded, "I’m going
    stir-crazy here…"

    "
    Especially from yourself. You need discipline; instruction, Ame!"

    Hard-faced, he locked her in again.

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    1. Love the beginning of this and the picture it draws in my head. I love how it's worded. Doubting she's going to stay confined even if he doesn't want her to leave. :)

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    2. These flashbacks are doing wonders for the world-building. I have a much better sense of Jiro - who seems to have his hands full with both business and his sister.

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    3. Sibling rivalry comes in all guises, and problems double when they have to face the rest of thw world - old storyline perchance (there's several following it here!) but what an exciting and individual twist - so addictive.

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  24. And also...

    Flashback(7)
    ------------

    The job was mercifully brief, stoically observing as the handbooker learnt the hard way that really, he shouldn't have pocketed what belonged to his boss...

    Outward calm belied inner turbulence; Jiro despaired about his sister. She was getting too wild to listen to him; he needed to remain deaf to her charms, as she was smarter, more manipulative than him, but totally naive about the modern world they found themselves in (and he was rusty enough).

    He'd had to uncouple her from a grunting Filipino pirate captain when they reached Hong Kong. And he knew she hated him for it.

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    1. Sounds like Jiro has his hands full! I love seeing this from his side. He thinks he's protecting her and she thinks he's being overly protective. Many a story has started this way. :) Excited to see where it's headed!

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    2. Ha! I see Zaiure and I are on the same page. His character is even better when we get his POV. I like his assessment of the ways in which his sister surpasses him and his refusal to let that determine how they will proceed.

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    3. Jiron coming better known indeed, and fascinating. Love the 'had to uncouple' line

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  25. B and John and All the Rest of Us
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Nothing of this is in my handbook.

    You grunt and turn away and I´m scared. I wonder if you´re fake and this is just tourism.

    Years ago, there was a solar eclipse and my father made me watch it through a welding glass and I loved him even more for it.

    I close my eyes and know all of this turbulence is manmade.

    I do love you, but I crave your presence and if it´s not, I´m out. I can´t exist within normal boundaries.

    Stay. Draw a yellow flower. Kiri ohana. And make me real. Me. Real. Just. This. Once.

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    1. I wonder if you´re fake and this is just tourism. I could spend a very long time deconstructing that line, because there's a whole world of stories in it. Instead, I'll be awed by this piece, which makes my brain work harder in all the right ways.

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    2. You're a wonder, Asuqi. The way you gather and tend words, coaxing something out of them, layering them and exposing them. Always a pleasure.

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    3. 'in awe' yes indeed. Not so much deconstructing as mouth hanging open in admiration, brain spinning to absorb. Lovely.

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  26. That's it for this week, dears. The gates are closed. By tomorrow evening, I shall have coaxed winners and words from the tome. I've decided to let IT be the judge this week. Your entries have been our bedtime stories! Good night, all!

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  27. Very poetic and somewhat sad. I love the line about how her father had her watch the solar eclipse through a welding glass. Reveals a nice glimpse into her past (assuming she's a she that is). ;)

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