Saturday, 23 March 2013

Horror Springs Eternal...

Evening all!
I have no idea where that title came from, except that it's First day of Spring here, and we write horror and...

Anyhow, the tome seems to realize I've made a timing change.  It has harumphed its way up the stairs from visiting with Mofo, and is currently snuffling about at my feet as I write.  I've provided a small snack, as has become my habit when I want new words.  It should be finished with that and ready to provide new prompts in just a few moments.

First of all, Happy Spring!  Don't know about the rest of you but I've about bloody had it with winter.

Second, I'd like to apologize for not commenting this week.  As admin, I feel particularly badly about that.  I'm slowly getting settled into my new life and job, but it's been a bit more complex a process than even I imagined, and it's not over yet.  Still, I have read every word each of you has written, and I've been thrilled, entertained, appalled, and frightened.  It's been grand!  Thank you.

Now to our winners this week.

First place goes to AJ Humpage with Just Another Face In The Crowd:   What a horrific notion, that demonry is the cause of such mundane horrors.  And to give us his thoughts, knowing what he does, as he waits to detonate the bomb.  Brilliantly awful!

And our runner up is: Matt Farr with: Except from "The Practical Demons Guide to Perils of the Mundane Realms":   Matt, this was great stuff!  I adore the idea that as RR said, they are as afraid of us as we are of them, and that they have a whole agency to deal with dealing with us!  LOL.  

Congratulations to our winners!  Fantastic writing from all, as always.

Seems the tome has brought forth the new words whilst I wasn't looking.  Little blighter "brought them forth" onto my shoe!  Right, so...

Eldritch

Manse

Aristocracy

*I was chatting with a friend as I was writing this.  He told me one of his favorite words.  It's syzygy.  I had to look it up.  Anyone who'd like to add to their challenge, can feel free to include this one as well.  It's just such a great word.  Including it, or not, will not affect my decision-making this week.  I just figured I'd toss it out there as a fun thing for anyone who might want to give it a shot.


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, March 28th, to get your entries in.  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:00 PM on Friday, March 29th.

Go and create, m'dears.  The tome and I will be waiting...







55 comments:

  1. Well done AJ and Matt (I'm sure he will be chuffed when he wakes up :P )

    Time to get the youngest up as he's singing in bed...

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  2. Congratulation AJ and Matt! ^__^

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  3. Wow, what a pleasant surprise, thanks guys. It's the icing on a very nice cake; it's been a good week for writing. Thanks again!

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  4. congratulations AJ and Matt! as usual, superb writing from everyone. The Skullface Chronicles carries a huge thank you to you all for helping me refine my writing and encouraging me with Skullface. We are into his final day of 'living', it's Halloween and all hell will break loose at the end of this day. Almost there, then perhaps life can return to normality. I hope.

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  5. Very well deserved, AJ and Matt. Colleen, if you're collecting weird-spelt words you might like zymurgy ... but this week's were hard enough, thank you, and I'm not sure I've used the optional one correctly. But here 'tis:

    A change of focus [30]

    Raptor to Yanno Petzincek, in the shadowed garden of a once open-to-the-needy manse, now hotel, entry for which required the syzgy of aristocracy and money:
    ‘I was my father’s only son. First-born. Identical. No doubt. Thereafter wives, mistresses, bore only daughters to him, any sons were fathered from elsewhere. As other daughters, of which your mother was an eldritch one.’
    ‘Not his?’ Determined not to grasp at straws.
    ‘Cannot prove it, but I think not. Likely she inherited instability, a double dose. Doomed from the start.’
    ‘Then why take her?’
    Raptor sighed, remembering.
    ‘When sane she was enchanting, irresistible. Circe.’

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    1. I agree with Helen; I really like the description of his mother in the final line.

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    2. A relatively calm interlude, and yes, great description in the final line. =)

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    3. I love that we're getting even more back story here. And what a story it is! I actually like your use of "szygy". Sort of gives that combination of wealth and position a feeling of being cosmically ordained. And yes, I too, must agree, fantastic closing line.

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  6. oooh, like it, clever use of the words, Sandra!

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    1. Oh she sounds interesting - I like the idea that when sane she was enchanting. ^_^

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  8. I deleted my entry up there ^^ 'cause I think I found a better ending ^_^

    The Offering - Part 3

    Elspeth, it was the perfect syzygy. Do not fear you will be restored. I have plans for us.

    What’s this I hear? The mumbling of a human at daven. But not just any human—Jacob’s progeny. Prays for the Aristocracy does he. Pious fool! I hear his words. I see his body. Perfect for my needs.

    The Manse, I trust still stands. He, like any man, will welcome a maiden into his arms. Elspeth’s body under eldritch influence, will tempt. His arms will embrace her, and me. His breath and body will be mine to take .

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    1. Sounds like there's a bit of history here! The mention of "The Manse" conjures all sorts of wonderful, gothic images and I'm very curious to see where this is going. What are his plans?! :)

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    2. For some reason 'Jacob's progeny' and 'under eldritch influence' really satisfied in this toweringly-spoken piece.

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    3. Oh, the dark plots of demon-kind. A multi-layered seduction of man. Clever. =)

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    4. "...under eldritch influence" is my absolute favorite line here. And a new word for me, in "daven"! I like that one. Love the gothic imagery and feel of this.

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    5. I have just had pointed out to me publicly (as I showed this as my friday flash) that I have use daven incorrectly. This is what this person said "I must advise that the word 'daven' - whose origins are not not wholly clear even to scholars - is a verb which is used colloquially and means 'to pray' or 'to intone prayers'. It is never a noun and cannot be used in the way it is here."

      I stand corrected :( I knew it meant to pray I just didn't know it shouldn't be used as a verb.

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  9. Levelling and loyalty

    Jack was in the upper-middle echelons of criminal aristocracy within the City, Tao’s status similar but, because more country-wide, marginally less notable.

    The manse owned by the holder of Tao’s Lisbon-stolen letters placed him far higher, as did the sovereign-price he’d offered against Jack’s head, whereas that on Tao’s had been raised by his yeoman brother and was of small account, save for the added influence of the eldritch witch.

    She, giddily-overconfident, was still too much the novice, badly underestimated cell-mate loyalty, failed to prevent them getting drunk together and misunderstood the head-clearing effects of a syzgy of high-class whores.

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    1. Ah that's a lesson she won't forget too quickly!

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    2. Sounds like Jack is quite the wanted man! Poor witch, doesn't seem like she's going to get away with her plans. Loved the line "giddily-overconfident, was still too much the novice".

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    3. Interesting... bromance blossoms. ;D

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    4. Oh, Sandra! This is lovely! I have literally sat, for five minutes or so, pondering the twists and turns of this. Your use of the extra prompt is quite clever! Beautifully woven words here and great story-telling to boot!

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  10. Congratulations to AJ and Matt! Both excellent tales I read more than once.

    For someone who writes urban fantasy, I had a hard time with this week's words!

    Uncommon Courtesy

    Tiffany-Leigh: cheerleader, straight-A student, future veterinarian, inherently cool. She’d surpassed high school aristocracy to stand just below demi-god.

    Me: quiet, average everything, no glamour – even though I could be shiny if I wanted.

    Carrington Manse: not really haunted, still dangerous.

    The perfect szygy: fates aligned for the popular girl to die.

    Only idiots cross the hungry grounds of Carrington on purpose, which meant Tiffany-Leigh was bullied or pushed into the eldritch woods. She didn’t scream.

    I usually let travelers fall, but Tiffany-Leigh is nice to everyone. Even me. That makes her worth saving.

    Even if she’ll never know my name.

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    1. Loved how this was almost set up like a screenplay at the beginning, outlining the scene. You created very interesting characters, even with just a few words, and I loved the narrator's comment - "I could be shiny if I wanted". Says so much about her!

      I'm really curious how it is the narrator seems to enjoy safety within Carrington Manse. :)

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    2. Yes, the narrator - and I like the line Zaiure mentioned - sounds like someone to return to when times (and prompts) don't favour Seth. Another drabble epic.

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    3. Really interesting piece, continually questioning motives. Tiffany-Leigh, who I expected to be the typical snobbish bitch/ ideal victim, turns out not to be. And the narrator who I expected to do the quiet girl goes crazy act turns out to be an unsung hero, of sorts. It really makes me want to know a little more, who pushed T-L, and what are the true natures of 'Me' and the manse.

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    4. Oh, sister-mine! How you do love to turn traditional perceptions of certain stereotypes on their heads! It's fantastic, really. I have always instinctively loathed and feared cheerleaders. I like that your story has made me see T-L as almost an actual person. Thanks for that. And I must agree that I think this should be a serial. You're inspired many questions with this. Lovely work, all the way about!

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  11. Ah Lucky Tiffany it shows it's worth being nice you never know when it's going to pay off ;) I liked your use of the words.

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  12. This was difficult this week, so I'm doing something different from the ongoing stuff.
    Couldn't fit the optional in, might use it when I get back to our intrepid heroes...

    Ethical Slut

    I don't do 'eldritch': no skulking in a crumbling manse, puppeteering outwardly benevolent cardinals, slaves to their salacious desires (ugh, too Hammer Horror).
    Nor do I sponge off the aristocracy, exhausting spendthrift himbo baronets (too many high-up friends).

    I inhabit a five-bedroom detached in Ashby-de-la-Zouch: pay bills, watch TV...
    I have several web-aliases and PO boxes to manage affairs: part-time model-cum-extra, mail-order fancy-dress. Themed parties are my speciality...

    Sure, I'm beautiful; I don't enhance, though. Little changes: conceal the wings, tail.

    I'm not after souls. Just a modicum of 'renewable energy'. After all, a girl still needs to eat...

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    1. She sounds like a little devil to me! ^__^

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    2. I can totally picture her saying this all nonchalantly. I wasn't even thinking a demon (or similar creature) until along came the wings and tail! I kind of read over "themed parties are my speciality" but it's so perfect! Couldn't help but laugh. :) Loved this!

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    3. 'spendthrift himbo baronets' is wonderful, but truly this one was a perfectly rounded use of the prompts, and a great ending.

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    4. I like this a great deal. Wonderful character. I like demons who seem afflicted by the modern apathy as much as the rest of us. I also like the ambiguity and implications of aristocracy's 'high-up friends'.

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    5. Love the title. Brings to mind memories of conversations friends and I used to have about what constituted an "ethical slut". So great that you made yours a demon. Nice little twist there. Nice use of the prompts as well.

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  13. Hollow [4]

    Adrenaline shot through Kensi’s veins; a conflagration eradicating whatever panic she might have felt. She slashed high and fast towards Greta’s face, but the thing had already unleashed her eldritch powers. Carrion beetles poured from her mouth and clothes in a swarm of black death.

    Bloody demons ate my face! Diego roared.

    Springing back, Kensi landed on the opposite seat. “Another upstanding member of the aristocracy,” she said.

    Greta’s jaw swung as she laughed. “Is the child afraid?”

    The beetles surged towards Kensi’s feet.

    Aelina! The manse! Now!

    “No.” Kensi grinned. “But you should be.” Vacuous blackness filled her eyes.

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    1. Oh! The opposite of a tidy ending, one that leaves us high and dry and wondering what comes next - such action in this! And 'Greta's jaw swung' truly horrible.

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    2. Oh yes, great cliff hanger. And a wonderfully grotesque image of Greta's jaw swinging loose as she laughs.

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    3. I have to agree..."Greta's jaw swung..." Truly shiver-inspiring, that. Wondering what happens next.

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  14. Oddly, I've been unable to do anything other than mark time with these words.

    A change of focus [30]

    Yellow-lit rectangles from the Old Manse windows fell short of where Pettinger sat, becoming accustomed to freedom from fearing he’d inherited the lava-tempered madness of the man he’d known as father, along with his mother’s eldritch immorality.

    From the darkness Raptor spoke.
    ‘Yanno, as my son you are sole heir to the Petzincek aristocracy. Others know it, hence the so far clumsy attempts to return you, in disgrace, to Khakbethia.’
    ‘Others?’
    ‘Your half-brothers. They instigated the Hopgood murders, Gunita’s claim of rape, blackmail, and the murder of a diplomat...’
    ‘Murder?’
    ‘His Excellency was killed yesterday.’
    ‘My... half-brother?’
    ‘Yes.’
    ‘Your doing?’

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    1. It says a lot for the build up that this reveal excites me, the laying bare of so much that has befallen Pettinger so far. There's been a lot of anticipation, and this does not disappoint. Looking forward to seeing where it takes us now. =)

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    2. I like how the light from the windows falls short of Pettinger, leaving him in the dark, which is where it sounds like he's been in regards to many of the goings-on of his family.

      Also, interesting hook at the end where he asks if Raptor killed his half-brother. Is his uncle subject to the whims of his half-brothers? Or did he kill for his own reasons?

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    3. It's great how every new bit leaves me wanting more. You never disappoint! I feel so badly for Pettinger, finding out more and more just how clueless he's been. I look forward to posting new words every week just to see how they land in this story!

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  15. World building...

    (Alpha)

    The Keep floats one kilometre above the Arctic, a jellyfish of glass and shining steel. Some eldritch form of science keeps it aloft, levitation generated by the tentacles that writhe slowly below the main dome.

    It is all that remains of an attempted alien invasion and it is the manse of the superhero aristocracy. They call themselves the Guardians. The alien tech grants them access to the world's information networks, from your home wifi to the Pentagon's isolated, violet-clearance mainframes.

    They occupy the Keep so the technology doesn't fall into the wrong hands, to protect the world from itself.

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    1. Oh a nice touch of sci fi here. 'I loved tentacles that writhe slowly below the main dome.'

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    2. For me, not an especially sci-fi fan, this has made a mega-leap towards solidity, grounded it (floating 'one kilometre above' - I know!!) and now really caught my interest, especially 'Some eldritch form of science' which, as a non-scientist living with one who is, really, really appeals to me.

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    3. Absolutely loved the description of the Keep! Sounds like the perfect base. I'm curious if humans can see it or if there is some kind of cloaking? :) You always do an amazing job crafting descriptions of things, giving them life and shape so your readers are (happily) forced to visualize the entire thing in wonderful detail! I agree with Helen, loved the tentacles writhing below the dome. Great tie-in to the comparison of the Keep to a jellyfish.

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    4. Fascinating descriptions! I saw it easily, and clearly, but you leave enough room for the reader to imagine details as well. I loved that about this. I'm not a huge fan of sci fi, and quite picky about what sci fi I will read. I would definitely read this! I'm hoping you continue on with it for a bit.

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  16. (rise)

    Her malformed captor pressed his bulk close as he forced her out of the alley at knife point.

    "You smell of aristocracy." He sniffed at her, "Well aristocracy don't mean nothin' no more. Y'er outta ya manse, little princess, and on our streets. The scum 'ave risen and we'll 'ave whatever we take."

    Something vile rose in her throat and burnt as she swallowed it back down.

    Then she heard a sound over his heavy breathing that froze her and forced the point of his blade sharply into her back. It wasn't something eldritch. It was something worse, familiar, mechanical.

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    1. And my spine tingles in fearful anticipation for Olivia too. You've used the prompts as though they were picked especially for you, rather than shoe-horned them in - well done.

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    2. I agree with Sandra. Your insertion of the prompts in this is smooth as silk. This is a beautiful, tightly-woven piece. That last line actually made my breath catch the tiniest bit as I read it.

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    3. Smooth transition from one horror to another! What does this new threat want and will it allow Olivia a chance to escape?

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  17. Good morning! Something was playing merry hob with my Internet connection last night, and I couldn't get in to close the gates on entries. We'll call that done now, eh? Winners and words by 11:00 PM, EST, this evening. I believe that's about 4:00 AM Saturday morning, for those across the pond, if Google has been my friend this morning.

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  18. apologies for no comments this week but Skullface completely took over and dominated everything, thoughts, dreams, everything.
    Tonight I typed the last line.
    It now sits for 24 hours until I can bring myself to do the final revisions, when it will go to the publishers and the final instalment goes to the guy who is looking to turn it into a comic book, it is extremely visual. I have been crying, which is not good, but needed to be done, release the tensions and emotions he built up all week until the final lines.
    Now life can return to normal. I have articles to write, a story to rewrite, a new serial to begin, or so I am told by Edward Teach himself, so we begin another book...
    wonderful reading all week from you oh so talented people. You've all got a mention in the front of The Skullface Chronicles. I owe you all so much.

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    1. So exciting, congrats Antonia! Must feel absolutely amazing to finish it. :)

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