Friday, 8 March 2013

Marching Forth

Good afternoon, all.

A quick side note, before winners and words, if you'll be so kind as to indulge me.  

Lily and Phil often included in these posts, news and information about various writing contests and opportunities for networking.  If you know of such things, and would like to share them, please feel free to send all the pertinent information, including a link, if possible, to me at ravenways@gmail.com.

I'll be more than happy to include them in the weekly winners and words posts.  

That said, I have cleared the gates of snow and the tome has emerged from beneath my bed and is happily chewing on the corner of a sheet, waiting its cue to bring forth new words for us to play with. Let me get on with announcing the winners before the little dear goes for my brand new quilt, shall we?

I can't tell you all how lucky I consider myself to have the privilege of judging this little contest each week. I get to read fantastic stories written by folks I've come to know a bit, and that is a joy beyond measure.  I love our dark little playroom.

And so, this week's winners:

First place goes to Zaiure with Anatomy:  I just loved the whole tone and feel of this.  The almost lighthearted pragmatism in discovering a one-eye cat mucking about with a human hand, in a garden! You have a great skill at creating a sense of place, using very few words.  And again, Poe is just lovely.  I'd really like to see more of him.

My runner-up this week is Zoë Farr with Flashback 2:  Zoë, you did such a great job of capturing brother/sister "I hate you right now..." banter with your dialogue!  I've heard siblings snipe in exactly this fashion.  I also rather enjoyed Jiro's surprise at the end.  ; )

And now it appears the tome has finished its 250 thread-count snack, and is ready to bring forth new words!

Decant  (Decanter or any version thereof is also fine here)

Notch

Straddle

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 14th, to get your entries in.  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 3:00 PM on Friday, March 15th.

Hmmmm...I rather like these...

Have at it, m'dears.  See you back here soon!

127 comments:

  1. Oh wow, thank you! It was lots of fun to write about Amy & Poe. :) And congrats Zoë!

    Loving these new words and very curious to see what they inspire. Happy weekend everyone!

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  2. congratulations, Zaiure and Zoe! good writing, as always. These stories are a delight week after week.
    Good words, if I can get away from Skullface's final hours, I might even play. He has two days of 'life' left -I have strictly limited the story to nine days - until the final moments. Lot of memories to walk through, though. A lot.

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  3. Notch

    I’d always thought ‘just another notch on the bedpost’ was a random saying, not a physical action post-coitus. Incredulous, I drew the sheet across my chest. “A cigarette I could accept,” I said aloud.

    Davy, straddling my feet, glanced over his shoulder as he worked the blade into the bedpost. “It’s just a thing,” he said. “Metrics, you understand.”

    The way my face pinched indicated I did not.

    The knife clicked shut, and he thumbed away small shavings of wood. “No big thing, Margaret,” he said.

    I reached for the decanter, dropped my eyes between his legs. “I suppose not.”

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    Replies
    1. Twitch and grin of pleasure every read at the final line. Admiration for the rest. Loved this.

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    2. I was expecting some brutal twist of the knife, but the well-crafted, more real interaction was better. Very good. =)

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    3. Hah! Perfect! I will chuckle for hours after reading this. Well done.

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    4. I just love this! soooo clever!

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    5. Excellent humour threaded through to the witty final punch. Big smiles here. Smart title too.

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    6. This was such a well-crafted vignette. I could see it from start to finish, and feel Margaret's affront at the cad. The last line made me cackle.

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    7. I guess he's just notching up another one! I liked the humour in this.

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  4. Touch and Go

    Lies were forbidden Sibyl, but she could straddle the truth until it was only a notch above fiction. Either the thing I’d killed hadn’t been my father, or it survived without breath or heartbeat. I’m not sloppy; I checked.

    “Not a bit curious?” she prodded.

    I kept focus. Decanted wrong, the liquid would kill. Done right, it was currency.

    Sybil wanted me shaky. She knew the elixir wasn’t for me.

    I heated wax to seal the bottle, dripped some over her hand. She gasped, licked her lips.

    “Maybe some other time.” For the question or her desire, I wouldn’t say.

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    Replies
    1. I'm fast running out of things to say about this series, your writing of it. Suffice it to say this was satisfying in the extreme. Every word. Seth grows in stature with each episode now, and that opening sentence, that 'only a notch above fiction' so very clever.

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    2. I agree with Sandra, lovely phrasing! I also am fond of the first sentence, as well several in the middle and the final line! I love the hint of meaning/suggestion you always manage to convey in so few words. I also enjoyed the setting and am very curious about this elixir.

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    3. Lots of information couched within some great phrasework (I may have just made that word up). It works hard to tell story, and give backstory, and build character, without seeming laboured. Impressive.

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    4. I don't mind telling you, dear, that I often feel as if I'm not keeping up. You have such a skill with making things move and flow without pushing. And I'm curious, too! What's this elixir you've tossed into the mix?

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    5. Beautiful dark and flowing in rich language.

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    6. Even though I haven't seen any of the previous - the words were rich and intriguing.

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  5. Zaiure and Zoe - excellent stories both, and well deserved recognition for them.

    Change of focus [26]

    Decanting truth from a flagon – a vat – of lies, lies long-distilled from fear-straddled infancy, had become second nature for John Pettinger.

    Childhood fear had been triple-dealt. Siblings, father, his mother’s brother Raptor: least physical but most frightening, because of tearing notches in his mind.

    Was that why today’s interrogation had brought recognition? Understanding? Sense of like-mindedness?

    Why he’d let him go, arresting his brother in Raptor’s place, to placate his boss and provide a perpetrator for the crimes committed by his uncle?

    Did that stem from his oh-so-superior understanding of the truth?

    Or had Raptor cynically brainwashed him once again?

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    Replies
    1. It appears the mind games are continuing! Seriously loving all the beautiful phrases everyone brings each week. Loved "decanting truth from a flagon" (great mental image!), "childhood fear had been triple-dealt" and "tearing notches in his mind". I'm enjoying how this seems to become more and more a big mind game.

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    2. I'm amazed you can keep everything straight in your head to write this week after week! Keep it up, looking forward to seeing how this intrigue will all play out. =)

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    3. "Fear-straddled" is my personal favorite among the many, many, beautifully crafted phrases here. I too, have a hard time understanding how you don't get confused writing all these twists and turns, but I'm so very glad you don't. This story becomes more enticing with every installment. Thank you!

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    4. Thank you all - rest assured you are all responsible for my attention to phrasing etc - don't want to let myself down in such company!

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    5. so many good phrases here, loving it.

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    6. The opening line is bliss. Great turn of phrase that sets up the quality that follows.

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    7. This reveals so much about Pettinger and makes him even more sympathetic. Childhood fear had been triple-dealt. speaks volumes. Another great entry to a fascinating series.

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    8. I loved that opening line!

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  6. Wow thanks! (and I was sure other people had better goes than me; also grats Zaiure!)

    I'll have a go later when I can go over my notes :D

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  7. It's later... :D

    Bring Me The Head Of...(5)
    ---------------------------

    Now the oppressive aura had dissipated over the area, Conrad found it a cinch to hide the trio, and they nursed their way carefully through wet back-alleys and dumpsters.

    "Thought I smelt 'Eau de Sasquatch Humide'," A familiar drawl found Conrad's ear.

    He looked up: 'Nina' was crouched spiderlike, straddling the notchboards of a broken fire-escape, the pooled rainwater decanting in mazy trickles. She vaulted into their midst, scattering excess droplets. "Drop-off's two blocks up. How's the nub?"

    ***Not good.*** He flicked his Sight over where he guesstimated Ame was. ***Dream-walking?***

    "Gonzo'll keep her goin'."

    Conrad hoped so.

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    Replies
    1. Wow Zoë, loved this! Nina is a great character and I love her humor. Very nice imagery - loved the description of Nina crouching "spiderlike" and how she vaults down into the group, and how her "familiar drawl found Conrad's ear". I'm glad you're continuing this!

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    2. That opening sentence, and especially "straddling the notchboards of a broken fire-escape" vividly sets the scene for these. Hope you keep going with it too.

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    3. Nice blend of humour and seriousness between the characters that feels very natural.

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    4. Great descriptions here! You continue to keep the look and feel of your world fresh and real. I love that.

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    5. it's the mazy trickles which got me, saying SO much!

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    6. The banter even in the midst of a grim situation confirms that they're soldiers, of whatever stripe. The honesty about Ame's condition contrasts with the optimism required to keep going. And the world-building is excellent.

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  8. Lambs [3]

    The ride passed quickly, with Greta straddling the empty aisle and decanting whiskey and stories from a battered, gold flask. “We’re sisters,” Greta said, nodding at Kensi’s cheek. Her smile was harsh. “Ain’t no lambs, though.”

    “Never,” Kensi said.

    “You left the bastard.” It wasn’t a question.

    Kensi felt for the knife in her jacket pocket; rubbed a finger over the notched handle where the acid had burned. ”What’s left of him.”

    Funny girl. Diego.

    “Good girl,” Greta said. “Flesh for flesh.” Her eyes flickered red.

    The knife came free of Kensi’s jacket. “Shit. You’re one of them.”

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    Replies
    1. Uh-oh. You've left us hanging in suspense. Like the echo of funny girl/good girl and the balance of this piece.

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    2. Great cliffhanger, both in action and reveal. One of who? =)

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    3. Oooooh! This just gets better and better. I agree with John. Fabulous cliffhanger. Can't wait to read more. Kensi is most interesting. I like her. However, Diego, departed though he may be, is quickly warming my heart.

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    4. tension wound up tight! I want to know more about Kensi too.

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    5. Glad you're enjoying it! Writing for the Prediction is helping my writing immensely. :)

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    6. Noooo! You can't leave it there! I need more. Now. Please?

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  9. Double or quits?

    Carrion Jack.
    So-called for appearance or his habits? Did he feed upon the dying or sell on commission-fulfilled kills?
    As menace decanted black across hitherto neutral features, either seemed possible: ‘I’ve a healthy respect for herbalists but beware, my moss-eyed maiden, I know stronger ones than you. And, Tao, like you, I straddle the law when needful, but would draw the line at murder of a with-child woman.’
    ‘She’s not dead.’
    ‘No thanks to you. Be warned, that’s a tally-notch against you...’
    ‘Just one?’
    ‘The last... and a price upon your head.’
    ‘As on yours.’
    Emerald glinted from the shadows.

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    Replies
    1. "As menace decanted black across hitherto neutral features..."

      Great description of that dangerous darkening of a man's countenance. Is the witch stirring up their natural distrust of each other?

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    2. I too, wonder if the witch is fanning the flames here. And I must agree with John. Having seen that look cross a man's face now and again, this is the most accurate description of it I have ever seen, anywhere. Lovely writing here. More, please?

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    3. Oh, I hadn't thought the witch might be stirring up some emotions here but definitely sounds like a possibility! I agree with John, the description of "menace decanting black across neutral features" was very exquisite. And the final line is the perfect teaser; what is glinting in the shadows?

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    4. Someone needs to get a hold of this series (and the last) and film it, so I can watch all this richness on a screen, as well as in my head. The tension is exquisite and the anticipation almost unbearable. Can't wait to find out what happens next.

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  10. (Rise)

    "What 'ave we 'ere?"

    An ogre of a man peered over the sacks at Olivia. He was big, meaty and misshapen, with patchy stubble, a puckered scar across his forehead, and greasy hair in a lank ponytail. His tiny eyes were close together, dark and intense.

    "Y'er a delicious little thing."

    He put one leg over the sacks, straddling them, blocking off her escape route. From his belt he drew a long knife with a filthy, notched blade.

    "We're gonna take a walk." He licked his thick lips, "Then we're gonna decant you outta them overalls and inta somethin'... tastier."

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    Replies
    1. Oh! What 'ave we 'ere indeed! Fingers crossed, Olivia has the wit to escape him, despite his delicious repartee - decanting out of overalls indeed!.

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    2. Oh, John. What great fun this is! Accents are so difficult to get across in text and you do that very well. You gave no description of how this man smelled, but I could smell him anyway, thanks to the wonderful detail in your physical description of him. I'm with Sandra. Fingers crossed that Olivia finds a way out of this.

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    3. A brutal realism shrouded in pitch perfect phrasing and voice. Quite terrifying.

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    4. you know when it's a good entry, the 3 words blend so effortlessly they aren't there, they're part of the whole. As in this scary piece.

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    5. Wow, the ogre's second line made me shiver! You built his description really well; I could practically see everything happen as I read it. I agree with Colleen as well, that you wrote the accent very well. I think it helped solidify the character.

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    6. Incredibly vivid description makes this whole scene jump out at me. I agree with the others about capturing the accent perfectly and hoping Olivia is clever enough to get away.

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    7. Oh nasty! Makes me want to shout RUN!

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  11. (Alpha)

    Alpha is straddling Savage. The blue whorls in the supervillain's skin twitch as punch after punch slams into his face.

    There is a sound like a bomb detonating and something grabs Alpha's hand. He turns to face this new enemy, rage etched into his features.

    "Take it down a notch, Alpha." Thunder's voice is low and hard. "You're killing him."

    Alpha tries to pull his hand away, but Thunder holds tight. There aren't many people with the strength to do that.

    "Fly with me," Thunder says, "let's decant some of that anger. The containment team can deal with this mess."

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    Replies
    1. Tight efficiency in this scene, I especially like the 'tight and hard' of Thunder's voice.

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    2. "...let's decant some of that anger." This is good stuff. Sandra's right. Nice, tight, writing here. Keeps me wanting more.

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    3. this is vivid and descriptive, saying a lot in the space of words. Good one.

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    4. Loved your description of Savage's skin, and how the whorls twitched "punch after punch". Also very clever describing Thunder's movements.

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    5. Alpha's loss of control really comes through. I like that Thunder is his match, though it seems a close thing. A very visual scene.

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  12. Change of focus [27]

    ‘I could lose my job for this...’ Pettinger, behind the wheel.
    ‘Could come and work for me. Could do so anyway, straddle both worlds...’
    ‘Good and evil?’
    ‘Here, and there.’
    ‘Tell me about Sally-Ann.’
    ‘She’s the first I decanted your way...’
    ‘Why?’
    ‘Why first? Your brothers had become ungrateful...’
    ‘You regularly supply them?’
    ‘Having tried and tested, yes. Hopgood had brains, though...’
    ‘They don’t?’
    Grunted affirmation. ‘Had ambition too...’
    ‘So it wasn’t you who killed her?’
    ‘I don’t kill women...’
    Raised eyebrow ‘There’s notches enough say you lie.’
    ‘Not since...’
    ‘Not since my mother?’
    ‘Yanno, it had to be done.’

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    Replies
    1. I love the way you use dialogue, snappy, descriptive and moving the story on.

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    2. Another great cliffhanger! Why did Raptor kill his mother? I'm thinking their relationship might not have been too great considering Raptor has a habit of "trying & testing" women. Looking forward to the next installment! :)

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    3. Writing dialogue without tags is a tricky business, but you manage to give each character enough voice to distinguish them, so it flows beautifully. As a bonus, you push the story forward at a rapid pace.

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    4. RR's got the right of it. Dialogue without tags is dicey as hell and you've done it brilliantly! I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this story!

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  14. The Karmic Wheel

    Alfie stabbed another notch in his belt with the corkscrew. He was losing weight faster than a supermodel passing the Hall of Mirrors.

    He tossed a bundle of oily notes at the dwarf and straddled the Ferris car. Ten languid turns before screaming girls and brave boyfriends ran dancing to the calliope.

    He climbed out of the wheel at the top, threw up his belt and pulled it around his neck. One more spin for luck. His life decanted in turns; violence, drinking, unfaithfulness, losing his son.

    Then the cancer.

    What goes around comes around. Alfie reckoned that was fair.

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    Replies
    1. dark one, this, carrying all sorts of undertones. Nice!

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    2. Bleak indeed, despite the enchanting supermodel imagery.

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    3. Dark and sad. You managed to set the tone for the piece very well all the way through. Though I wasn't quite sure where it was headed in the beginning, I did feel like he'd given up. Perfect final line.

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    4. Dark, and bleak, as has already been said. Some very flavourful turns of phrase too.

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    5. The sense of resignation comes through from the start, but doesn't detract at all from the melancholy pay-off. I get a sense of satisfaction, though, at being able to choose his own end.

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    6. I have a soft spot for characters who have nothing left but resignation and a final move. You capture that feeling brilliantly here. I love the visuals. The carnival setting is perfect for such a story. Really good writing.

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  15. taking some time out from Skullface to play a little. The drama going on in the novel is heavy, I need some playtime. This scenario presented itself the moment I saw the words.

    The Wise Woman

    Decant the potion, add a little of this to push it up a notch, seal the bottle with resin, put it on the shelf. Someone will call by soon to buy that particular brew. Could be Jamie, wanting to be rid of the troublesome resident in sweet Amy’s womb, or perhaps the Squire, wanting freedom from his equally troublesome wife. They think I don’t know but those of us who straddle the two worlds are very aware of the needs of those who see no further than tomorrow.
    Tis not for me to deny them their wishes.
    Let them come.

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    Replies
    1. Wise woman indeed - succinctly told.

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    2. Fantastic voice, Antonia. Nice build and an excellent ending.

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    3. This is beautifully wrought. I love how she knows what's going on in all their lives. ...those of us who straddle the two worlds are very aware of the needs of those who see no further than tomorrow. There's a whole world in that phrase. Two, actually.

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    4. Felt very natural and was beautifully phrased. Loved the line about straddling two worlds. Completely agree with RR!

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    5. I loved the line straddling two worlds - it conjures a visual of a wise woman with an air of magic about her.

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    6. I could feel the approach of the wiling customers and the see the wry smile as she mixed the potions. A dark encounter with subtle imagery that came alive in my mind.

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  16. Payback

    To Him, Miaserra said:

    Decant the liquid without sediment. Steady hands make a difference.
    Breathe steadily as it does, fractured red in cut crystal.
    Wait until the ideal moment, revealed by surface vibrations.
    Stay alert. Timing is everything.
    Drink, and your future is revealed.

    To me, she instructed:

    Descant without sentiment. Empty heart precludes harsh memories.
    Gasp convincingly, straddling the chasm between was and is.
    Let him have his moment, rewarded by your tremors, another notch on his belt.
    Stay awake. His time is limited.
    Sacrifice virtue, and revenge is yours.

    She failed to mention the resultant babe.
    Damned witches.

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    Replies
    1. Ye gods and little fishes Rebecca - this surpasses everything! Clever idea and use of words (all the more impressive since I'd thought of some of them myself but failed utterly to think of how to use them), elegant in its mirrored execution and with a hell of a final kick.
      And all in 100 words. Wow.

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    2. Powerful little (and yet not so little!) piece with exquisite phrasing. So much magic and mystery, and the perfect sour little note at the end with the final line. Loved this! Loved the similarity between the two instructions as well - "sediment" vs "sentiment" etc.

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    3. Clever and creative and powerful. This echoes and overlaps and reverberates. Excellent.

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    4. Damned witches, indeed! Lovely writing, sister-mine. I think you should consider putting your poems into a book. A short little primer of dark and snark. They always have that delightful little twist at the end!

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  17. I haven't played for a while, so I may be out of practice, but here goes:

    The Offering

    He straddled her.
    “Don’t do this.”
    He jumped down from the table she was fastened to.
    “I must. My Master demands it”
    Her eyes glittered. “Don’t!”
    He laughed as he held the knife towards the atramentous sky. “Master, my offering.” He swung the knife downwards.
    The words spilled from her lips to birl upwards and wrap around the knife, twisting it towards his throat and slicing a deep notch into his flesh.
    Her bindings slipped away. “I did warn him. Never try to sacrifice a witch.” She decanted his blood into a silver vile. “This will be useful,” she laughed.

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    1. Oops type vile should read vial :(

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    2. This is fantastic. And I learned a new word: atramentous. That, along with birl gave it a wonderful other-worldly sense, and the ending was supremely satisfying.

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    3. Definitely don't mess with witches! Loved the twist at the end and your description of her power. Also "atramentous sky" conjured some very beautiful imagery.

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    4. Yes indeed, a tight and tidy tale of revenge - and from looking up 'atramentous' Ilearnt 'atrabilious' - another useful word :)

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    5. Atramentous and birl (and atrabilious) new words to me! She did warn him, but since when do men listen? ;)

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    6. Welcome back, Helen! A triumphant return, indeed! I love the descriptions of the visual results of her magic. And I too, learned new words! Thank you!

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  18. Bone Gathering

    Venly painted her eyes black with ash from the fire. Body glinting silver in the candlelight, she decanted equine blood to dot her brow and notched breast. A simple horse would not do; only the pitch-dark blood from the beasts within the Corpsewood was permitted. Anything less and Venly would not survive to morning.

    "The night is dark."

    Fastening her robes, Venly glanced over her shoulder at the painted skull on the table. "Same as any night." Reverently she placed a bone necklace over her head and set the gilded phalanges to straddle her shoulders.

    "No. The dead are silent."

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    Replies
    1. Oh I want to know more! ^__^

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    2. Oh - the colours in this! Even the ones you do not mention but nevertheless make so vivid; and I love her off-hand comment to the skull.

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    3. I like this, the sense of preparing for some ceremony or rite of passage, with hints of a deeper world steeped in death and primitive magic. A talking skull, the Corpsewood, horse blood, a bone necklace and the silent dead... good stuff! =)

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    4. Already hooked! Enticing visuals and the smallest taste of her world...wonderful stuff!

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    5. Such incredible mythology invoked, and some very deep magic. I would follow her out in the night to see what happened next!

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  19. Celestial

    The Great Tree has many names – the White Tree, Yggdrasil, Reality, and more. From time to time it bears wondrous fruits, golden apples of youth or knowledge or bright burning hydrogen.

    It straddles the barriers between dream and reality, between life and death, story and history.

    It is dying now, withered and scarred, like a hand clawing at the dark cosmos. You can see the notches where saws and axes have cut at it, where its sap, its precious lifeblood, has been decanted.

    It is the Tree of Life, and when it fails, so too do we all.

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    Replies
    1. You never cease to amaze me. A perfect lesson for our time, couched in a mythical tale. This has inspired a visual that makes me wish desperately that I could draw well.

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    2. Sobering this, aching reminder of who is at fault, who guilty.

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    3. Beautiful, raw, and desperate. That this rings true makes it even more uncomfortable to read.

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    4. Love, love this image of the Great Tree! I felt sad seeing the beauty spoiled. You really have a gift for bringing mythology to life. :)

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  20. I've got to stop trying to do this at the last minute...

    The Bridge of Red Tears

    The Bridge straddles the River, and for those convicted of the crime for being too desirable to the Lords, it also straddles this world and the next.

    They are lead out in groups of twelve, to the notches that line the parapets, each one just the right size to fit their necks. At a word from the watching hungry-eyed nobility, the fateful chord is pulled and the blades – always clean, always sharp – rise to end their lives far cleaner than any livestock.

    And the precious blood is caught and decanted into cups of gold, for the watching, waiting, Lords.

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    1. Especially when I'm drinking a red-coloured tea!!
      But yes, Matt, you always come up with something precise and tightly written - the 'always clean, always sharp' really cuts deep in this piece.

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    2. I thought it was going one way, which was horrific, and it went another, which was even more so. Nicely done, if a bit stomach-turning.

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    3. What a strange, horrible world you've created here where the Lords give out death to whomever they please. Definitely a creative ritual, and I like your comparison of the bridge as a physical object as well as something into the next world/spiritual. You're always very good with titles too. :)

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  21. Time To Go

    Time To Go

    Seems I couldn’t do it without pain. Not this time anyway. Sunitra hadn’t minded.

    At the end, when I’d released the bonds and laid her on her bed, her dark eyes had glinted and she’d almost purred.

    She’d languidly stroked a bite, at the juncture of her neck and shoulder, as I straddled her hips, unwilling to relinquish dominance, even yet.

    There was no need for apology, but I offered anyway.

    “A notch, nothing more. A pleasant souvenir of your…decanting.” She grinned wickedly at her own wit.

    I barked a laugh and left her with a less than gentle kiss.

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    Replies
    1. No idea why it posted with title twice....hmph!

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    2. Colleen, never feel as if you're 'not keeping up' - this is wicked good indeed and the absolutely perfect response, every line a glistening gem.

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    3. What Sandra said. You keep me on my toes, sister, and this is a good example of how! Very well done, steamy, and just the right amount of wrong.

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    4. No unnecessary words here! Very tight writing creating a seductive, carefully-laid scene.

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  22. I've had this sat on my PC unedited for 2 days, due to work busy-ness, but had to post it for continuity's sake...

    Flashback (4)
    -------------

    --Another step...

    Realisation: a deception; her family’s echoes inhabiting fragmented tableaux in her psyche.

    Father...

    He decanted faded soundbites: journalist... blah... prison..., blah... secrecy... safe... people asking questions. Blah...

    "...kicking plans up a notch. We're escaping
    tonight."

    She recalled what had happened to them; to her.

    ...above the migraine, her head prickled like burning hives; she couldn't stifle the groan.

    --It's ok... almost there...

    Straddling both existences, the physical won out; both hands euphorically scratched her scalp.

    "Still with us, Ame?" Gonzo: bracing her waist.

    "...Yeah... oh." Tangled clumps of shed hair adorned her palms.

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    1. I like having the back story, even in bits and pieces. Glad to see Ame at least moderately coherent!

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    2. 'family's echoes' is good as is the way thoughts tangle with reality.

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    3. I like the teasing fragments and the suggestion of something more in the final line. Is something specific causing her hair to fall out? Looking forward to the next! :)

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  23. RR Kovar said I had to, part 2! First entry was wrong, so this one is now correct, at 100 words exactly.

    Afterglow

    Most people would find it difficult to notch a crystal decanter, but Sarah had been making those notches for a long time and she was quite practiced in the exact amount of pressure to exert. In a perfect world, she'd use her fingernail, but she didn't feel like chipping her recent manicure -- it was so hard to find that exact shade of red in these days.

    She straddled Richard's now-cold back, her calves still submerged in now-pink bathwater, and ran her fingers through his hair one last time, then pulled down the shower curtain. A woman's work is never done.

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    1. And I'm so glad you took me up on my offer! This is a wicked little piece, and Sarah both cold and methodical. One wonders what Richard did to deserve it. I don't know why I think it was his fault, but there's something unsaid that makes me lean that way - perhaps the notches in the decanter.

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    2. To some extent, being called Richard is good enough, but yes, this is wicked indeed and impressively understated.

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    3. Oh this was a chilling little story! She's so nonchalant about Richard, and the title suggests something romantic/sweet, so I was a little surprised to see where it was going; very clever. :)

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    4. Welcome, Dawn! I'm so glad RR convinced you to come and play with us! And what a grand entrance you've made. I do hope that you'll hang about and play with us some more. This is a great little story. I love how she's concerned for her manicure! Made me giggle.

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  24. All right, m'dears. I'm a bit late, but the gates are closed on entries. Feel free to come back and comment as you wish until Words and Winners are posted!

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