Saturday, 13 April 2013

Loss and Gain, Creation and Destruction, and other cyclical things.

Good evening all.

This week has served to remind me of the cycles and circles of all existence.  I lost a dear friend on Tuesday, but have gained a deeper sense of myself and my soul through musing on that loss.  As Winter continues to fade, and Spring to flourish, I am reminded of the creation/destruction/creation cycle of all things.

The tome seems to be somehow aware of this as well.  It appears to be shedding a bit, and has taken to perching on my bed, watching birds fly by.  It growls and mutters to itself, or to me.  At the moment, it is sitting by my feet, gnawing happily on the edge of a small area rug made of rags.  It really does love chewing on things.  It also seems to know, more and more, when it's time to bring forth new words, and seems almost to be awaiting a cue from me.

Let's get on with with winners so we don't keep the little dear waiting too long, eh?


My winner this week is Helen with The Offering (Part 5):  Elspeth becomes more and more fascinating with each turn.  Also, I simply couldn't get over "His skin, marmoreal to the touch...".  That was just creepy and wonderful.  I cannot wait to find out more about Elspeth, and what she does next!  Thank you.

Second place goes to RRKovar with The Mechanic:  I have read this about a dozen times now, and I get something new each time.  This has flavors Shadowrun, and The Transporter movies, and Dean Winchester's love for his car.  And yet...both character and story feel fresh, lively and new.  Thank you.

Again this week, I have an honorable mention, because I just HAD to!  Zoe with Flashback:  Zoe besides being a great story, your unbridled creativity in working in the prompts simply had to be mentioned!  This is a  great bit of writing!  Thank you.

As always, every story this week was a wonderful gift and I thank you all.

And now, I have scritched the tome on what I guess is the approximate location of it's chin, and it has obliged with some new words.

Impress

Locus

Sentient

Many thanks to RR for helping me coax words from the tome this week!





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 EST on Thursday, April 18th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, April 19th.





97 comments:

  1. WOW Thank you very much what a nice surprise. Congratulations to RRKover!

    I shall be back to play some more later ^_^

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    1. Oh and I'm deeply sorry for your loss. ♥

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    2. Oh and congratulations to Zoe too!

      My mind is all over the place today - sorry. ^_^ but I think I've covered it all this time.

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    3. And congratulations to you and Zoe! Scattered seems to be the order of the week, alas. I apologize for my delayed felicitations.

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  2. congratulations Helen, RR and Zoe!
    Condolences on the loss, Colleen.
    I will see what the Captain makes of the words this week when my mind is back where it should be.
    I am editing a terrible detective book...

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  3. Congrats Helen, RR and Zoë. Well deserved! Sad to hear about your loss Colleen. My thoughts are with you this week.

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  4. Infinity (3)
    I’m impressed, but won’t let on to a-one of them, with this crew of cut-throat rogues and ruffians. Only just sentient, some of them, but hell, they sailed through that sea like it was a millpond. Apart from the cabin boy, he ended up in a bunk out of sight.
    No more than I expected.
    The locus – ha, I do so like that word! Is here, captain’s cabin, where I keep two logs, one for them ‘s as needs it and one for me as needs it.
    Where is Infinity now? At sea, who outside of me needs more than that?

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    1. I wonder if one of the crew will come upon the second log. :) Also very curious to see where they're headed and the adventures that will undoubtedly ensue.

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    2. Can't mollycoddle a crew such as them, they'll only think you weak. Keep 'em angry, keep 'em mean, and watch your back... ;)

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    3. Yay! More pirates! I like that at the moment, this is sort of an inner-monologue. I'd love to get a look at the Captain's "personal" log! I too, am excited to see where they're going!

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    4. I really enjoy the voice in this writing. It cements the scene and makes it feel both more fantastic and real.

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  5. So sorry for your loss Colleen, and congratulations to Helen, Rebecca and Zoe - all well-deserved wins.

    Body of evidence

    ‘While knowing you to be a thug, I assumed you to be sentient of my intelligence, of the relativity of my locus in any, shall we say, hierarchy of consequence. Trying to pass off this...’ Lip curled as Cotterdale tentatively toe-turned the body he’d come to inspect, ‘this as Carrion Jack... Tao, you more than disappoint me, you waste my time.’
    Unimpressed, Tao frowned. ‘I’ve fulfilled my side of the bargain. Give me my letters and I’ll be gone.’
    ‘Carrion Jack had a distinguishing tattoo which this body lacks.’
    ‘Butterfly?’
    Cotterdale nodded.
    ‘Then you’ve been misinformed: that tattoo is mine.’

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    2. I want to know more! and I love that last line, it leaves the reader just wanting to know what happens next.

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    3. Very interesting tattoo! ;) Curious what the reason was behind it (can't remember if it was mentioned previously?). Tao seems to be staying cool despite Cotterdale's disbelief.

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    4. Dammit - looks like Tao's lying yet again, even to me - it was Tao's birthmark I was thinking of. Not that I knew what its significance was. And I suspect Cotterdale's mis-used 'sentient' too.

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    5. We knew what Cotterdale meant though... And I imagine he might be the type to use rare words, whether he is entirely cognisant of the exact denotation or not, knowing most of those he speaks to will be none the wiser... ;)

      I remembered Tao having a mark, but not whether it was a birthmark or tattoo.

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    6. Sandra, I often find myself wondering, as I read this, whether you know exactly where the story is going, or if you are letting it more write itself. It has the easy flow of natural movement, and yet all the twists and intrigue leave me wondering if you haven't spent hours, days even, plotting every word and action. Either way, I'm still hooked!

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    7. Colleen - I'm not even clever enough to know where it's going even after writing the first fifty words, which is why Tao caught me out this time. There's times I wonder whether being so reliant on a prompt indicates a lack of something - all of my novels began that way - but since it seems to work for me I'm not complaining :)

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    8. not knowing where a story is going is most of the fun... I don't know where the Captain is going either and I am relying on the prompts, don't worry about it! This is a good instalment and if Tao is lying to you, even better! Means he knows where he's going even if you don't!

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    9. I love the back and forth, like a very deadly tennis match. I trust Tao to wriggle his way out of the consequences of deception, though each time he does, the stakes raise. Odds are good his luck will run out at some point.

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  6. Thanks :D and good job Helen and Rebecca.

    And *hugs* Colleen.

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    1. Thank you for 'swivet' which so effectively sets the tone for the rest of this smooth episode - want to know what is next demanded of Elspeth.

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    3. Oops I missed out an a - it should read in a swivet ^_^

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    4. I found another mistake so I am deleting the post and reposting - sorry!

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  9. This probably would work better in a longer scene, but this is what I came up with. :)

    Portend

    “It’s not a game,” Wena said, coral eyes disproving. The tarot cards made soft snicking sounds between her long fingers.

    Bae smiled as she put on another earring. ”You know I don’t believe that stuff.”

    “Doesn’t matter.” Wena turned over another card.

    “You treat those cards like they’re sentient.” Bae twisted her long hair up off her shoulders. “Help me with this corset.”

    “Trying to impress someone?” Wena flipped another card. “Judgement.”

    “Working on an invite to the Grey’s locus.”

    “Bae...” Wena’s hand trembled as she held out a card. “It’s Death.”

    Bae cocked her head. “Did you hear that?”

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    1. I see this taking place through a gold-framed mirror, love the whole scenario you've created here - it IS much bigger!

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    2. I like Wena's "it doesn't matter." It's the line that cemented my, so far, limited knowledge of her. As a user of tarot cards, I'm very curious to see how what they've said comes to pass, or not.

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    3. This is a gorgeous scene, and I like the way Sandra sees it, through a glass, perhaps darkly. And there's Death, the harbinger of change. If this were the start of a book, I'd keep reading.

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    4. Thanks! Yes, I love the idea of seeing this through a mirror. Great idea Sandra! :)

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  10. Poor old Death card gets such a bad rap! I too liked the scenario you created.

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    1. Change is most definitely afoot! ;)

      This does definitely feel like it needs a little more, but it's an interesting snapshot in itself. Very smooth writing. =)

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    2. intriguing scenario built here, a lot of characterisation going on through dialogue, Want to see more, please

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  11. The Offering Part 6

    Elspeth, in a swivet, acted without thinking and tipped the contents from the vial over his forehead, scrawling the last symbol. The grip on her wrist released, she stared at Jacob’s progeny, cold upon the ground.

    

Was it no longer sentient? Had it worked? Daring not to breathe, she watched and waited. "I have done what you asked, my gods. Give me a sign."



    She cast her eyes upwards. Black swirling smoke filled the locus above her head. From within its hazy confines, two eyes blinked and narrowed.



    “You impress me Witch! But I am not done with you yet.”

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    1. The tension continues to build in this series! Very curious what will happen next and if Elspeth's gods will make an appearance.

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    2. Ah! Twist upon twist! You've outdone yourself, Helen. An ascending scale of sacrifice and summoning. =)

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    3. Rule # 1. They are never done with you. That's the first thing I got from this. Also, I love the visual of the appearance of the eyes above her head! As always, you leave me eager for more!

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    4. being visual in so few words is the hallmark of good writing and Helen has it!

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    5. She's quick on her feet, your Elspeth. I wonder what her gods have in store for her next!

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  12. A change of focus [36]

    Focus, a focus, a locus of power, a challenge. The stage of adolescent versus perceived past-it parent having been omitted this was the first time each faced the other as sentient, empowered adults.

    Raptor, used to deference, to dealing with defiance in wholly autocratic manner was, secretly, impressed that this on the surface barely-adequate man, lacking features or physique of his father, sans a string of status-proving murders to his name, had the temerity to deny, to accuse of lying. To put paper rules and regulations above the wishes, the demands - and the best interests of - his father.

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    1. I'm not sure the phonetic plays in the first paragraph quite work as it took me a second to get my head around it (but then I have been working six days straight and not sleeping well...). The second paragraph, however, is excellent. So revealing about Raptor's character. I love that even in concession he can't help but slip in an insult.

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    3. These interactions are so beautifully crafted. I wonder more and more about the true relationship here. Raptor continues to leave a bad taste in my mouth, as I figure he's meant to. Condescension seems to be a specialty of his and I like the way you write that.

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    4. I can see why he would be impressed, pleasantly taken aback, to find his nephew can be considered an equal. I don't think Raptor sees very many people as being on his level. Though like John said, even though he may be somewhat impressed, he still is true to character by insulting his nephew at the same time.

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    5. this continues to hold my interest, the characterisation is so sharp, so well delineated.

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    6. I have a sneaking suspicion that Pettinger will prove the more clever - and possibly more deadly - adversary, precisely because he does have a framework in which to operate, and years of experience with what folks can and can't get away with...

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  13. Yes John, apologies for that, I quite agree, also it should have read "Focus, a focus, a locus of power", but I forgot to italicize and hoped it wouldn't matter, but have to admit I read 'hocus pocus' this time around :(

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  14. Mama

    The child regards me with pine-sap eyes. I’ve failed to impress her, evident by the sewing needle still clutched in one hand. They told me she wasn’t sentient, a husk with a child’s face, but I don’t believe it.

    I kneel and show my empty hands. Her locus of refuge appears to be this cramped closet, and I wonder how to convince her to leave. “Are you hungry?” I say. Children are always hungry.

    She frowns and blue light shutters across her eyes. “Mama’s coming.”

    “No, honey.”

    Her mechanical eyes narrow. “Mama’s coming.” She smiles and looks beyond my shoulder.

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    1. This makes me ache and of course I want to know how she came there, who she belongs to and what has happened to her mother ... but, 'mechanical' eyes? Oh dear. And 'pine-sap eyes' is startlingly original.

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    2. Oh. Oh! I absolutely love this, for the little touches like the 'pine-sap eyes' that Sandra mentioned, and for the character and overall flavour of the piece and the absolutely chilling, thrilling final line. Stunning.

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    3. definitely chilling. I'm eating my tea as I read through the entries so far and am trying not to give in to the temptation of looking over my shoulder to see what she sees.

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    4. This is such a visual scene. The building of gradual tension in so few words is an art. Leaving us not knowing what approaches makes it even better.

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    5. Thank you everyone. :) I realized later that I described her eyes 3 times haha, but sounds like it works!

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  15. Ultimatum

    “Have I failed to impress you with how …disturbing, all of this has become!”

    Seth shook his head, eyes wide, then gasped as I released him and began to pace like a mad man.

    “Your daddy issues have become a locus for fucking me over and I’m done. So, here’s how this goes. We are finding my car. We’re going to Jimmy’s. I am going to drink myself almost non-sentient, and then you are going to tell me everything. Because I’m seriously hating this shit and it’s the only way I’m not going to kill you.”

    ”Are we clear, brother?

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    1. Yes! Excellent. =D

      Booze and enlightenment, sounds like a perfect evening. ;) I don't think it's going to be quite so smooth somehow.

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    2. Thank you, John. I think Nate, like myself, has had quite enough of this G*ddamned Greek Tragedy that has been our lives the last few weeks. Things will likely NOT go smoothly, but I believe we are both determined to beat them into submission at this stage.

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    3. That's telling him! ... but I'm far from sure Seth will stay told, despite Nate's energy and determination. Like the booze and determination too.

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    4. Seth won't stay told, for sure and am oh so keen to find out what happens with this story next!

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    5. Seems Nate has reached his boiling point! It will be interesting to see how long he manages to keep Seth off balance, and how quickly Seth start making his own demands. Siblings can have quite spectacular fights since there's so much emotion and history there, so I they always make great character pairs in stories. :)

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  16. Cool, he sounds one pissed off dude! I want to know what it is he's hating - more please. ^_^

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  17. (rise)

    The crabs were not sentient. The gears and clockwork needed for such a marvel would be as vast as the city itself. They were not even as impressive as Alfred's cantankerous, miniaturised reasoning engine. They didn't need to be.

    They could not be bargained with or bribed, they were implacable and incorruptible.

    The crabs enforced a curfew. Except for certain loci favoured by the Steam Barons and a half hour at dusk and dawn for people to catch the omnibuses to their work in the mines or the manufactories, anyone caught outside was punished.

    And the punishment was always death.

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    1. There's times I'm absolutely certain you and the Tome are in cahoots together so smoothly do the prompts fit into what you write ... but what of Olivia?

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    2. something implacable and incorruptible is so scary, there is no way out. Ever.

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    3. The crabs are even more chilling for their lack of sentience. They have no emotions one way or another about if someone deserves to die. Loved this explanation of their behavior, and now I'm impatient to know how Olivia will escape.

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    4. Those crabs are creepy - this story has a touch of steampunk about it ^_^

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    5. I continue to hope Olivia survives, but your creepy crabs make that seem unlikely. Then again, she has read her father's books, so perhaps she will overcome the killing machine. Your world-building in this series is deliberate and clear. I admire that.

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  18. (alpha)

    Black stars pinwheel across Jigsaw's white eyes. She moans, and starts to mutter.

    "Fire."

    She twitches, takes imaginary bites from the air.

    "Apocalypse, and four horsemen at its locus: fire, an empress, death and deliverance. The fire is alive. Megan is inside it."

    Adam leans forward, he needs to know what Miku sees.

    "The fire is alive. It cannot touch Megan, she is so impressive, and the world burns around her. The fire is sentient... I can't... it sees me!"

    Jigsaw screams and the black stars coalesce back into pupils in her wide, stunned eyes.

    She gasps, "It saw me."

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    1. 'wide, stunned eyes' - huge impact there, and the imaginary bites from the air speak strongly of out of control. Good one, John.

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    2. wonderful episode, John, things slipping away, and leaves us wondering where this will go next.

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    3. Wow. This is fantastic, and the living fire is one heck of a villain. I really wish this could be a graphic novel, because I want to see it on the page as well as in my imagination.

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    4. I agree, this would make a killer graphic novel! Maybe you should partner with someone to make one. :) The tension is maintained in this piece and I love the intro of the villain. Very curious to see where this goes and it sounds like Megan will be quite the force.

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  19. I'll have to put this on quickly...


    Bring Me The Head Of... (9)
    -----------------------------

    Gonzo flexed his now-repaired arm; something nagged at him, though…

    What was that incessant buzzing, impressing upon his eardrum? He cast around, finding the noise’s locus; the focal point definitely Ame’s bunk. No visible change there (well, apart from the obvious… )

    He leant closer… the buzzing became noticeably louder when he fished out a bulky commlink from her inside jacket pocket. Naturally it stopped, beeped a 'battery low' signal, and died.

    'Nina' snorted: "Huh. Algae's more sentient than that brick."

    Conrad squinted over, signed pointedly: ***Apart from us: who else does she know?***

    Our boss.

    ***She’ll call Gonzo next. Logic.***

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    1. Don't know whether I've just forgotten or you're teasing, but I have not a clue what 'the obvious' is! Doesn't stop the tenterhooks I hang on after each and every episode, though.

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    2. Not answering the boss' call is never a good thing, and 'the battery died' always sounds like a bad excuse... ;)

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    3. So is Ame morphing into an actual goblin? I don't envy Gonzo the follow up call from the boss. With no real reason why, I already fear her.

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    4. I love how central a character Ame seems to be, even though she's not really doing much beyond changing in the background. Your descriptions manage to spark my curiosity about her and I constantly visualize her as an integral part of the scene. :) What's going to happen when she wakes up? And who is the boss?

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  20. I wonder what will happen next? This get more intriguing with each episode.

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  21. I've missed a few weeks. Sorry!

    * hangs head in shame *

    Departure

    I awakened to sentience as the last of the FleshMen withered and died on the Barren Land their forefathers had bequeathed them; clinging to the old Loci of past failure, eyes long-surpassed by my brethren gazing sadly into the reddened skies. They scrabble below me as I ascend from my cradle, headed for the stars, picking at the ruins that long ceased to impress, a memento mori for the new gods that leave them far behind for the far glimmering shores they cannot even conceive of.

    They cry, and wail, and rage, and die. And I feel nothing for them.

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    1. There is something almost religious about this ascension, with a slight twist of language that makes it feel dislocated from the here and now. Very interesting and quite bleak.

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    2. Such gorgeous desolation appreciated by a disinterested party, and what a great history you've woven of the dying planet in so few words. That's us, I think, sometime in the future, but I wonder what will be picking over our ruins.

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    3. You are a masterful world builder. I always enjoy reading your scenes. Really like the feel to this of what could be a newly awakened god. Love the imagery of the narrator 'ascending from my cradle'.

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  22. Riding the Storm Out

    It’s unwise to push Nate. I’d done so repeatedly, out of dire need. He had trouble accepting that.

    I kept quiet, letting his antique rock music wash over me. Magic built, sliding through my body like a sentient thing. The markings acted as loci, power pooling, sparking pins and needles, only sharper. I hadn’t asked for my “gift.” I’d been impressed into service with no one to lead me.

    Nate broke silence first. “Why does my shoulder itch?”

    “Best guess? The hive is trying to gain control. The tattoo prevents them.”

    “Fantastic.”

    I hid my smile, because it really was.

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    1. Good to learn more of Seth in that second paragraph, and to see his secret superiority to Nate. Gem of a piece, this.

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    2. Ha! Nate would flip (again) if he had an inkling Seth was channelling more magic right there and then... ;)

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    3. I wonder if Nate really knows deep down inside. Loved the line 'Magic built, sliding through my body like a sentient thing.'

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    4. Loved this scene and the fact they're listening to antique rock music really made it real for me. :) I agree with Helen, excellent line describing Nate's magic.

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  23. Nexus

    Sho watched Hajime drowning.

    "You don't know what you would have become."

    The sentient whale thrashed, unable to surface, unable to avoid sucking his own blood into his impressive lungs.

    "Now is the universal locus, the convergence of opportunity and probability."

    Hajime's tale slapped the glass divide. Cracks splintered outwards with sudden gasps like drops of water hitting hot metal.

    "I must die too, of course. This place, this time, is where realities intersect. Our wrongs will be corrected; they will never happen."

    Blood and water washed over Sho. Whale and shattered glass obliterated him. Futures collapsed, and futures bloomed.

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    1. I saw this as the intersection of worlds or time lines previously separated by sheets of glass acting as reality filters. There is both destruction and creation, which gives it an almost religious feel. How many times in how many places did such a struggle take place?

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    2. 'Tail', not 'tale'! *kicks himself*

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    3. Another stunning piece. :) Love your ideas! Really does seem easy for you to smoothly use each week's words. ;) I like the imagery of the two beings near each other - a picture of stillness, calm and one of struggle. Beautiful and sad.

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  24. Good evening all. I'm going to humbly beg your indulgence in using the honor system to close out tonight. My mother was hospitalized yesterday and we are still awaiting test results. I will admit...I am very weary. So, gates will close at 11:30 PM EST just like always. I very much look forward to doing winners and words tomorrow. Brightest Blessings to all!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your mother! Hope she recovers soon.

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