Saturday, 6 April 2013

On the elusiveness of words and webs...*grin*

Evening all!

Seems that both the internet, and the tome, have a bit of wanderlust tonight.  I've been chasing the latter about the place for some time now.  Each time I get it settled and begin to write...my network goes *splut*!  Not to worry about the tome, though.  I've hauled out the big guns (bacon, no less), and it should be along any moment.  As for the internet...

Hopefully, third times the charm.  Let's find out, shall we?

This week's winners are....drum roll, please!

First place goes to Antonia Woodville with Infinity (1).:   Antonia, I loves me some pirates and your mention of a particular favorite tickled me.  Besides that, though, your story is lush and rich with visuals and good solid starting arc. Just plain good writing, lady.  Thank you.

Second place goes to Zaiure with Deep:  I said it in comments, and I'll say it again here.  This is just a gorgeous little story.  The characters are interesting right off the bat and you set a beautiful scene.  I particularly love your description of the jelly fish.  Thank you.

And finally, but not last by any stretch...I must give honorable mention to Asuqi, with B and John and All the Rest of Us:   I must admit, this made me cry a bit.  It's beautifully written and evokes so many levels of thought and emotion each time I read it.  Thank you.

As always, I must thank all of you who come to play here, and leave such beautiful gifts each week.  I'm so honored that so many of you return again and again, and that more new folks seem to be finding us.

Please continue to spread the word about our dark little playground!

And now as I look to the floor by my chair, I see that the tome has made off with the snack I left, and has left some new words...

Charity

Trample

Piston


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, 11th to get your entries in.  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:00 PM on Friday, April 12th.

Off you go, m'dears.  As always, the tome and I await your return!






94 comments:

  1. Thanks so much! And congrats to Antonia & Asuqi. :)

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  2. Thank you so much! That´s such a lovely comment =)

    Congrats to Antonia and Zaiure, well deserved!

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  3. thank you, thank you!
    I have had three acceptances this week, an article for the Royal Society of St George for the July issue about Guy Fawkes, coming on top of the Spring edition featuring one of my photographs on the cover. It's a carving of St George killing the dragon. It's outside St George's Church at Arreton here on the island. It happened that I photographed it last year, with a mass of daffodils at the foot. Worked perfectly.

    Ad two stories placed, one newly written (the most offbeat ghost Western imaginable) and the other a reprint, and now this!!!!

    Thanks, Colleen! I'll post my other major news in a separate box below.
    Meantime, Congrats, Zaiure, loved that story and Asuqi, brilliant writing, but then the standards are so high here it is hard to differentiate between any of you.

    Blackbeard has ideas where this story is to go, whilst at the same time two black clad gentlemen are busy giving me ideas for a ghost/horror Western to follow Skullface, the subject of the next post. I had to share because all of you, as in ALL OF YOU contributed to the writing I am doing these days and the encouragement to continue with Skullface helped no end. I have listed everyone in the front of the book with my huge thanks. Oh, Skullface's too.

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    Replies
    1. Congrats Antonia! Sounds like many good things are in the works for you. :)

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    2. All sounds very exciting - well done.

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  4. A review of the book The Skullface Chronicles.

    In Praise of Skullface

    Since it is my privilege to be friends with Dorothy Davies she was kind enough to share her novel Skullface with me as she wrote each section of it and I’m glad that she did. I already expected good things from it because of her shorter works that I had read in the past but what she accomplished here still managed to surprise me nonetheless with the new levels of excellence and innovation that it achieved. Skullface is the sad but often times humorous story of a cannibalistic transvestite misfit who after a miserable abusive life comes back from the grave as a zombie of a kind in order to exact revenge upon his family. It takes place on Dorothy’s home Isle of Wight and lasts from start to finish for just a few days and climaxes on Halloween. I was struck by the clever humor of it, the James Joyce-like poetry of its free association and flow, the minute detail of the day by day life that it contained but most of all I thought the idea of an undead thing like Skullface having such deep thoughts and motivations was very clever and worth the length of the exploration that it received. As I read it something nagged at me about it that seemed familiar and I finally realized that it reminded me in a very positive way of Mary Shelly’s novel Frankenstein which has long been a favorite work of mine. Oh yes, one other thing, I was amazed at how fast the work that gone, considering the quality and originality that it displayed. Dorothy Davies is a talent to watch and I recommend you buy this novel when it comes out because it is not only as scary as one might expect it to be but even rarer than that it manages, through humor and poetics, to make you feel empathy and sorrow for a most repulsive life form which is indeed quite astonishing in the final analysis.

    Ken L. Jones has been writing everything you can imagine professionally for about forty years. He loves all things scary and weird which accounts for the many such poems and short stories that he has had published.

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  5. Congratulation Antonia, Zaiure and Asuqi - well done all of you! ^_^

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  6. Congratulations all, on all news :D

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  7. Ok, I'll start the ball rolling?

    Bring me the Head of...(8)
    --------------------------

    "Our boss's favourite charity cases!" A heavily-cybered dwarf hailed them from upstairs.
    Conrad tossed him the goods. ***Payment?***
    "She'll call when this reaches our client." Taking the head, he departed.

    ***'Nina?'***

    "I just..." Fingering the padlock, flexible tube in her off-hand.

    ***Borescope. Away. Now.*** He selected a chair, sat near the door. ***Trample on any rep you have with the Mafia in your own time. Thought you had sense.***

    "Sense?! You foul-smelling...!" 'Nina paused, sniffed deeply. "Hi-Ex. Firearms. Huh, boring... okay. Sorry."

    Gonzo silently tweaked his arm's faulty micro-piston, witnessing the shaman's unconscious changes: lengthening ears; vitreous, midnight-black hair.

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    Replies
    1. I'm enjoying this, and it shows how well a story works when you not only have tension between the antagonists and the outside world but tensions between the antagonists themselves too.

      (something that applies to other serials here as well, of course. =) )

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    2. I agree with John, really enjoying the relationships between the different characters. Action is packed into every little scene, carrying the story forward. Really loved the description of the shaman's changes as well - "vitreous, midnight-black hair". Love it!

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    3. I agree with the previous two comments too.

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    4. Each week brings more vivid imagery for my mind to play with - and such entertaining characters.

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  8. Wow, Zoe! This just gets more and more interesting!

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    Replies
    1. this is so entertaining! the sharp dialogue and the tensions, as John said, are so clearly delineated in so few words. Brilliant.

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  9. Congratulations to Antonia, not just for the win but for all your great news! Kudos as well to Zaiure and Asuqi, whose pieces both moved me, in very different ways.

    Seth wouldn't wait for Nate to spin a tale. He's impatient like that. ;)

    One Step Back

    Nate swung again, piston-fast and with a similar hiss.

    I sidestepped, pointing down. “Could you not let angst trample common sense beside an open portal to a place we can only hope is as nice as Hell?”

    He nudged the pieces of Carlos into the slowly closing hole. “So, whose father sent that thing?”

    “We’d best pray it wasn’t his, since Satan is way out of my weight class.”

    “Couldn’t mean your father, because he’s dead, right?”

    “I thought so, but Sybil intimated I could be wrong.”

    For charity, he stepped away from the still smoking circle before he attacked.

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    Replies
    1. At some point I'm going to have to go back and start this from the beginning... :D

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    2. The whole thing is here, in chronological order, with outtakes and side trips at the bottom, so as not to impede flow. :) http://pushcomestoshove.blogspot.com/p/nate-and-seth-series.html

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    3. Ha! I really like the image of Nate shooing Carlos' remains through the portal, as under a rug... ;)

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    4. I love that line, John, you got there before I did! that conjures such a picture! really really good stuff here.

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    5. They probably don't want to find themselves in a place worse than hell! Loved that first line of dialogue. And the imagery of Nate cleaning up Carlos was hilarious!

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    6. Oh gruesome the idea of Carolos's remains being almost swept under the carpet ^_^

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    7. Yes, Carlos' end but also the final line, stepping away 'for charity' before attacking.

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  10. And on it goes.....

    Flashback(8)
    ------------

    There wasn't any point astrally projecting; she'd circled the slums before, always returning to her body, psychically trampled by the district's ambience.

    Jiro
    meant well; his overly-protective custodianship still felt regressive after her brief freedom, an insensitive kind of charity.

    She needed to get
    out, touch corporeality.

    Live.

    The steaming acid ate the lock but left craters in the door; a mind fatigued.

    Exiting the building, she belatedly recognised a young Triad lookout, limbs pistoning madly toward her.

    He'd almost drawn level when the street exploded around him; the blast threw her against the wall.

    Burning hands clutching.

    Screaming.

    Darkness.

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    Replies
    1. A nice transition from introspection to action. And I think a turn through the slums of any city would leave most people psychically trampled, astrally projecting or not.

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    2. I like this. It is stark, spare and as vivid as if you had loaded it with words. The images leap out.

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    3. So many wonderful phrases in this! Loved how she needed to "touch corporeality" and the comparison and explanation of the steaming acid eating the lock - "a mind fatigued". Several meanings there!

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    4. Not a word wasted here, as Zaiure says, wonderful phrases creating a truly stark and vivid scene.

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    5. This is such a visual piece and the emotion-laden phrases add substance to the city as well as depth to the characters. Great stuff!

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  11. Congratulations Antonia, Zaiure and Asuqi. =) Definitely looking forward to a pirate-themed run of stories from you, Antonia. =)


    (rise)

    Olivia heard the trampling steps of the man fleeing down the littered alley behind her, but as she stumbled forwards, she had no time for relief.

    She steadied herself. The crab's eyestalks settled on her face and it stilled. A frozen tableau charged with all the suspense between a flash of lightning and the following crash of thunder.

    Then a cloud of steam gushed from its dorsal vents and she heard its piston valves rush into motion. A thick claw swung at her and grasped her by the waist.

    She tensed for the inevitable end. The crabs knew no charity.

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    Replies
    1. this crab is turning out to be one scary monster... and you end it with a nasty line that conjures images, (there's a lot of that in the entries so far this week) and I am left thinking, poor Olivia.

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    2. I found this line really creepy "The crab's eyestalks settled on her face and it stilled"

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    3. 'thick claw' and 'knew no charity' - truly chilling, as I feared. As I fear.

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    4. I like how composed Olivia is even though she's afraid. I choose to believe she'll be able to save herself. ;) Really love your description of the mechanical crab as well, feels very real.

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    5. The way you describe the crab makes it seem alive, despite it's obvious mechanics. The pause was perfectly timed for tension. As always, I want to know what happens to Olivia next!

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  12. (alpha)

    "You see pieces, Jigsaw, fragments. Maybe there is more. Look again, please, for me."

    Her round face, framed by the straight edges of her bobbed auburn hair, is expressionless; her dark eyes reveal nothing. But that is her way, she has always kept herself locked up tight.

    "The future is not a charitable place, Adam, and I fear to trample your feelings any further. But I owe you so much. If you truly desire it, I shall see what fresh pieces might present themselves."

    "Do it."

    As her eyes wash white, Adam's heart feels like pistons pounding in his chest.

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    Replies
    1. I really do like that line - the future is not a charitable place... that on its own says volumes.
      Good one, John.

      OK, off to write the next instalment of Infinity. Himself is around, waiting to write.

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    2. Ooo freaky eye stuff... :D

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    3. This exchange further underlines their relationship, 'her eyes wash white' Jigsaw's alienness. Good, good, good.

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    4. I love how the physical descriptions of your characters match their personalities. I feel like I have a really good image of Jigsaw and how she carries herself, and I loved the phrase 'eyes wash white'. You are very skilled at coming up with new ways to describe things. :)

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    5. This begs to be a graphic novel, not because of the superheroes (though that, too), but because the colors and dynamic are already bleeding through the story. Lovely work.

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  13. Infinity (2)
    Did I miscalculate our sailing time? Tis cold as charity out here and the cabin boy is hung over the side, throwing up his guts and most of his innards, by the look of him. He’ll get his sea legs soon enough. Took me a while but I ain’t admitting that to anyone but this secret journal of mine.
    Listen to the crack of the sails! Who needs engines and pistons? They tend to go wrong. Bit like being in command, things go wrong. Right now there ain’t no one to trample on my decisions.
    There’ll be time enough for that.

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    1. Superb, seamless use of the prompt words as the story moves onward.

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    2. I like how the captain is spilling his secret fears into his journal and the reference to engines and pistons. Is there perhaps some steampunk element to his world? Of course I suppose he could be sailing after the industrial revolution. :)

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    3. Journalling, a classic storytelling technique for a classic pirate. Things are bound to go wrong, aren't they? And then there'll be cutlasses and muskets and more innards on the outside... oh, or is that when things are going right? ;)

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    4. it's one of those age things, I think, no matter how hard I try, I can't come to terms with the practicalities and ramifications of steampunk, so if it ends up in a story/book, it's by accident, rather than design.
      The captain is sailing in this time, now time, in the spirit world, but the world need not know that. He wants to give me a story, full of his rollicking pirating time, so I will write it for him.
      He has a great booming laugh that I am sure reverberates around the Realms!

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    5. I like his luddite tendencies, especially in light of both his age and reputation. There's a lot to be said for tradition, especially when it's all you know. I am really enjoying his voice.

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  14. Charity [5]

    “Was I followed?” Kensi said, reaching out a hand to steady herself. The gloam of Elysium had not yet faded, coating the room in a disorienting film of smoke and violet.

    A diminutive woman with blue, plaited hair caught Kensi’s hand and smiled warmly. “No longer a threat.” Something crunched beneath her shoe. “May have trampled it.”

    “Missed you, Charity.”

    “Good time to visit the manse. Damn piston’s malfunctioning again.”

    “Eli not working out for you?” A wicked smile.

    Charity snorted and pursed her lips, glancing to Kensi’s left. “Finally put down Diego?”

    Hate you too.

    “He says hello.”

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    Replies
    1. Loved the dialogue between the two characters. ^_^

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    2. This episode seems to have opened up myriad possible future directions, and the exchange about Diego is tantalising in its duplicity.

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    3. Nice, a getaway gateway to another place. Methinks she may have to deal with the scarab-mawed mother some other time though, more permanently.

      I liked the last little interchange, too. =)

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    4. this week everyone seems to be posting entries that have intrigue and possibilities stamped through them and out the other side. I will be waiting to see how they all pan out, starting with this one... such good dialogue.

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    5. Oh, intriguing developments indeed! I like that Kensi is "carrying" Diego in more than just her memory (I think...) and responds for him. Lots of questions about Charity and their history, which you capture in part with the comfort-level of their dialogue.

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  15. Here's my offering (sorry about the pun) for this week.


    The Offering Part 5

    Elspeth, knife discarded, collected her lifeblood in the vial. She knew the words were the piston in the machine of magic. It was vital that they were spoken just so.

    I must hurry. He awakes soon.

    With her finger coated in blood, she began to draw the symbols on his forehead. His skin, marmoreal to the touch, made her shudder. It was as though someone had trampled over her soul. Eyes closed she reached out to draw the last, when something clasped her wrist.

    “Elspeth, what are you doing?”

    Her eyes met his.

    “Expect no charity, if you betray me.”

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    Replies
    1. Oh, so rich! Especially liked 'someone had trampled over her soul' and eager to know what next.

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    2. Very clever how you wove 'piston' into the description. Interesting to think of magic as being a machine, as it does seem to be wielded by man (or some demon/spirit in this case). :) I'm very curious if she had time to finish the spell!

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    3. I want to know if she's going to finish the spell too! And if she does, will it truly deliver the world from him forever, and what of her...?

      This moves at a pleasing pace, Helen.

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    4. it moves on and I want to know what happens. Sometimes a week seems a long time...

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    5. I so enjoy your witch, but I fear for her. Has what she's already done incapacitated him enough for her to finish, or is she is mortal danger? This is a strong story, and I want more.

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  16. Well done Antonia and Zaiure - ever entertaining!
    I have my doubts about this but, having been away, time feels short.

    A change of focus [33]

    ‘Piston rings?’
    Startled awake, he’d incautiously thumbed ‘Connect’, not expecting his boss to be phoning at half midnight.
    ‘Piece de resistance, John! She was the honeypot. Cherriman says she...’
    ‘Charity case? Ma’am, you’re breaking up.’
    ‘I’d break your bloody neck if you were here! Two unsolved murders, an eviscerated ambassador and a disappeared DI – the press is trampling all over us!’
    ‘Trampoline?’
    Pettinger disconnected.
    'Eviscerated’ had all the hallmarks of Raptor’s henchmen; his alibi was secure but truth for him was well-oiled, Sally-Ann the con-rod – ‘con’ the operative word – and the barrel full of anything but laughs.

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    1. Someone obviously needs a bucket of cold water and an ear syringe :D

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    2. Oh no a bad connection - I want to know where the disappearing DI went? Intriguing piece.

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    3. Haha love how he faked the bad connection. 'Trampoline' had me giggling. Definitely should be cautious when answering the phone at late hours. ;)

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    4. The slapstick humour doesn't quite fit with the usual tone, but that's not a bad thing, it made me laugh, and it puts his boss back in the picture, keeps the pressure on. =)

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    5. it's a surreal conversation that sounds almost as if it was making sense, very clever and very entertaining.

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    6. I like the way he dealt with being caught off guard. I hope his boss wasn't tracking the call, or Pettinger won't be "missing" for long! Seems like Raptor is dragging him over the line to the criminal side. Slippery slope, that.

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  17. I don't seem to be able to stop this week - but I need to get this one out there... (had to segue into French to get a bit of variety though, so I understand if it's not included...)

    Flashback(9)
    ---------------

    Dante's Inferno: exclusive, brash; overflowing.

    He deftly avoided the crowd as it trampled onto the dance-floor; trance-jazz quintet '
    Les Fils Des Pistonniers' synchronised with his failure mantra: They Took Her, She's Gone...

    Saw his 'Mr Johnson' beckon him over, tentatively sat opposite her.

    A
    gaikokujin elf: like her father.

    "Convince me in your
    own words."

    He obliged, documenting his despair, omitting nothing; she reminded him of an older version of Ame, somehow.

    "I'm in."

    Disbelief...

    "Don't view it as a charitable donation, more an...
    investment. I'm putting a new team together anyway; you pay them, my hacker will begin searching."

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    Replies
    1. I agree with Sandra, you are truly skilled at unique and interesting worlds. Loved this scene and the dialogue. I am very intrigued by this new addition to the story. Also, hilarious mental image picturing a crowd trampling a dance-floor. :)

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    2. Why does this feel like a deal with the devil? Desperation drives bad bargains...

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    3. lots going on in so few words, what's happening here, and why? It's a need to know situation. Cleverly done.

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    4. Deals will always be made in nightclubs, with dialogue much like this. There's a noir feel to this that has been hinted at before but comes through more strongly in their bargaining dialogue. I like the intrigue.

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  18. Zoe, I'm ever in awe at your ability to create new worlds and characters to fill them, this is yet another fascinating example.

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  19. Good Bones

    “What did you say?” Pril said, confusion palpable in the sharp planes of her face.

    “Good bones,” the man repeated, gesturing at her cheekbones. He had a coyote smile.

    “Oh.” Self-consciously she touched her cheek. “You’re a bone man?”

    “Forensic anthropologist. It was that or be trampled by bulls.”

    “Bulls?”

    “You know, running with the bulls in Spain? I was quite the thrill-seeker in college. Took a piston through the knee to change my focus.” He grinned roguishly. “That’s another story.”

    “Ah.” Pril shifted the bag to her other hand.

    “Here for the charity?”

    She blushed deeply. “Not to donate.”

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    Replies
    1. Intriguing and lovely - who is Pril and what IS she there for? Is the man with the coyote smile trustworthy? What is the charity? I want to know. So many of your pieces sound like the beginning of a novel.

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    2. This is a fascinating little snapshot, Zaiure. An intriguing study of a first encounter.

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    3. a tight image of a strange charity with strange reasons for Pril being there, I want to know so much more.

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    4. I think I went to college with that guy. He's the one who said "anthropologists don't study people, we experiment on them, whether we mean to or not." You've captured him perfectly, including the slightly creepy vibe. I am also curious as to the charity and Pril's purpose.

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  20. Conversational chess

    ‘If you deliver yon jade-eyed maid to Cotterdale will he return your letters? Or must I be seen to die?’
    ‘He didn’t want her back.’ Tao’s thoughts piston-shunted, ‘but he’ll need a body.’
    ‘Beat to anonymity some gutter-trampled niddering; Cotterdale doesn’t know me well...
    ‘And her?’
    ‘If she insists on chastity, my charity will cease.’
    ‘She’d exchange chastity for the gold Cotterdale will claim for you; might even pre-empt...’
    Derision: ‘She’s already suggested I deliver you to your brother...’
    ‘He knows what I look like...’
    Glitter-smile: ‘Doesn’t stop me doing it for real.. after you claim your letters, of course.’

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    1. you do the dialogue pieces SO well!

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    2. Oh, twistier and twistier! The dialogue is delicious, the plot in glorious flux - which way will it turn? - and their personalities so clear in the words chosen. Chess masters, both.

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    3. Conversational chess indeed. Very tight and concise.

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    4. Rapier wit, these two! I have an image of them circling each other at knife point haha. Can't wait to see where this is headed, and who will have the upper hand.

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  21. the Captcha which came up for me earlier had the word

    yourcofn

    good one, I thought, for a horror writer... nearly text speak...

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  22. The Mechanic

    Slipping inside her, I knew I’d never feel anything finer. She was almost too old for intrusion, but someone had found the charity to make her relevant, even appealing.

    A quick jack, and I knew all her secrets – plus those of the last guy. His imprint remained after he’d trampled her. She was torn up inside, just like his last ride.

    Bodies would come next.

    “I’ll make this right, Sugar.” Immersed, I tapped the ignition to get her pistons moving. Fossil fuel pumped in time with my blood: hot, eager, needy.

    Sugar would be restored. Her last passenger would not.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, f... I was going elsewhere with this, exactly as you intended! - well done. :(

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    2. me too! very clever! Like it a lot, and the rather nasty threat at the end is so so good.

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    3. Oh! Well played, very well played. Man likes his motors a little too much... The Mechanic has to be up there with some of the best realised killers The Prediction has ever seen, and you know how high a compliment that is. =)

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    4. Nice twist of the mind with this. I definitely had a different picture in my head at the beginning, but I loved how real 'she' felt. This one (car) has a soul. Very nice hook at the end.

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  23. A change of focus [35]

    Heart pounded like the piston he’d invoked to avoid his superior’s ire, less than was due: she still had some charitable impulses towards him, but if she had an inkling of his current involvement she’d see him swing; likely trampled underfoot in the rush to release the rope.

    Raptor (would he be one of them?) entered via the connecting door. ‘Who were you talking to?’
    ‘What do you know of Cherriman?’
    ‘My deputy.’
    Surprise, surprise: ‘He’s been arrested.’
    ‘Then you must release him.’
    ‘Raptor, it doesn’t happen like that here.’
    ‘You’re scared?’
    ‘I’m law-abiding’
    And my son?’
    ‘You tell me’

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    Replies
    1. Law-abiding, and upholding. He's in a pretty position now, isn't he?

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    2. Very interested to see what choices he'll make next. Will he side with Raptor?

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    3. You flesh out his boss beautifully in that first paragraph. She's the rock, with Raptor and all his revelations the hard place. I don't envy Pettinger his choices.

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  24. I apologize for being late closing up, gang. My fault, so all entries submitted up to now WILL be considered. See you all this evening with Winners and Words!

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