Saturday, 8 June 2013

Changing Perspectives.

Good evening!

Changing perspectives, indeed.  Sometimes it's as simple as standing in a different corner when you look across a  room.  Seeing things from a different direction can change the way they look and "feel".  The same can be said for looking at a situation from a slightly different point of view.  I've been doing that today, and, lo and behold, I have found a new perspective on it.  It doesn't have to be quite what I thought it was.

Why bring this up?  Because it happens that examining the above mentioned situation from a different point of view, also had the effect of encouraging me to look at my own writing from a new perspective.  I have always seen my writing as something I enjoy doing, but am not particularly good at.  When people liked my stuff, I considered it a lucky coincidence, having nothing to do with any innate talent I may actually have.  This, in spite of having been told flat-out, by folks I consider knowledgeable about such things, that I am  a pretty good writer.  And now I find myself wondering if other writers go through the same thing.  I imagine they do.

So.  My question is this.  Have any of you gone through that?  At what point did you finally think, "I'm a writer.", without feeling uncomfortable saying it?

Anyhow, the tome is ready to do its thing, so let me announce our winners this week.

In first place, is Sandra Davies with Muttered Conversation:  Sandra, I love the dialogue here.  I love not knowing who is saying what, just yet.  I also find it a very intriguing way of introducing new characters.  Thank you.

My second place winner is Matt Farr with The New Overseers Speech:  As always, Matt, you've incorporated the prompts seamlessly.   More so, however, was the subject matter and the way you approached it.  Thank you.

And now for new words!   Ready?

Defeat

Crafty

Malefaction


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, June 14th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, June 15th.

The gates are open!  Let the games begin!

101 comments:

  1. Thanks Colleen - I have to say that WAS fun to write, retaining ambiguity.
    As for the writer thing, I didn't call myself one until a year or so after someone whose opinion I value highly told me so, matter-of-factly. Whether or not I believe it depends on who I'm reading - some writers make me want to bury myself for even thinking myself in the same league, others confirm it, of course. You, of course, ARE a writer, and a very good one at that.

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  2. Congratulations, Sandra and Matt!
    re: calling yourself a writer.... of course you are.
    The first thing you need to do is have confidence in yourself and your abilities to put words together in a way that captivate the reader. Once you begin the process of 'I can do this, I have talent' you will find everything gets easier.

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  3. Good morning, ladies! It's wonderful to sit here taking my first sip of coffee and to know that I'm not alone in having the "I'm a writer.", boggle. Also, many thanks to you both for the encouragement. I will add both your names to the list of folks I consider amazing writers, who call me one. It will help a lot!

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  4. Hello, long time no visit! Good to see that The Prediction is still going strong with lots of great writing :-)

    In answer to your question Colleen, I think I just sat down one day and went 'I am a writer'. I was conscious that I wasn't getting paid to do so but I was still writing so what else could I term myself. Every single person who submits here on The Prediction is a writer, and damn fine ones at that too. Keep writing away all and entertaining the rest of us!

    Now for my entry this week. Hope I've not lost my touch and that you'll accept my varient of malefaction!

    Leopard spots

    Good and evil. His yin to her yang.

    He had fought to defeat the maleficence riddling her body like a pernicious cancer; saving her from herself with kindness and adoration.

    He had been a naive, love-struck fool. She had been crafty, luring him in over months like a black widow spider, savouring the hunt.

    The blade was sharp as he lay there restrained, the incision precise and elongated.

    “Shall we see just how good that heart of yours is, John?” said Lilith, a question that begged no response.

    As she cut deeper, he wept, not for himself but for her.

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    Replies
    1. Ouch - that elongated ... and no you've not lost your touch. Good to see you here Phil - hope you get the weekly habit once again.

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    2. You have absolutely NOT lost your touch! This is quietly horrifying. Very nice work. Maleficence is a perfectly acceptable. Thank you, Phil! Glad to see you back!

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    3. A creeping story that stretches out like black shadows of fingernails that scratch at the mind. Great pacing to bring us to a breath-holding ending.

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    4. Oh, this is fantastic in all sorts of wrong ways, but the last line makes it beautiful.

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    5. Horrible, sad and thrilling. Loved the comparison to a black window spider drawing him in. I'm curious what Lilith's backstory is. Definitely don't want to be at her doorstep! :)

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    6. He has the feel of a martyr and a saviour, if not for a people, then for an individual. Excellent last line really completes it.

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  5. Kudos to Sandra for that brain-twisting dialogue, and to Matt for making me take another look around, as I live in an area my husband describes as "the third notch on the bible belt."

    As for being a Writer, I spent years in training, during which time I wrote all the time. I absolutely identified as a Writer. Then I spent a couple decades doing other cool and interesting things, but writing only occasionally. I saw myself as performer, costumer, business person, mother, wage slave, etc. When I finally started writing consistently again, everything else faded except Writer - and mother, because there is no more powerful phrase to bring one out of a writing jag than "Oh yeah, mom?" as that always prefaces a scramble to do something that was supposed to have been handled yesterday and about which I have been entirely unaware. ;)

    And while I've said it before, I will say it publicly here: if I did not think you were a good writer, I would not be relying upon you to tell half a story in which I'm really invested. It's a delight to write with you. So put on the Writer hat (fedora? bowler? certainly not cavalier...) and tell us a story.

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  6. Child Safety Locks As Standard

    His car smelt of sugar and salt. My favourite boyband drifted from the grille under the missing window winder.

    "Need a lift to school?"

    I was late, left my homework till this morning. Four locks snapped.

    "Child safety as standard." he grinned.

    He was crafty, pulling into layby. He killed the engine and grabbed my skirt.

    Blood sprayed from his neck as he jerked like a drowning fish.

    I twisted my red pen from his Adam’s apple and finished marking my student’s homework. My twitching malefaction stopped, defeated bedside me.

    I’d make it back for lunch. Friday is fish day.

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    Replies
    1. WELL! Isn't this just brilliant? Nice and twisty, just the way I like'em! Thank you, Sir!

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    2. Oh, btw? The red pen? Really nice touch.

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    3. Bloody hell! Bloody, bloody hell, Tony - back with a hugely impactful bang! And the opening sentence set it up good and proper.

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    4. Now that's a way to announce that you're back! This is so tightly crafted and so very clever. I could see the blood spatter, and it was quite satisfying. The dash of normalcy in the last line made me laugh.

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    5. I agree with Sandra, excellent opening line alluding to what's to come. Love the character's nonchalance with the pen. Girl's gotta do her homework!

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    6. Very clever, Tony. Feeds the desire for triumph over evil, but still leaves you chilled at her apparent indifference... Wondering if there weren't two monsters.

      I just killed a man. I wonder what's for lunch.

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    7. clever build up and good twist!

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  7. I suppose it's a bit like Jedi: anyone can call themselves one, but it takes recognition from your peers to either feel or be one?

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  8. Zoe, I think you may have the right of it, in part, at least. My problem was that even WITH that recognition (ask RR how many years she's been telling me I AM a writer!), I still couldn't make myself believe it. That perspective change I babbled about seems to have finally flipped that switch for me.

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  9. Born Again

    My appetite’s been out of control forever. Food, drugs, sex – I craved it. The last malefaction paid for the others. Drugs defeated damage done by food binges. Looking at me, you wouldn’t have known I was hollow, empty space waiting to be filled.

    He understood. “You’re a bundle of addiction, but I’ve got something better.”

    “Wassat?”

    “Murder.” Such evil from an angel’s mouth.

    Damned if he wasn’t right. I know the crafty fucker is using me, but it gratifies in ways the drugs never did. When I figure out his endgame, Heaven’s fallen moves to the top of my list.

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    Replies
    1. Brilliant examination of the journey from destruction to ambition. You really captured the desperation of addiction here very well too. It feels like she's standing on the edge of the fire pit and somebody's gonna burn.

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    2. Excellent lines as usual. Loved the description of the narrator as a 'hollow, empty space waiting to be filled' and the line 'such evil from an angel's mouth'. Your wordplay always conjures solid and interesting scenes and characters. Loved it!

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    3. So much to like about this, from the personal scale to the bigger picture. And the dialogue in the middle makes it more than just a synopsis. I like it a lot. =)

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    4. So, is it horrible that the first thought that went through my head after reading this the first time was: "Yep. Angels are dicks." LOL. Seriously though, there's a metric ton of potential here. And as always, it is a beautifully woven piece. The last line leaves me wanting much, much, more.

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  10. To continue the 'writer' theme - I don't ever know how or can work out what you do to make this (and almost every other thing you write) so compellingly brilliant. If you could bottle it and sell it, it would be so potent so as to need appyling drop by drop and I'd be first in the queue. Yet another totally absorbing and uplifting episode. *Sigh*

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  11. Here's my go; a bit harder this week for me...

    Flashback(17)
    -------------


    Their foe dispatched, the pair slumped; Gonzo scanned their hurts and began patching up, Conrad following suit. The paramedic then regarded the fallen Oni, tapping his screen.

    "
    Oh."

    ***His spirit: departed already. I'm... even a dweomer-crafty Immortal couldn't do it...***

    "Pulverised brain, severed spine? No, the result would be..."

    ***...a blatant malefaction,*** Conrad sighed in defeat. ***This bodyguard has cost us dear.***

    A thumping came from the direction of the limo; the sagging door finally fell off.

    Gonzo blinked: "The girl!"

    She wriggled out; head-bruised, hands still bound. Dilated eyes, puzzled at the tableau: "Jiro...?
    Jiro!!"

    ***Wait: she
    knows him?***

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    Replies
    1. 'dweomer-crafty' is great and the whole of this tale so intriguing and full of twists and character.

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    2. You really are skilled at dialogue driven scenes. :) I'm always intrigued by the imagery! Liked the description of the girl wriggling out of the car. :)

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    3. It doesn't read as if you struggled this week, the prompts are smoothly incorporated and the scene works well as a conclusion to the fight and with her emergence at the end.

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    4. Wow. The twists and turns are amazing. The stories have come together, but not at all in the way I expected.

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    5. it's that clever dialogue again that makes this so good.

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    6. If this is struggling...wow. I must agree with the rest. This is great work. You have such a talent for dialogue.

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  12. Patience is a virtue?

    Who was the craftier? Tao who, on perceiving he was passenger, immediately lay down again or Carrion Jack who, upright, was equally as capable of manipulative malefaction and false flattery (if not yet fornication, thanks to the demurely-wrapped damsel beside him).
    The accidental knife-slash to her face was shallow, would with care and ointments heal to a silver thread more intriguing than detracting. For the nonce she was forced to silent observation and, perceiving eventual riches, content to masquerade as Tao’s wife, whilst closely watching Jack console the weeping widow.
    Now funeral-bound, she assured herself the men’s defeat could wait.

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    Replies
    1. A new scheme! And a temporary truce? Sounds like another complex set-up... ;)

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    2. There is so much going on here, made all the more interesting by the addition of her voice. She's a sharp thing, and I both adore and fear for her.

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    3. I like the juxtaposition of Tao & Jack's positions - laying down and upright. They do seem to always be at opposite or contrasting ends of things. I also agree with RR, love the voice of the girl and her continued presence in the story.

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    4. definitely a set up and one I can't wait to see panned out!

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    5. Sandra, the amount of intrigue you manage to pack into just 100 words each week never ceases to amaze me. Again, I'm forced to agree with the others. I like the young lady quite a bit. I'm very curious to see what she does next, and how the gentlemen react.

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  13. A change of focus [44]

    Eager as Pettinger was to reach Raptor in advance of Cherriman he had first to placate his crafty boss whose second sight enabled her to spot the least of his misdemeanours.
    ‘No knife, Ma’am, merely a ... ‘
    Knife, John. I’m not blind. Admittedly of a type I’ve not seen before, but it had a handle and a blade and was most certainly a weapon. You’ve booked it in?’
    ‘Yes, Ma’am.’
    ‘Then I suggest you abandon all these dodgy diplomats and get back to dealing with the usual malefactors. Now.’
    Accepting defeat, he turned away.
    Failed to see her smile.

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    Replies
    1. A knife by any other name...

      Interesting to see if his boss has more of a part to play than it seemed at first. Great show of character.

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    2. Hah! She doesn't miss a thing. If she is playing him, too, Pettinger might be sunk. whose second sight enabled her to spot the least of his misdemeanours gives her even more depth.

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    3. Very intrigued by the final line, implying the boss has something going on of which Pettinger isn't aware. Curious how this will complicate things for him and Raptor. :)

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    4. good last lines aren't that easy to craft, this one is so good.

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    5. I can only echo what the others have said. His boss becomes more intriguing by the moment and that is one cracker-jack of an ending. Thank you!

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  14. Like sonar pings, I was drawn in precisely the right directions. We ended in a cul-de-sac, facing a sprawling ranch-style monstrosity. All perfectly normal, just like that farm. But I could feel it; the creeping malefaction beneath the surface. I could feel them. Us.

    “Turn on your witch-crafty mojo, kid. Turn it on big. Now.”

    He gave me a mildly offended sideways glance.

    I pointed at my chest. “I’m too close. Your wards are being defeated.”

    I cocked my shotgun and moved, voicing a last coherent thought.

    “Seth. If we don’t beat this thing-you can’t let me live.”

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    Replies
    1. OK, after three failed attempts I finally got this posted...and I forgot to put the title in. *facepalm* It's called On Point

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    2. I like the idea of 'creeping malefaction beneath the surface'. Wonderfully dark and horrorful phrase.

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    3. Not sure what happened to the comment I thought I'd already made. John sums it up, but sonar-pings and witch-crafty were small twinkling lights in this tense piece.

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    4. I agree with John and Sandra, great phrases in this. Oddly, I keep reading the first sentence as 'sonar pigs', which sets me giggling at that imagery! Great tension in this. :)

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    5. Agree with all the comments and would like to add a note on the great action writing. Yes I know this story ends on the precipice of the real action. But each movement and line of dialogue is tightly delivered toward the tension of awaiting jeopardy.

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  15. Defeat

    Blood dotted the blue-gray feathers of her headdress; little macabre jewels that glistened as Male held the torch close to her face. He'd defeated her army, but her eyes lacked the submission he'd expected.

    "You brought this on your own head," Male said. "We could not overlook your malefaction."

    She snorted and grinned wide, splitting afresh the wound across her cheek.

    "You think you were crafty with your assault? That you... took the city?"

    "We overwhelmed you." Male narrowed his eyes at the uncertainty that'd leaked into his voice.

    "Easy, was it," she said.

    There was a sound above.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, vintage Zaiure! Description, dialogue and damnably intriguing tale. Loved it all.

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    2. Oh yes, classic Zaiure. Full of flavour and description and leaves you wanting more! =)

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    3. This is such a visual piece that I looked up to see what was overhead. I love the confidence of the 'conquered.'

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    4. OK, so I'm not the only one that looked skyward at that line. It says much about the crafting of the tension in this piece that you got several of us to display physical reactions upon reading it. VERY well done. I for one, would love to see a bit more of this story.

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  16. (alpha)

    Adam leaves Jigsaw to her white walls and whiter music. He steps out onto a high balcony and the Arctic winds howl around him, so cold he can actually feel a slight chill.

    He thinks about what Miku has said.

    A grand malefactor might still reveal himself, for the Guardians to defeat, as they have so many others. But every time he thinks it might be that simple, he remembers that Megan is at the centre of it all, untouched by a fire that burns the world. In his heart he knows something crafty is at play, some darker cunning.

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    1. Contemplative and cool - a tight summation of threat in a well-evoked scene.

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    2. I really like the play between light and dark in this, as well as the juxtaposition of the chill winds and impending fire.

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    3. I agree with RR, the light and dark imagery is what popped out at me. Loved the idea of 'whiter music'.

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    4. the ongoing story of Jigsaw continues to hold my attention and look for more.

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    5. Love "a grand malefactor". Lovely use of the prompt! The rest is as has already been said. An amazing blend of light and darkness, forming perfect shadows to hide the unknown. Jigsaw and her "whiter music" continue to enthrall me.

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  17. (rise)

    "Are the Barons defeated then, George?"

    "They are at war. But they will return when word reaches them of this glorious malefaction."

    "Glorious?"

    "Foolish, maybe."

    "What will happen?"

    "The risen men will fight them, but we," He indicated the group of boys they were approaching; "we will need to be as crafty as ever, just to survive."

    "George, I need to find Pa–, my father. We lost each other in the commotion."

    "We can pass the word, ask anyone we meet. What's your pa's name?"

    Tell no one who your father was.

    Her heart ached, her mind raced. "Alfred."

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    1. What's really impressive is that you don't let us lose sight of the youth of Olivia and George in the excellent dialogue - well set-up teaser at the end.

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    2. This is a great example of how to let the reader discover your world without handing them chunks of exposition. Like Olivia, we are hanging on what George says. Unlike George, we know the stakes are even higher for Olivia. It creates great tension.

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    3. Whoops, the 'Tell no one who your father was' line was supposed to be in italics, it's what her father said.

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    4. no matter the italics, it's compelling!

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    5. I agree with Antonia. I remembered that her father had said that anyway. I'm liking George more and more and I'm very eager to know what happens next.

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    6. I agree with RR, you've introduced new information very well without it seeming out of place. I'm very interested in this new group Olivia has found herself in. Curious where the story is headed. :)

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  18. Fire in the Hole

    Unable to stave off the zombie hive’s attack on my wards, I wove surprises into knots, then cut the flow, leaving Nate flying solo.

    The ranch reeked of power, glowed with spells. I siphoned off the malefaction of magic and bundled it with my own. I’d deciphered parts of the journal, cobbling information, incantation, and indignation into something new. The result might not be enough to defeat him, but it was nothing the crafty priest had seen when I’d invaded Nate’s head.

    Now, if only we could avoid a Pyrrhic victory.

    My scars blazed white-hot as Nate did the same.

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    1. Ooh, this is BRILLIANT! I love how Seth just does stuff to Nate without telling him first. It keeps me challenged. You weave the prompts so naturally into your stories. LOVE the last line. Thank you!

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    2. Absolutely outstanding language in this, RR. I'd quote my favourite lines but I'd pretty much be copy-pasting the whole thing. Excellent.

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    3. Once again I can only echo, with complete sincerity, Colleen and John - but 'I wove surprises into knots' stopped me breathing, and I didn't start again tilI reached the end.

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    4. me too, Sandra, what a brilliant image!

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    5. I agree with Colleen, love how Seth deals with situations and the language/descriptions are always beautifully done. :)

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  19. The Final Countdown

    Voodoo boy had left the tools of his crafty trade all over. I had no compunction about using them. I snatched up a knife on my way through the kitchen, and drove it into the neck of the first guardian I met. My marks flared, screamed power and pain as its head imploded, then faded again.

    Not the knife, then. The magic was in me. Seth had combined both malefaction and faltering wards to give me magical hand grenades. With our luck, this wouldn’t last long. In the meantime, I grinned like a mad man with no comprehension of defeat.

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    Replies
    1. Brilliant, the opening salvoes of the assault has language as powerful as the brothers feel. Excited about this! =)

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    2. And I like what you do with the random curve balls I throw you! Watching Nate revel in violence is always entertaining. Not knowing how long he'll remain autonomous is frightening.

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    3. Nate's rampaging vividly depicted here - superb.

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    4. This story is definitely steaming along, full speed and exciting as always! Like the idea of magical hand grenades. :)

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  20. Hmmm. I definitely write, but I always feel shy of describing myself as a "writer". It's almost certainly a self-image issue, writing is a hobby not a profession for me (sadly) although the moment i manage to get some sucker to publish me I'm sure that sentiment would change!

    Anyway, for this week:

    A Study in Snot and Stupidity
    Osgood picked his nose with the guard-edge of his knife, which I always watched in case he slipped and cut the snot-filled lump clean off his face. Sadly it survived again, and I forced to listen to him spell out the words on the wall. Again.

    “Male-faction?. Like, a faction for men?”

    I sighed in defeat. “Malefaction. The Committing of a Crime. As in ‘The penalty for Malefaction is Death.’”

    He grinned at me in a way I suspect he thought was crafty, but in reality just made his nose ooze more.

    “But they got to catch us first, right?”

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    1. This is fantastically uncomfortable to read. Funny how I can deal with blood, but snot just creeps me out.

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    2. OK, Ewww! LOL. This is disgusting at its very finest. RR has the right of it. It IS uncomfortable to read, which is exactly what good horror fiction should be. Brilliant job.

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    3. Never a good idea to pick one's nose with a knife! :) Loved the humor in this and the misunderstanding of the word.

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  21. I've only one word to say about this: ugh.

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    1. yes! the only word that sums up this piece of horror writing!

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  22. Infinity 10
    A crew of malefactors. A crew of crafty deceit-ridden scowling layabouts who would take what I give them and run if I gave them the chance. I don’t. This captain’s too smart for that and they knows it too.
    Infinity sails on into the darkness, if they stars would go out, all would be pitch black and none would know where we sailed and what we did. I don’t need them to navigate, First Mate does, though. One day he’ll learn to rely on his instincts. Perhaps. He baint as good as me at navigation. He knows it too.

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    1. I suspect this captain has tonight a tot or two of rum taken, following a more than usually taxing day. I can see his scowl and his clenched, gently-pounding fist, which sends the candle guttering ...

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    2. The dissatisfaction that rode under the surface has finally broken through. It occurs to me that the captain is a bit lonely.

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    3. Hmmm...this first display of even mild bitterness towards his crew is really interesting. It's always been evident that he knows what scalliwags they really are, but he's always expressed acceptance and to me, even a bit of amusement at that. Until now. Makes me wonder.

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    4. He does seem to be in a foul mood. Wondering if it's merely instincts that help his navigation skills. :)

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  23. The tome has reminded me that it's time to close the gates. This has been an amazing week of stories! Thank you all so much! I shall see you tomorrow with winners and words. Until then, please feel free to continue to leave comments.

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