Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Art of Humorous Horror.

Good evening all!

So, two of my favorite horror writers are Stephen King, and Dean Koontz.  One of the reasons I love them both so much is their ability to, at just the right moment, inject humor into a perfectly horrific situation.

An example of this comes from  Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas:  A cow explodes in a splashing, gory, mess, and the udder lands upside down on a fence post.  Within the context of the scene, this is awful, and hysterical.  I almost felt guilty for being amused by the visual.  And yet it was so perfect.

I mention all of this because this week's winners both have that element of a humorous twist in them.  The Tome and I found them both terrifically entertaining.  I believe that book actually chuckled.  At least I THINK that's what that sound was.  I'm still not certain.

Anyway, let's get to it, shall we?

In first place this week is Paul Richardson with Demonic Eye For The Straight Guy:  First of all, the play on the title is hysterical.  The character of Mestrious is perfectly realized and I really like your use of the prompts.  Thank you!

And in second place is Zaiure with Prize:  It was wonderful to see a strong female character with a mercenary attitude who remains likable.  I'd love to see more of Anora in the future.  Thank you!

And now, The Tome has offered new words.

Foxglove
Tableau
Garish

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, October 31st, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, November 1st.

The Gates Are Open my friends.  Take what the Tome has offered and craft your nightmares into reality!











45 comments:

  1. congratulations Paul and Zaiure! I am with you, Colleen, on the humour, it runs through Skullface because it is something I enjoy. Brilliant writing from both you talented people.

    The Captain is bothered by foxglove, I will see what he comes up with.

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  2. Congratulations Paul and Zaiure. An unexpectedly disjointed week ahead so I am rushing to complete this week's challenges.

    Justice not seen to be done

    For a count of four heartbeats the tableau remained frozen. Then Mathias murmured, ‘Why aim at the priest?’
    ‘He banished me, having found me distilling digitalis from foxgloves.’
    ‘To use on?’
    Gabriel’s wife… but, since Gabriel also spurns me...’ She swung the gun again, aiming at the man approaching.
    Squeezed the trigger.
    ‘No!’ Mathias seized and raised her arm.
    Too late. The blunderbuss exploded. Mathias and the wench fell back, Drusilla’s daughter’s brains grey-garnishing Mathias’ scarlet ruined face, their mingled blood filling and disguising the hole that had appeared in the centre of his chest.

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    Replies
    1. gore! loads of it! Whoo, what an instalment!

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    2. Oh, wow! I did not see that coming. How gruesome. Really love the flow of action in this installment.

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    3. Loved your use of 'tableau' in the first sentence, really paints the scene. Definitely a bloody, shocking ending. :)

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  3. A change of focus [61]

    Cherriman crouched, knife in hand, awaiting Pettinger’s response.
    Which was, exasperated, ‘Bloody stupid woman! I told her handcuffs better than rope ...’
    A screech of protest broke the tableau.
    ‘Ungrateful bastard, Pettinger, I credited you with more loyalty than that!’
    Triumphant, Cherriman glanced sideways, grinning at her foxglove-freckled fury. In that split second Pettinger lunged forward, wrested the knife from Cherriman, toppling him onto the road. Vanessa sprang to immobilise him, knee in his back, cuffs at the ready.
    ‘Next time I’ll be adding garnish to your balls!’
    But it was far from clear which man she was addressing.

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    Replies
    1. Loved the line 'foxglove-freckled fury', and Vanessa's threat at the end. :)

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    2. me too! clever use of the prompts here and a brilliant cliff hanger last line!

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    3. Another excellent action piece. I could see the whole thing play out, and I would say neither man is safe from Vanessa's wrath.

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  4. Thank you! And congrats Paul. :)

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  5. Brigand [2] - Nonlinear continuation of last week's challenge. I was a little lazy with my use of foxglove. ;)

    Boldness fading as Anora dismounted, the would-be ambushers paused, presenting a multifarious tableau of uncertainty. Though noting damascus steel at her hip, the men’s nervousness spiked, as Anora leisurely removed an iron gauntlet. Her glacial eyes, more steel than blue, appraised the assembled men. “Foxglove’s molesters, I presume.”

    A brutish man, with thick blond hair and an entitled expression, grinned lecherously. “Give me your sword, girl.”

    Before the man’s own garish sword cleared his belt, Anora’s bare fist slammed into his face. Bone snapped, blood sprayed, and 200 pounds of stunned man toppled back into the mud.

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    Replies
    1. 'an entitled expression' so descriptive a phrase! - wish I'd thought of it.

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    2. this is so good ... you dragged that foxglove in well! Still pondering how the Captain is going to use it. Not as good as you, that's for sure!

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    3. Anora is quickly becoming a favorite character. I like her confidence, as well as her skill set. I love multifarious tableau of uncertainty

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    4. Thanks everyone! :) She's fun to write.

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  6. Well done Paul and Zaiure: here's my continuation...

    Key To The Door(3)
    ----------------------------
    They squeezed round ancient tea-crates; a stack of garish waiting-room knitting magazines fell to the floor as they passed.

    "This place really is a testament to seventies crapness."

    "That's why I inherited it; the seniors upgraded to their shiny new office. It's not so bad..." He proffered a particular box, familiar envelopes stacked amongst other paperwork. "Mindy sorted the Foxglove case for me; we had trouble with the secret codes, though."

    Sharah's brow furrowed; apart from a postmark, the top envelope was crammed with gibberish words...

    "A cryptographic tableau," she breathed.

    "So, you understand all that?"

    "Not yet."

    .


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    Replies
    1. clever - leaving it wide open for us to ponder on what it all means. Like it!

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    2. A cryptographic tableau is so evocative! I am very much looking forward to see where this will go.

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    3. 'waiting-room knitting magazines' sets the scene so vividly and leaves us wanting more.

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    4. Oh I love this! I love the mystery, and the descriptions are perfect for setting the scene. Loved the knitting magazines, and the line 'seventies crapness' made me laugh. Can't wait to see where this is going!

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  7. Thanks for your kind words everyone.. I was really surprised and chuffed that words were so well received!!

    Serial
    The kitchen scene could easily have been a tableau of traditional domestic banality. Father at the table holding the morning newspaper, while 2.4 children sat with empty breakfast bowls waiting for their mother to dispense the first meal of the day.

    Wincing at the garish yellow decor, Detective Kim surveyed the arrangement through his thick lenses. He knew it was all deliberately staged, just like the others. Even the foxgloves and vase were the same.

    “If he’s true to form, he’ll have taken their eyes with him,” he mumbled, “and someone look for the other half of that kid.”

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    Replies
    1. Final line supplied the perfect kick in the guts answer to a question subtly asked, and the switch from banality to gruesome splendidly handled.

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    2. Shivered at the horror of the final line! Mystery and detective stories are my absolute favorite, and I thought you created the scene wonderfully, sprinkling in shock and horror as the scene progresses. Detective Kim sounds like an interesting character.

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    3. hope we can read more for this, what a kick-in-the-head ending! Wow!

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  8. Oh, this is wicked, a grotesque police procedural punctuated by that stunning last line. This one might haunt me.

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  9. Bye and Bye

    The discarded pieces of former humans, garishly strewn, suddenly made sense. It wasn’t random carnage, but a selection process. Seamless before me stood the reconstruction of the one I’d loved best, lost first. The tableau, a perfect Victorian room, the sort we’d visited from time to time, seeking wisdom from crones and their cronies, sparked memories forgotten.

    She smiled, almost right, almost real.

    I looked beyond her, to where the jar rested on a shelf. The room turned the blue of foxglove poisoning – she’d taught me that – as I lunged past the simulacrum of my mother.

    I fell, heart breaking.

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    Replies
    1. Beautiful and horrible. I loved the line 'seeking wisdom of crones and their cronies, sparked memories forgotten", and the final line as beautiful and sad.

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    2. 'simulacrum' is one of those words I find especially repugnant and you have used it at maximum strength here. Truly horrible, haunting and nightmare-ish

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    3. this is excellent, superb horror writing. I agree with Sandra about simulacrum, fearsome word, well used.

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  10. Seconds

    Seth’s garish scream made me move faster . I was forced to sidestep a rapidly deconstructing Doberman as it slid past. It growled, whipping its head around to snap. It missed only because its lower jaw came completely unhinged and bounced down the stairs ahead of it. Seconds later I saw the copulating pair.

    I knew instantly, which tableau had tweaked my brother. Definitely the dog. I decided not to give him grief later on.

    The room and her dress were foxglove blue. Her favorite.

    Seth was on the floor between her and the altar. And he wasn’t moving.

    Shit!

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    Replies
    1. Dang, woman, you are fast! And, thankfully, so is Nate. I think I'll leave Seth on the floor, just to see what happens next. ;)

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    2. Quick, yes, and a hugely impressive response, leaving us with seven days' anxiety.

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    3. Very creative & horrible description of the deconstructing dog. :) Another brilliant continuation of the threat and tension that continues piece after piece for Nate and Seth.

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    4. another fine horror piece with another kick-in-the-head ending, making me want to read on...

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  11. Damn, damn and apologies - my hasty scrawling of the prompt words had me mis-reading 'garish' as 'garnish' (and struggling to fit it in too)

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  12. Pardon the language, my friends.

    Well Laid Plans

    “It’s my son’s heart…” his Lordship trailed off.

    “Foxglove will ease him.”

    He took the vial. “And for the other?”

    “Has she bled?”

    “Two weeks hence.”

    “Give her this tonight. ‘Twill be efficacious.”

    Coins dispersed, he withdrew.

    Sean looked up the hill to the tableau of lordly wealth. “Donal won’t mount the garish cow.”

    “Have faith, brother. When that poor girl goes to him, he’ll fulfill his duty.”

    “How’d you figure?”

    “Simple, the potion I concocted will make her look like you, and when she offers her untried cunt, he’ll be too drunk to notice the difference.”

    “Wicked thing.”

    “Very.”

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    Replies
    1. This sounds very Irish to me - love the final three lines and the spare dialogue - as Zaiure says, there's much to be curious about.

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  13. Sounds like a very devious pair. I thought the language fit and defined the characters very well, and I am curious about this story. Great creation of a new world/story.

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    1. very interested to see if this is going to continue. The dialogue matches the characters, sometimes you have to go there to make it work. It does.

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  14. Shark

    Fish, and shapeless, shadowed things, swam under the glass beneath her feet, and Dani looked again at the foxglove-purple cracks spiderwebbing out from her booted heel. Her notepad was firmly in hand, and a pen, fine point black, in the other.

    “You like fish?” she said. The interview was not going as expected, and she raised her eyebrows questioningly, as the billionaire gave another mysterious smile. Despite his strong features and irregular, violet eyes, Dani had first noticed the garish, skull cufflinks pinning his starched sleeves.

    As if reenacting some theatrical tableau, he paused, then withdrew a shark-tooth dagger.

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    Replies
    1. I feel sure Dani will overcome him, but am eager to know exactly how. And am enjoying picturing his 'irregular, violet eyes'

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    2. oooh yes, beautiful/horror descriptions and yes, skull cufflinks are definitely garish...

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  15. Episode 29; yes, it's been that long since the Captain decided to tell his tale! Here goes...
    Infinity 29:
    Memories are a’plaguing this old Cap’n the night, of the Foxglove, her that went down in a squall off the Cape one night, when we were hove to like some Turner tableau not able to do a damn thing. That might have been a tad garish as a painting but still … I wonder if the crew of the Foxglove be part of them as are haunting me. If it is, then real sorry I am that we couldn’t get in to rescue you, but a nor’easter were howling through the rigging and I don’t risk the Infinity for anyone.

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  16. Stunningly good use of the prompts, Antonia, as ever.

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  17. Good morning, all. The semi-usual old computer issues prevented me from closing the gates on time last night. My apologies. They are closed now. Will see you tonight with winners and words.

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