Sunday, 2 March 2014

Limited Access

My Internet connection has been dicey these past couple weeks. I hope that will end tomorrow, when I change providers. In the meantime, I offer my apologies for the delay in posting winners and words.

Everyone stepped up to the plate last week and all knocked it out of the park. (That's a baseball reference, for my non-American friends.) You make the judging both difficult and rewarding.

The winner this week is Zaiure, with Adoration. The combination of joy and horror was superb.  Runner up goes to Sandra Davies for A change of focus [76]. There is so much story packed into 100 words, and the ability to keep this tale going so long is such a testament to her skill.

And now, my doves, the words.  I can't wait to see what you do with these:

Verse
Blame
Earthy

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding 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 and stems are fine. You have until Friday evening.

Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media best pleases you and, if you like, remind your friends that we are open to new and returning writers.

51 comments:

  1. Astonishing lovely pieces! Congratulations, Zaiure and Sandra.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! - as I said, this one took a LOT of working on, so it was especially nice to gain a place. And Zaiure certainly hit the heights with Adoration - well done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Under the fullness of the moon

    Neither of us was to blame. It was not a situation where blame could be attached. Was not a fairy-tale prince and princess, pink and glittery; sweet and smelling of roses story told in moon and June, love and dove type verse, but a fast and furious wet and sweat, buck and fuck coming together. Smelling of semen, bruised weeping leaves and dirty, earthy sex.
    After – a month or so after, when the shouting had become silence – my most abiding memory was of the yellow startled eyes of the dog fox, seemingly transfixed by the rocking of our tangled limbs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, this is GORGEOUS! Such an abundance of beautiful, descriptive words. The last line is wonderful.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Colleen - I had a three hour train journey yesterday and Louise Doughty's 'Apple Tree Yard' to read. I was using the scrap of paper I'd written the prompts on as a bookmark, and had to break off reading to write this, so loud it was clamouring in my head.

      Delete
    3. I like the fact that the writing itself is earthy and full of alliteration. Particularly liked 'bruised weeping leaves', great line.

      Delete
    4. superb imagery, love this in its entirety.

      Delete
    5. Definitely loved the descriptive imagery in this and all it's wild and earthy tones. Absolutely loved the final line. :)

      Delete
    6. This is both beautiful and mildly disturbing. Well done.

      Delete
  4. Bone Tired

    I came to with Marie kneeling over me, whispering a short verse in French, over and over again. I rolled to my side, coughing more blood, and saw Seth.

    “My brother?”

    “He wake soon. His mother protect him, give him a final gift. ‘Dis is over now. The blame is mine. I make it right as I can. You take him away from here. Go back to earthy things for a time. Eat, love…rest. You be needed again soon enough.”

    Her touch on my face faded.

    I sat in the gently falling rain and waited for Seth to wake up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so good to have something to read and read and read again, and then again, just for the delicious pleasure of it. A pause, but one filled, for once, with optimism.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Sandra! That means so much to me.

      Delete
    3. Vivid dialogue and poetic final lines. I really enjoyed reading it.

      Delete
    4. There's an ethereal feel to this, otherworldly, mystical, and it wants to say much more. I had to read it a couple of times to breath it in.

      Delete
    5. magical break in the flat out violence and nastiness that these guys have in their lives, wonderful writing. Thanks for this.

      Delete
    6. I like how clear each character's voice and mannerisms are. They're vivid and true to themselves and create such an interesting world.

      Delete
    7. Such a great coda. I could not ask for a better scene or a better writing partner.

      Delete
  5. Well done to Zaiure and Sandra! Regretfully I've not had time to comment lately, I'm under a punishing work schedule at the moment, but I will endeavour to make comments this week, promise!

    Sliced

    He came to us, ghostly and breathy, his words like a verse from a hymn.

    We had grown used to his trusting tones and soft utterances, especially the way he lulled my little sister. She fell for his kind, earthy demeanour.

    I didn’t.

    ‘Momma’s gone shopping, she won’t be back for a while. I got you some sweets.’

    Just what I expected from him. Pander, lure, then control. All one big game. Except that night the games stopped. And the blame started.

    I’ll be 27 when I get out of prison.

    But I’m glad he’s dead. Sliced. For good.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'his words like a verse from a hymn' - lovely.

      Delete
    2. Great title! Lure, violence and horror in just a few words make the story wonderfully strong.

      Delete
    3. Reading this is like eating fine chocolate. I love the tone and feel. So smooth. "Sliced" made me think of a straight razor. I've read it about six times so far, and I can't stop coming back to it. Thank you!

      Delete
    4. as usual, a walk in the twilight becomes a walk in the dark before you realise it. Great one!

      Delete
    5. I love the slow and measured speed of the narration and it's mix of innocence and darkness. First and final lines were my favorite, the beginning beautiful and poetic, and the final line a no-nonsense, firm ending. Sliced. :)

      Delete
    6. This mashes my buttons *hard*, and yet I've read it over and over. It's horrible and yet terribly satisfying.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A change of focus [77]

    Vanessa laughed. ‘Can’t blame me if she now thinks you’re God’s gift. But, while you’d be better off with me, we should think about you getting closer...’
    Sourly, ‘Don’t push it. For one, she’d have all the more reason to take revenge on you. For another – remember I could give chapter and verse on too many of your... misdemeanours.’
    ‘So how far is Little Miss Butter-wouldn’t-melt pushing it?’
    ‘Too bloody far... I can’t be doing with that sweet-as-candy type –’
    ‘Prefer something more earthy –‘
    Nor you –‘
    ‘So we still need to sort her –‘
    You do – I’m done.’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh-oh. Twisty and problematic. Love it! Can't wait to read more!

      Delete
    2. the last line makes us demand the next instalment...

      Delete
    3. I am addicted to this series. Every installment leaves me wanting more.

      Delete
  8. Ante natal

    The weight of him re-balanced the mattress, caused me to roll towards him. As I apologised for what was not my fault he shifted, steadied me, muttered what sounded like ‘No blame’ then continued to repeat it until it became a soothing verse which sent me to dreamless sleep.

    Until woken to black silence.
    His body large behind me.
    Around us woollen blankets, tight-trapping earthy warmth; mingled body odours.
    Within me a painful gathering-up of womb.
    Beneath me the sheet wet-patched: this unwanted child was wanting born.
    And the only available midwife the man who’d told me he ate babies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Horrifying and dramatic, an amazing blend!

      Delete
    2. There is some horror that is so difficult to imagine fully. This is far, far, too easy. Which, you know, makes it all the more amazing! "Around us woollen blankets, tight-trapping earthy warmth; mingled body odours.", is a fantastic line! Thank you!

      Delete
    3. it's been a ridiculous week. Like, ridiculous. The shop has gone through three changes of display, including installing a huge book case/cabinet and all the work that entailed... and today a fresh load of goodies to be unpacked, sorted, priced, stored, displayed - at the same time I had an overload of submissions for my open anthologies, 7 of them, I am about to officially close one, whilst holding on for one last story. Then there has been the ongoing work of formatting the closed ones and getting them away for checking before going to print/upload and somehow in the middle of all that I contrived a 4 day migraine and a major upset going on at home with daughter and her lovelife... hope you can forgive me for not commenting earlier and offering sincere congratulations to Zaiure and Sandra for the stunning stories.
      Here we go with this week's instalment from the Captain:
      Infinity 46:
      There be an earthy hint to the air this godforsaken eve, I be wondering if we draw close to land, there be a chance to reverse the curse put on the crew. I blame them for their greed but it be my choice to get them released. Not a man jack of them will be grateful, even if they knew they was cursed but that be of no account. I want the crew back so I can get my share of booty next time a merchantman hoves into view in sight of Infinity’s guns. Is that too much to ask?

      Delete
    4. Oh, troubled again - not just the Captain, who has a lot on his plate,but you too Antonia - hope next week is calmer by the same proportion.
      Love 'Not a man jack of them will be grateful'

      Delete
    5. First, for Sandra's story: I am so impressed with the way you lull us into forgetting the nature of the beast, only to spring it on us at the end with full blown recognition and horror.

      For Antonia's: The captain never fails to make me think - something I suspect would amuse him no end. His self-interest is at the forefront, but he knows he can't accomplish his goals alone.

      I hope the week ahead brings you calmer seas.

      Delete
    6. I am so hooked on this series. Every installment is a joy. I love the way the Captain's voice sounds in my head. Thank you.

      Delete
  9. All dread and atmosphere and then those final three words. Excellent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sea curses are always suggestive and so sinister...

      Delete
  10. The Poem

    The boy had been fidgeting with his pencil for a while when the teacher glared at him and cried harshly, “You haven’t written anything yet!”
    Her cane’s thin shadow was already on his hand.
    Johnny hated constriction and refused to write the poem about nature in iambic verse; was his free spirit’s demand to blame?
    The sun, the moon, the earth could never be encapsulated… and poetry was their utmost resume.

    The blow was so hard that rivulets of blood covered the chubby little fingers; they had become as rigid as the woman’s sterile stick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. poetry was their utmost resume carries such weight. Poor Johnny, only wanting to express himself as the subject demanded.

      When asked to write in iambic pentameter in school, I penned an ode to beer. The teacher was not amused, but at least she did not strike me!

      Delete
    2. I hated iambic pentameter...seriously hated it. I still can't bloody do it. LOL. Great story. The last paragraph has stuck in my head. I can't stop reading it. Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Olivia, perfectly visualised situation perfectly written. Wonderful.

      Delete
  11. The Poet’s Deal

    The scrap of paper with the infamous verse had ignited the poet’s soul; a provocation that required an immediate response.
    No one but a demon could have written it. True, he had trodden the earth with guilt and wickedness but was he to blame if innocence had totally rejected him?
    Furious, he stabbed the nib in the paper but his hand stiffened on seeing the hellish shadow before him claiming the pen; the deal must have been signed on one of his most depraved nights.
    He let it fall with a sneer; after all, wasn’t damnation an artist’s requisite?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. whoo, I thought the other one was good, this is even better! The words inspired you this week, for sure.

      Delete
  12. Last Supper

    The restaurant hummed with conversation, clinking glass, the verse of a bayou anthem. Empty bottles testified to the heat of superb gumbo and need for distance from recent events.

    Nate sopped up the last of the soup with earthy bread. “I don’t blame you for keeping it secret.”

    “It seemed prudent. You hate witches. I can’t change what I am.”

    “True. On both counts.”

    “You had no problem with it when you needed my magic.”

    “Not true.” He ordered whiskey. “So, this is our last drink.”

    “Forever?”

    He clinked my glass. “For now.”

    Shots done, we went our separate ways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the perfect ending. I can't stop reading it. It has been an honor to create these men, this story, with you. You are the reason I started posting my scribbles, and you are the reason there are several, longer, in progress, stories on my computer. I cannot thank you enough for giving me the gift of helping me realize that I'm actually pretty good at this thing I love to do.

      Delete
    2. can it be over? can we be really bereft of Seth and Nate? magical writing. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

      Colleen, anyone - look in at Horrified Press at Thirteen Press open anthology calls, I need stories from GOOD writers. Come visit.

      Delete
    3. Antonia, I've got the link and I'm actually considering submitting a thing or two! And thank you. What a lovely compliment!

      Delete
  13. And that's the game for this week, my loves. The gates are closed. I will see you all tomorrow with winners and words.

    ReplyDelete