Monday, 21 April 2014

Digging In

For me, Spring means planting vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. I live in one of the most fertile places on earth, and it seems ungrateful not to use the magic dirt to provide for friends and family. Which is why I spent almost 8 hours doing heavy labor in the garden this weekend. Exhausting work, but it pays off later, both in vegetables and fewer weeds. It also, it seems, distracts me to the point where I forget to post winners and words. I shall endeavor to improve.

There were fewer entries than usual on the last post, but the quality was superb. The winner this week is AJ Humpage with State of Happiness. As I said in comments, sometimes the worst horror is the one that can (and does) happen.

The tome has taken a break from eating my flowers to give us these words:

Hammer
Convince
Slim

I can't wait to see what you do with these!

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.

37 comments:

  1. congratulations, AJ! superb as always, with the unerring ability to make the 'normal' come over as truly chilling.
    Good words again.

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    1. Lots of congratulations. Truly impressive!

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  2. Thanks Antonia and Olivia, and of course, our esteemed judge. Looks like I scared everyone away...

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    1. Congrats AJ - not running scared but writing!!

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  3. Okay, seems I'm first to the table...

    Mommy’s Boy

    Hammer up; a breathless hush
    Caught in time, like a camera flash
    Her slim frame, prone, afraid
    Drowning, in blood.

    Hammer down; a succulent whoosh
    Metal against bone; like broken shells
    His crazed face; drugged, wild
    Drowning, in rage.

    Lies, all lies; in his head
    Convinced by cloudy deceit
    His mind, furred and cold
    Drowning, in mistrust.

    No money, no drink, no dope
    No way out of the pit
    Mommy’s face all smashed in
    Drowning. No going back.




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    1. Literally made me shudder. All the more brutal for being in poetic form.

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    2. extremely cold and harsh, the way horror should be.

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    3. This is extremely visual, brutal, and chilling. And yet, I keep going back to read it.

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    4. There are no appropriate words to describe the ruthless ferocity of this piece. I can't stop reading it. And each time, my reaction is as visceral and uncomfortable as the time before. Please take this as the compliment it is meant to be.

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  4. Congratulations, AJ. =)


    (cosmic discord)

    Laser fire striped space. Brief lines of light, cycling through colours, shifting wavelengths to test our shields, and me.

    “Be not afeared, Jim,” Harriet said without looking up, her concentration full upon manoeuvring the ship, “this light show is good practice, they aim to cripple us, not hammer us into oblivion.”

    “Slim difference, surely, if one of those beams hits us?” I replied, unconvinced.

    “Low density beams, just looking to scorch us and short something important. I haven’t yet pissed her off so badly she wants me dead.” Harriet paused, “At the very least, she’ll want that pleasure for herself.”

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    1. Lovely phrases in this - especially liked the succinctness of "just looking to scorch us and short something important."

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    2. a vivid depiction here, the words create pictures, which is not easy to do in such a limited amount. Good one, John!

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    3. Harriet & co. are back! I love the tension juxtaposed with her apparent calm.

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    4. First line is just gorgeous! What a visual. I'm so glad to see Harriet again!

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  5. (rise)

    “Sell her?” George spat the question out, slim body taught, fists clenched, eyes fierce and angry.

    The colour drained from Ruth’s face. “George, I didn’t mean–”

    “Didn’t mean what? To make us slavers? To make us flesh merchants? Cos we’d be no better than them scum.”

    “George...”

    He glared at her.

    Harry looked back towards the outside world, convinced someone would hear George’s tirade. His voice was hushed, urgent, “George.”

    George took a deep breath, conceding the warning with a nod. He pointed at Ruth, hammering each word home with a stab of his finger, “We. Don’t. Sell. People.”

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    1. Whoo! I knew not to trust that Ruth. Well done George, as ever.

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    2. that kind of emphatic sentence, your last line, works so well when done properly. Here it is, a fitting climax to this piece of drama.

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    3. I am continually amazed by your ability to build complex worlds with very few words. This just gets better and better.

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  6. Dilemma

    A month after we moved in Burk’s parents returned. Night-time so they didn’t see the bodies; west wind so no smell of putrefaction.

    I’d regained sense along with strength, convinced him of my disinterest, while secretly desirous of his attention.
    Next morning I woke late in the attic room we’d all three shared to find him and the baby gone, the door locked from outside.

    The chances of safely escaping via the window were slim. Hammering on the door would bring unwanted attention, unless I could convince of my unwilling incarceration.

    But that would mean a statement to the police.

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    1. indeed it would, and what answers could they give?
      Intriguing piece, Sandra!

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    2. Oh no! This is a dire turn no matter which angle you take.

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    3. This is clever, setting up immediate and long term tensions.

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    4. As RR said, a dire turn, indeed! I can't wait to find out what happens next. There is such tension here.

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  7. Having struggled for a couple of days with the above, this came in ten minutes

    Observation

    Hammer-flattened bones, splintered and fragmented except at the edges where the wall of the shallow pit had limited the swing. From there, one digit of a mostly unscathed little finger identified it as having once been human. Small human, barely grown.

    Given where it was, the chances of it being archaeological and therefore beyond comprehensible pain were too slim to even briefly entertain the idea in any way which might convince.

    And before we could even begin to hope the date of the newspaper beneath put paid to that, while identifying it – her – as his latest – most recently discovered – victim.

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    1. hammer-flattened bones, what an image!!!
      another sharp cold piece beautifully done.

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    2. This brings such a sense of dread, tinged with resignation. A whole, terrible story in a few short words.

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    3. Enough of a peg to hang a whole dreadful cloak of imagination from. Hope is such a great thing (from a storyteller's point of view) against which to contrast horrible truths.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. try again, Blogger wasn't co operating... I ended up posting the instalment 5 times...
    52.
    Tis cold as sin these nights and we supposed to be in the tropics! Tis hard to convince myself we are there, it be that cold. I saw a crew member take a hammer to the bung in the fresh water barrel, it were swollen up in the cold. Damned if I baint saying that word too much, must be these old bones a’complaining, so they are. Like I be complaining this ship be full of shadows that baint earning their passage with a stroke of work. Damn their dark souls, they bother me too much. I wish them gone.

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    1. Oh dear, poor Captain, he's got the blues again. And the idle shadows back to haunt him.

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    2. I actually shivered reading this - and it was balmy today! I feel for the captain and his old bones, mine aging as they are. Great installment!

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    3. He likes a grumble, our good captain. Compelling, as always, Antonia.

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  10. Saturday Night

    Pretty girl at the end of the bar ignored her drink, stared at nothing. Beefy boys circled, convinced she’d fall for a square jaw, sculpted muscle, carefully tousled hair – young wolves sniffing around skittish prey.

    “Slim chance,” I muttered to amber liquid, praying tonight I could get hammered and forget. Slim chance of that, too.

    “Come on, baby.”

    “I’ll buy you another drink.”

    “Aren’t you in my psych class?”

    Silence.

    “Too good for us?”

    “Frigid bitch.”

    “I know where you live.”

    She smiled. “Lived. Past tense. Let’s go.”

    Drink forgotten, I followed them to the alley and watched her feed.

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    1. Well captured essence of 'frat boy'. I find myself most intrigued by the narrator, who knows more than he says, tries to forget and yet can't help following.

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    2. you captured my thoughts there, John, the narrator is a finely drawn intriguing character indeed.

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  11. The gates are closed, my loves. Feel free to continue commenting as you will. See you tomorrow evening with winners and words.

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