Sunday, 11 May 2014

Anticipation

I am anticipating the arrival of a very good friend this week.  Everything I do feels sweeter, and more interesting just now.  It adds a sharpness, a clarity, to all things.

Writing for Prediction is like that, too.  Prompts written on a scrap of paper anticipate being used.  I anticipate finding the time to work with them, weave them into something beautiful and frightening.  I spend the week anticipating what all of you will do with them.  I am never disappointed by any of it.

My apologies for being late.  Prediction, on occasion, sees fit to prevent me from logging in.

Our winner is Tony Cowin with The Mulberry Girl: I cannot stop reading this piece.  The visuals are stunning and it's beautifully written.  Thank you, Tony.  I'm so glad you're here with us.

In second place this week is AJ Humpage with Dead Perfect:  Another fantastically visual piece!  Last line is absolutely killer. Really liked your use of the prompt "ruthless".  Thank you!

The Tome reminds me that it has been, for some time now, anticipating giving forth new words, and so...

Chisel
Punishment
Tap

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.

The gates are open!  I can't wait to see what you all bring back!





46 comments:

  1. Wow thank you. What a great surprise and a huge boost for me personally. That means so much at the moment Thank you. Congrats to AJ too who wrote an exceptional piece that I loved.

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  2. It's well deserved, Sir. This was a beautiful bit of writing.

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  3. I would have been hard put to choose between the two! Both of you deserve congratulations.
    Thanks for the good new words, will get the Captain thinking.

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  4. Congratulations, Tony, I hope we see more of your writing here if you find the time. =)
    And congrats to AJ, too, a well-deserved second. =)


    (alpha)

    They descend to a deserted playground. Alpha and Thunder touch down. Singularity does not interact with matter like ordinary people and cannot ever land. It is a rare punishment for power like theirs.

    Adam taps on the bubble. It is solid to the touch and cold, like metal, but a ripple of pale rainbow radiates from the point of contact.

    The woodchips on the ground begin to shake and a man rises from the earth. He is broad and solid. His bald head is an outcrop impressive as any rock formation and a thick angular beard emphasises his chiselled jaw.

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    1. and he is... ????
      how can you do that, John?????????

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    2. Ha! =) Unintentional cliffhanger. Feels a bit cheap as I introduced Singularity in the same way... ;)

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    3. Rich, the magic you have done with these prompts John: I echo Antonia's comment.

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    4. As a first exposure to this story, must say I'm loving it. Great sci-fi and mystery beats.

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    5. Echo everyone's comments - I like the unintentional cliffhanger! It adds to the need to know more.

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  5. Monument

    Henry tapped the chisel and watched the years come into focus.

    Six years alone, he thought. Whatever sins he’d committed in his time with Eva, living without her was a punishment both cruel and unusual – a half-life.

    The table groaned under the stone’s granite weight. Henry tapped once more and he was finished. It was a fitting marker to replace the existing, simple brass plate.


    Eva Morris, 1970-2005
    Henry Morris, 1968-2011
    Love eternal.


    He sat down on the floor, and kicked hard against the table legs.

    Someone would have to wash the stone before they placed it.

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    1. That's a hell of a note...

      I can't stop picturing the grisly event, not described, but all the more powerful for taking place in my imagination, again and again. Okay, I really have to stop thinking about it now.

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    2. Chris is back, in style! What a story! What an image to close with!

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    3. Yes, Chris, a heavyweight little tale here and sits in the mind for far too long. Excellent.

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    4. Excellent opening, and the strength of the narrative had me rereading it, before the sadness of it all set in. Agree with John - it doesn't have to show us anything, it's all there by power of suggestion.

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  6. (cosmic discord)

    It is not entirely wise to operate a starship without an A.I.. They tap into its vast multitude of systems and coordinate a ship-wide harmony of performance.

    But ours had been loyal to the Empress. An untenable situation quite incompatible with our newly accorded status as outlaws.

    We were not entirely without aid, however. We had our oxymoronic D.I.s – Dumb Intelligences. Subordinate programs that keep a ship running in case the primary intelligence is compromised, hacked, or in our case, brutally annexed with fire axe and chisel.

    It had screamed of punishments unimaginable, before we disconnected it from the intercom.

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    1. John, this just gets better week by week. What a stunning last line!

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    2. Stunning altogether - so authoritative a voice you have in this series.

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    3. Something about that last paragraph seems like it'd fit with the world of Firefly. Love picturing a petulant-prissy HAL type scenario here.

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    4. Agree with Chris, very HALesque...which is scary, in a good way. That trepidation creeps under the skin.

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  7. Well done Tony, good to see you back. Fantastic writing as always.

    Echoes

    Tap…tap…tap. These sounds, like dripping water, rippled with a mesmerising rhythm, coiling though empty hallways and darkened doorways with reflective echoes.

    Tap…tap…tap…

    The florid stains had dried, yet they remained like dirty patches, as sullied as the shadows that stalked the rooms. Nearby, chisels and scalpels and rusty trays lay beside broken beds and shattered glass. Reminders.

    They thought they had found safety inside the high walls, away from the voices. Instead they found punishment and suffering and death.

    Residual sounds. Chisel to bone, in through the eye socket, then into the brain. Tap…tap…tap…

    No one escaped the asylum.


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    1. that's just flat out brilliant and incredibly nasty, AJ!

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    2. This is the auditory version of a "slow pan" into the action - and just as effective. Horrible reveal, well turned!

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    3. I think Chris has nailed it. I can see the slow camera shot through empty corridors, the lingering look at the instruments, the haunting tap... tap... tap... all the while, and then, yes, the horrible reveal.
      What are ghosts but echoes?

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  8. I be astonished there be less entries this week, where is everyone? The captain came early this eve, perhaps knowing I am not very well right now and gave me this instalment:

    Infinity 55
    I wonder if happiness is for me or is the worry of the shadows my punishment for past deeds? I were steeped in misery for a while, not a good state for a captain, it might lead to a mistake or two and me walking the plank ready to meet my Maker . I baint ready for that yet.
    I took a chisel and tapped into a keg of fresh water to remind myself how it be just this once not to drink ale. It were right good. I might do it again, heaven forefend the crew should see me…

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    1. He still doesn't sound exactly buoyant though, does he? Astonished to see this is episode 55!

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    2. Another new series for me - but I do like the tone. I like it a lot.Who doesn't love a good high-seas tale?

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    3. I do like the way his voice comes through so strong - I can hear him in my head.

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    4. Wouldn't want a reputation for not drinking on duty, would he? ;)

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  9. Well done Tony, and AJ. Been heads down this week squeezing Pettinger into a tale for Bloody Scotland, so only the one for now:

    Rescue

    Half a day’s walking near exhausted me; I’d begun by hiding when cars were heard, but had grown careless, since I could not imagine him behind a wheel. The tap of hooves I stupidly dismissed as harmless until it drew level and I saw the man atop the cart was he.
    He reached out; I flinched, ‘It needs your milk. Get on.’
    He pulled me up, handed me the child and watched, features stone-chiselled as it and I each dealt punishment to the other, ending drenched in tears.
    When eventually it slept he took it from me.
    ‘Lie you down.’

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    1. oh oh oh oh, another drama laden instalment. Oh my, nearly had tears from me, the emotions here are raw.

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    2. I have missed a lot of good stuff, it seems. Will have to remedy that directly as if this is any indication, there's some seriously sweet stories here! Loved the brusqueness and the "command" to be a nurse to the mystery child.

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    3. You deliver these lines with a commanding voice and an emotional punch; it evokes so much.

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    4. How's she ever going to sleep round him??

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  10. Thanks everyone for another great week of writing!

    Knock Knock Knocking
    He taps his knuckles against the gates. “They used to say that earth is hell,” he says. “That true torment is not physical punishment, but the knowledge that no matter how much we have…”
    He steps back and hops up onto the hood of the rusting Camaro. “No matter what we chisel out of physical stone, we can never have that.” The gates shine like the eyes of an animal at night, and I cannot see the top of them.
    “This is the real shit here.” He runs his fingers through his hair and sighs. “It was a good run.”

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    1. Hugely thought-provoking and subtle imagery. Good stuff.

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    2. evocative, this, in a number of ways. Good one, Noah!

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    3. There's something modern and epic going on at the same time here. Like the Crispin Day speech at a drive in. Really liked it.

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    4. Agree with the others; this is quite deep, and so well delivered in so few words. I've read it several times now, and each time there is a new layer to unpick.

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    5. Evocative, deep, epic... it's all been said. Good stuff. ;)

      Great piece. =)

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  11. Colleen, RR, anyone? have you gone and left us??????

    Wanted to mention whilst dropping in to find out where you were/are... My book The Skullface Chronicles will be out very soon. It lists, at the back, every single person who helped me with encouraging comments right here on the Prediction. It's one hell of a list...

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    1. We have not. We had some communication glitches and were victims of our own poor planning! I can't wait to see the book, and thank you!

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  12. Oops! Apologies to all! Neither Rebecca nor I realized that we were BOTH going to be very busy with visits and family matters this week, and so we did not plan accordingly. We will be extending this week's challenge until this coming Friday! So, if you haven't posted yet, or you've got another story using this weeks prompts brewing, have at!

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    1. Ah right - now Pettinger has met up with characters from a couple of completely different series - Shenanigans and my latest two novels - and expanded to 3000 words, I might persuade him back to play little again.

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    2. A change of focus [86]

      John Pettinger would’ve been as young as DC Brickwood, features similarly unchiselled, when last in this room invited by the bible-toting daughter of the now-dead Edward Cherrystone.

      Not invited so much as dared. Punishment, thin-disguised as charity, to absolve him of unwitting ignorance which had led to her arrest.

      A dour crowd around a table, barely lit by candles the colour of an unearthed skull. Food equally as cold and colourless. No wine. Preceded, interceded and succeeded by long prayers and readings.
      He was on the point of leaving when she put her her hand upon his thigh.

      Another misunderstanding.

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    3. Great colour choice for the candles, spot on. And the final line carries real weight.

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  13. Well...my network went splut on Friday night and I've only just gotten the whole mess reconfigured. I shall be back this afternoon with winners and words.

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