Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Every Little Thing

Summer is presented as a time to mellow out, lay back, enjoy the "lazy days." That may be possible for some folks, but I haven't had that experience since I was a young woman on the road working at renaissance faires. These days, summer means yard work and growing vegetables and trying to fix up the outside of buildings before it gets cold again. I don't mind, it's good to take care of a place and the people on it, but it certainly doesn't leave a lot of time for being lazy!

That said, it's a poor excuse for not getting winners and words up sooner. Therefore, I am extending the time frame for getting your stories in to Friday, June 13. Ominous? I sure hope so!

I am giving the win to Colleen Foley for It's Going To Be A Great Show (6). It was such a calm piece that portents so much. Six episodes in, and I'm totally hooked on this serial.

The tome has been sulking, a result of my tardiness, no doubt. Reluctantly, it has given forth three words and huffed off to spend time with Colleen.

Clarify
Canvas
Optimal

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, June 13.

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.

56 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! I'm absolutely having a blast writing this story. I'm so glad it's liked!

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  2. congratulations, Colleen, it's a damn fine serial! the Captain agrees with me...
    Canvas, he said, good word, the others, he's gone off with a frown.

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  3. Been far, far too long but think I will give this a crack this week (fortnight). Hope everyone is good and great to see The Prediction still under such sterling stewardship. :-)

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  4. Congrats Colleen! Took a peek and it sounds like a great serial. :) I've been regrettably absent the past few weeks, but the pushed back due date for this week should give me time to get something in. Looking forward to everyone's stories!

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  5. Gestation

    Her hands were warm against her rounded belly, too warm, but she kept both palms pressed flat. Granite eyes, veined with dark blue, studied the golden flesh as it rippled against her fingers. Ena had hoped feeling him kick would clarify her thoughts, give her a decision. Was he (it) even human? Did it have flesh like hers, anatomy like hers? Would she survive it?

    Eddard entered the heated pod with his usual abruptness, tossing a small, canvas sack into her lap. “Doc says now’s the optimal time. Best not wait to see if it’s a chest-puncher.”

    Ena flinched.

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    1. Your description here is beautiful and chilling all at once. Very good study of the anxiety that accompanies pregnancy. I can't wait to learn more!

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    2. Oh yes, need more of this! Yes, all those fears, remember them well...

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    3. Yes, they're all too familiar to me now. :)

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    4. You create such beautiful tension, which temporarily masks the fear.

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    5. Really enjoyed this Zaiure, it's Captivating in both it's beauty and unnerving underlying fear.

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    6. I actually felt the chest punch. This is hits so many buttons.

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  6. Congrats Colleen! You have an amazing story going!

    Lux Part 2

    The Cormorant’s owner’ thick eyebrows meet beneath his bowler. “Miss Parnell, could you clarify your statement? That Mr. Richards’s death was caused by light?”
    She clenches her toes and fingers. “A light, Doctor Privens. An EreMax 230, if I don’t miss my guess.”
    He sighs. “Ingrid, The Cormorant needs restoration. I don’t need to tell you that the old girl is hardly in optimal condition. We cannot afford to delay the performance—”
    “Sir, just give me a day to canvas the upper catwalks--”
    “We cannot delay,” he repeats, “for a girl’s fairy stories. Let Richards sleep. Good day.”

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    1. getting better, intriguing set up going on here, well set up in a few words.

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    2. I'm very curious where this is headed. Loved the description of how his 'thick eyebrows meet beneath this bowler".

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    3. This is so solidly-created a world, leaves me wanting more.

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    4. Hi Noah, I went back to last week so I got a full flavour, and this Story is building excellently. I'm rather partial to a bit of steam punk, so I look forward to seeing where go with this story.

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    5. I really love the theatre setting, and you're ramping up the tension nicely. I suspect no good will come of ignoring the warnings.

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  7. I had trouble with this tonight, first time round it came out at 147 words... but the Captain and I worked on it and here it is...
    Infinity 57.
    Time for me to clarify my thoughts on the optimal conditions under which we be sailing, with the help of the shadows. Waiting on the lookout to say land be sighted so we can trade some loot for something better, something to sell next landfall. I be avoiding the shadows, afore they creep into my mind so much that I be befuddled and lost. I hear them laugh but I hear not the crew laugh and I don’t any more. Perhaps it be time I found sommat to laugh at out there. Not much chance of that.

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    1. Worried as ever this Captain, maybe with reason this time.

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    2. Your story has crept under my skin Antonia. You build the feel of a captain at unease in so few words, that I also feared the shadows were with me. I'm off into the sunshine to shake that feeling.

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    3. The Captain definitely sounds worried. Loved the line 'I be avoiding the shadows, afore they creep into my mind'.

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    4. The longer the Captain is out at sea, the stronger the shadows seem to grow. I wonder if there's a correlation.

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  8. A long time with no opportunity to come out and play.

    Make No Bones

    At the optimal temperature the fat would clarify like butter, too far and it would scorch, soon it would be a human Ghee. Friends laughed at Gavin when he bought a blank Canvas restaurant on the wrong side of town. He smiled at their naiveté; the lower classes from the local sink estate had a richer taste and for now were in plentiful supply. His high end clientèle that knew his reputation and were privy to his “Club Exotique Menu” would never check that his “Cougar Surprise” wasn't a real cougar rather than the meat of a sexually active Septuagenarian.

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    1. Yeugh!! Welcome back William - and what a very nasty piece you've arrived with - love the final line.

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    2. The beginning definitely set the tone for a nasty surprise at the end. I think his entire menu should be suspect. :)

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    3. This is what I get for not reading the other entries before I started mine. I think I like yours better, not least for the clever word play at the end. Welcome back, indeed!

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    4. oh good one, William and so very good to see you back again!

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  9. Congratulations Colleen - well-deserved.

    Conversation under canvas


    That night it rained; we slept close-packed beneath the cart’s canvas cover. Darkness rendering him invisible, I questioned him. ‘You’re kidnapping me?’
    ‘Temporarily.’
    Needing to clarify, ‘’Temporarily’ until you sacrifice me?’
    ‘No.’
    ‘A ransom?’
    His soft laugh answered my incredulity: ‘No. For your fertility...’
    ‘But... you said... we are not like?’
    ‘No. But hopefully near enough. My people are dying out. Too long below optimal young women to sustain...’
    ‘How long is ‘temporary’?’
    ‘How old are you?’
    ‘Seventeen. Nearly.’
    ‘Six? Maybe eight.’
    ‘Years?’
    ‘Births.’
    ‘You would father them?’
    ‘Not necessarily.’
    ‘But if I wanted you?’
    ‘I would need to agree.’

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    1. Sandra, I have tried many times today to put together a comment that is worthy of this fine piece, but I've been lost for words. To make a piece so intricately layered within 100 words takes the skill demonstrated by you here.

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    2. She seems to be taking it rather well considering, which makes the backstory even more intriguing. I'm hooked!

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    3. Thank you both for your kind comments which make the writing for Prediction so much more worthwhile - the back stories can be read on my blog at http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/ - accessed by tabs at the top - this is 'Threshold', Pettinger's tale is 'A Change of Focus', this bibles story beginning at episode 84.

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    4. I hadn't realized how young she is. There's something both sweet and terrible about her willingness to bargain. Then again, his people have her other child, so she has much incentive.

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    5. it's ... a horror story and sadly, one being repeated around the world, it seems. Truth collides with fiction but truth was never written as well as this.

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  10. Tariff

    As a portrait painter,I use a simple formula to calculate the optimal price of a finished canvas: – T+(IxB)÷X – where T=time, I=income, B=beauty and X= that ever-variable factor such as whether or not the sitter will allow me to fuck her, or is so ugly that the husband willingly agrees to pay twice the going rate.

    Whatever the delights – or otherwise – of their faces and their fannies, rarely are they so stupid as to need me to clarify that without my pre-stipulated X the final painting mightn’t be what they desire.
    Which is why I always insist on payment up front.

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    1. Oh such bad bawdy behaviour brilliantly told. I have to now wonder if this is why my coffee appears to cost more than anyone else's at Costa?

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    2. It appears art doesn't come cheap! The use of the formula was very clever.

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    3. I adore the sly humor in this and love the final line. What a delightful cad!

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    4. oh yes, such smug humour coming through this artist! Be warned off portrait artists in future...

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  11. A change of focus [88]

    Two more bibles held hidden objects. The smaller a clutch of speckled eggs, nested in shredded wood-shavings. The larger optimal size and sturdiness for a Smith & Wesson 642, wrapped in oil-impregnated canvas.
    ‘Hers?’
    Pettinger shrugged, uncertain. ‘Forensics will clarify its provenance; whether recently used –’
    ‘But not on Edward Cherrystone –‘
    Snorted laughter: ‘He’d’ve preferred that to being biblically battered! I’m only surprised he didn’t murder Charity first!’
    ‘Charity?’
    ’Youngest daughter, ‘Chastity’ would’ve better suited. Other two, predictably, Faith and Hope, named by his long-divorced wife. Faith’s madam of a London brothel, and Hope – Oh Christ! – I’ve just remembered –’

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    1. I've not been around for what seems like an age. I love the images this piece promotes, I must spend some time to go back where I left off and read the preceding episodes.

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    2. Your dialogue never fails to impress! Loved the humor in the final line. :)

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    3. So clever with the daughter's names. I like the way you dole out clues and physical evidence. Keeps me wanting more.

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    4. and?????????????? infuriating we have to wait for more!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Hi folks - I've discovered The Prediction thanks to Antonia who mentioned it when we were discussing flash fiction stories. Be gentle with me ;-)

    Eraser

    Kat shifted a fraction as Seńor Peligro slowly inserted the needle into the side of her head.
    ‘Please be not moving,’ he hissed, ‘Is delicate.’
    She stiffened and held her breath. This had to work. The parasitic wetware in her skull was designed to clarify her thoughts along Company lines and ensure she provided optimal corporate performance. She wanted to be free of all that. For her new life here in the Ferals to be a truly blank canvas.
    ‘De-activating the wetware tracking device?’ she asked, worried the Company had set a Stalker on her trail.
    ‘Will take some time.’

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    1. Oh YESSS! Straightforward enough to make the creepy invidious, and all the more powerful for that. That second sentence sets it up SO well.
      And welcome Rich - hope you'll stay around, and give your thoughts on what the rest of us are writing - makes the site so much stronger.

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    2. Hi Rich. As someone that works in the corporate world this got right under my skin (no pun intended, although...), at present we call it Blackberry presence, but wetware is such a brilliant name for this technology.

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    3. Loved the intro into this intriguing world with the brain tech! Would love to hear more. I definitely wouldn't put it past certain companies to attempt something like this if the tech were available. Hope you continue this!

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    4. There is a whole lot of world building going on in those few words. I want to know so much more about Kat, her world, and what she's running from. I'm really glad you found us and hope you choose to stay.

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    5. Good to see you here, Rich!
      (he writes damn fine stories for my anthologies, BTW)
      I like this a lot. So much going on. You CAN do it, even though you said you found flash hard to do!!!! this proves otherwise.

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  14. Traditions

    Marla stirred methodically, humming a lullaby familiar as my own name. I picked seeds from piles of pungent leaves, making a pyramid of possibility on splattered harvesting canvas. The kitchen smelled as it always had on brewing days: sweat, herbs, roses, and the stink of clarifying fat.

    Marla sang with the same cadence as grandma had. Mama had skipped out on this part of her duty. On us, too.

    I joined Marla, my fists filled with crushing green sweetness. “Told you Charlie Wright was good for something.”

    “Bones woulda been optimal,” Marla said. “Still, it’s gonna be a fine gravy.”

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    1. It's quite hot for June here in Sussex (UK) and I just shivered a cold deep shiver. You did that.

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    2. Chilling indeed, despite the pungent gravy, Love the alliteration of the second sentence.

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    3. it's beginning to rain but that's not the reason I am feeling a chill, that's a good one, Rebecca!

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    4. Chilling but exquisite with all those excellent descriptions! Loved 'a pyramid of possiblity on splattered harvesting canvas' and 'crushing green sweetness'.

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  15. Wow! What amazing work this week! I am going to have a hard time. The gates are closed, m'dears. I shall be back tomorrow afternoon sometime with comments, and winners and words.

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