Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ring out, solstice bells!

Welcome to the longest day of the year! Blessings on those of you for whom this is a holiday. Heck, blessings on everyone else, too. I hope you are enjoying the delights of early summer.

The variety of stories last week was excellent. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write and share them with us. It was difficult to choose, but I finally decided I must give the win to Sandra Davies for Dawn Chorus. This story continues to grow in depth of both plot and emotion.

Honorable Mention goes to Rich for Decision Time. I don't know if this was a one-off or something larger, but it really captured my imagination.

And now the tome has been so kind as to give forth these words:

Flight
Merciful
Approve

So many ways one could go with those. I am excited to see what you come up with!

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 27.

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!

36 comments:

  1. Thank you Rebecca! I have to admit this story gets to me, surprising me with where it goes. And congratulations Rich - I hope this is not a one-off and there's a lot more to come.

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  2. Many congrats Sandra - such a wonderful piece and very much deserved. And thanks for the encouragement - I'm really enjoying writing these 'challenges' :-)

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  3. Congratulations Sandra that was a piece deserving of a win. Well done Rich, glad you came back for more.

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  4. great stuff, Sandra, well deserved, good one, Rich, pleased you're enjoying coming to play!
    Good words, Rebecca, see what the Captain makes of these later this week. He's missing at the moment, sailing the Infinity through these startling blue waters we have at the moment with his crew of renegade spirits.

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  5. Only sixteen

    He returned with sleeping babe and haste. Failed to notice never mind approve my careful pose.
    ‘Men on the road. We go.’
    He thrust the child at me, began to load the cart.
    I, frustrated, muttered, ‘Thought you a man for fight not flight.’
    Harnessing the horse, ‘I fight where I can win. Wisest now to move across the boundary. To where they can’t claim you as bounty.’
    Sulky, ‘Do I get to choose?’
    Bulk beside me, steering into dawn, ‘You’d choose wrong. They’ve women enough for breeding. They’d use you for sport. Death in their hands would be merciful.’

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    Replies
    1. Very nice. Is this part of a larger piece? I'd love to know more about the characters, their situation and the world they live in.

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    2. Thanks Rich - it IS part of a longer piece, me being a serial serialiser - the whole can be found at http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/p/threshold.html.

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    3. Thanks Sandra - I've started to read that - really enjoying it so far :-)

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    4. the clever dialogue brings out so much of the back story, intriguing stuff.

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    5. This is such an addicting story. I can hear him so clearly.

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  6. The vacation had been my last desperate attempt to rekindle my love for the woman I’d married 15 years earlier. It hadn’t worked.
    She thought our marriage perfect, but one day I’d realised with a startling clarity that I hated her and her need to approve everything I said and did.
    I had to tell her it was over, and sitting together on the flight home I felt an overwhelming sense of dread at what was to come.
    As we began our landing approach I closed my eyes and prayed for a fiery death. It would be a merciful escape.

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    1. The hopeless chill of this made more so by the matter-of-factness of its telling.

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    2. there is this sense of dismal failure going on and no way out of it apart from death. Cold and real at the same time.

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    3. The weight of years of dissatisfaction can be felt in every word. I don't envy him his safe landing.

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  7. A change of focus [90]

    At the morning briefing, DI Pettinger approved searches for the absent Hope and absconded Charity, before speaking to a less-than-grief-struck Faith. (‘Bugger didn’t deserve his end to be merciful but even I’ll admit the bible-bashing undeserved. I’ll come up on the evening flight.’)

    Edward Cherrystone’s post-mortem, bright lights and shiny stainless steel, reduced him to something less than human but revealed an intricacy of indigo-inked tattooed scripts across his back.

    Pettinger deputised Ben Brickwood to copy and decipher them before driving to the airport to meet Faith, who, later in his bed, more than adequately restored his in human nature.

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    1. Pettinger is as fascinating as ever -more please!

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    2. Pettinger is a scoundrel. I rather like that about him, but it may not be the best quality for someone in law enforcement. I can't wait to see where this case takes him.

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  8. Immanence

    Father used to say that the difference between heaven and earth was one of perspective. Even as I plummet from one to the other, I have no idea what he meant.
    “Who approved this? It wasn’t me!” I hear them arguing back at headquarters. This sabbatical is going to make a splash back home, but that’s all right by me.
    “Sandalphon,” It’s my brother. His voice always reaches me. “This flight is a farce. Return now and Father might be merciful.”
    “Why pray when nobody listens, Enoch?” I almost taste his rage as I stoop at the speed of thought.

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    1. A thoroughly joyous-to-read piece this - thanks for the title which I had to remind myself of - and for the pleasure.

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    2. fast paced and precise in its direction, if that makes sense. That's how it felt anyway. Good read!

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    3. This is an incredibly tight and compelling read. I love the speed of thought.

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  9. Infinity 59
    My thoughts took flight this eve, as the raging sun went down over a raging sea. The crew won’t be back yet; I be that merciful not to ask them to face the storm. I don’t approve of standing back from the elements, they be there to be conquered but with the sea you don’t take chances and you don’t take it lightly, either. The storm will be gone by morn and the glutted crew will be back, reluctant as ever to work. I wonder if the shadow be back with them or whether it found a new home.

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    1. I'm sure the shadow will be back, less than well-tempered itself. Hope the Captain gains respite from a night alone.. I like 'glutted crew' and the images it brings.

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    2. I like the image of him standing against the storm alone. He's a formidable man, the Captain, but he's got a very deep wisdom.

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  10. It's good to grace the halls this week; too many work commitments have kept we away for a while. Time to play once again.

    A Beautiful Burden

    ‘The light. Isn’t it beautiful?’

    His eyes, tinted grey now they had lost their sheen, moved to take in the soft afternoon sun. Outside, downy flakes from the cottonwood trees drifted through latent sunbeams.

    Dad sucked his chops; withered flesh puckered and rippled. He could hear me, but he couldn’t talk much, yet beneath deep folds in his face he approved. Bony fingers pointed. Birds had taken flight. That made him smile.

    I picked up the cushion. ‘Keep looking at the light, Dad.’

    Those eyes. And all they held.

    Mine; merciful. I gripped the cushion tight. ‘Just keep looking…'

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    Replies
    1. Wow. That was a punch to the gut, but so damned good, I immediately read it again. Heartbreaking and horrifying at the same time.

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    2. From opening line to last - such a leap of emotion. Totally agree with RR's 'heartbreaking and horrifying'

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    3. AJ found the time to send me a stunning story for my Woman anthology, and then writes this. Yes, incredible leap of emotion.

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    4. Thank you ladies, and thank you Antonia. It's always a pleasure to write for you.

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  11. (No) Negotiation

    What psycho came up with the idea that angels are merciful? Anyone cursed with enough sight to spot their sickening beauty knows the best thing to do is take flight. I had no chance. He shoved me into the limo with his Will.

    Displeased at a junkie whore like me being near her master, the be-suited bitch closed the door behind him.

    Musical. “I offer you the world.”

    “Keep it.”

    Mesmerizing. “Agree, and you’ll want for nothing.”

    “If not?”

    Stoic. “You’ll cease to exist.”

    “I’ll take that.”

    Amused. “Never so easy, daughter.”

    “I’m none of yours.”

    Tranquil. “You will be.”

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    Replies
    1. Such twisty, plot-moving dialogue, the first paragraph so effectively setting us up for the ride.

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  12. Apparently, these words are inspiring! Have another.

    You Get What You Pay For

    When the city came down, flight was not an option, literal or figurative. We were cut off from the world, our own forever changed, no idea who survived or where.

    We weren’t taken down by the strife of nations fighting over god and territory – never asking approval from the people who suffered and died – nor a “rogue operative” with a dirty bomb.

    We did it ourselves, too busy focusing on sucking all the resources from the earth to notice the cracks – in society, the ice, the flatlands.

    Seas rising, land trembling, our only prayers now are for a merciful end.

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    1. Superb opening line. Black ending.

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    2. I just read Earth Abides by George Stewart, same theme.
      Brilliant piece, this.

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  13. Colleen is off on an adventure, so I am slipping in to close the gates. Thank you all so much for playing! Winners and words will go up tomorrow.

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