Tuesday, 9 September 2014

To everything there is a season.

It has not officially arrived as yet, but there has been a distinct cool and dry feeling to the last couple of days that reminds me wistfully of autumn.  This is the time of year I become impatient for it.  Mentally and physically weary of the hot, humid days of summer, I anticipate the arrival of my favorite season. The physical and emotional changes that occur within me are truly magical.

Also magical, in the most deliciously dark and twisted ways, are this weeks entries. I can't thank you all enough for contributing them.

Our winner is RR Kovar with Damned Blessing:  I love the tone of this piece.  So cynical and yet matter of fact.  Thank you!

And the tome has come down from the window ledge and given forth new words.

Sanity
Paranoia
Value



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. Serialized fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. You have until 11 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time) Friday, September 12th 19th.


54 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Rebecca! Perfect piece, no doubt of that.
    Good words, thanks, Tome, the Captain will be pondering on them for the next day or so...

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  2. Well deserved win, Rebecca - congratulations.

    Thwarted

    Some might call it paranoia but I refused the widows’ help preparing food. Knew I was right to do so when mouths turned down; eyes slid sideways.
    Near missed their offering Ravenscar a drink: he thought I’d lost all sanity when I leapt, screeching, as he put cup to lip.
    Later they came silently for me. At first touch I rolled, arm raised; slashed the throat of one behind me. Rebound: second lost four fingers.
    Ravenscar throttled the third.
    To me, with gratitude, ‘Loyalty I value above life, you’ve given me both.’
    But gratitude fell short of what I sought.

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    1. Loved the pacing of this and the perfection of the hinting final line. Lots of great word pairings all throughout. Loved the second line especially.

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    2. I love the sense of tight anticipation here. I agree with Zaiure, second line's a treat!

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    3. This is a great action scene, and that's not even all of your hundred words. Minimal and effective, with story and character development squeezed around the edges too.

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    4. it's painting pictures with limited words that make your work stand out. Someone else would have taken half a page to say that, says me, judging by some of the stories I've had sent in lately... (most of which went back!) I love this. Holds the attention throughout.

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    5. This is lean, tight, and perfectly balanced. I am in awe.

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  3. Fate

    Sanity left us long ago, the day mother died and Elstet lost her arm. The day Father claimed us and we became the Moirai.

    Paranoia is our herald, ridiculed and disregarded, yet often based on shadowed truths. Born into death, we value little, save for being left alone. Each contract we fill in Father’s name grants us another reign of silence, until our bodies betray us, as they always do, and we slink back like dogs for another kill.

    Elstet threatens to end this cycle, but she can die no more than I. We remain Father’s wraiths, to the end.

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    1. Good to see you here again Zaiure - and the bleak horror of this is very well-evoked, especially 'Born into death' and 'slink back like dogs for another kill'

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    2. I really like this. The resignation is what gets me. It is the most horrible feeling in the world and you have captured it perfectly.

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    3. To reach that terrible consideration and find it impossible to fulfil...

      Beautiful writing hinting at a fantastical (and dark) world, all your hallmarks, Zaiure. =)

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    4. Zaiure, so pleased to see you here again! Love your distinctively dark writing. It is this acceptance, this resignation, which runs through this entire piece that makes it so chilling. Brilliant.

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    5. I am ever amazed at your ability to paint a whole world in so few words. This is bleak yet mesmerizing.

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  4. Congrats Rebecca!

    Descent

    His fingers clasped tight around her clammy knuckles; desperation throbbing from skin to skin as the wind buffeted her as she dangled from the ledge.

    He couldn’t hear her screams through the dusk; couldn’t see how deep her eyes had retreated with fear as she clung to him. Lights in the distance distracted him.

    Sanity teetered.

    Her mouth moved. He imagined those lips against another man, touching, and the throb of paranoia made him focus at last on the value of the moment.

    He reached down.

    Her eyes filled with relief.

    He ripped her hand away.

    And watched her fall.

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    1. Chilling and surprising. Initially I thought he'd meant to save her. Loved the line 'desperation throbbing from skin to skin'.

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    2. Classic redirection, AJ. The horror that lurks in real people. Fantastic piece.

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    3. redirection is hard to do well, here it is done well. Cold and nasty, just the way I like horror writing.

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    4. Oh, this is fantastic - insidious, twisty and ringing true.

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  5. A change of focus [101]

    But in the daily slog through evidence, sanity prevailed.
    Pettinger’s mother, given a transcription of the tattooed family tree, declared it valueless, suggesting that the tattooist himself had been a con-man.
    Charity was questioned yet again. Refused to give any sort of alibi. Admitting nothing, with a secretive smile, her reluctance to even speak of Hope amounting to paranoia.
    ‘Have you seen her since the Social Services sacked her?’
    ‘Only in passing ...’
    ‘Passing?’
    ‘As in passing away ...’
    ‘You mean ... dead? Hope’s dead? You know this?’
    ‘I only know,’ another smile, ‘Abandon Hope all ye who enter here.’

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    1. Laughed out loud at the final line. :) Missed the past few scenes but sounds like the story is still going strong! I always enjoy the rapid, clever dialogue.

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    2. Good build to the final line, it could have been cheap, but it really works. Great episode.

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    3. this never fails to captivate - week in week out! that takes some doing. This is a very good instalment, with sharp writing as always.

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    4. This is a very clever installment, leaving us with more questions and another great twist. Love it.

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  6. Congratulations, RR. =)


    What cost, humanity?

    Jiro sang the song of his dreams, tonelessly, as he ran the blade through the third girl’s throat.

    The wound wheezed.

    Blood gushed over his crotch, spattering wetly on already sopping denim. It felt warm, as if he was pissing himself.

    In his dreams dead gods suckled on his paranoia. His brother watched, laughing, the knife still stuck in his eye, the wound ever-weeping. Sanity beaded on Jiro’s skin like sweat, and dripped away.

    His students whimpered into their gags. How many to pay the passage? He didn’t know. What value their innocence, traded for a rotting god, long buried?

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    Replies
    1. in my latest anthology call, I said they could go for gory, this is covered in it! Blood everywhere and yet it all feels right, part of the story, part of the description, not used for the sake of it. That takes skill.

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    2. The image of sweating and evaporating sanity is as clever and original as it is horrific.

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    3. Always a master of words! I love how you manage to write even the most horrific scenes in the most beautiful, evocative way. Loved the way the first line grabbed me and the succinctness of the second line. Another of my faves was 'dead gods suckled on his paranoia' and the way the line 'his students whimpered into their gag's filled my head with ideas.

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    4. This is simply gorgeous, the horror brought down to earth in the name of what must be a beastly god.

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  7. (rise)
    #39


    She crossed the basement, the fluttering heart in a body of tremulous torchlight. Pillars loomed in the gloom and were swallowed again as she passed. Her footsteps carried a soft echo, just enough to make her wonder. Black stains streaked the floor, but she encountered little else.

    She recalled George saying something about ‘the abandoned.’ Them. The building. Her, maybe. No, she couldn’t believe that. That was paranoia and exhaustion gnawing on her sanity.

    No one left behind. No exceptions.

    George valued life. Of that she was certain.

    The endless basement ended. A wall, green with damp, stretched both ways.

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    1. and then I get to lose myself in the latest instalment of Rise. What more could I ask on a long evening when I am weary and my hands ache???
      and that last line. A wall, green with damp, stretched both ways. It says it all.

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    2. Once again, location and character created quickly and effectively, so much so that I can hear and smell it.

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    3. Vivid imagery in every step, drawing me into this world. :) I agree with Antonia, final line was perfection.

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    4. A tense and taut scene, wrought with amazing skill. I, too, love that last line. It's ripe with promise.

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  8. Infinity 70.
    The days be going by, my sanity going with them. I value the time I spend on this old journal, even if it be taking up time and my hand do ache with the writing. I hide it well, paranoia can sometimes be security.
    We sailed long into the night, not full dark, tinted with the red of the coming dawn long afore it got here. Bothered me, tain’t natural to see such a thing. I cast a spell against the forces that were gathering and by dawn it were clear. I might rest my bones for a while.

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    1. I find myself concerned for what feels like the Captain's waning strength or resolve - hope his rest revives him.

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    2. I love how you described the night - 'not full dark, tinted with the red of the coming dawn'. Also I agree with the Captain, paranoia can sometimes be security!

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    3. I feel the weight that rests on the Captain, and I fear for him. At the same time, I marvel at his resolve to do what is necessary to secure ship and crew - but at what cost, I wonder.

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  9. I had the Captain's hands aching because mine are, I just realised. Getting old has its many disadvantages, bits aching is one of them.
    It's been a long busy flat out sunshine week of work, satisfying in many ways, results are positive. Closed an anthology, opened another one, more to come. It's exciting seeing them build but then I realised I have yet to work on my Amazon author page and list them all, help!!!!!
    Hope you are all OK and look forward to more good reading next week.

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    1. Just back from a Festival of Writing in York - shattered; a novel to be re-written for the sixth time ... but still enthusiastic.

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    2. Love a successful writing week. :) I'm happy to be back. Had a baby a few weeks ago which is why I've been absent so much. Hope I can get back to writing now in the spaces between his naps. :)

      Good luck on your novel, Sandra! I'm hoping I can find the energy to branch out from my short scenes to actually finish a novel so I can do re-writes! :)

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    3. Congratulations, Zaiure!!! every happiness to you as a family!

      Colleen, Rebecca, where are you??????????????????????????????????? tis Tuesday already!

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    4. Congratulations, Zaiure! Fantastic news.

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  10. Hi there! Sorry for going missing. I had a family thing come up, so I drove across country at the last minute, and got back late last night. Colleen worked all weekend, so both of us were a bit out of it. I am going to leave this open until Friday, so continue to write and comment, and encourage your friends to come play, too!

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  11. Talents [2]

    All arms (one synthesized-flesh) and legs and sweat-slick torso, her serpentine movements are an impossibility, yet they drink her in with their eyes, questioning nothing. Elstet has always been skilled at soothing away paranoia with a mere flick of a porcelain wrist, or a glance from a smoldering, black-lashed eye. It is I, small, dark Elaeya, who shreds their sanity, the darkness to Elstet’s bewitching light.

    Father values her most for how she draws them in, his black widow, but it is my knives, my ‘creativity’ that makes them fear him. Some days I wonder what he’d be without us.

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    1. The solid depth of dark in this is unsettling, as are the images created in my mind, and is impossible to pick out any one phrase as they are all so intertwined and part of a fascinating whole.

      Congratulations on the baby - and huge admiration for holding onto your brain!

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    2. Oh, this is dark indeed. I like going deeper into the story of what must be the most dysfunctional family ever.

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    3. very dark very demanding in its own way, inviting us to read so much into it and still look for more.

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  13. Painted A Lady

    Cleaned up, brushed out, laced tight, I finally looked like someone of value. I questioned why the angel would care, since he could see my shattered soul.

    “I prefer a veneer of sanity when I present my finds.”

    I was as much a whore as if he’d laid me down – which he threatened to do whenever I balked at his sartorial selections. I held out against heels. My paranoia prefers sneakers. I accepted flats.

    “Who am I meeting?” I didn’t care.

    “Satan.”

    “I thought he was asleep.”

    “No, Lucifer sleeps. Satan is far less kind.”

    Suddenly, I cared very much.

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    1. This is simply fantastic - touches me in deep, deep places, and I'd've paid good money to've written "I was as much a whore as if he’d laid me down"

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    2. equally dark, the entries this week border on more than just paranoia, it's a lot more than that and the darkness here is palpable. Loved it.

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  14. Well, my lovelies, for once this season, I am closing the gates right on time (a week late...). Thank you all so much for your stories and your patience. I will have winners and words up tomorrow, as early as my coffee cup will allow.

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