Sunday, 26 October 2014

My favorite holiday!

Call it Halloween, or Samhain or by any other name, it's my favorite.  For me, it is a seamless blend of the spiritual and the commercial.  Candy corn and candle light go hand in hand.  Fear holds a whispering tingle of fun and frivolity.  And death is merely another part of the cycle.  Huh...I almost feel like that could be the beginning of a story!  Perhaps...

But now, it's time to choose.  A difficult choice indeed, this week.  Every story seemed to touch a bit deeper, for some reason.  But choose I must.  And so...

Our winner this week is Zaiure with On Mother's Bones:  I simply cannot stop reading this!  Thank you!

Also in the winner's circle this week is Antonia Woodville with Infinity 74:  The prompts are so beautifully woven into this wonderfully crafted chapter of the Captain's story.  It was a joy to read.  Thank you!

And now the tome has been coaxed from beneath the witches hat that is part of my costume and has given us new words!

Tower
Moss
Reform

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. Due to the holiday and my impending spiritual observances, I am leaving the gates open until early morning on Saturday, November 1, with winners and words up on Sunday Nov 2.  I appreciate your indulgence.

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.

And with that...
The Gates Are Open!

52 comments:

  1. congratulations Zaiure!!!! and thank you for choosing the Captain again. He is smiling, I think, the big black beard covers so much of his otherwise handsome face. Yes, trying flattery but it doesn't work, he sees right through that.
    OK, good words, good week with Samhain approaching rapidly, dark nights as we changed the clocks, everything eerie spooky and good is about to break loose...

    PS: how come Samhain is underlined in red??? doesn't Blogger know this is the most important festival of the year?

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  2. Thank you! :) Honored to be picked, and congrats Antonia!

    Halloween is my favorite holiday too. :)

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  3. Congrats to both Zaiure and Antonia, well deserved wins for both Zaiures intriguingly poetic wordplay and the Captain's latest instalment, great writing from you both.

    I have tried for a bit of a creepier tale for this weeks challenge, I think it still leaves a lot open to interpretation but flowed more easily for me than last weeks words.

    The Leopard
    Thought myself a reformed man for the longest time, and the voice which had diminished with her arrival now grows slowly louder like moss covering a stone; hadn’t meant to scare her away, but there was a lot I didn’t ‘mean’.

    My old shadow is creeping up on me; it’s bigger, stronger than it used to be, towering above causing the darkness to consume everything; the closest thing to a solution is to let it loose.

    Don’t even remember retrieving the mask from its hiding spot, the smell of flesh is still strong when I feed my head into it.

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    1. Creepy indeed Rob, invidiously so, and great use of the prompts, hinting at unknown horrors..

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    2. I really like this - especially "the smell of flesh is still strong when I feed my head into it" !!

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    3. Horrifying final line with the 'smell of flesh' in the mask. Definitely fitting for Halloween! Loved the comparison of the voice to moss covering a stone.

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    4. I like this, a lot. Some real nasty work going on here. Good one, Rob!

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    5. This certainly has a feel and 'smell' to it. Leaves me wanting more.

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    6. I keep coming back to this and read something deeper in it each time.

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    7. Thanks everyone, always appreciative of feedback.

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    8. Creepy indeed! Wonderful use of the prompts! Thank you!

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  4. Well deserved wins for both Zaiure and Antonia - congratulations and thank you for the entertainment.

    A change of focus [106]

    The bones and bird beside Faith’s damaged body had been packed in moss which matched that on the tower of the Cherrystone home, wholly implicating Charity and maybe Hope (assuming her alive and unreformed).
    Both were known to view Faith’s prostitution as a sin akin to selling off her soul, neither admitting that the aridness of celibacy chafed harder than the hairiest of shirts.
    Both appeared to hate John Pettinger enough to try to implicate him in their sister’s murder:
    Pettinger wondered whether he was being blamed for the sins of his father.
    But what, exactly, had his father done?

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    1. Another great piece - love "the aridness of celibacy"

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    2. Haha also loved the line about "the aridness of celibacy chafed harder than the hairiest of shirts'.

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    3. Usual Pettinger brilliance, you are so deep into this saga you write it effortlessly! Yes, that line is superb.

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    4. Intriguing. So many questions. Many great images.

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    5. It's official. "The aridness of celibacy...." is a wonderfully hard-hitting line. Each new chapter brings more questions and more mysteries to be solved. I'm still loving this story. Thank you.

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  5. Really liked the sentence about their view of Faith's prostitution, very well written and great comparative description. Hope to have more free time so I can catch up on the earlier tales before I joined the challenge.

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  6. Turning Point?

    We stood on the roof of the tower block, watching the baying mob far below us with a growing sense of unease. Attacks on resurrected individuals had been increasing in frequency, but this was something frighteningly new.

    The government had talked about reform, but the voices speaking out against us had been growing slowly, like an aggressive moss creeping up the walls of the parliament building. Others had demanded more direct action and from what we could see below us it looked like things had reached critical mass.

    The security fence was holding them back, but for how long?

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    1. I like how you used the term 'resurrected individuals', doesn't necessarily mean zombies but my mind always goes there. Great piece which seems like it could go a lot further.

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    2. I see this shot in black and white, stark and threatening, and such a smooth use of the prompts to create a bigger episode than the words would seem to allow. Especially like 'aggressive moss'

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    3. Loved the scene painted by this piece and how it's the the perspective of the 'resurrected individuals'. Great description as well comparing the voices to 'an aggressive moss creeping up the walls'.

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    4. very good use of the prompts! Really like this, conjuring a back story within this limited word count, that isn't easy but you did it effortlessly.

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    5. Great use of the prompts! I have always wondered what a reverse scenario would look like if the resurrected had intelligence and reason. You've given us a beautifully stark and vivid look at what might happen. Thank you!

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  7. Not sure about my use of 'reform' here, but decided to go with it. Hopefully have time to write an additional piece in case I can't use it that way. ;)

    Judge [3]

    Swallowing a wince as coffee scalded by tongue, I glanced into, then away from Detective Dern's moss-green eyes. They were not warm and lively, like you might expect in such a handsome face, but hard, flat stone. Ruthlessness sizzled along his slashing hand as he warded off the woman attempting to refill his coffee.

    I was tired of defending myself. "You doubt me."

    His eyes bored holes through my skull as I reformed the sugar packets into a tower. "A judge," he said, brow arched skeptically.

    "Yes. I couldn't see his face, but I saw a courtroom and... the commissioner."

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    1. Great first line - that 'swallowing a wince' - and no problem with reformed. I see part of the the challenge is to slide it in or find something less obvious and you've done both here in another enthralling episode.

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    2. very good use of the prompts, works very well in this piece, again, painting pictures that linger in the mind.

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    3. Good. Good lines to lead into the characters, making the words work.

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    4. Your use of "reform" was fine. Hopefully I can ease any future concern by telling you that I tend to be quite easy-going about how the prompts are used. As long as a prompt fits within the context of the sentence itself, I'm all good. Terrific piece, btw. Looking forward to seeing more. Thank you.

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  8. I personally don't see any problem with how you've used the word reformed, to me it means change form which can be utilised in many ways. Again I enjoy the back and forth between the characters and find the story flows well, including their development.

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  9. False estimates

    For two days my behaviour matched that of a reformed nun, brought to her knees for piety and not persuasion (a position holding minimal charm for me.)
    Lack of sun and compass being remedied by knowing moss grew on the north side of trees we travelled on.
    Lacking calendar I suggested three months were already up.
    From nowhere came a rage more towering than I’d yet seen; he lifted me bodily from the cart, carried me and set me down.
    Then harnessed horse and drove himself and cart and babe into the night; me too paralysed with shock to move.

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    1. Loved the description of the male character as 'from nowhere came a rage more towering than I'd yet seen'. Great imagery and fits him well.

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    2. this is excellent, it really is, vivid depictions of the characters in very few words. Something I keep trying to get into the minds of newbies, you don't have to overwrite, I tell them.

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    3. I definitely would like to know more here. You've intrigued the reader with the careful word construction, which is the aim of the exercise. Well done.

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    4. You write very intriguingly, page turning stuff really. Always want to know more but you pack a lot of power into the hundred words.

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    5. Thank you Zaiure, Antonia, Michael and Rob - all your kind comments very much appreciated..

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    6. I REALLY like this. The final line perfectly expresses her new predicament. Very much looking forward to more! Thank you!

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  10. Where They Fall

    The tower of bones fell.
    The cloaked woman pushed a long-nailed finger into the scattered pattern.
    ‘Well, what can you see?’ growled the broad-shouldered man, bearded face pushed across the table.
    ‘I see,’ the finger moved, ‘a skull, moss growing through the eye sockets. It…is…’
    ‘What, you old crone?’ His spittle flecked the table. ‘Tell me!’
    She began to reform the bones into the tower. ‘Maybe the bones are mistaken.’
    The bones fell.

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    1. oh this is good. What a way to start a piece, five words that drag you in. Really liked this.

      Don't forget to leave feedback for everyone, Michael!

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    2. So clever to build a circular tale with so few words, and even better to create such a vivid piece of action while burying the prompts. Well done indeed Michael - and thanks also for the feedback, such an important feature of this site.

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    3. Very well written, I felt as though the woman was either being very sarcastic towards the man or perhaps hiding something from him but I like the openness of the tale. I say this in the challenge regularly but I'm intrigued by what's going on 'around' what we read, which just means I want to know more.

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    4. This would make a perfectly finished stand-alone, but I find myself hoping there'll be more! I agree with Rob. I too want to know what's going on behind the current scene. Very nice use of the prompts. I love the visual of " ‘a skull, moss growing through the eye sockets." Thank you!

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    5. I loved how you began and ended the same way, something I used to do quite frequently with my poetic pieces. :) And her saying 'maybe the bones are mistaken' grabbed my interest, presenting the opportunity for the piece to continue.

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  11. Infinity 75.
    The thoughts be like a towering inferno in my old head. Tis too late to reform the Creature, it be set in its ways. Grown moss on its thinking and needs, so it has. But hold there – what be lookout shouting?
    We – I – be saved. Small boat sighted, got three people on board. Tis the work of a moment to divert one into the Creature’s hold, or will it be? I can but try. This old Cap’n’s done enough devious things in the past to get this one done without worry.
    Without worry. A joke in bad taste, that.

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    1. A feel of Yoda in this. Quite a number of thoughts running through this which drags one in. Questions aplenty. Well done.

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    2. A powerful reminder of the Captain's nastier side! Impressive use of the prompts and a veering in direction. Looking forward to the next episode.

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    3. A great instalment, really liked the line about having 'grown moss on its thinking and needs' which I thought was perfectly worded. The whole thing seems to slot in perfectly with its prior stories and I'm very curious about this creature, my mind seems to change its appearance whenever I read the next mini chapter you present.

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    4. I know how often I say this, but each new chapter feels better than that last! I am SO hooked on this story. I'd really love to see it in print! Thank you!

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    5. I agree with Colleen, the story continues to remain interesting week after week, no easy feat! I'm wondering if the Captain will manage to pull off his newest plan. Loved the description 'grown moss on its thinking and needs'.

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  12. OK, bit later than I'd hoped but...The gates are closed. Winners and words as promised by 12:00 PM EST tomorrow! Thank you all for playing!

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