Monday, 13 October 2014

Where the days grow ever shorter.

Good evening all!

Such an amazing crop of stories this week! I've loved reading every one of them. I am in the middle of a long weekend working so I'm going to get right to it.

Our winner this week is Sandra Davies with Change of Focus 103:  Sandra this is a beautifully woven chapter.  "Sick fear lodged, pebble-like, in the hollow of his throat..." is my favorite phrase.  But this is full of quirky and descriptive phrases. As always, Pettinger never ceases to be interesting.  Thank you.

And in second place this week is Rob Evangelista with Less than Humane:  Another story full of intricate phrasing.  I have always wondered what goes on in the head of suicide bomber.  I like the tone of resignation here.  Thank you.

The tome has brought forth new words and crawled under the bed to nap.

Froth
Bargain
Staple

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, .Oct 17th.

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.

52 comments:

  1. Congratulations Sarah Davies, well deserved for some great and intriguing work.
    Also many thanks for runner up, did not expect even that but glad my story showed some value, looking forward to trying this week's words.

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  2. Thanks Colleen, and well deserved Rob for a superb debut - hope it'll be the first of many contributions.
    And this week's words look promising.

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  3. well done Rob!!!! I knew you could do it and Sandra, once again, a classy piece of writing in this latest instalment.

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  4. Congratulations to Sandra and Rob! Great words this week. I'm excited to see what everyone makes of them.

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  5. Congrats Sandra and Rob! Loved all the stories last week. :)

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  6. A change of focus [104]

    ‘When’s the pm?’
    ‘Post-mortem? Oh, sorry, she’s not actually dead. Yet.’
    ‘Where is she?’
    ‘Intensive care.‘

    Pettinger made bargains with a god he didn’t believe in all the way down the motorway, near frothing at the mouth in frustration at the dozy wankers on the way.

    Faith lay unmoving on her stomach, tubes strung from her to machines which beeped green zig-zags.
    His crude-cut name in now-brown letters, some but shallow scratches, some deep and wide enough to warrant flaps of flesh be stapled back in place.
    ‘Not illiterate,’ the surgeon said. ‘Scalpel jarring against bones prevents a smoothly-cursive script.’

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    1. Haven't had time to catch up on the previous chapters but again great use of the words especially considering your use of them in a serial tale; flows on very well.

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    2. Wow. That is going to be stuck in my head for quite a while! And I *love* the last sentence!

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    3. that's just plain nasty but what else do we expect from a serial featuring the 'hero' Pettinger? Great instalment!

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    4. There's a visual that's going to stick in my head for a long, long, time. Last line's a horrific treat! I agree with the others. Great use of the prompts! Thank you!

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    5. Definitely nasty but brilliant, reminds me of the detective/murder shows I watch all the time. I agree with Colleen that the last line was perfection.

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  7. Hindsight’s Always 20/20

    Seemed a bargain at the time, I guess it always does; the crazy looking old guy just ‘giving’ the car away? But in my time of desperation, and not believing in ‘higher powers’ I remember my surprise that he wasn't frothing at the mouth.

    I admit I got a little scared when he produced papers all neatly collated and stapled together, even had my name on them already; had I won a competition I forgot I entered? Was I being filmed?

    But of course when the accident happened soon after it wasn't just my life that was claimed… Hell sucks.

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    1. A great piece - nicely written !

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    2. superb build up to the final line, very clever stuff, Rob.

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    3. Heh, first thing that came to mind after reading this was that it would make a perfect chapter in the story of "Little Bastard", the supposedly cursed care of one James Dean. That aside, this is a lovely little piece! Very well woven. Thank you!

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    4. Be careful what you sign! Loved the wrap-up at the end and I thought the first line was the perfect intro - 'Seemed a bargain at the time...'

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  8. The subtlety of the threat in 'papers all neatly collated and stapled together' is superb, as is the title.

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  9. Hi folks. Apologies for my lack of posts on here over the last couple of months - I was away for a few weeks, and then I've been starting a new job and starting work on a novel, so I've had zero free time available for other things. But I've really been missing reading everyone's pieces, as well as the challenge of writing my own - so now that I've fully settled into the new job I'm using my half hour lunch breaks to have a go at the weekly challenge :-)

    The following will be going into my novel in progress, Post-Resurrection Blues. Antonia will recognise it as the title of my short story that she kindly accepted for her Coming Back anthology - the story in my novel has the same setting.

    The Date

    The steel security gate swung open, letting Tanay onto the estate. He met me with a smile that made my heart bounce.

    I was ashamed of the place, but Tanay made enthusiastic ooohing noises at the height of the tower blocks.

    At Bargain Coffee on the edge of the concrete courtyard he bought us coffee. It was little more than tepid drain water with acidic froth on top. I sighed inwardly. Some first date. Disappointment was a staple part of life on the estate.

    But Tanay started laughing, and a moment later I joined him. This was gonna be ok.

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    1. that's clever, leading us on and then having them laugh - but where and how and when is this going to lead to? Looking forward to reading this novel!!

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    2. Really enjoyed the description of the coffee, being a caffeine junkie I'm pretty sure I've bought from Bargain Coffee a few times.

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    3. Superbly easy use of the prompts - and an intriguing relationship. Look forward to reading more.

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    4. Great use of the prompts! I must agree with Rob. I believe I too, have had Bargain Coffee before! Love the description of said brew! Thank you!

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    5. The date felt very natural, and I agree with Rob about the coffee description. :)

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  10. Infinity 73.
    I made a bargain with the Creature, who was demanding his staple diet be increased and added to. I said what it wanted was froth but it reiterated it was necessary. It be difficult for me to do all that it requires and still be the Captain the crew think I be, they knowing nothing of my other life. They will, if the creature’s demands be fulfilled. They will be asking questions, ones I have no answers for. I call it ‘froth’ to hide from myself what it wants… a human sacrifice. I had to agree.

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    1. Oh now this is *most* intriguing !!

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    2. A creature enters the midst, will be curious to see the Captain resolve such issues without losing his crew to either the creatures appetite or fear of becoming its meal.

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    3. Lordy, lordy - has he been hiding this all along? Explains a LOT

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    4. NICE reveal! This does explain a lot! The last couple of lines chilled my soul just a tiny bit. Great work! Thank you!

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    5. Great hook referring to the Captain's other life. What is going on that we don't know about? Curious if this is the first sacrifice he's facilitated!

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  11. I'm battling mist these days, the 'mist' of the horrid 'damp plasterboard walls' smell caused by a major leak from the flat above the shop and the ongoing problem of dealing with it. This includes an assessor, no doubt very highly paid, who said - and I would not dare lie to you -
    that black mould? that means the walls are drying out.

    Then there's the customer who surveyed the cloth and timber single 'wardrobe' and asked, 'is that a polling booth?'

    and I wonder what I am doing going to work...

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  12. By the way, is anyone on here active on Wattpad ?

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  13. Dance with the Devil (Revelation 6)

    The gown supplied was a froth of silk, held together with filigree that showed enough flesh I’d forgone foundations. Our bargain precluded complaint. The male guests surely had none.

    “I hate everyone here,” I murmured.

    My angelic handler propelled me forward. “You hate everyone everywhere.”

    “You most.”

    “Yet you made the bargain.” Belial handed me pills, staples for my pretense of courage.

    I swallowed them, then went to meet the lord of demons, pulled like a star toward a black hole.

    He surveyed me. “Yes, I think you’ll do nicely.”

    “Never nicely.”

    His laugh caused lacerations. “No, not at all.”

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    Replies
    1. Beautiful words delivering explicit menace. 'Lacerations; and 'filigree' especially.

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    2. Sandra has the right of it. Gorgeous words, including your use of the prompts. Can't wait to read more! Thank you!

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    3. Loved their conversation. Quite a few great descriptions as well like 'froth of silk' and 'his laugh caused lacerations'.

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    4. the interesting thing always with the Challenge is how much you all have going on in 100 words, where others (I am reading the entries for a competition right now) are taking 3000+ words and saying nothing at all. This is a perfect example, everything happening in the 100 words and yet feeling as if I have read 500 or more, because of the pictures in my mind.

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    5. Amazing piece, I agree with Antonia's comment that it seems like a much larger story thanks to great writing.

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  14. Swim to victory?

    Shamed at having broke the self-made bargain that I’d wait until he asked; acknowledging I full deserved his scorn, I swam fast away, blinded, hearing nothing but the rush and bubble of my breath. Fearing he was following I dove...

    ...and came to. Him panting, legs astride me, hands hard on me, forcing my jaw apart.
    My mouth dribbling a froth of river water.
    ‘It seems,’ he panted, ‘The usual staple – of self-preservation – has passed you by.’
    ‘I only have’ I choked again, ‘a need of you.’
    Above me, he sighed. ‘When the child is three months old. Not before.’

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    1. Oh my! ‘The usual staple – of self-preservation – has passed you by.’ This is my favorite line. Lovely use of the prompt here. Your work always leaves me wanting more. Thank you!

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    2. Intriguing as always. Loved the flow between the two pieces, flight and rescue. Loved the same line as Colleen :), as well as 'hearing nothing but the rush and bubble of my breath'.

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    3. it just gets better and Sandra wonders why I pester for stories for my anthologies... such good writing and intriguing storylines!

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  15. It’s Gonna Be A Great Show (8)

    5/22

    Things have begun to go missing. First the staple gun on Tuesday, then this morning, my cell phone. We found that in the new cooler. Adam decided we’re selling “snacks” at the show.

    Just got off the phone with Eric Romanov. Apparently David and Joshua Spiegel, bass and drums respectively, heard “rumors” the place is haunted. Eric assures me he’ll bargain them through the door somehow.

    As for myself? I’ve got a raging headache.

    Emily has been silently sticking to me like glue since returning. She’s just drawn yet another frowny face in the froth on my morning latte.

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    1. So good to be reunited with this crew again and the clarity of the multiple facets of the world you depict. I'm banging my head in frustration at not thinking of staple-gun!

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    2. Looks like I'm second with using a staple gun! :) I was trying to think of an alternate use as well. Always love to see what everyone does.

      First line pulled me in right away and I'm curious about the 'snacks'. Really intrigued by Emily in the final two lines.

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    3. another brilliant instalment and yes, it is good to read about these characters again! Been overdue, so it has.

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  16. Thank you, Sandra! It's been a long time coming. Had a rough patch that left me void of ideas or motivation for much of anything. I truly appreciate your comment.

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  17. Almost ran out of time for this week! Wrote something quick and will be back to read and comment. :)

    Witness

    Death stared up at me from the froth atop my latte. The coffee house vanished in the filmy blue eyes of a woman, a staple gun, the splatter of blood, the acrid smell of gunpowder.

    “Zoey!”

    It took a minute for the voice to register and I blinked away the vision, wrapping icy fingers around my mug.

    Wren was leaning towards me, large peridot eyes filled with curiosity and concern. “Did you see something?” she said, voice low.

    “Another murder,” I said.

    “You’ll have to tell him, despite your shit bargain.”

    I sighed. Should never have trusted the detective.

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    1. This is the beginning of a novel I need to read! The first line is a great hook and the final one leaves me wanting to know more - great hooks, both.

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    2. definitely! so much going on here, a classic example of how to drag the reader in and not let them go!

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    3. It certainly does seem like a perfect introduction to a story, intriguing enough to make you want to keep reading.

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  18. All right, m'dears. That's the game. The gates are closed. I shall be back tomorrow evening with winners and words.

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