Saturday, 11 April 2015

Always moving.

I feel as if I've been in the process of moving forever.  Breaking down one life, packing it, and moving it...alone.  All the while, clearing the remnants of someone else's out of my new space.  It's been trying, and tiring.  This winter has the same feeling to it.  Even though Spring has officially begun, I feel as if winter is still here, holding us down. But we keep moving...

Our winner this week is Michael B. Fletcher with The Craftsman:  I really enjoyed your use of the prompts. And the idea of spells as something to be physically woven has always been of interest to me. This is a really entertaining piece.  Thank you.

Also winning this week is Patricia Purvis with Inn of the Four Seasons:  The story of Camelot being one of my favorites, this struck a lovely and humorous note with me.  Loved the last line.  Very creative!  Thank you!

The Tome has been having a bit of difficulty adjusting to its new surroundings, particularly since almost everything we own is still in boxes.  However, I've managed to get it to spit out some new words for us to play with.

Drug
Figure
Beast

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.

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.

You have until Friday April 17th, with winners and words on the Saturday, April 18th

The Gates are Open!

70 comments:

  1. hope you settle soon, nothing is as disruptive as changing your living space. My daughter is on about us moving, I don't think so...
    Congratulations to Michael and Patricia, both outstanding writing (as always) and the Captain has new words to mull over. Thank you.

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  2. Congrats Michael and Patricia!

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    1. Much appreciated Colleen. It's great to get such a tick on my writing, especially with so many terrific writers in the challenge.

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  3. Many thanks for the honor of being in the winner's circle last week, particularly when the quality of the entries is constantly so amazingly high.

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  5. River Waltz
    (By: Foxxglove)
    (100 Words)

    The figure sprawled on the bank is young and handsome and desire for human affection is an addictive drug. I draw him into a divine dance.

    "Waltz with me."

    Breathless with passion, he gasps. I hold him close but bliss is fleeting as his lips grow cold. Like the others, he is heartless and abandons me to loneliness. I take him to my grotto below where tiny aquatic beasts will feed on his pale flesh.

    A trinket breaks the surface above -- a bright and shiny barb. A gift? For me?

    He is so young, so handsome.

    "Waltz with me."

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    1. Lovely. You can feel the coldness, the cruelty, and wonder who to feel sympathy for.

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    2. Beware the lady in the lake! I always love when the 'villain' has something sad/human about them that you can relate to. It's not all black and white. Sad and chilling!

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    3. The cyclic nature of this is what makes it so chilling.

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    4. Great use of the prompts and an intriguing tale, always have to reread your work to fully appreciate the subtle horrors buried within.

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    5. many horrors in here indeed, beautifully done.

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    6. This is a mobius strip of intricate horror and sadness. I keep reading it, as if I, too, am stuck in the loop.

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  6. Cripplegate Junction/Part 8-Afflictions And Addictions
    (By: Foxxglove)
    (100 Words)

    Clive Bailey watched the snakes slither in figure eight formation across the game board. His vision blurred and his temples pounded, indications of an impending migraine. He retrieved an enameled pillbox from his breast pocket but the Conductor stayed his hand.

    "We cannot tolerate drug violations, sir," he said. "The authorities must be notified."

    "Beastly habit," muttered Violet primly.

    "It's prescribed headache medication," protested Clive.

    "Cripplegate Sanitarium offers excellent innovative treatments for such afflictions and addictions," comforted the Conductor. He tucked the confiscated contraband into his ticket pouch.

    "Don't worry, sir. We can have you there in a jiffy!"


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    1. Nice too. Smiled at the perception of drugs from both parties. The story continues.

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    2. I continue being delighted by these scenes upon the train. :) Love the characters and their dialogue.

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    3. This series has become addictive, the voice admirable, especially in sentences such as "He retrieved an enameled pillbox from his breast pocket but the Conductor stayed his hand." Well done.

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    4. I agree with Sandra, an addictive serial!

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    5. The language sets as much of the scene as the descriptions. That's a deft touch. I find this equally charming and chilling.

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  7. It Comes

    ‘Yeash, offica,’ he said holding onto a street sign, ‘it were there.’ His finger shook towards the river. ‘Jake were jest ‘aving a piss an’ it came outa there. It grabbed ‘im, drugged ‘im back down.

    ‘I wuda ‘elped but it looked at me wid shinin’ eyes, lika beast, a humungus beast. I…I cudn’t do nuthin’.’ He wiped ineffectually at the vomit staining his shirt.

    The cop scratched his head as he looked over the murky waters of the river. ‘Well, go figure.’

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    1. Loved the mystery of the beast in the lake. Always a good tale! The dialogue and description of the witness suggested quite the fearsome creature, and it stoked my imagination.

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    2. SO glad someone used 'go figure' - and Jake's mate so well-voiced.

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    3. I enjoyed your way of making the drunken slurring come across effectively with your wordplay, and the vomit on the shirt was a great way to bring across the fear he experienced.

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    4. good story, this, with perfect use of the prompts and a lot, a LOT of very good images!

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    5. This was a total inspiration on a completely new twist of the assigned words. How you managed to craft this is beyond my comprehension. What a treasure!

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    6. This has such an amazing tone and voice for so few words. There's something humorous yet awful about the drunk remembrance.

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  8. Wolf

    The drugs never last long enough, and I feel the caustic knot deep inside my belly thawing, oozing, spreading, filling my deadened limbs with hate. My big toe flexes, and I glance sideways at the woman on my right. The beast writhes inside my eyes and her faces goes white. I can’t stop the slide of my tongue across my lip; her fear is sweet, sickly.

    A plump, androgynous figure in white, I know her sex by her scent, and my body shakes as the transformation begins, halts, as her trembling hand plunges the needle deep into my thigh.

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    1. Language as luscious as ever, and a ramped up nastiness. Superb opening sentence.

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    2. Excellent use of the prompts to craft a very cool story, I would assume we are talking about a werewolf here but it could be any number of mythical shape changers, well done.

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    3. Beautiful imagery and a story that draws you into its grip from the first six words. I agree with Rob that I assume this is a werewolf purely by reference to the title, but it really could apply to any creature of the night. Magnificent creation.

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    4. I am impressed at the way you capture his horror and eagerness at war in a single moment. This is just gorgeous.

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  9. Well done Michael for what had to be the perfect response to last week's prompts, and to Patricia too. Head-down week having returned to a final read through of a fourth episode of a family saga, but I couldn't neglect the Prediction!

    A change of focus [124]

    ‘You’re saying police attacked you?’ Despite his years of experiencing man’s beastliness to man – and woman – Pettinger was loth to believe.
    ‘They’re no more saints than any other man, given reason,’ Faith smiled at his misplaced loyalty, ‘But no. I meant they – a goodly number – intend to provide protection. Seek revenge.’
    ‘So you’ll return to sex and drugs and –‘
    Not rock and roll! Not for a while –‘
    ‘But I’m no longer needed?’ Despite attempted jocularity – and the unadmitted relief of her refusal – he made a forlorn figure.
    ‘Not for protection, John, no. You might as well go home.’

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    1. The prompts were slipped into the story so well I had to reread it a few times to catch them, excellent work again. I have missed a couple of episodes but always enjoy your challenge work.

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    2. cliff hanger again... like this episode a lot!

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    3. Seamless dialogue, and I continue to be quite intrigued by Faith. Loved the familiar 'rock and roll' saying reference. :)

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    4. I am utterly enamoured with Faith. She is a priceless jewel. As always, the dialogue here is the true star, so easy to determine who is the speaker without the need for a name reference. You have an amazing knack for this.

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    5. Their back and forth barbs are yet tinged with affection, however strained and odd, which makes the tension palpable. I never tire of this story. You have such a gift for dialogue and characterization.

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  10. Love is a drug [Threshold 61]

    ‘Bait,’ he’d said.
    To tempt a man who’d several times rejected me but happily accepted a wife of duplicitous intent.
    Helvinsson, curious as he led me to the rendezvous, ‘Most women fear the beastliness of his appearance, I’d’ve had to drug them, tie them down. Why not you?’
    Shivering, for the early-morning cold and not from fright, I told the truth. ‘He’s given me kindness, care. I used to fear him, but with a sort of fascination. It turned to love.’
    ‘But not returned?’
    ‘No.’
    And, when his well-loved, black-hewn figure looked upon me, nothing had changed.
    ‘I might’ve known’

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    1. Love the conversation here, very natural and flowing. Had to hunt those prompts down again as they were wedged in there wonderfully.

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    2. extremely natural dialogue, something you do so well. I like this, a lot.

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    3. Loved the second to last line and the imagery it created in my head. :)

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    4. I can really add little to what has gone before when commenting on this episode of the tale. I think perhaps "well-loved, black-hewn figure" was my favourite part. You have an instinctive talent for ferreting out just the right combination.

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    5. This is so heartbreaking, especially since she is blunt in her honesty. It's raw, and I felt it all.

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  11. Hi everybody! Great stories this week!

    The Hunters of 228 Orchard Lane

    I slink through the underbrush, coming to a crouch next to Jer.
    “What do you figure,” he whispers. “Double dose?
    I size up the mark, watching it devour its latest meal. “Better make it triple. Do you see the size of the beast?”
    Jer nods, and dips a dart in his vial of venom. He takes his time lining up the shot, and then looses.
    Instantly, I can tell the drug isn’t enough. Even if I live through this, I’ll never live it down. I grab Jer and dash for the hole, with 30 lbs of angry dachshund behind me.

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    1. The perfect LOL ending!! And I haven't even checked for the prompt words. Thanks for the pleasure of this one Noah.

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    2. yes! loved this, wonderful last line!

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    3. Laughed aloud when I read the last line! Didn't see that coming. :) Loved the delightful twist at the end (obliterated my assumptions from the beginning) and how it gives us a glimpse into a very interesting world.

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    4. Had a good chuckle at this. I once owned a dachshund, although mine was far from 30 lbs even with her floor-dragging belly. Lovely little twist and I'm anxious to know what, if anything, is lurking in that "hole" -- I hope for their sake it's not the doggie's buried bone.

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    5. Fantastic story with a delightful twist that reset the whole tale in my head. I needed a good laugh, so thank you for that!

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  12. The Root of All (7)

    The hulking swords would not budge and as a wave of worry washed over me my head grew light and I stumbled back; I managed to stop myself from falling, my hand gripping the hieroglyph covered wall.

    A dizzy spell took hold but I pulled myself up; light streamed inside shining a spotlight where my hand rested upon a beastly figure carved into the wall. Suddenly I heard a whisper, it quickly grew in intensity a hundredfold and I covered my ears to no avail; had I been drugged? What kind of madness was this?

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    1. and? you can't do that to me!!

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    2. This continues to be a grab-your-throat serial with a quick driving pace that keeps me fascinated. I agree with Antonia, what's next?? :)

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    3. Oh my....what a place to stop. Did you really have to run out of the word limit at that point? This serialization is delicious.

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    4. Great cliffhanger! You manage to paint such a grand picture in so few words. I am mesmerized.

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    5. It's all been said above, but I did enjoy "A dizzy spell took hold" These serials are as addictive to read as write aren't they?

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  13. Infinity 94.
    Worry be a drug, you get in a circle of thought that won’t give an inch. It be a beast of a problem. I figure I need to break it somehow. The Creature will not win, I be determined I be the winner.
    I think I’ll ask Cook for a half decent meal tonight, for a change. There has to be meat in the hold, if it be spoiled, well, he got his ginger, didn’t he? Is it beyond the mentality of the man to make a curry?
    Is it beyond the mentality of this cap’n to sail without worrying?

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    1. Constant worry is sure to be a drain on the Captain! I'm really impressed this story is still going strong, and his voice remains true. :)

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    2. Our Captain's voice is always so true to his character and I love the back references to words that were commissioned some episodes ago. Why do I feel we have not seen the last of this creature that the Captain finds so haunting? Those last two questions are perfection.

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    3. Such delightfully twisted ruminations. Worry *is* like a drug, further proof that the Captain is wiser than he'd readily let on. The spoiled meat bit was stomach-turning, yet true to both story and setting.

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    4. Yes indeed - the Captain IS a worrier, and the opening of this and its seamless use of prompts superb.
      I'm now concerned about that rotting meat ...

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    5. He does sound a bit stressed, definitely needs more iron in his diet, although he does seem to get himself into predicaments worth stressing over lol

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  14. Square One

    Nate frowned. “Does the loom symbol mean anything to you?”

    I shook my head. “There’s a motel down the road. Let’s get you settled with drugs for your head. I’ll do research.”

    “So, you hunt me down like a beast with a scent, and figure everything’s back to normal?”

    “I thought you’d be done sulking. It’s not like I had it any easier than you on our last…adventure.”

    He glared. “Fine, but you’ll tell me how you ended up with enough mojo to deflect whatever that was on the road.”

    I had twenty miles to figure out a decent lie.

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    1. Such joy on their repartee, as ever, and superb kick of the final line.

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    2. Love the little touch of humour in this episode. As always, the dialogue is amazing and the scenario constantly leaves us wanting more.

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    3. Always enjoy a great conversational piece, not only the prompts used well but great careful choice with the wording.

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  15. Note: this is not a Nate and Seth story, but connected to a work in progress that wants to be a novel when it grows up. Other bits are here: http://pushcomestoshove.blogspot.com/p/revelations.html
    __________________

    Following Orders

    According to his lingering perusal, the politician liked my figure. I cast a baleful glare at the damned angel behind me. His master had slipped away, unnaturally. If you want the Number of the Beast, it’s on my phone, but you won’t like it when he answers.

    The rich always have excellent drugs. I lured the politician to his room by making him think it was his idea – and that he’d get into my non-existent panties.

    It took so little to help him overdose, I almost felt bad, but a job is a job, and I can’t quit this one.

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    1. What a wicked snippet this was. I must certainly check out the link your provided as I am anxious to see what other gems await me. From the first line to the last, this was intriguing.

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    2. I've bookmarked the link so I can return and peruse at my leisure. :)

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    3. 'perusal' and 'baleful' - highlights of this wicked little snippet, as Patricia says.

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    4. Very interesting piece, a lot was said that crafted a great visual as well as making me intrigued to what else was going on we didn't get to see.

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  16. Good morning, m'dears. The Gates are Closed. Winners and words this evening! Thank you all so much for playing this week!

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