Friday, 1 January 2016

In strong expectation ...

... of some very good writing and reading in 2016, especially if 2015 was anything to go by – thank you all for your continued participation.  And, par for the course, with the usual difficulty of who to choose for this week’s “winner” when all so evidently contribute to the high standard of the Prediction site. Difficulty aggravated by shortage of time to properly re-read and consider, so the choice this week is based on the more immediate impact for which I pick Zaiure. As Patricia so rightly says, the opportunity to re-indulge is very much welcomed, as are, I hope the first words of 2016.

Words for the coming week are: asp, personality, theft

Entries by midnight Thursday January 7th , new words and  winners posted on Friday 8th

Usual rules: 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.

53 comments:

  1. A happy new year to you all!

    Congratulations Zaiure! Well deserved for a great installment. I too, especially loved the first paragraph. ;)

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    1. Magnificent first place win for the end of the year, Zaiure. Nicely done. :) Hmm....I believe "asp" is going to be something of a challenge. I'll have to see if inspiration manages to strike.

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  2. Hmm ... not quite the tone I intended to strike ...

    Change of focus [159]

    Vanessa received the news of Pettinger’s suspension with indignation. ‘Becky Upminster! A viper I once held to my bosom!
    Amused, ‘As you, more literally I hope, once held me –‘
    ‘And could accuse you of the same –‘
    ‘You deserved it.’
    ‘Did you no good if she stole promotion from you!’
    ‘Wasn’t so much theft as –‘
    ‘Arse-licking, though I’d’ve thought an asp more appropriate than a tongue for the Chief Super’s –‘
    ‘You’d know that too. Apparently, Becky Upminster “has the personality to motivate the team to stand behind her and act as one.”’
    Vanessa sniggered. ‘He’s thinking gang-bang?’

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    1. oh my, what were you thinking when you wrote this... all fire and passion and nastiness in a few lines of dialogue that say more than is actually here.

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    2. I can't really add much of anything to Antonia's comments. You have such a talent for dialogue. It's really very enviable. (Excuse me while I turn a rather nice shade of green!)

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    3. Love this dialogue, and the wicked tongue. ;)

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  3. Congratulations Zaiure, a brilliant piece perfectly placed for number one.

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  4. Tact, diplomacy and a sting in the tail [Threshold 95]

    Garden gone to ruin, undergrowth knee-deep and I barefoot. If brambles didn’t trip me, asps or adders likely lurked. Tight-gripping my elbow, although no longer the domineering personality I remembered, Burk’s father demanded explanation.
    ‘You survived? How?’
    ‘He enslaved me.’
    ‘The man who killed them? You saw?’
    I’d seen Burk intend my sacrifice. ‘Burk led the attack.’ Took five seconds for the theft of head from body. ‘Death was instant.’
    Noises of pursuit. Urgently I whispered, ‘Please, cover my retreat; they’ll return me to my kidnapper.’
    ‘No. They’ve caught him; he’s on trial. You’re needed as witness for the prosecution.’

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    1. And the plot thickens, as the saying goes. Each installment is a jewel in its own right. I am always amazed at how on point these serializations prove to be week after week.

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    2. Nice pacing here, and good high stakes.

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  5. The Girl Next Door

    He didn't see her move in, the girl next door. She was a mysterious shadow, lisping a beguiling melody from the depths of her heavily shrouded balcony.

    Sight unseen, they became friends. Enamoured with her retiring personality, he soon realized she had stolen his heart although in truth, there can be no theft when something is willingly given.

    Finally, she agreed to a rendezvous. He arrived with wine, roses and the promise of romance. His love endured, even when faced with a wreath of asps and vipers coiled about her head, until her coy glance turned him to stone.


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    1. Oh! Didn't see that coming! How cleverly - sweet and innocently - you set this up, and then, wham!, a killer last line. Well done Patricia.

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    2. gorgeous! All that romance and then - pow!

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  6. Troublesome [3]

    Swearing, Morgan raked her fingers through her braided hair, loosening several small moonstones to clatter onto her desk. “Another suicide attempt?” she said.

    “She’s being accused of theft, again,” Luke said. Though vital to Morgan’s plans, the Queen’s erratic personality had proven to be more troublesome than binding all four Hellthorian Battle-Lords, and resulted in more blood.

    Morgan arched a pierced brow. “The snake merchant?”

    “Supposedly a rather costly emerald asp when he visited her tents. I would advise that we stop allowing her visitors.” The screams would start again, but a gag would remedy that.

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    1. Another delicious episode, and lovely use of the prompts. The relationship between Luke and Morgan so well-defined in dialogue. You write so vividly that I see the story development picture by picture, like a comic.

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    2. oh what a killer last line! I am a true fan of killer last lines, they aren't easy to do but you and Sandra write them easily or so it seems.

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    3. This was beautifully descriptive and equally as well-crafted. Loved the image of "small moonstones" clattering onto a desk. And, as previously noted, an absolute killer of a last line.

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    4. This sounded like a fresh take on Cleopatra - but then it became its own cool thing.

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  7. The Immortal 23

    My grip slackened around her waist. She turned to face me, still holding my hand.

    “You’re one of Death’s followers? An asp, sent to bite me in the night?”

    I found myself lost for words, even in this bedraggled state Sandie looked stunning. My simulated personality of sinister evil-doer deflated. A slight nod was the only answer I could give.

    “What did he promise you? What worth does the theft of my mortal life have for you?” She looked down at our linked hands. “I should just let him pull you back. That’s no less than you deserve.”

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    1. Now there's a dilemma! I love "simulated personality"

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    2. oh yes, a dilemma indeed, nice use of prompts, Kai!

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    3. Decisions, decisions. What will our protagonist do? And will the power of Sandie prevail? And do we really have to wait to find out?

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    4. Lots going on here in so few words!

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  8. Kursaal (Episode Two) -- "Manasa"

    Resplendent in Russian sable, Manasa's arrival was as grandiose as her personality. Maximillian immediately dispatched roustabouts to transport her undulating cargo to the snake charmer's caravan.

    "Empty basket?" he queried. "Do we need to report a theft?"

    Manasa shook her head.

    "Archon was restless and needed to, shall we say, stretch his legs." She chuckled. "My little joke. He will join us soon."

    In the nearby forested area, a group of snickering children were torturing several small rodents they had managed to trap. They did not notice the asp emerge from the undergrowth, forked tongue licking the air.


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit: http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.htm. A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. And asp no challenge at all, was it? Brilliantly done, with some lovely descriptions, not least the "undulating cargo".

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    2. nice instalment, loads of brooding danger and hints of more to come, what more could we ask???

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    3. Liked the way you built the tension at the end.

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  9. Serpentine

    Diana’s fingers brushed the silver scales of the asp. The piece had a wicked personality all its own: Cleopatra’s Bane, dipped in precious metal.

    She draped the snake around her neck, Its jewelled head resting inside her decolletage. She smiled. Beguiling the guards with her beauty had been nearly as amusing as the theft itself.

    The Duke’s voice sounded behind her. “Your reputation precedes you, Diana. It is tragic, in a way, that it ends here.”

    Diana slipped a loop on her glove, allowing her dagger to drop into her waiting palm. It was time to show her fangs.

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    1. Ah, but will she succeed? Another cleverly-contrived piece using what I thought were tricky prompts, and plenty menace.

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    2. oh yes, plenty of menace there and the prompts were very well used!

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    3. Oh my, loved the reference to "fangs." How inspirational was that given one of the prompt words? Another delightfully descriptive piece. Wonderful image manna for the mind this week.

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  10. Infinity 128.
    The harbor we gained was quiet, hardly a ship berthed up. Waters as calm as could be. The place had no personality, no life but ‘twas a safe haven. For all that we had to take care; there were few people and any theft would be noted. I saw First Mate clasping a bottle and wondered if he paid for it. To think I would be brought to worry about such things! Me, the greatest pirate that ever sailed the seven seas! Tis a fine thing they know not of this journal, they would have too much fun with it…

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    1. Ooooh, Antonia - clasping??!!! Poor Captain reduced to that as well ;-)

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    2. it's odd, clasping was the word which came to me immediately I saw the prompts!
      Very few snakes on board a ship (plenty on a plane, as I recall...) and not all South Sea or other isolated islands have them, so... rather than twist facts, the word appeared in another way.

      OK, did some more work with Anne of Cleves, now it's time for bed. About had it for the day, methinks. The Captain says he's already tucked up in his bunk as the Infinity rocks gently at anchor in the quiet harbour.

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    3. I confess, I was going to cast an aspersion or two ... but managed not to, not entirely to good effect.
      Sleep tight.

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    4. Tight little offering this time around. So much inferred in what seems to be a few words. I didn't count, but was the limit even reached? And how modest is our Cap'n..."the greatest pirate that ever sailed the seven seas."

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    5. I haven't checked in on the Captain for awhile - so glad to see they've broken the calm! Entertaining stuff as always.

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  11. congrats, Zaiure, brilliant as ever. The Captain came in the middle of my work with Anne of Cleves (which is fascinating and throws the history into total confusion, which is great) and demanded I write his instalment. So I did.
    Light relief in a way from the machinations of the Tudor court... although he has enough of his own, doesn't he?????

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  12. Cripplegate Junction/Part 27-The Cat That Ate The Saveloy

    Marmalade followed his nose until he reached the Restaurant Car. Through the window, he saw the Conductor talking to the Head Cook, an irascible fellow with a personality as sour as his pickled beetroot.

    Slithering like Cleopatra's asp into the bosom of the galley, Marmalade eyed the dish of saveloys next to a steaming pot of pease pudding. Moments later, there was one less sausage.

    The Conductor, who was witness to the theft and contemptuous of the Cook, would say nothing. Of that, Marmalade was certain. He decided this must be his lucky day and promptly filched a second helping.


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html.

    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. oh love it... one crafty cat. They are so clever it's untrue, as much in real life as in fiction. My daughter's cat was caught the other day lying on the floor on his side, all four paws pressing against the bathroom door, to stop the other cat getting out...

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    2. Lovely! Really superb your voice in this never-failing-to-entertain tale. Do you know any illustrators?

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    3. Marmalade is such fun to write. I could almost revolve the entire serialization around his perspective. I do happen to know one illustrator, Sandra, and a very talented one at that, but I have no intention of Cripplegate Junction being anything more than my little offering every week for the hopeful enjoyment of The Prediction members. At least, I'm assuming that was the point of your question? Or maybe I'm being presumptive. :(

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    4. Not presumptive at all - it;s just that I 'see' this so vividly (but I doubt an illustrator will satisfy as your writing allows the images to remain precisely personal).

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  13. Too snakey for his own good

    "Like Cleopatra would say, you can kiss my asp!" That Stevie, always with the puns. But his personality isn't all bad, and the worst he gets up to is petty theft, a little extortion, that kind of thing. He's no stool pigeon but he'll tell me what I need to know most of the time, so I told him I didn't mind showing up in court to be a character witness today. Thing is, I don't think I can help too much when Stevie says that to the judge...

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    1. As always, so perfectly in character. I too was considering a reference to "kiss my asp," but it didn't seem to blend well with my creations. Glad I didn't push the point now. Mine wouldn't have worked anywhere near as nicely. Great title too, by the way.

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    2. Mix of groan and admiration from me! Great continuation, and superb characterisation.

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    3. It's a bold offering that allows for the punny. Well done!

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  14. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #6
    A Letter to a Friend


    Dearest Abby,
    I’ll be home in a few weeks, but before I get there could you find me the poison ratings for asps? One of my mother’s recent captures has the personality of a snake, so I figured a light poisoning from one of his relatives would be just the thing to encourage respect. I need to try my hand at theft. Slithery creatures don’t just drop from the sky you know.
    Sincerely yours,
    Rosebud
    P.S. How do you like the idea of a vacation?

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    1. This was so interesting and so very different. Lovely unique style and delightful touches of humour.

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    2. Yes, indeed - so very unique and entertaining. Another enjoyable member of the Prediction cast.

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