Friday, 12 February 2016

All clouds equipped with silver linings

 Hard 
Hard though several of us claimed to find last week’s prompts – uninspiring at the very least – this was not in the slightest apparent in the imaginative ways they were used, to the extent that choosing a winner was harder than ever. Nor does anything present itself as a useful point of judgement this week, so I’m going to place Zaiure’s ‘Remnant’ as winner, by a narrow margin, for the sheer kick of pleasure it gave me.  And will name Patricia, for ‘Kursaal’, Rebecca and Bill as very worthy  runners-up for similar reasons. I should also like to say how appreciative I am of your comments; on my pieces as well as everyone elses. It has always been a strength of this group; it matters to us to know we’re being read, and it means such a lot when folk say so.

Words for the coming week are:  contour, prevaricate, recipe

Entries by midnight Thursday 18th February new words and winners posted on Friday 19th

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.

64 comments:

  1. Congratulations Zaiure and a brilliant piece and a worthy win. Also Congrats to Patricia, Rebecca and Bill for some great writing. Good to see you back Rebecca.
    Now these new words are going to be a challenge if I continue in the poetic train of thought.

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    1. Awesome, thank you! And definite congrats to the runner-ups. So many great stories!

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  2. Many congratulation to Zaiure for, as William stated, such a brilliant piece. And also applause to Rebecca and Bill. How I managed to make it into such a worthy circle is beyond me!

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  3. Kursaal (Episode Eight) -- "Ambrose Oxenford"

    The numerous prevaricating staircases and paths within the Funhouse inevitably terminated at the contoured Hall of Mirrors. The diminutive exterior belied the vast expanse of the interior labyrinth, which was an ingenious if bewildering recipe for deception, distortion and disorientation.

    The earliest to respond to Maximillian's call for a reassemblage of the glorious old entourage, the pint-sized Ambrose Oxenford instantly claimed the prime location just beyond the Kursaal's grand entrance. Thus, his was often the first attraction to lure certain types of boisterous patrons.

    It was also frequently their last.


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

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    1. All three prompt words in two deliciously intoxicating sentences! And a killer of a final line. I am so much enjoying this serial.

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    2. Brilliant use of the prompts in this piece Patricia.

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    3. the tone of the writing never varies, it matches the feel of the serial perfectly. great instalment.

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    4. I agree with Sandra, loving this serial! Ambrose is another fascinating character, and I love how you described the Funhouse and its potential dangers.

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  4. Artistic License

    Flattery and persuasion. The perfect recipe to seduce potential subjects. Not that Christian's statements were total prevarication. He usually meant every word. He was nothing if not discriminating.

    "Your features are remarkable," as he traced the contours of a profile with the delicate fingertips of an artist. "Such a visage should be immortalized."

    Christian's works formed a private collection. The general public's interest in death masks of persons unknown was a limited market at best.

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    1. This is so insidiously chilling!

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    2. yes, it is! And a delight to read, too.

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    3. Fascinating and horrific. Fabulous idea about death masks!

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  5. Change of focus [166]

    Chardonnay. Youngest daughter of a family which personified inbred. Evidence, had Pettinger needed it, that whatever the ingredients – and, physically, hers were top-quality – unless the recipe included a modicum of variety the result frequently deficient.
    Not that anyone, however genetically challenged, deserved to end like this. Spotlights revealed a dun-coloured huddle; body-shape discernible only from the contour lines left by successive lines of black weed.

    The SOCO manager, the antithesis of prevarication, reported ‘Raped, strangled, thrown from the pier, got jammed beneath. Villain too thick to realise tide was on the ebb.’
    Pettinger, ‘A second one.’
    Shake of head. ‘Third.’

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    1. And how delicious is the intrigue involved here? Loved that the villian was "too thick to realise tide was on the ebb." I truly had no end or trouble discerning the prompts here. What a lovely tight-woven installment.

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    2. "...no end or trouble" should be "...no end of trouble." Sheesh...!!!

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    3. clever tightly written instalment, loaded with menace and sarcasm. Brilliant.

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    4. Starkly dark, I Particularly love the line "Spotlights revealed a dun-coloured huddle."

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    5. Antonia summed it up lovely, and Patricia picked my favorite line :) 'too thick to realize tide was on the ebb'. Love a good murder mystery!

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  6. Riding roughshod [Threshold 101]

    Once waterways superseded roads, boats became high-prized. Bridges, where still extant, territorial strongholds.

    Suspecting Burk’s father of prevarication, Ravenscar rode roughshod over his delaying to find a map. Unwisely: on rivers, ignorance of contours a recipe for toiling negotiation of waterfalls. Three days of rowing, toting the boat overland, re-opened barely-healed wounds.
    Needing respite, Ravenscar suggested a diversion. ‘O’Bedrun’s territory nearby; he’s semi-civilised. Perchance we can negotiate a temporary truce –‘
    Burk’s father, nervous, ‘At what price?’
    ‘Your boat –?‘
    Failing to see the joke, ‘Never!’
    Quirked eyebrow, ‘No?’ Ravenscar eyed me, ‘Then we’ll have to hope you’ll charm him!’

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    1. Like the referenced waterways, this was equally as swift and smooth flowing. Along with marvelously clipped and direct dialogue, this piece came complete with some delightfully conjured images. We moved along the tale here with barely a hiccup in the process.

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    2. I like waterways and finding them written in like this is just a treat.

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    3. The currency of a Humans charm, I find particularly chilling.

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    4. More beautiful phrasing. Loved how you described the waterways and your use of 'recipe'.

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  7. Thank you for that lovely little link to "Cripplegate Junction" on the side of the page, Sandra. I don't know how long it's been there but I only just noticed it. That was very kind of you.

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    1. You're very welcome Patricia - it's been there ever since you told me about it. Feel free to do the same for Kursaal, as that bodes to be equally rich.

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    2. A link to "Kursaal" would be very nice, Sandra. No rush, however. Whenever you have some spare time. Thank you.

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    3. Tis done, but I'm informed "no live feed", so, like Cripplegate, they do not rise to the top with each new post.

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    4. Thank you, Sandra. Hope the continuing tale is worth the effort.

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  8. Cripplegate Junction/Part 33-Return Of Cousin Christopher

    "How did you escape?" asked Miss Constance as Christopher entered the Canteen.

    "You were cognizant of his whereabouts?" The Station Master narrowed his eyes. They reflected a threatening promise. He shook his head. "A prevaricating leopard never changes its spots!"

    Clive Bailey had ceased the struggle with his bonds. The contours of the Canteen had shifted. He imagined himself to be in his drawing room, listening to "Appointment With Fear" on the wireless. He heard static as Violet turned the pages of "Woman's Own," her voice distant and overly-bright.

    "I believe I have found a new recipe for tea cakes!"

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. And so well have you evoked the period that I can hear the precise intonation of her vowels! Lovely episode.

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    2. perfect evocation of the time period. Loved it.

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    3. I agree with Sandra and Antonia, you've captured the feel of the time very well. I have a clear image in my head of mannerisms and voices. This story continues to captivate!

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  9. Apologies for missing last weeks prediction. Work has been a real pain. I'm back now though and not wanting to have missed out I've written two episodes of the Immortal. One with last week's prompts and one with this week's.


    The Immortal 28

    I could not shake the feeling that she had looked inside me when my hands had grasped hers. That she had seen more than a black cloud, full to the brim with evil.

    That’s what I was in my own eyes from time to time. Did she see a silver lining or a quiver, heralding the shedding of darkness until only light remained?

    I did not know and forced myself not to care. What mattered now was how I could make her continue to believe in the goodness of my heart, even if I didn’t have any.


    The Immortal 29

    The contour of Sandie’s form strengthened my resolve once more. I put on a look of helplessness, furrowing my brow.

    “I wouldn’t know where to start redeeming myself. What would you do if you were me?”

    Sandie laughed aloud.

    “I would never have sunk so low into the depths of hell. That’s what I would have done. What is it that you regret most?”

    I turned my head in shame.

    “The list is long…”

    My body language and prevaricative answer forming the perfect recipe needed to fool the angel.

    In truth, I could think of nothing. I had no regrets.

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    1. you may have been busy, Kai, but your mind must have been working. Two excellent instalments here, taking the story to new levels.

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    2. Yes, indeed, Kai, thank you indeed for including last week's episode; both add further facets to this fascinating;y evil character. both so well-written too.

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    3. Two very strong instalments, great opening line.

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    4. What a total delight to be able to read two installments in succession. If these weren't well worth the wait, then I don't know what is. I'm very glad that you decided not to skip a week in terms of prompt usage.

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    5. Brilliant writing for both pieces, glad you did both! Really loved the line 'My body language and prevaricative answer forming the perfect recipe needed to fool the angel'

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  10. 134.
    So we sailed on from the islands, paradise becomes rare dull after a while, a recipe for indolence, prevarication and outright mutiny. I called the crew and set them to scouring the Infinity to make it bright, its contours clear to all who cross our path – or if we cross theirs. This cap’n be on the lookout for loot. Then perhaps the damn crew will stop whining and moaning about leaving the islands and sailing out into the unknown again. Tis not the islands they were leaving, tis the women. Do they think this here cap’n is stupid or something?

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    1. Well, no, stupid the Cap'n most certainly ain't! And his lack of interest in paradise so much in character. A solid episode this.

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    2. A strong Cap'n and wise to move the crew along from paradise. I can empathise with the Cap'n and his approach to management. A great instalment.

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    3. "Infinity" is never a disappointment. This week's installment follows that brilliant pattern. I particularly like the notion that "paradise becomes rare dull after a while." That statement had me thinking and I do believe it carries more than a modicum of truth.

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  11. and of course it should be Infinity 134, but - it's one of those days. Almost one of those weeks. I have a deadline for the book of Henry's queens (end of March) and am hoping to complete it before then, as the other narrator, a Cro-Magnon girl, is pushing hard to get her story finished. (The queens interrupted it...) so I didn't get to work on my instalment until tonight.

    Good reading as usual, thank you, everyone!

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  12. Tough words this week, I think this still needs a lot of work, but I wanted to get something in before the whistle blows.

    The Close down

    “It’s not you, it’s me!”
    Your words the reverse of reality.
    As you unlock your secrets and unravel the truth
    You leave me behind, alone and aloof.

    The time has come to undo the recipe that was me and you.
    To unlearn every contour of your skin, and un-hope the dreams that lay within.
    The words to end our love have been spilt, the verbal knife that punctured me to the hilt.

    You’ve no time here for prevarication
    No room in your heart for supplication
    No tender words to soften the blow,
    No turning around as you softly go.

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    1. Yes indeed, not conducive to poetry, for sure, as I've just discovered! That said, you've some lovely original pairings of words here - I particularly like 'aloof', and the 'un-learning'

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    2. I continue to be amazed at how you can weave the given prompts into a work of rhyme...and how nicely such is done.

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    3. stories within rhymes, William, you're an incredible poet.

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    4. Thank you for your kind comments, they do mean a lot.

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  13. Sorry, William, but I have to blame you, at least in part, for this:

    No recipe for happiness

    not so much contours as a graph
    best demonstrated the progress of our affair
    the peaks of what we claimed as happiness
    (each guilty as the other of prevarication)
    attained solely via that four-letter word
    which obligingly rhymed with the rust
    which rose from the troughs
    which had filled from the torrents of crocodile tears
    we each of us cried
    when it ended.

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    1. Happy to take any kind of blame, especially if it leads to something that is so cool, I love it.

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    2. And we see yet another facet of your apparently bottomless talent. I don't think I want to play with you anymore....

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    3. Going off in the corner to sulk now...

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    4. Patricia, if it's any consolation, I can't sing a note in tune and possess not an iota of ability at any sport. So please do come and play next week.

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  14. Late yet again, someday I will learn to write on Wednesdays.

    The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #12
    Clothing Trials


    There’s this ball tonight, given by old friends of my mother. I’m not too sure if I will go, seeing as they are assassins, though their daughter Georgiana is among my few friends. Of course, I don’t even know the dress code for such an event, every time I ask Georgiana she prevaricates. Society balls are usually stupid affairs full of matrons throwing their miserable daughters in overly contouring “dresses” at anyone available, a recipe for disaster if you ask me. Hopefully this one will be different, being a gathering of friends, but still what does one wear?

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    1. There is something deliciously seductive about that second sentence! (Having been skewered by the first, of course) and this is so very, very smooth as to suggest it was you chose the prompts. And yes, I wish you posted earlier, so we'd more time to savour Rosebud's adventures.

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    2. clever phrasing brings out the horror of this storyline, which is utterly seductive!

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  15. Murder & Chocolate

    A chance match strike lead to Janie’s discovery, illuminating the contour of her crumpled body behind a thin, painted screen.

    Still drunk on champagne, her evening companions recounted dancing in the garden, and boisterous ghost stories from their fresh faced beaus. When pressed by the constable, the remaining five could remember nothing beyond passing out in the drawing room, after coaxing a scandalous truffle recipe from the cook’s licentious maid.

    Jamison, Janie’s philandering sweetheart, was caught prevaricating when accused of formerly bedding the cook’s girl, but eventually cleared.

    The autopsy revealed poison. The maid, obsessed with Jamison, suspiciously fled.

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    1. This too, smooth and as deliciously-phrased as one could hope for, "after coaxing a scandalous truffle recipe from the cook’s licentious maid" just one example.

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    2. this is gorgeous, as Sandra said, smooth - the only word you can think of, chilling with it.

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