Friday, 11 March 2016

Location lies awry

For reasons entirely beyond my ken, the Live Traffic Feed which I inherited when I took over The Prediction has gone totally bonkers in locating me. I live in Teesside, in the North East of England, but after having been relocated to Kent for several weeks, it has now placed me in Carmarthenshire, in Wales. But last weekend, when I was in Wales , it decided I was in London.
No doubts from me about where to place this week’s winners - I was so delighted with Antonia’s Captain’s good mood in ‘Infinity 137’ that he comes top. William’s poetry skills in ‘Political Viewpoint put him in second place.  As ever, I thank you all for contributing to the week’s enjoyment.

Words for the coming week are: calligraphy, suck, uncle

Entries by midnight Thursday 17th March new words and winners posted on Friday 18th

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.

76 comments:

  1. Firstly congratulations to Antonia, I particularly enjoyed this instalment especially with the vivid use of judder. I'm popinjay proud to have been awarded second place amongst a field of displayed talent as there was last week. Now this weeks words will be a challenge.

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  2. thank you!! Good way to start a morning, offsetting the mournful fog horn. Only 1, it gets really dreary around here when the second one kicks in... So pleased the Captain's offering was acceptable. Sometimes I feel I would like to say/do more but the word limit is confining, another time it can be said in a shade under the word limit. Tis passing strange, as my medieval visitors say.

    I am fortunate in having a daughter who is living two lives, here and two roads away with boyfriend. So all my washing, ironing, dusting, cleaning, et., etc. is done for me. I just walk in and find it neat and tidy. No writer/worker could ask for more than that! It also helps she said once she has never known a time I wasn't a writer, it's always been there and accepted, so half closed doors are the norm.

    The Captain is not the norm, he truly is a popinjay, outrageous clothes, walks as if on board the Infinity all the time, talks nostalgically about Shipton, his home port, but has no intention of going there for a goodly long time (unquote) and few morals when it comes to murder and mayhem, if there is grog and loot at the end of the battle. Which reminds me, at least one of the prompts this week fit into the need for the Infinity to be repaired after that last set-to...

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  3. With apologies - a moment of immediate inspiration!

    Change of focus [170]

    DC Henry Moth was still red-faced; the more so because of the three female detectives in the room, all ears, and laughing, he suspected, at his all-too-evident embarrassment.

    ‘I explained, told him what we needed, was about to point to the bog, give him a wank mag and a plastic cup, when he whips it out, all primed for action, and calligraphy tattooed along the length of it!’

    Sniggers, questions of likely phraseology:: ‘This way up?’, ‘Suck here?’

    ‘Didn’t try and read it! He just said “Give us a mo, couple of pulls and Bob’s your uncle!” And it was.’

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    1. And apologies for what might I ask? Not for the substance or content of this episode I trust. Love the humour. Love the flow. Love everything about it. And I still say it's a great shame that you never allow yourself to place at any time 'cos this would surely be a front runner.

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    2. Patricia, my 'winning' happens weekly, with all your comments and regular provision of enjoyable reading.

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    3. Hilarious and entertaining! Loved the creative suggestions about the calligraphy. :)

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    4. I wanted to look away, but couldn't, tose images are going to pick away at me all day. A great job.

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    5. **those** (Damn Mac keyboard)

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    6. so funny, so cleverly done, brilliant!

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  4. Congrats Antonia & William!

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  5. Many congratulations to Antonia and William. Two outstanding entries among a fine selection of gems last week. I'm a little fearful of what the combination of this week's prompts might bring forth!

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  6. Not sure where this one came from

    Stained Pure

    My graffiti the calligraphy of the street,
    Careful to avoid the suck of the underworld.
    I keep my head on broad shoulders, and the ground beneath my feet.

    In this ghetto of the mind It’s easy to lose hope
    fall prey to paternal dealers putting out feelers
    for fools to peddle their dope.

    Avoiding uncles offering favours I refuse to take their heat.
    all I want in my head is the subtle beat, beat, beat,
    of this urban street.

    Mother taught me what this life is for
    fighting the dirt, protecting the hurt
    forever in her memory I’m stained pure.

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    1. Oh, several truly wonderful phrases in this, William - so vivid, especially the opening line of each verse.

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    2. This was a magnificent use of the prompt words and an extremely powerful poem. There are so many excellent phrases that it is virtually impossible to choose any one as a favourite, but I think "stained pure" will stick with me for quite some time.

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    3. Loved this poem's story, and I agree there are truly many wonderful phrases. Loved 'stained pure' and the rhythm of the line 'all I want in my head is the subtle beat, beat, beat'.

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    4. really fine poem, William, saying more than a 1000 word story.

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  7. Kursaal (Episode Twelve) -- "Uncle Bob & Aunt Sally"

    Uncle Bob and Aunt Sally, rumoured to be Maximillian Corviday's relatives, ran the shellfish stall and coconut shy respectively. The calligraphy of their signs was courtesy of Sally's penmanship. Her "Penny A Pitch" was especially eye-catching.

    Sucking a clay pipe, Sally was a permanent fixture at the park but her success was severely hampered by the inexplicable daily disappearance of the goldfish swimming in bowls she distributed as prizes.

    However, business at "Bob's Barrow" flourished. His variety of cockles, served in small white dishes with available vinegar, were touted to be freshly harvested and a particular favourite with the crowds.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. Must be the cockles, but this feels very flavoursome! But queasy. Very queasy.

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    2. More fabulous characters! I do feel a tad sorry for the little goldfish. Eeek. :)

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    3. oh, those poor goldfish... cleverly done!

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    4. Having sold sea food around the pubs of Sussex and suffered at the hands of Joe punter, I can understand Bob's adulteration. I had an evil little giggle inside. Wicked in the best of ways. ;)

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  8. Revelation [Threshold 104]

    The suck of Burk’s father’s bloodied body lifting from the flagstones contrasted with the tenderness with which they stretchered Ravenscar into O’Bedrun’s once-cathedral headquarters.

    I followed. Sat in shadow while they talked and drank. Only began to listen when O’Bedrun spoke my name.

    Ravenscar, never having heard it, disbelieved until shown documents, dense with calligraphic words, O’Bedrun’s finger pointing, saying ‘Father’s brother to an uncle, or son of – but there’s no doubt!’
    ‘Of what?’ I asked.
    Both men looked at me. Ravenscar’s dark eyes re-examining; seeing me anew.
    O’Bedrun’s avaricious. ‘That, alive, you’re worth more than your appearance would suggest.’

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    1. And I can hear it now....DUN,DUN, DUN...!!! Must admit, I gave a bit of a shudder at the "suck" of a body being lifted. But what a unique use of the word.

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    2. I agree with Patricia, excellent use of 'suck' in this piece. I felt the same shudder, but it was perfect for setting the scene. Really intrigued where this is heading!

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    3. me too! and yes, perfect use of the word 'suck', what an image!

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    4. Perfect and chilling, that opening line has chilled me to the core. Further chills provided at the close.

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  9. Until We Meet Again

    The cemetery is home to Old Uncle Benjamin. He spends hours sifting through the photographs and keepsakes left by mourners and although he can't read, makes a hobby of tracing the calligraphy on the headstones with his bony forefinger.

    Every weekend, a couple of us suck it up, go out there and persuade him to get back in his coffin so we can bury him all over again.




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    1. Ugh. This really is rather nasty.
      Well done.

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    2. Love this take on zombies, and an excellent title. :)

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    3. so cold and horrid as to be delightful!

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    4. I just gave out a loud nasally snark of a laugh, scaring the almighty crap out of poor Mrs Davoll causing to inhale her coffee whilst watching Glee.
      I'm truly in the dog house now, but for the wicked enjoyment of this piece alone it was worth it.

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  10. Our secret

    Just another pseudo Uncle – note I don’t say courtesy – but this one’s broke the pattern.
    When it started, Mum wasn’t even thirty. They were young. Different one every month or so. In between, some barely lasted the night. Mostly okay to me (I was three or four), mostly they didn’t smell.
    Mum got older. Uncles got older And the older the uncles the longer they stayed. As much for free meals and laundry.
    But this one. He’s young. And pretty. Doesn’t fart or suck his teeth. And he promised next time he babysits he’ll teach me how to do calligraphy.

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    1. Interesting story; my mind is filled with possibilities.

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    2. this could be spun in all sorts of directions and is precisely the sharp clear cut way I wish I could write at times!

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    3. Agree there's a myriad of possibilities, but from the clever staging of the title, I fear darkness looms.

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    4. Just read your comment on my second piece, funny how we both commented on each other titles. :)

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  11. You must have taken an extra slurp at the fountain of creativity this week, Sandra. Each entry is amazing. I do like this one in particular. My mind was wandering along a similar theme at one point, but nothing came together. Glad I didn't waste time on it now! I also note...deliberate or not...that the gender of the protagonist is left to speculation. And I'm not sure who is the most shady character, the protagonist or that pretty young uncle.

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    1. Oh! Isn't it great when someone reads unintended facets into a piece - thank you. And as for the creativity, I have been editing for several weeks so need to get writing done somewhere!

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  12. Cripplegate Junction/Part 37-By Special Request

    With a theatrical flourish, the Station Master produced an engraved postcard from Clive Bailey's breast pocket. The archaic hand-calligraphed announcement read:

    "Cordial Invite: Attendance at the grand reopening of Cripplegate Asylum."

    "Where did you get this, old chap?"

    Clive shook his head and sucked at the stale air, unable to find his voice.

    "Do not force me to play Dutch uncle," warned the Station Master. "These were dispersed to prestigious dignitaries only. Indisputably, you fail to qualify as such!"

    Teatime commotion from the Canteen began to recede as the Station Master leaned closer.

    "On whose behalf are you here?"


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. Loved the line 'Clive shook his head and sucked at the stale air, unable to find his voice'. Props for somehow managing to continue this story week after week with excellent, lingering endings! You're an inspiration. :)

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    2. "Dutch uncle" a new one on me (and from Wikipedia, "Dutch" a useful future prompt word). As ever, your smooth insertion of them is enviable and you've created a wonderfully claustrophobic dialogue between these two. I'd echo Zaiure's words too.

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    3. it's been many years since I heard the phrase 'Dutch uncle', pleased to see it's not fallen out of use. Clever piece, this.

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    4. Superb. Like Antonia I had not heard the phrase "Dutch Uncle" for a while, but a clever way to use the prompt word.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Happens to me all the time. I usually have to check about three or four times to make sure I've got them all, especially when I start to make revisions!

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    2. Made up the prompt words. I had Suck, I had uncle, forgot it was calligraphy but used pure last week.

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    3. At least twice, before I took over, I scribbled down the words, then mis-read my handwriting so used a never-mentioned word.

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  14. Infinity 138
    First Mate said his uncle wanted to join the ship. I said, if he be anything like you, the idea sucks, forget it. But I’ll look the man over, when we docks again, if he be there, to see how he might shape as a pirate. Not all sailors can be pirates, takes a special breed of cold bloodedness and indifference to the life of others. Oh, now I be full of philosophical thoughts, making me think I should write this in a calligraphy style, not my usual scrawl.
    But ain’t no one else gonna read this journal, so…

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    1. I'd never considered the especial qualifications for pirates before!

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    2. Excellent use of the prompts Antonia. I fear I would not pass the Captains muster.

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    3. I would love to be "interviewed" by the Captain to see if I could make the grade. Like William, I fear I would probably fall short of his standards. This was a very nice introspective glimpse of the Captain's thoughts. Love that last line. Little does he know...!!!

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  15. two cats have entered my life, inside a trauma, as it were, so my plans to get to this earlier went for naught, as usual... brilliant writing from everyone. Tough choices for Sandra...

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    1. In my opinion, Sandra has a tough choice just about every week. I could never run this site. I would never be able to make a definitive decision. There is so much creativity and talent, that I would bounce from one submission to the next and then just consider everyone a winner!

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    2. A local (stray we think) has adopted our garden, she oft stretches out in the sun like a hollywood starlet. We have Christened her mrs Mystoffelees (Stoffels, or Mrs for short). I'm not normally a cat person, but she has melted my heart. Shhe has become my muse and I have a few stories that I reckon she's told me, I'll have to write them up some day.

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  16. Struggling this week, but I worry I won't submit anything if I don't get this posted, so here is a continuation of the Mad Queen's story. :)

    Attack [9]

    Queen Fiaena looked up from her calligraphy with an amused expression, ink-wet brush poised over the parchment-wrapped lap desk balanced on her knees.

    “You think I’m a what?” she said.

    Reluctantly, Morgan repeated herself. “A Storm-Speaker.”

    Fiaena laughed, and sucked a drop of ink from her finger. “You’re positively full of delightful ideas, Lady Morgan. Truly, you keep me quite amused!”

    “Your uncle was of the blood.”

    “My uncle was many things. I, however, am just a woman.”

    Abruptly Luke barreled inside, his sword drawn. “Morgan! We’re under attack.”

    “Quindar?”

    “No.” He frowned. “The Eaetori.”

    “That’s unexpected.”

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    1. If this is you struggling Zaiure, you'll be out of this world on top form! I'm struck by a strong sense of place here, cool, high-ceilinged with arched windows. Lovely, delicate conversation, rudely interrupted.

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    2. A very tightly written strong piece you have here. Agree with Sandra if this is you struggling, then...

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    3. This ("as per usual," as my mother used to say) was exceptional in imagery and content. Struggling indeed. I think not....!!!

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    4. Thank you for the encouragement everyone! :)

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  17. Change it a little to get the correct prompt word in. Not happy with it but I have a new favourite word that needs to be shared.

    Over ripened Fruit

    Neglected on our commodes we sit like standing stones.
    Abandoned by our carers, we’re the royal court of indignity on thrones.
    Like over ripened fruit, mouldering in our bowls.
Everyone is hoping for the departure of our souls.

    Once we were parents, or favourite aunts and uncles.
    Now forsaken to decrepitude and suffrage to the runkles.
    Our Love was like calligraphy, we thrived on life, and luck.
    Every day fresh to take a bite, though now we barely suck.
    Well past our sell by dates, our nest egg’s their only interest,
    It guarantees their visits, till we seek eternal rest.

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    1. This speaks vividly of a different - and all-too-possible - horror, further enhanced by the title. My turn to look away, William.

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    2. This has been waiting to be finished since I started it back when Lily Childs was our host. I'm hoping for my future to be like the film Cocoon.

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    3. I continue to be totally befuddled in how you can create something that rhymes, that is engrossing and on-point, all the while utilizing three prompt words that may or may not be associated. If I wore a hat, you could consider it tipped.

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    4. I'm always impressed by your poetic skill. Wonderful phrasing and a powerful subject. It is sad the neglect our elders often receive.

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  18. Help... "Reply" is not working for me. Anyone else experiencing this problem?

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    1. Nevermind. It has decided to cooperate now!

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  19. Mama Says

    Mama died last week. They wouldn’t tell me what happened, but I heard the maids talking. They said Uncle found her drowned in the tub, water red like huckleberry syrup, and, by the way, wasn’t it just odd that he was in her bedroom? And how about that ghastly calligraphy written in blood all over the marble floor?

    Uncle says Mama was crazy, but he won’t meet my eyes, and Aunt Sibyl just sucks on her wineglass and looks sour. Already they spend Mama’s money, they think I’m a stupid child, but Mama says to wait. We’ve planned our retribution.

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    1. Viciously dark and I love it. I picture this vividly as an intro/trailer for an epic horror movie.

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    2. Luverly stuff. Dark and brooding and something even Poe would have been proud to have penned.

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    3. Not for the first time, this has, teasingly, put the half-remembrance of a song in my head; something to do with that "and, by the way" (but I also have Victoria Williams there). You use words with such casual skill to create intense imagery.

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  20. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #16
    Just in Time


    Why do people say “uncle” when they’re outmatched? My own uncle wouldn’t rescue anyone from their own messes, except me. Of course I would never cry uncle on purpose, I’d call for Natasha. And she’d get me out. She always did. Chasing me with her new calligraphy barely dry, hurling my dinner dresses at me. I always sulked for hours after those inane creatures sucked down their food and sucked up to me, the little angelic dimwit, a princess in training.

    Char has an uncle too. His name’s Albert. He’s got an impressive top hat for special musical occasions.

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    1. Very intrigued by the promise of the "impressive top hat for special musical occasions." this phrase speaks of wonderful opportunity

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    2. Up to your usual standard. Love the use of Uncle Albert. You now have me humming: "Hands across the water, heads across the sky..."

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    3. So very delightful, that final sentence - thank you Rosie; another sparkling episode.

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    4. William and Sandra picked up my favorite line. :) A fun, playful piece.

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