Friday, 29 July 2016

Just add water

Already enjoying  a week of  concentrated prompt writing I've found an equally rich harvest of them here. The downside of which is I'm truly spoilt for choice: choosing a favourite this week has been exceptionally difficult. But after much deliberation, I'm nominating Zaiure's Insult to injury #2 as winner, with  Gita and Rosie as delightful honourable mentions. And sincerely thank you all.

Words for next week  are: wake envelop hem

Entries by midnight Thursday 4th August, new words and winners posted on Friday 5th

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. Serialised 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.

71 comments:

  1. Congratulations Zaiure a much enjoyed second episode, can't wait for more. Congrats to Gita and Rosie too.

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  2. Magnificent re-entry into the fold, Zaiure. And with such an outstanding piece to boot. Congratulations also to Gita and Rosie. This week's words are already sparking some ideas and with a multitude of ways to interpret them as well. Love when that happens! (Having said that, now watch me fall flat on my face!)

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    1. Waiting with bated breath, Patricia - it'd be a first!

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  3. Conversation [Threshold 125]

    The envelope, heavyweight manilla, furry with use and fastened with a bifurcated clip, held paper black-scrawled with my father’s handwriting. Ravenscar handed it to me, ‘It’s yours. Read it outside if you need privacy.’
    I peered. ‘Too fragile… precious. Can we find another place to stay?’
    He indicated westward; vermilion hem above which was darkness. ‘Not tonight. We’ll be safe here, the dog will watch your former lover -’
    ‘He’s not!’ His tone implied lovers were legion.
    ‘- until we wake. Thereafter, his fate is in your hands.’ His contempt enveloped both of us.
    ‘You’d kill him?’
    ‘If you asked me to.’

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    1. I read this twice through, convinced none of the words were in there - how did you fit them in so smoothly?! I love the sky's vermillion hem

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    2. I'm with Jk on my admiration for "vermilion hem." What a magnificent image. I also liked how you used "envelope" and "enveloped." "Furry with use" gave me a bit of a shudder.

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    3. I agree with Jk, seamless use of prompts! Loved the description of the sky with 'vermilion hem', and Patricia picked out my second fave as well - 'furry with use'.

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    4. Stunned. Such a powerful piece. I spent last week staring (from my tent) at stunning sunsets lost for words. Vermillion hem is perfect.

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    5. terrific piece. Forgive brevity, at work, need to comment, though!

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  4. Her Contribution

    Kam Lin sat in moonlight, ripping and re-sewing the hems of her brothers' coats. She daren't work by lantern because her task was secret. Every three inches along the hems she inserted a piece of jade. Her six brothers were warriors; they might be attacked by highwaymen along the road and certainly would while battling Emperor Zhou's army. The upturned hems formed secure envelopes around the family's precious treasure.
    When the cock crowed, Kam Lin went to wake her brothers, bringing tea to each bedroom. No one thanked little sister. No one noticed her bleeding fingers.

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    1. Ooh - I like this - delicate and poetic.

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    2. Lovely visuals, poor overlooked sister to six brothers!

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    3. Beautiful flow to this piece. It told a truly enriched story, with though rooted in fantasy came across as totally believable. Wonder if little sister's sacrifice will be recognized. I do hope so.

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    4. A fantastic, creative scene sparking my imagination for a greater story. Excellent use of title as well.

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    5. This has such beauty, it brought tears to my eyes. Reminded me of my youngest who sews at every opportunity and without need of praise.

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    6. Thank you all. In times of war or migration, many societies sewed money or valuables into their clothes, and the Chinese used jade. So that's what inspired this bit of flash.

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    7. really lovely delicate piece of writing, conjuring many images.

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  5. Thank you! Was happy to finally get a chance to continue the story. And congrats Gita & Rosie :)

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  6. Change of focus [191]

    Three hours in and Declan O’Donovan’s wake had become a whiskey-fumed riot of fiddles, pipes and reels. Collisions and spilled drinks taken in good part until Liam Malahide stepped on the hem of Bridget Clonty’s dress, causing stitches to give way, skirt to tumble and her left standing; scarlet thong, black tattooed crab and purple fist-size bruises all revealed.

    Her husband enveloped her in a Guinness-stained tablecloth, but not before Bridget’s brother put two and two together and made four.

    John Pettinger, and other colleagues of the late-lamented Declan, did their drunken best but eventually had to call for reinforcements.

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    1. Nice (as you pointed out) change of focus for this installment. Wonderful description of an Irish wake and inspired choice of names to my way of thinking. I loved the contrast of Bridget's scarlet thong against the fist-sized bruises. That reinforcements were eventually needed comes as no surprise. Absolutely adored this week's continuation.

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    2. An active, colorful scene; I could practically hear the music! Loved the line 'a whiskey-fumed riot of fiddles, pipes and reels', and I agree with Patricia about the excellent contrast of Bridget description.

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    3. You are on a roll. "whiskey-fumed riot of fiddles" took it for me.

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  7. The disgraceful widow

    They were envious or scared of her, these neighbours/friends/crows, none of them actually liked her. At Jordan’s wake they were muttering, about her appearance and how well things had turned out for her “if you know what I mean”

    So what if her hem was mud-sodden, her make up slipping? She had loved Jordan, loved his kindness and knowledge and his faith in her ability to do better, to be better.

    Jealous witches, the lot of them.
    She’d put her brave face on and show them.
    Right after sinking into the enveloping warmth of this whisky.

    (99 words excluding title)

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    1. I've just this minute finished reading Tessa Hadley's 'Everything will be all right' which ends with a wake, and this almost a channelling of it. So much character in this and prompts smooth as is no doubt the whisky.

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    2. Expertly done character study. We learn so much about this person in so few words. And I adore the title.

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    3. A sad, poetic piece with a beautiful final line.

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    4. I'm so in awe of this piece. So much I could say, but nothing worthy that would give the justified praise that is so deserving.

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    5. one of those entries that encapsulates all the Challenge is about, character and storyline in 100 words.

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  8. Kursaal (Episode Thirty One) -- "Faye Sealy"

    Access to The Grotto, enveloped in candy floss clouds, was limited to those no taller than 36 inches. Pathways meandered through woodlands, where dwelt mystical creations of sandstone and alabaster donated by Primrose Lee. The Grotto offered sanctuary where bruises of the flesh and spirit could heal. Many of its little visitors desired to stay.

    Faye Sealy, designer and overseer of the attraction, moved silently through the crowds, hem of her sweeping gown leaving the scent of poppies in her wake and unmerciful parents, muttering threats of punishment, had forgotten ever being accompanied by children before even reaching the exit.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. 'hem of her sweeping gown leaving the scent of poppies in her wake' - absolutely delightful.

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    2. A clever and brutal piece, if you look beyond the glamour provided by Faye. Kursaal continues to absolutely enthrall me with every new piece.

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    3. Just when you think where will this go next, you surprise and enthral.

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    4. it's a constant ongoing joy, this serial!

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  9. Cripplegate Junction/Part 56-Incoming

    The creak of the closing door awakened the "Lost and Found" Custodian from his afternoon nap. Apparently, both postie and the paperboy had made their usual deliveries. He had not seen them. He never did.

    The Custodian hemmed and hawed while sorting through the items. The Station Master only wanted important pieces and it was often far from easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. He put Alice's "Bunty" to one side, along with Christopher's "Eagle," and then noticed the manilla envelope.

    "Personal And Confidential" read the label.
    "For The Attention Of Clive Bailey, Esq."


    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. I'm so glad to see the use of 'hemmed and hawed' and 'awakened' especially deft. 'Eagle' and 'Bunty' enriched this wonderful series yet further.

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    2. My curiosity is piqued, as is the Custodian's, I'm sure. :) Not only by the magazines (assuming), but the incredibly interesting envelope. Waiting for the next installment!

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    3. What memories evoked with Eagle and Bunty. Loving the build to a hopeful reveal of what's in the envelope. Feel I must declare I had not read your piece when I put Hem and Haw in my drabble this week. In my case it was an homage to "Who Moved My Cheese"

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  10. Just checking

    From the car I watched her hesitate, slender and solitary, in the station entrance; grey coat and pale lichen scarf apt marker for love which died a quarter century ago. She hardly changed from the girl who ignored five years of my SWALK-enveloped letters, pleading for her return.
    But she’d come back for the wake.
    She’d left me with a lace-hemmed handkerchief, perfume leached to sourness, unlike my memories. I hoped she’d want it back to dry her tears of joy at finding me alive, but suspect she’d more likely returned to make sure I was well and truly dead.

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    1. There is something intrinsically mysterious about this little tale. Utterly engrossing and yet it seems elusive in many ways. Even now, I'm not sure if the protagonist is alive or dead...and I think I prefer it that way. Hard to believe this comes from the same pen that created both Pettinger and Ravenscar. What a wealth of versatility.

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    2. I agree with Patricia, excellent ending with the line 'more likely returned to make sure I was well and truly dead', but I'm also not sure if the protagonist is still among the living. And if not, it presents many interesting questions.

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    3. Having spent time (long ago) in dark places, holding on to something long since passed. This resonated darkly with me. I wonder where this tale might go.

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    4. I really must find the time to push my barriers a bit and get outside the Captain's world occasionally, to try and emulate something like this...

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  11. Reflections

    Enveloped in cloth of purple velvet, hem embroidered with seven lilac silk apples, the prophetic relic had not been consulted in decades. Now, the time had come to wake the dormant spirit once more.

    "Mirror, mirror..."

    Response was immediate.

    "You are the fairest here so true,
    But your daughter is far more beautiful than you.
    "

    Snow White sent for the Huntsman.

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    1. Aaargh!! So cruel, on several levels!

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    2. Not how we want the fairy tale to continue for sure! Though seems brutally fitting, if you go by the original, less happy fairy tales. Clever piece!

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    3. Naughty, very Naughty, but I love it. just don't tell my daughters that.

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    4. I love twists on fairy tales and this is a classic and wonderful twist!

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  12. Allay [3]

    “Calm, She-wolf,” Arshad said, voice even despite the blade kissing his tattooed fingers. Though hemmed in by Lara, increasingly indignant, and Galarian, a stone-faced bouncer who always materialized when discord called, Arshad took the glass from Olivare and emptied it with a single swallow. Almost instantly the wakefulness in his eyes dimmed.

    “Came all this way to serve insults, did you?”

    “The Tavashanar want you back, damned fools,” Arshad slurred. He frowned, as the glass slipped from his hand.

    “I learned one thing from the whores,” Olivare said, smiling.

    Slumping sideways, Arshad was enveloped in Galarian’s enormous, muscled arms.

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    1. Fantastically vivid, and gorgeous descriptions and names - I especially liked 'stone-faced' and am now avid for the next instalment.

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    2. Lovely! So vivid, it's as though one is standing in the wings watching a play take place on the boards. It has that theatrical feel to it. I think you might have been the Bard in a former life! I particularly liked the image of a blade kissing tattooed fingers.

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    3. Arshad was enveloped in Galarian’s enormous, muscled arms, won it for me

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    4. such a good instalment! clever use of the prompts.

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  13. rushing madly to get my entry in, everything in this world seemingly getting in my way. Congrats to winners, will be back tomorrow to comment, but the Captain wants this posted first...

    Infinity 158
    It went to plan this time. The whinny enveloped the clipper, hemmed it in, by God, before any of them were awake on board and it were gone. It tilted, swayed and slid beneath the waves. We rocked madly for a few minutes and then Infinity righted herself and we set sail – again – for the island I knows be not so far away. We were doing a fair rate of knots by then, as the waves from the whinny pushed us on. So it did us all a favour, one thing after the other. Now to find the tricksy man.

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    1. Short diversion for a little piracy - what else would one expect?

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    2. A spinning myriad to set the infinity upon it's rightful course.

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    3. Victory! Now onward and upward my admirable captain. How do you do it on such a consistent basis?

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    4. I let the Captain do the writing. It isn't mine. Wish it was sometimes...
      Captain Edward Teach is a towering presence in my life from time to time, he looks in to see me outside of writing, that's when I see the cats staring and staring at the wall...

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  14. I came back from my weekend with such plans or writing, but have been diverted all the way such is the post Brexit world in my day job that presently leaks into my own time.

    Little Martyn 1665 - Part 9

    The cellar of Elsa's lodgings was a logical place to hide the bodies for now, being the quickest and most convenient. Surprisingly Amos was easy to roll to the trap door and down the steps, although
    the thud of his body was enough to wake the dead. The Parson, head quietly cooking on the hot coals, was a whole different prospect for disposal, causing Elsa and Sagworth to hem and haw about the best way to haul him to the hatch.

    One detail, their pacing made bloodied footprints envelop the room.

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    1. While essentially macabre, this serial always manages to evoke a chuckle. I think it's your magnificent knack for finding the right combination of words. Case in point: the Parson's "head quietly cooking on the hot coals." I should be horrified but instead, I'm giving a snicker.

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    2. It was the final sentence that struck me - in a way awkward, asking for a re-read, but then forcing me to picture exactly what was being described - brilliantly done.

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    3. smoothly done, a good instalment.

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    4. I agree with Patricia, finding myself both grimace at the body disposal, yet laugh at the seeming ineptitude of Elsa and Sagoworth.

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  15. Days of the week are so hard to remember when travelling. Oops!

    The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #36
    And Then They Went Back to Sleep


    “Wake up, wake up!”
    “Vivian, shut up! It’s four in the morning!”
    Rosebud rolled out of her blanket envelop to an annoying pegasus flapping at her face.
    “I was up late last night hemming my new school skirt, so shush! We have to be conscious to travel tomorrow and the moon is still up!”

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    1. Short but nonetheless up to your usual intriguing standard.

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    2. Exactly what Patricia said. Could you not aim to post, say, Sunday, then more of us would get chance to read - you owe it to Rosebud!

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    3. I need to do the same, Rosie, not leave it until the last moment, so I will have words with the Captain... but whenever you post, I have to be sure to read it!

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