Friday, 16 June 2017

Drink not the third glass ...

A hiccupping sort of week for me, writing-wise, attempting to follow advice given in a paid-for edit, and a slowish start here too, which only seems odd after several weeks of more frenetic activity. No rhyme nor reason, and I seek none.

I’d Patricia’s Grande Dame and her 100th episode of Cripplegate Junction in line for  this week’s winner, but it was pipped at the post by Bill’s ‘Going Down’, his ability to insert so much energy into 100 words never failing to impress.

Words for next week:  recumbent thumb whelp

Entries by midnight Thursday 22nd June, words and winners  posted on Friday 23rd

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 you prefer.

101 comments:

  1. Great job and congrats to Bill on his photo finish. Patricia gets a well deserved thanks for her dedication and consistency with her Cripplegate series. 100 posts thats two years. Something for me to look forward to.

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    1. Congrats, Bill and Patricia. Very close indeed by the look of it.

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  2. Tables turned [Threshold 167]

    I was in the bathroom, thumbing buttons into buttonholes of one of Raven’s boyhood shirt, when he brought the Law Man upstairs. Recumbent on the several large settees they continued discussing Cathra.
    ‘Did she whelp we need have them put down. Can’t have wolfhounds running amok –‘
    ‘Three litters amounting to around a dozen –‘
    He as monolithic as Raven but less polished, more rough-hewn. He beckoned me, ran hands up my legs, across my belly as if I were a mare. ‘Her?’
    Startled, ‘Whelped? No –‘
    ‘You’re known to be impotent Raven. Let me take her. Breed from her.’

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    1. I liked this episode. Suzzy Homemaker sprang ti mind but didn't stay very long. Well blended prompts and surprises. Very enjoyable.

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    2. clever movement forward for this story incorporating tricky prompts this week. Good one, Sandra

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    3. This was very interesting and seems to open up a whole slew of new and alternative avenues down which this story could progress. As always, these installments compel the reader to drink in what is taking place in order to glean the full impact. I do, however, have a question...and I may have missed the answer somewhere...but does our protagonist have a name?

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    4. Well-spotted Patricia - although she undoubtedly has a name, she has never revealed it to me.

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    5. A curious turn to be sure. This is a fascinating world that continues to play with my imagination every week. Loved the simplicity of the phrase 'thumbing buttons into buttonholes'.

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  3. As an irregular contributor I appreciate the effort required to keep these long series going with so much variety in the prompts - there are weeks when I simply can't find a story worth writing, much less one that fits into the narrative. The best I can do is (usually) maintain a sense of the story's background, and even that isn't always consistent. So thank you for the accolade and let me pass my congratulations on to those who are able to keep this up week after week. Now I'm going to work on catching up my personal photo-and-story project, which I've allowed to lag...

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    1. Congrats Bill! I've started many a serial that I've temporarily abandoned due to the prompts. :)

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  4. And I couldn't have been pipped by a better story. Well done, Bill...!!!

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  5. Hellacious Deals

    Given the family's reputation, some items on offer didn't hold much of a surprise. Medieval thumbscrews, rusted shackles, cattle prods and the like. Others were of a more unexpected variety. The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter (with original illustrations) and a picnic basket (including utensils, etc.), for example.

    Six littermates, rumoured to be whelped by Black Shuck's favourite bitch, kept watch over the proceedings. Recumbent yet alert, they made sure everything was paid for (in one way or another). No free lunches here!

    The Morningstars' neighborhood yard sale was always a propitious occasion.

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    1. That last line was great! A nice stand alone. Thumbscrews and Beatrix Potter in the same yard sale.

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    2. Again, such wonderful, inventive imagery, painting me a picture of the scene.

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    3. I'd like to attend their yard sale. :)

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    4. Me too, Kerry, looking for items for the shop! Nice one, Patricia, very evocative of many a yard sale.

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    5. One stop shopping for your spring holiday needs... for the right customer, naturally.

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    6. Very inventive and engaging! Loved the descriptions, including the title and the final line. Loved this piece.

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  6. Kursaal (Episode Seventy Five) -- "Daisy's Dozen"

    When Daisy whelped a dozen pups, the entire Kursaal was amazed. Not least of all, Daisy. The litter didn't resemble their dam (pure bred Doberman). Whether they favoured their sire was speculative. Identity unknown, as they say.

    The puppies were prize offerings at Aunt Sally's coconut shy, which was running low on goldfish. Cobbles and Crow thumb-tacked notices to trees and telephone poles advertising the event.

    Libby Pepperdyne persuaded her recumbent father to leave his comfy sofa for the afternoon and procure one of the little dogs.

    She named it "Lulu" in memory of Lucy, her murdered twin sister.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. Of all your traits in writting, you, and the others here, show consistency, which I find your greatest skill. Week in and week out. This is another example.

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    2. I always enjoy it when your separate characters meet and interact, and the image of an astonished Doberman is delightful.

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    3. 100% agree with Sandra, animals' faces can be expressive, would love to see that! Nice little episode, Patricia, keep it going.

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    4. Don't have the foggiest notion what a 'coconut shy' might be, and I find I'm not inclined to search it out. That mystery just adds to the aroma of this story...

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    5. Kursaal remains my favorite, with such a rich cast of characters upon a vibrant and fascinating background. Intrigued by the final line.

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  7. I Awake in a Dream

    Sunlight filters through curtains, mingles with chirping birds, stirs my eyes open.
    Silk sheets, Hindu decorations, the sound of a sitar, and the smell of food, add to my confusion. I feel a hand reach between my legs, a finger and thumb locating what they sought. It’s no longer recumbent.
    “Good, your whole body is awake now,” is daintily whispered in my ear.
    “Who are you, what are you doing, where am I?”
    “I’m Lakshmi, your consort; we’re in bed, I’m making sure I whelp before years end, and who are you?”
    “I’m Rakt-ka-Beta.” I realized I didn’t speak English.

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    1. And what a dream! That final sentence especially apt.

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    2. good wrap up there, Jeffrey, good tight writing. Nice one.

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    3. Very nicely done. Your contributions have improved by leaps and bounds, Jeffrey. As Antonia pointed out, the writing is now much tighter and much more cohesive. The use of "recumbent" here was innovative and inspired.

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    4. A good dream, so far; shame they don't always stay that way. That's a nice tight teaser...

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    5. A rich scene, leaving just enough to the imagination with that lingering final line.

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  8. Headline and back story

    ‘”Incumbent Recumbent”?’
    ‘Nah. Too many syllables. “Dead Rec” tells it quicker, and allows for bigger letters. Take a couple more close-ups; I’ll just borrow this.’
    He didn’t need them, just liked to watch her arse when she squatted, the unthinking skill with which nail-bitten thumb adjusted aperture, focus or whatever. The photo he’d lifted from the sideboard was an old one, sun-faded; the Vicar surrounded by children. Squint-eyes suggested they were smiling.
    He grunted. ‘He used to call us his pack of whelps. Go on about “slugs and snails and puppy dog tails”.’
    ‘Before or after he buggered you?’
    ‘Both.'

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    1. This was a true "punch to gut" piece. Nice incorporation of a nursery rhyme into the otherwise vile practices of this depraved Vicar. The impact of that last word is astounding.

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    2. Nasty pieces coming together so quietly for that slam at the end.

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    3. 'Punch to the gut' is right. A matter-of-fact piece, sad and dark around the edges.

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  9. A dead priest, an enjoyable, if mysterous story and good writting. The prompts were sprinkled in, well concieved and executed.

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    1. another of your blood and guts short pieces, love it.

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  10. Cripplegate Junction/Part 101-Spilled Milk

    All thumbs, Violet dropped the churn and splattered the remainder of the milk.

    Marmalade, lazily recumbent and catnapping, awoke grumpy at the clangor but then perked upon spying pools of deliciousness within reach of his pink tongue. His eyes glowed green and gold. The waitress would suffer harsh reprimand for this mishap.

    Since the unreliable young whelp from Elsie's Dairy hadn't delivered supplies in a while, Violet could now make neither tea nor teacakes. She reached for a sign under the counter reading "CLOSED" on both sides. Its condition was like new.

    She'd never had reason to use it before.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. This reads as smooth as if you were the person choosing the prompts, and is yet another (I keeps saying this) example of your skill at evoking the scene.

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    2. Marmalade as crafty as ever, nearly as crafty as my two. Lovely episode.

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    3. Took me a moment to realize that tea without milk would be unthinkable, but in retrospect I can understand the magnitude of this disaster. Good thing Marmalade found the silver (white) lining.

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    4. Marmalade is always the charmer. Loved how natural this piece seemed.

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  11. Glowing green and gold eyes, excellent description. Violets rain cloud is Marmalades silver lining.

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  12. I always find it to be rather amazing how, some weeks, the tales compose themselves in no time at all and other weeks, the words struggle to find a way to get along with each other!

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    1. Yes indeed, this week's have been moderately tricky. Sometimes I kick myself for not thinking ahead and choosing words which would be more useful!
      Antonia has always been the most successful at that, IMHO.

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    2. Which brings me to something I've been wondering about and always forget to ask. How are the prompt words chosen? Is it some sort of random selector?

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    3. 'Random' yes. In a way. I 'collect' words I think might be of interest, might challenge or that have several meanings, and when I've a few Post-its and torn-off bits of newspaper (cryptic crosswords always a rich source) I add them to the list, aiming to put them in suitable groups of three. The list is dated; i.e. each set is allocated a date, and it's set several weeks ahead, so the next one on the list was chosen well before the previous episode.
      That said, for this week, I opened my dictionary (N-Z) and just picked three words. I've also been known to select them from visible book or CD titles. So ... random. But with running two serials and a one-off it's impossible to cheat by picking helpful words (and there'd be no fun in doing this without a challenge.)

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    4. Oh, I didn't mean to imply there was any skullduggery going on! Just wondered how it was managed. Seeing how you invest much more time in it than I imagined, my estimation of your dedication to this little creative corner has now risen considerably!

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    5. I didn't for one moment think you would imply that - you too understand the joy of the challenge!

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    6. I like, despite the frustration, when unusual words are on the menu. It enhances my knowledge and some words do make for interesting stories. I'm not sure I'll have a Kandar story this week.

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    7. I totally agree, Jeffrey. I was merely curious and in no way disgruntled. LOL.

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    8. Seeing Sandra's note about the N-Z volume of the dictionary reminded me of the joy I found when I discovered that one can occasionally find the Compact Edition of the OED for reasonable cost on eBay. I'd wanted one ever since I was a kid - literally - and finally obtained a copy just this year. So wonderful to have at hand!

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    9. Bill, mine was an inspired birthday present from my husband, and I well know the joy of which you speak.

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  13. Change of focus [240]

    Valdeta regarded Yanno Petzincek’s recumbent body. She’d argued the removal of his clothes as effective as shackles but failed to consider the effect of his nakedness in her bed. ‘You sure you didn’t overdo it?’

    Bekim, watching more closely than she knew, noted the resurgence of long-absent desire. ‘Rule of thumb. Four times what I give bitches before transporting for whelping –‘
    ‘And they survive?’
    ‘They give birth to three or four with less fuss than you made for this one.’
    Tiredly, twitching the baby away from Bekim’s calloused finger, ‘They’re likely better cared for –‘
    ‘More valuable, for sure.’

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    1. this remains as dark as ever, and as intriguing.

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    2. I remember a show, the other Rod Serling show, Night Gallery. This reminded me of one of its episodes.

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    3. Antonia summed this up perfectly with the one word, "intriguing." I'd add more but that would only be recumbent...oh, sorry, I meant redundant!

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    4. Loved the imagery of 'Tiredly, twitching the baby away from Bekim’s calloused finger'. Feels so natural, and gives us a glimpse into exhausted motherhood.

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  14. Animalistic

    The whelp scurried behind a pile of old pallets and rested, recumbent on furry haunches. The metallic tang aroused something new and he licked his chops. A guard stumbled upon the body, gasping, fumbling with her phone, all thumbs, dropping it repeatedly. The whelp leapt, landing on his hind legs and crouched to all fours, fangs dripping with blood and saliva. The guard swung her truncheon wildly, landing a blow on the whelp’s shoulder. He cried out in pain and backed away, tail between his legs. His mother roared and devoured the guard, the choice bits saved for her fledgling.

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    1. Animalistic indeed, with emphasis on the 'mal' A truly nasty little tale.

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    2. having had virtually a full on argument with a 'customer' over fox hunting, this is good in my mind. I 'fought' for the fox, this one fights for her fledgling. Good one, John.

      BTW, the 'customer' is in quotes as she tended to use the shop as somewhere to drop in and moan, kids have kicked my fence in (what did you do to annoy them?) my back hurts, etc. She reserved a £2 watering can and never came back for it, so the argument may well have cause what I wanted to happen, rid us of shop filling time wasters. We get enough of them who are waiting on the ferry, she lives here! Am I impressed she was blooded at the age of 9? Just thought, more fool you and your family for going along with such a barbaric tradition. (Apologies to anyone who supports the sport.)

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    3. All mothers protect their children. A well written story, John. I even missed the prompts.

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    4. The maternal instinct certainly surfaces with a vengeance that proves very unfortunate for the guard. I have visions of him still being alive while being "devoured" too. Added horror! This was definitely shudder-worthy. And I have to say, Antonia, I'm with you on the fox hunting. I wrote a poem about it once while waiting for my vehicle to undergo repairs (the two being totally unrelated).

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    5. Hmm. What's the best word to describe this? Crunchy keeps coming to mind, for the creaking pallets, the gravel that I imagine the phone landing in (and blood soaking into) and of course the consequence of eating so quickly.

      As for fox hunting, it's a true barbarism - we can write as much horror as we want, knowing that's a mere pastime. Actually riding out into the countryside to create it? Depraved.

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  15. Litter
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Milly’s dachshund lay recumbent beneath the dresser, panting. The dog refused to leave her shelter. Milly stretched until her shoulder ached, brushing silky fur with an outstretched thumb, but the dog inched into the shadows.
    “How’m I gonna help you deliver puppies all the way under there, girl?” With a gush, the first whelp slid into the world beneath the furniture. Milly ooh’d, “Looks like you had a bigger mate.”
    Four pups entered the world. Black fur. Huge paws. Instead of milk-teeth, full-sized canines grew from whining mouths. Eyes sealed, they devoured their moaning mother.
    Milly screamed her disbelief.

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    1. Like John, you've gone for the nasty side of doggy tales. I'm reminded of the furore surround a Stephen King story in which a dog died, and he had to defend himself by pointing out it was only a fictional dog. Have to say, I feel sorry for the dachshund!

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    2. I love how it transitions into the horror elements. The reader realizes something is wrong in the same moments as Milly.

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    3. Kerry is showing the darkness that fills the stories she sends to me... this is very dark indeed.

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    4. Welcome Kerry. A well scribed story. I'll say that using a minimum of transition, worked very well.

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    5. Poor little dachshund. And what an awful shock for Milly. Did the demon doggies turn on her next, I wonder? Nicely done and beautifully constructed for ultimate shock value.

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    6. As I sit, petting my dog and reading this, I can't help but give a little shudder...

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  16. Opaque

    Priscilla bit her thumb, hooking it to her teeth between primary red lips, yanking it forward, throwing the gesture at me. She whirled her mink about her slender frame, tipped the large brim of her hat, and slammed the door, momentarily blurring stenciled letters on frosted glass.

    My office was dark, recumbent, flaccid. No progress in weeks. The chair creaked as I pushed my fedora into a position suitable for contemplation.

    How had this rich, missing whelp risen from a tabloid joke into the biggest case of my career? What was Priscilla hiding by using her anger to avoid cooperation?

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    1. Welcome Scott - and what a stonking opening sentence you've given us - so easy to picture Priscilla, and a lovely inventive use of recumbent. I do hope you'll stay around, and feel free to comment on others' posts - w all of us crave notice.

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    2. Thanks. I've been lurking for a few weeks, too timid to post. But I'm definitely happy to be here.

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    3. no need to lurk, you capture the whole scene very well indeed!

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    4. Shades of Dashiell Hammett. I was easily able to see the scene unfold in my mind. Oh, welcome Scott. A very good story.

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    5. All good stories with the tough prompts.
      Though, for most a similar plot. Is the Congunction of the Million Spheres coming?

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    6. This was so easy to picture, it could have been taken straight out of one of those black-and-white "gumshoe" films -- except that this came with more than an added dash of colour. So glad you decided to end your lurking days. Looking forward to more -- much more. And welcome, by the way!

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  17. Must say, this week's prompt words have certainly been very successful in summoning the Hounds of Hell.

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  18. Without Recourse

    I am recumbent...until awakened.
    I am dormant...until whelped.
    I invade sans thumbs...sans fingers.
    Labelled malignant...dubbed nocuous.
    I am...simply waiting.

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    1. whoo, a very short very nasty one!

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    2. Declamation I think. And a powerfully poetic one, for the careful choice of complementary words.

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    3. Excellent word choice and such a poem as would make limericks a snack. Short, enticing and forboding.

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    4. Short, nasty & brilliant.

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  19. Dragon Fire

    Razori stroked both thumbs down the snout of the red dragon whelp, recumbent across his thighs, with a surety that had me jealous. He’d always had a way with animals, including the human kind, and his touch had translated easily to the creature we’d found in the ruins.

    “What should we do with it?” My heart skipped, as its gold eyes slid to mine.

    “Keep it.”

    “What?”

    “Train it. We can finally do something, Clar.” His eyes burned hot as any dragon’s fire.

    Rebellion. I could smell it, rising from his skin, becoming ashes on my tongue.

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    1. Your writing always has a golden, glorious quality, and this a prime example.

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    2. such an evocative piece, creating so many pictures and the outcome? anyone's guess. Gorgeous.

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    3. This was so very high fantasy and so vividly described. I love the idea that rebellion can actually assault the senses. I look forward so much to anything you have to offer. And it's always well worth the wait.

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  20. The Mad Italian 10.
    Enervating heat has left much of the English race recumbent, either in gardens, on beaches or drowsing before that terrible invention, the television, thumb on the ‘remote control’ which makes it even easier to become absorbed in total nonsense. I see it, I dislike it. It’s a whelp that will grow into a monster bigger than it is already. I foresee wall size screens in which the viewer takes an active part. I insist, if this happens there is no hope, all free thinkers will be lost in the maw of the beast. Maybe the whole thing will collapse?

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    1. Certainly, one has to hope (and glad am I that I live in the north east).

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    2. Putting 'remote control' in quotes really drew me in and made me focus on the coming ideas. It's funny how those little details can be so effective.

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    3. Never has the "Mad Italian" spoken with a wiser tongue. I fear we grow closer to this scenario with every month that passes. So easy to see how this would be regarded as "total nonsense." The quality of these reflections is enviable.

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  21. The hitch-hiker

    He slumped on the seat beside me
    thumbs recumbent
    redundant now I’d picked him up
    had reassured
    and listened with indulgence
    to his reasons
    for needing
    free travel.

    I inwardly smiled
    at this whelp of a child
    while saying I’d take him
    quite close
    to where he wanted to be
    and even closer
    my God
    to me.


    [Must be something in the air - this my second poem today!]

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  22. that's just outright scary - good one, Sandra!

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    1. This rolled with a truly enviable rhythm. I always admire those who can create in such a poetic fashion. Those last couple of lines reminded me of a hymn. "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" maybe? Not sure. I'm not particularly well versed in hymns. Regardless, this was fascinatingly chilling. Love the idea of recumbent and redundant thumbs. Now, how clever is that?

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    2. 'Nearer my God to thee' is a line from a hymn but I must have heard it via some other means - sarcastically, I think - because the hymn itself is unknown to me.

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  23. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #82
    More Money Than Sense


    “Recumbent boats? Is that even a thing?” Rosebud asked.
    The Inspector laughed with his thumbs in his pockets. “Of course. Well, it will be as soon as I finish building the first one and sell it to the Lords.”
    “Oh great,” Rosebud winced, “another thing for those idiots and their whelps to show off and throw away.”
    “Yes, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll be rich!”

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    1. I don't think there's usually this much dialogue between Rosebud and another individual. It was as delightful as the usual narrative versions. I always look forward to what Rosebud is going to undertake next.

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    2. She's such a delight, is Rosebud, and clever with it.

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  24. "Old Friend of The Family"

    He never looked more handsome than the last night I saw him, recumbent form draped over the too-small chair. He didn’t speak when I stepped into the room, just exhaled a luxurious curl of cigar smoke and cocked a thumb at the sofa.

    “Known you since you was a little whelp, now look, all growed up.”

    I smiled just a little. “It has been a long time. Maybe twenty years?”

    A nod. “At least. Since your dad and me…” he broke off, gaze drifting. “And now.”

    My turn to nod. “And now.”

    “Make it quick.”

    I did.


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    1. If this ending means what I believe it does. Then (as the kids say today) "OMG!!!" What a great little piece this is. I don't know if all the prompts were used (although I have no reason to doubt otherwise) because this was so engaging, I didn't even look or notice.

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    2. Succinct and smooth. Superb.

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