Saturday, 1 June 2013

And then I'm late...

Good morning all,

My apologies for my tardiness, again.  One's family occasionally does "unexpected" sorts of things when they get old.

The tome is a bit out of sorts this morning.  The last couple of days here in the Northeast have been hot and humid.  Evidently, the little darling likes that sort of weather just as little as I do.  It watched me install the air conditioner on Thursday.  It seemed amused by my struggles with the electric drill but was happy enough to settle right in front of it when all was said and done.

I imagine I ought to get on with winners and words, as the tome seems to realize we are late, and is hovering at the very edge of the the table near my desk, drooling greenish stuff with random letters floating about in it. I don't believe it likes our forced tardiness anymore than I.


First place this week goes to Zoe Farr with Bring me the head of (12):  Zoe, there's an underlying tension in this that carries through the whole piece.  That can be tough to maintain and you've done it wonderfully.  Your dialogue is tight and the you worked the prompts in very smoothly.  And again, that last line is killer!  Thank you.

And in second place is RR Kovar with her Seth and Nate piece, This Modern World:  RR this is just the perfect set up piece.  Its tone is so quiet and matter of fact, and yet you conveyed Seth's tongue-in-cheek "concern" about Nate's reaction so perfectly.  I had a hard time answering with what I thought was matching quality.  Thank you!

And now....the words!




The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum, excluding the title, of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine.

You have until 11:30 PM EST on Thursday, June 6th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, June 7th.

The gates are open.  Let the games begin!


  1. congratulations winners!!! good choice, Colleen, they were superb, but then, it all is, it's getting harder to maintain the standard, which is good.
    The captain says the words are a tough challenge this week but adds this is what it is all about, a challenge. He has gone off to ponder. We know who the shadow people are, but want to spin it out a bit longer...

  2. Thanks again :D I can't believe something I rushed off to keep the momentum going before we went on holiday would be thought up to scratch!

    Also Grats RR :D

    Anyhow, I'll keep going with this installment...

    The limo's escort-goons dispatched, Gonzo heard a metallic skittering, and Jiro curse his katana's disutility (to put it politely); he turned to see the Oni land another solid blow that did little to dissuade this towering, cybernetic heresy against nature.

    Saw him summon his Ki, finally delivering a moderate cut above the ear.

    Saw him realise he’d left an opening...

    The goliath's augmented punch caught Jiro full on the chin; there was a sickening popping, and he crumpled, head at an unnatural angle.

    Paramedic and Sasquatch exchanged grim glances, knowing they daren't let their foe close.

    ***Overclocking Manabolts.***


    1. Love 'disutility', in fact the whole of the opening sentence. You're going from strength to strength Zoe.

    2. there's action and background somehow wrapped into this scene, which is So well done!

    3. Ow! Really felt that punch! Great description. =)

    4. This is really good action writing, with quite a cliffhanger ending!

  3. Well done Zoe - sometimes the quick ones work best - and RR, perfect indeed.
    This one came pretty quick - and was fun to write.

    Muttered conversation

    The bandaging was utilitarian: bed-sheets, old, unwashed.
    Had to be redone, first time almost immediately, so fast the scarlet spread. The third looked like to last, at least for the journey.
    That had necessitated some discussion, following accusation, blame, denial, before acceptance that what was done could not be undone - strange how some folks believed admitting fault a heresy against their mortal soul.
    ‘Why there?’
    ‘Was where it started...’
    ‘But, will care be taken?’
    ‘Who cares?’
    ‘You don’t?’
    ‘Don’t tell me you do!’
    ‘You have a cart?’
    ‘Aye, and I’ll need an escort... you’ll need to hide your face.’

    1. once again your skill and flair for writing superb dialogue shows! Everything is being said and yet nothing is being said, so we are aware of a backstory that has yet to show itself. Clever.

    2. Oh... leaving us hanging, nice protracted cliffhanger there. ;) I can see this will be one to revisit when we know more, when we can understand the layers properly. As Antonia says - clever. =)

    3. Ah, the joys of dialogue without tags - leaves us wondering who's left standing. I love every bit of this.

  4. Wow, thanks! I didn't see that coming. Much congratulations to Zoë for another superb installment!

    Here's the latest from Seth:


    Nate griped non-stop, until we began passing houses ravaged by hurricanes and serial flooding. “Really? These zombie fuckers had to visit their evil on a place already suffering?”

    “Probably got a deal on real estate. Before Katrina, it was heresy to suggest leaving. Now, some towns are almost empty.”

    “Seth, this voodoo jackwad isn’t living without basic utilities. He’s not the one infected.”

    I nodded. “Our turn is coming up.”

    Nate ground his teeth. “You don’t need to navigate. I can feel them.”

    “Then let’s go escort this guy to the gates of Hell.”

    “And me, too, if I turn.”

    1. and the saga builds... this carries the story forward brilliantly, with yet more sharply delineated dialogue. Good one.

    2. I'm really enjoying this new direction - while bracing myself for what's to come. Like 'voodoo jackwad'

    3. This feels so real. I think I might have said it before, but the setting, the supernatural, the characters, all feel solid and utterly believable. Keep up the good work. =)

  5. Infinity (9)
    So we made landfall in the early hours, the call woke them up from sleep, them as was a-sleeping below decks. We needed water, food, to stretch our legs and feel earth under our feet for a few hours, then we had an escort out to the wide open sea again. For some tis heresy I prefers the open sea, I say tis each to their own. I heard someone say sommat about using the utility, I said no, let’s do everything ourselves, that way we know it’s done right.
    I don’t trust anyone, let alone foreigners – and shadow people.

    1. Shadow people are to be trusted are they? We shall, no doubt, see. Once again, such smooth use of the prompts.

    2. There's a gentle ebb and flow to this, with a definite sense of stronger currents just beneath the surface. Compelling writing.

    3. I applaud the captain's caution, especially with the shadow people. It feels right that he prefers the open sea, though it makes me wonder what about landfall haunts him.

  6. Had to get a second one in...

    Bring Me The Head Of...(13)
    The taxi rumbled through Seattle, escorting them toward what Conrad was beginning to identify as 'home'.

    It was a brief island of calm amidst the madness that evening: 'Nina' browsed her 'link, shopping for new utility-softs; Gonzo focused on medical scanners and his blanket-swathed patient.

    All in all, a better outcome than his first 'Run; the hirsute druid speculated whether the blood-mage's heretical ritual (having impeded his own magic), was somehow a catalyst to Ame's Change. But then, why so many other cases?

    He Assensed her aura again, to satisfy his abiding concern; at least she had survived, unlike-

    1. Brief island of calm indeed - and 'hirsute druid' brilliantly vivid.

    2. Stories need calm, just as they need rising tension. Pace isn't all about getting faster. Looking forward to seeing where this goes next. =)

    3. Unlike...? Argh! Write faster. I need to know what comes next.

  7. This was unbelievably difficult!

    A change of focus [43]

    Khakbethian combat had its own peculiarities, strict rules of utility intended to prevent the useless waste of life of the country’s younger men.

    Pettinger’s cuckoldry against Cherriman required avenging.
    Equally, despite the double escorts of duplicity and well-deservedness, for Pettinger not to exact retribution for his half-brother’s death, would be heretical.

    Each produced his birth-knife.
    Each slashed once, a double diagonal.
    Parried, closed and sliced again, not deep but sufficient to score the other’s skin; blood-writ calligraphy.
    Each stepped back, observing ever-blurring runes.
    Mutual acknowledgement that formalities were satisfied broken by the tone of Pettinger’s phone.

    Raptor, autocratic: ‘Yanno. Come.’

    1. Difficult maybe, but the effort was worth it. Does a great job bringing flavour to Khakbethia and, consequentially, depth to the story.

    2. Really enjoying the ritual combat, especially the notion that they know when enough damage has been done to satisfy honor.

  8. Tao's finding it easy this week:

    Keen to survive?

    The cart was clean and sturdy, the horse patient as Job.
    ‘Better utility than racehorse for these roads.’
    Which sounded sensible to start but progress was slow enough for us to act as escort to a hearse – groans from the cart, once the opiate wore off, matching the keening of the widow (and like more genuine, since the dead man had been old but wealthy and she was young and pretty).
    Later that was given as the reason for recovery, but at the time the sudden sitting up was shocking – heretical raising of the dead which smote the widow’s conscience.

    1. Oh, how very clever. I love the title, too.

  9. (rise)

    George looked her up and down, "You shouldn't be out here alone, miss. Can we escort you somewhere?"

    She could walk down the alley and see her home, but trampling, raucous intruders flashed through her mind. "No, I... I have nowhere to go."

    He glanced at his comrades and when he turned back he was nodding, with a sad half-smile, "You ain't the only one. But the city has risen, Olivia. We are riding a wave of fire and heresy. Join us."

    She thought about her father, and the utility of trying to find him by herself, or the futility.

    1. And onward, for adventures new and bold ... George and Olivia together ... (I hope) I like utiity ... futiity

    2. We are riding a wave of fire and heresy. Sometimes, a sentence makes me ache with the wish I'd written it. There's so much implied in it, yet only so much given away.

  10. The New Overseers Speech

    “We all serve, every man, woman and child. Each of us stands before the gods a supplicant to their unseen wills. You have no choice in this. For generations you may have believed yourselves to be a free peoples, but this is the direst Heresy, a belief that we do not hold you guilty for but will save you from. Your old ways, as of this day, are no more, and you are ours to utilise.

    Rejoice! Pack your few belongings, and now my men will escort you to your new life in Service”

    1. Oh, this is horror of a most possible sort. The future could look like this, and likely already does for some. Religious slavery has a storied pedigree.

    2. The horror of impotence and ignorance has to be one of the worst kind. Insidious this.

  11. All right, loves. The gates are swinging closed. Feel free to continue to leave comments as you will. Winners and words by 11:30 PM, EST, tomorrow. Thank you all so much!