Monday, 26 August 2013


Good evening,

Again I must offer my deepest apologies for leaving you all hanging for so long.  It seems as if my life has gone into a permanent state of "mercury in retrograde" the last month or so.  Besides some ongoing tech, health and car issues, fate saw fit to deal me an employment thing as well this last week or so.  All honestly, I got so caught up in trying to straighten it all out, with only moderate success, that Prediction, and one or two other things, simply got away from me. 

I'm very much hoping that enough of the rough has been smoothed over that such will not happen again.  I love Prediction.  I love being admin, and I adore my authors.  Yes, I think of you all as my authors, at least when we are all here.  *grin*

So!  I am back and ready to move forward.

The Tome has missed you all very much and it is more than ready to bring forth new words. But first, our winners for this round!

This week's winner is Sandra Davies with A Change of Focus (51):  Wow!  Sandra, I was completely sideswiped by the revelation at the close of this!  What a lovely twist!  And I must make comment on ..."a voice harsh as grated skull-bones."  Just brilliant!  Many thanks to you!

In second place is Antonia Woodville with her untitled continuation of the Captain's story!  Another amazing installment.  This story gets better and better and you never cease to impress the hell out of me with your flair for gorgeous phrasing!  Thank you!

As always, every story thrilled and intrigued.  My thanks to all of you.  And now, our new 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, August 29th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on August 30th.

I realize that I'm leaving us a bit short-timed this week in an attempt to get us back on track.  Again my deepest apologies for the inconvenience.

The gates are open!


  1. I've had a crazy summer, so I completely understand! Hope this week is less crazy for you Colleen. :)

    Congrats Sandra & Antonia!

  2. The Post

    He screamed at her with all the authority of a sulky child, arms pinwheeling as he ordered her back to the stable. “You’ve been grounded!” he said. His hands clutched impotently towards Camille’s armored sleeve, reaching but not daring to touch her arm, as she blatantly continued to saddle the dragon whelp.

    Camille attached the rider’s buckles across the scaled hide, and secured the mailbag to the harness. Placing one boot in the stirrup, she turned her cheek towards the railing official, grinning as he faltered as his eyes caught on her scarred, burned face.

    “Rain, shine, the mail flies.”

    1. This takes me straight to Jane Gaskell and Atlan, whose books haunt me even after fifty years. Gorgeous.

    2. There is such a richness to this piece, with the world building so solid it blends into the background because we're just there. The nod to the US Postal motto at the end is a nice touch.

  3. Relief that the Prediction is up and running again outweighs my pleasure in being hailed as number one last time (although I thank you, especially as it was one I liked too) and I'm sorry that you've had so much trouble heaping itself upon you - hope all now blown away.
    Brilliant words, however, to go chew over ...

  4. Fleeing the Fleece

    Some second sense alerted him, one more effective than hers, for all her boasting. Perhaps the whelp she carried drained her powers; ‘twas blatant clear she’d intended to betray: her first utterance had been revenge.

    Their chamber overlooked the stables: the just-dismounted man a gaunter version than he’d seen before but undoubtedly was brother Gabriel. Alone, but likely angered enough for the strength of ten.
    Take or leave her?
    For the nonce she was keen enough. When that palled he’d sell her back to Jack, who’d know Tao’s impotence meant the child was his.
    He dragged her from the bed.

    1. chewed over, and disgorged in style. Really good episode, Sandra, love this one.

    2. Oh, the inevitable meeting (and smashing, one predicts) of the brothers! And still Tao is scheming his next move. I don't know if he's brilliant or a fool. Perhaps both. I look forward to the next episode with both dread and excitement.

  5. A change of focus [52]

    ‘According to Jake Cherriman, I’m the misbegotten whelp of an under-age Khakbethian whore. He claims less dirty DNA for himself. Assures me Raptor was impotent: his claims even of seduction a blatant lie.’
    She blushed, ‘Another reason to mistrust Cherriman.’
    Pettinger’s eyebrows questioned, ‘Ma’am?’
    ‘Shut it, John, and tell me how we’ll dispose of his body; remove all evidence that he was ever here.’
    ‘You don’t know how to do that?’
    ‘Of course. How well have you learned the lessons that I’ve taught you?’
    Unlocking the door, John Pettinger grinned. ‘Well enough. Give me five minutes.’
    It took him four.

    1. Ah, the practiced art of body disposal. :) Good play of emotion between the two characters, and loved the final line.

    2. Sandra's the past master at last lines and this one's no exception. Excellent episode of this ongoing story!

    3. For all that it's whip-fast dialogue, there are subtle moments - like her near-admission of the tryst with Raptor - that give it greater depth. I love that they are now in cahoots. This story has so many changed alliances, but it never loses me. Very sharp.

    4. Thank you ladies. The fascinating thing, to me, is that this as-yet nameless Ma'am grew entirely from a need to use the prompt word 'Madam'. She has since justified her then slightly unwelcome presence by giving me another, balancing direction to turn in.

  6. thank you! and congrats, Sandra!
    So good to see you back, Colleen, I cannot imagine life without the Prediction or you!
    Now to get to work...

  7. Grats all, and good to see everyone up and running.

    I'll be posting something non-serial-y this week, probably. If I can get it done in time in between work. :D

  8. Once They get a Taste for it...

    "T'were fields for miles; the heart of the farming community. Now it's sHamCorp's soulless centre, all automated: machines've knitted meat since the Riots and subsequent Rationing.

    "Most livestock's extinct: impotent stock, inefficient land-use. Richies still GM-breed 'real' animals; I get the odd call-out for difficult Prizestock births or pedigree pooch-whelping. Richies mechanised old pursuits: game-stalking, Hunts. Robots aren't a patch on live quarry; some Plebs volunteer for LaserTag. Ration-vouchers beat Rat...

    "Last Foolsday, 'Jacks supposedly got in, reprogramming base-cells to Human. It was a blatant money-spinner; Longpig Shamburgers became fashionable!

    "But lately, there's an upsurge in missing Plebs..."

    1. oh my, a nightmare scenario painted through the narrator's words just got more of a nightmare by the last line. Clever!

    2. This is true horror, civilization's decline spun in an almost lackadaisical manner and then bam! the twist at the end. Truly frightening.

    3. A horrifying future for a world running low on food. You painted a very grim yet vivid picture of a world where it doesn't seem safe to be a Pleb.

  9. Infinity part 20

    Tis the blatant greed that bothers me. Everyone, from the whelp that is the cabin boy to the First Mate, they are all after their share of the loot. They be impotent without me, though, the Infinity, the plans, the decision to take on the merchantmen be mine, too. So like it or not, they have to stay in my good books or else – they can go swim. The mutiny threat died down but tis simmering. I need to get gold to hold them, or turn back and abandon the voyage. I be loathe to do that. We sail on.

    1. I like it when the Captain gets introspective. His take on his crew is shrewd and his ability to keep them obedient marks him as a true leader, but I fear for what is to come if he can't find sufficient sop to calm their mutinous mood.

    2. Really enjoying the Captain's narration. Really feels like something I would find in an old log book. I'm curious what is coming next, and whether or not he'll still have his crew.

  10. "they can go swim" Aye, but I sense he's still a worried man and wish the next set of prompts bring fairer winds for him and the Infinity. Yet another tight-writ, entertaining episode.

  11. Sorry for my absence. I've been rebuilding a porch and then putting out the fires at work that resulted from my being gone a full week. Made me consider taking up construction full time. 'Twas easier.

    Sliding in under the wire with this one...

    Somewhere after the Fall

    “Nice dog.”

    Barrow looked up. Dog didn’t.

    “Don’t often see one that big.” Blatant greed showed despite mirrored shades.

    Barrow nodded. “Had him since he were a whelp. Last litter of the damned, so I’m told.”

    “You mean dam.” The stranger feigned politeness.

    Barrow wasn’t much for being corrected, but she shrugged. “As you say.”

    Dog pretended to sleep.

    “Must be hard to feed it.” Next, he’d propose purchase or theft. They always did.

    Dog opened his red eyes and stretched out. His canine grin was disarming.

    The stranger’s remaining arm flailed impotently, slowed, stopped.

    “Not difficult at all, really.”

    1. Don't know if there is such a category; if not you've invented it: Laconic horror. And told with spot-on, superb dialogue.
      Love 'Dog pretended to sleep' - a masterstroke.

    2. Loved this! Humorous and horrible, all in one. ;) I enjoyed quite a few lines - "Blatant greed showed despite mirrored shades" and "Barrow wasn't much for being corrected, but she shrugged". Got a good sense of her and Dog. :)

  12. Aaand Seth showed up with something to say. I think he worries when I write other people. ;)

    Balancing Act

    City on the horizon, I finally spoke. “I’m concerned.”

    Nate snorted.

    I forged ahead. “We were almost stopped by a half-trained whelp. I’m wounded and tapped out. Against a voodoo priest, I’ll practically be impotent.”

    “This is different how?”

    I punched his leg. “Like it or not, we’ve been leaning on my magic since you got infected.”

    Nate rolled his sleeve to reveal the tattoo I’d forced on him. “Blatantly obvious.”

    “I’m not sure we can shoot – or burn – our way out of this, and I’m out of monster favors.”

    He grinned. “Apparently, I’m not. So unclench. We got this.”

    1. Thank goodness Seth has some influence over you!
      The claustrophobia of the car conversation palpable in this, and such smooth use of the prompts. I've badly missed these two.

    2. Always enjoy their banter. You really are gifted with enticing dialogue! Loved the line '... I'm out of monster favors".

  13. Hey Gang! It's that time. There's some great stuff here this week. Thanks so much! I'll be leaving comments tomorrow, as time permits, and winners and words by 11:30 tomorrow evening!

    The gates are closed. Feel free to continue to leave comments as you will. See you soon!