Saturday, 21 September 2013

Perfectly crafted nightmares.

Good evening!

The Tome is sitting by the open window tonight, looking out into the dark.  There's a small patch of woods across the street from our house, and I have come to believe that it can see things in them, that I cannot.

However, I have enticed it away from the window for a few moments, with the usual treat of bacon, and we are ready to announce winners and words!

All of this week's entries were darkly brilliant and as usual, you've all made it very difficult for the Tome and I to choose!

This week's winner is Zoe Farr with Bring Me The Head Of 18):  Zoe, it was the amazing dialogue that netted you the win this week.  It was just so perfectly natural feeling.  Really nicely crafted.  Thank you!

In second place is Angel Zapata with Deadbolt: Angel, you did an amazing job of building tension with this.  I could feel Benjamin's madness and desperation as the story progressed.  The last line was so powerful and frightening.  I just love this piece.  Thank you!

And now for 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, September 26th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, September 27th!

Go forth and craft us new nightmares to read, my friends.

The Gates Are Open!


  1. congratulations, Zoe and Angel! Superb writing.
    Good words again this week, Colleen, I have left the Captain to think on them, and hope to get my entry in a bit sooner this time. Before he starts complaining about mere women dictating to powerful men, I need to remind him I won't be home on Thursday evening so it has to be written before then... he's gone off muttering into that huge black beard of his.
    Good to see new people coming in, let's hope for more to play! And once again, Colleen, thanks for hosting the Prediction Challenge.

  2. Antonia, it is an honor and a pleasure to do so. I only hope that everyone is as happy here as with the previous hosts. They did such an amazing job! Thank you!

  3. Well done Zoe and Zapata - and yes Colleen,like Antonia I'm glad you're here and acting host.
    Tao's impatient tonight.

    Tao tries a little reassurance

    Softly, ‘What you’ve told me of your high-standing appears mere fallacy if their faces approach truth. They’re not about to anoint you with sweet oils of welcome, nor look to be too distraught should I fire this gun and blow your pretty brains out...

    ‘So silent, my would-be wife? Perchance you’ve spotted the approaching gruesome-visaged dame, who’d be well advised to close her mouth lest that lonely tooth drop out... She smiles, I think. Do I see a family likeness twixt her and you? T’would be well for me to study the dam ere I think to wed the lamb.’

    1. That's some awfully backhanded reassurance there! Tao is such an ass, but you can't help kind of liking the guy! It takes real skill to write a character like that. Very nice use of the prompts! Thank you!

    2. I have to agree, Tao is an ass but he has a lot going for him, sort of anti-hero. This is so well crafted.

    3. I love the way the pendulum swings between these two. It's a sharp blade, and they're both like to get cut. Seamless inclusion of prompts, as always.

  4. Congratulations, Zoe and Angel! Well deserved!

  5. A change of focus [56]

    It’d be a fallacy to think a Friday fuck’d change things. Doesn’t work like that...
    John Pettinger’s striplight-shadowed visage frowned, apologetic, at his similarly rueful reflection as he anointed his face with after-shave.
    Guilt arose, on several counts. ‘Fuck’ too crude a word for what had been between them. And what would he change? As bosses went she – Vanessa (a reciprocal smile) – was fine.
    The entry-phone buzzed.
    ‘Yanno. You enjoyed last night’s woman, hmm?
    ‘What the...’
    Fucking with the cow who killed your father?
    Let me in, I’ve photographs. Of her. Of you. Of Raptor. And of his grave.

    1. Wow! That's the first word that came to mind and I'm sticking with it. This story continues to surprise with each new installment. Can't wait for more!

    2. oh my... what has Pettinger got himself into this time?????

    3. Just when I thought there were no more twists to be turned, you surprise me again. I like his practicality in the beginning, and the hint of sentimentality was comforting. But the end was perfectly creepy yet entirely believable.

  6. Not expecting that at all! Thanks (I honestly didn't think it was as good as some others...)

    Righto, back to it - these are (probably) the last two instalments. I might put up an epilogue if I can get the right words, but I can't really write up the next bit as it is a real scenario to Shadowrun which we've only just finished roleplaying a couple of weeks ago...


    No fallacious "Easy In, Easy Out" speech for Ame's debut mission; Mary gave it to her team straight.


    "Ain't pretending he's easy meat, but I've no one else available. M.O.'s pretty squicky: Shinto Corp-Mage gone mad on dodgy research. He kidnaps Awakened, ritually anointing himself with their siphoned power." She 'linked them grainy footage of a figure, visage half-shrouded by a murky cowl.

    was at large in Japan; my sources eyeballed him right here. Alive, he's seventy-five to Dunkelzahn's lot, twice that demonstrably dead to his old employers.

    Gonzo spoke up: "Life-essential parts?"

    "Preferably his head."

    1. I am such a fan of killer last lines, this is superbly done and a killer last line!

    2. Oh, man, in a filmed series, that would be the perfect button to a scene before commercial - which is the long way of saying this was very visual; I saw the whole thing play out to the point where it was more than words could convey. Very well done.

  7. And the next one...

    Bring Me The Head Of...(19)

    And now Mary briefed them again: some Ancients hotshot needing proxies for a ritual leadership challenge. Slim (but negotiable) pickings, enough to cover the week's bills (and maybe a good contact or two if they didn't colour themselves stupid).

    Ame applied lip-balm, anointed her pulse-points with subtle scent, checked her new gear in the mirror: tight in all the right places...

    The shades were a belated afterthought; some souls, although likely to believe in a concocted cyber-fallacy, were still unnerved by her kami-bequeathed visage.

    Dressed to kill... it was time she showed them what else she was good at.

    1. you know it's a superb entry when you don't notice the prompts. This is a smooth good read.

    2. This is an excellent bridge between what has happened and what may yet. I liked the reminder that she is very dangerous, possibly more so than before.

  8. Ok, here's the captain's offering for this week.
    Talking of truth, I didn’t always weave the fuses into my beard to present a scary visage; sometimes I did it because I wanted to. Yet another fallacy on the part of those who wrote my history. He who anoints with oil gets to say who gets what.
    Is that nonsense? It looks like it but then again, is not this entire journal nonsense? Who is going to read it and understand the thoughts this captain has committed to the pages? If whoever reads this doesn’t understand it, that’s their problem. I knows what I mean. I think.

    1. There's a rolling, almost drunken, feel to this. I like his toying with the trappings of history and trying to set the record straight while also seeking to confound. He's a clever one, your captain.

  9. How scary that he knows his history! And once again, such seamlessly woven prompts in the captain's tale.

  10. Congrats to Zoë and Angel! Nicely done.

    Seth had to jump in before Nate could this week, because Seth is a brat. ;)

    Changing Places

    “You only look calm,” Nate said, cutting the wheel sharply, skidding onto gravel. “Inside, you’re seething.”

    Good to know my visage remained composed, even if it didn’t fool my brother. The first thing I’d learned about facing monsters, especially human ones, was not to show emotion.

    “It bugs you that I’m the one anointed with the magical advantage for once, while you’re relegated to backup.”

    He needed to believe that. I needed him to. If it’s a competition, Nate always charges ahead.

    “No, not really.” He’d take my truth for fallacy.

    “Okay, sure.” He laughed, pointing us confidently toward death.

    1. It's the mutual manipulation that drives the dramas between this pair ... and the final line manipulates the reader ...

  11. Heh..I wanted to go one way...Nate decided we were going another. Also, I hope my editing is OK, I came out all on my own and didn't ask RR for any help with this one. *grin*

    Truer Words...

    I drove to the last house on a lightless street, bathed in the bloody darkness of a yellow moon shining through thick,overgrown, trees and the visages of one abandoned house after another.

    I pulled a stoppered bottle out of my pocket and handed it to Seth.

    “Listen, no matter what, you get that jar. Anoint it with this. Won’t work for me and it’s important.

    “Why not?”

    “Because little brother, my mojo’s borrowed-almost a fallacy. Only the real deal can do this.

    “Nate, what’s in…”

    “It’s a human soul. As big and bad as they get.”

    1. And you've picked up so well on RR's lead and manipulated expectations still further. That first sentence sets the scene so effectively, and the last line ... oh dear.

    2. Thank you, Sandra! I sorta wondered if that first sentence sounded clunky. I'm glad it was OK. I really kinda like it!

  12. Evening all. It's that time again. As always, feel free to continue to leave comments as you wish! The Tome and I will be back tomorrow evening with winners and words.

    The Gates Are Closed.