Saturday, 7 September 2013

They talk in my head.

Good evening!

This evening I find myself recovering from an entire day of being pretty much rigid with impotent anger at several situations that have been going on for some time.  Here's the thing about that, though.  Some of my characters, who had remained pretty quiet whilst the previous week's moods were more fear, apprehension, worry and doubt, have made themselves heard today in no uncertain terms.  Nate in particular has been incredibly vocal for the last several hours.

That being said, I find myself wondering if all writers go through this sort of thing with their characters, or am I just nuts?

The tome is snuffling about on the desk nearby and is awaiting my request for new words, and so let's announce this week's winners.

For sheer nightmare factor, this week's winner is RRKovar with Circa 1906:    This is just beautifully horrible. That you have couched it in the normalcy of workers plodding in to start their day, makes it all the more so.  That the reporter rated a "gourmet" label just made me laugh.  Thank you.

And in second place this week is Antonia Woodville with Infinity (21):  I seriously cannot wait to figure out what's up with the shadow people.  Also, I'm pleased to see the Captain continuing the tradition of cheating the crew a bit.  It's historically correct, if I remember my reading correctly, and besides...Pirate!   Lovely phrasing in this piece as well.  Thank you.

All right, time for 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 12th, to get your entries in..  Winners will be announced and new words will be posted by 11:30 PM on Friday, September 13th!

The gates are open!


  1. thank you!!
    and many congratulations to RR for that superb piece!

    The answer to the question is - yes.
    The person who annoyed me SO much one day ended up having his face ripped off by Skullface. Simple as that. Made me feel much better.

    BTW, Skullface has been rejected by two US publishers, obviously too English for them or too far from the 'conventional' zombie scene to be considered. It is with at the moment. He has taken the chance on my historical work and this may well fit with his plans, boosting fiction4all. or so he tells me anyway. More news as it happens.

  2. Well deserved RR and fingers crossed Antonia. Also thanks to Zaiure for going back to last week to comment - much appreciated.

    A change of focus [54]

    Honesty being a virtue long-abandoned, she allowed her smile to tell John Pettinger she’d offered marriage as a joke, asking instead, ‘Are the implications of his death that hateful?’
    ‘Apart from inevitable fighting for the throne of Khakbethia...’
    Throne? I didn't know Raptor represented royalty...’
    ‘One of three contenders. As his purported successor I was next in line...’
    ‘But you’re not...?’
    ‘Same branch of family. Did you fancy being princess? You’d only need to kill a couple more.’
    ‘Is that a proposal?’ Nervous fingers on the wineglass stem gave her away.
    Near-convincing innocence, ‘Ma’am?’
    ‘Fucks’ sake John, my name’s Vanessa!’

    1. you have a smooth, natural way with dialogue that never fails to intrigue me. This is a good instalment, using the prompts naturally - nice one!

    2. Antonia, I thank you - your comments always warm and encourage me, especially as I see your writing something to emulate.

    3. She has a name! I love that this banter is both light and serious. I suspect Pettinger would rather be quit of his familial obligations, but this could go in any direction. That's well done.

    4. Ooh... Vanessa makes me nervous! Wonderful dialogue, Sandra... rich and so full of intrigue... brava!

    5. Lovely piece! Flows like silk but nicely twisty! You have such a flair for dialogue! Thank you.

  3. This week gets busier later so I've got to grips earlier than usual.

    Caught napping

    Like king and queen upon a throne, in red-upholstered comfort, they set out west towards where Gabriel had his forge.
    ‘He’ll expect me to do the opposite; we’ll turn off where the road branches for the coast...’
    But lack of sleep and unaccustomed easy-motion caused the pair to doze. The horse knew well which way to go and by the time they woke the forge was not far hence.
    Similarly well-known the horse itself; what it pulled less so. Drew attention though, and enough folk saw the driver was not Gabriel.
    Enough folk recognised Tao.
    Knew of Tao’s hateful deed.

    1. this hots up alarmingly with this instalment! keen to see where it goes next...

    2. Oh my! Tao may hang by the court of public opinion, as he's obviously damned by it already. I can't wait for the next installment!

    3. I've come in the middle here but already I suspect Tao may not be long for this world unless he is much cleverer than he seems.

      Nicely done, Sandra!

    4. I cannot wait to see what happens now. I had such a strong visual of the whole scene. Thank you!

  4. "Hello...?" *steps into foyer, closing door behind her* "Is anybody home?" *the silence that ensues is as heavy as Aunt Sophie's biscuits* "Hello? Phil said I should stop by... I think..." *spies Sandra and Antonia's stories...* "Oh... this must be the right place."

    Whew! You know the last time I wrote something that was only a hundred words? Not even my shopping lists are that small! Well, I sat on this thing overnight... made a couple changes... I think this is it... *takes deep breath*


    by Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw


    From balconied throne, the king’s unflinching gaze took in the tableau in the courtyard below.

    Sun’s burning glare… hateful and punishing… leaves a glistening patina of perspiration on the pale, naked body stretched between the four rough-hewn stakes. Weakened from torture and thirst, the woman’s feeble pleas were lost in the shimmery heat haze of midday.

    “The price of your treachery, Lord Aubergnon, is a life.”

    The king rose from his throne and stepped down, crushing beneath his sandaled foot, the earlier proffered olive branch. Moving to the balcony, the sentence of Aubergnon’s wife is pronounced.

    “Bring forth the horses.”

    ~ finis ~

    1. I don't know whether to hate Lord Aubergnon or the King more for the death of the lady. Knowing what I do of history, this scenario was entirely possible and all the more dreadful for it.

      Oh, and welcome and thank you for sharing your story!

    2. Thank you so much, Rebecca! Colleen's words conjured up medieval in my head... torture and treachery weren't far behind... they weren't called the Dark Ages for nothing, were they?

      This was fun... I wish I had more time for things like this.

    3. Veronica's back - and with a vengeance! Love the opening line, horror-struck at the callousness of the king and carelessness of Lord Aubergnon, and hugely impressed at the imagery of the olive branch. Please try and make time for more - they are so entertaining.

    4. Wow! Sandra... I am honoured by your words and so very pleased. Thank you! I really must make time, mustn't I... even with NaNoWriMo coming up soon.

    5. brilliant images here, a whole backstory going on, too. So pleased to see you here again! Don't stay away this time.

    6. Welcome, Veronica! I'm already in love with your writing! Such strong, brutal visuals here. And all the more horrific for the historic truth of it. Thank you so much for coming to play! I do hope you can stay with us!

  5. Cold

    Brady held court, a golden prince with a scarred wooden chair for a throne. Beautiful women drew close, vying for attention, as usual.

    Behind the bar, Jackson frowned, first at Brady, then at me. “That doesn’t bug you?”

    “No need to be hateful for what happened.” I sipped my wine.

    “I’d have beaten him to death with the nearest branch. Still could, if you want.”

    “That’s sweet, in a murderous way.” I slid him a five. “But I have this covered.”

    On my way out, I nodded to the women I’d hired, every last one infected with a virulent pox.

    1. Oh very nasty, very well done indeed. Hell certainly hath no fury in your hands, Rebecca!

    2. "Ouch!" And "ouch", again! Woman, thy name is vengeance!

      Brava, Rebecca... brava!

    3. oh nasty one! very cleverly done, too. More please!

    4. You have such a beautifully vicious mind, my friend.

  6. Congratulations, Rebecca and Antonia, for last week's wins.

  7. Nate is finally speaking again.

    Graveyard Dirt

    I could feel Kaia’s gift working inside me. It was dark, but not the slick, hateful blackness of the infection. This was the sultry heat of a still August night, and it felt good.

    At the graveyard, Seth followed as I walked one branching path after another.

    “Nate, have you been to Marie Laveau’s grave before?”

    I looked back over my shoulder and grinned.


    I stopped in front of a small, white mausoleum festooned with offerings one would expect to see strewn before the throne of a Queen. Kaia’s power surged through me.

    “Seth, meet Marie Laveau.”

    “Nate, how…?”

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. your life settling down yet, Colleen? I am hoping Nate speaking again is a sign things are improving.
      Really like this, left hanging for us to await the next instalment with bated breath!

    3. Thank you, ladies! Antonia, things have settled a tiny bit, but I'm also trying VERY hard not to let the shenanigans get in the way of my creativity. I tend to hermit, and that only makes thing worse. So, Nate screamed at me until I forced myself to stop worrying for a few moments, and then he spoke. Graveyard Dirt was the outcome.

    4. 'how?' indeed - and 'what next?' Nate always leaves a sulphur trail behind him. Can't wait for the next episode.

    5. I love the suspense... and I have a feeling that what I am speculating is not what is about to happen.

      ".... slick, hateful blackness of the infection..." darkly poetic and sinister... this sent a little shiver.

  8. Tap, tap, tap. Fingers counting out hours as he waited for the next one.

    He'd broken every genealogical branch in his climb to power. A hateful, bloody annihilation of those who stood in his way. Brothers, uncles, cousins. Even his own father died at his blade.

    And so he sat on his throne, a throne built on the corpses of his brethren, tapping out a rhythm. He had sons of his own, sons who had learnt from their father, who had his ambition.

    He would wait for them and teach them their final lessons.

    1. You've touched on a theme which never fails to horrify - neatly done Phil

    2. Hi Phil! Nice to see you! I agree with Sandra. Very well done! It definitely stands on it's own, but I find myself wondering if we'll see more...

      As always, thank you!

    3. Nicely done, Phil... a dark illustration of the power of ambition over blood...

  9. every week I say the same thing, I will write my instalment earlier, but this week I managed to lose the entire edit of a book - I had reached chapter 7... so had to repeat the whole exercise. Now I am deep in another book, and trying to run a business long distance as the new one (The Old Curiosity Shop) is so hands on there is hardly time to think, or even get that essential of life, coffee. My partner spent two days at the auction house, today he brought home the results, 2 van loads of boxes, furniture and bulky items. We only have 1 room for the shop... Chaos ensued as customers persisted in coming in even though we were unloading everywhere. So, I am working on the other business at home, until we can off load it to some poor soul who expressed interest in taking it on. For me, the sooner the better! Infinity is all the writing I am doing lately and that is driving me mad.
    Anyway, here is the next instalment.
    Infinity 22
    Hateful be the only word for them shadow people what haunts me every night. Wish I had the knowledge to branch out, become a demon killer, toss the lot of them overboard. But then, are they truly demons or are they... them’s as I done killed and tossed overboard all my life, them’s as got in the way of my desire, loot. Do I think myself above them, sat on a throne or sommat? No matter, they have to be gone. Wish I could talk to someone but not a one on this ship be fit for my confidences.

    1. Ah ... he's gone introspective again, and to greater effect than I thought him capable of. Excellent episode, despite your many, many distractions. Well understand the frustration of Life preventing Writing.

    2. Antonia, I'm glad, and truly honored, that you find the time to write for us when you have so much going on! Thank you! And I love this installment! You've woven the prompts in beautifully and I love the cadence of the Captain's thoughts.

    3. Darkly introspective... I love the stream-of-consciousness feel with its dialectical overtones

  10. All right, my friends. The gates are closed for this week. I'll see you all tomorrow with winners and words. I definitely have my work cut out! Thank you all. As always, feel free to continue to leave comments as you will.