Saturday, 23 November 2013

Holiday Horrors!

Good morning!

I find myself needing to apologize again for being late.  There is something seriously wrong with my home network, methinks.  I am able to get onto some sites sometimes, but rarely the ones I need to get on all the time.  I will continue to see if the problem can be fixed.  In the meantime, as ever, I very much appreciate your patience!

With the holidays fast approaching, The Tome and I have decided to throw a strictly volunteer challenge out to all our wonderful writers.  Anytime between now and Saturday, December 20, 2013, I'd like to see how many holiday themed horror drabbles we can gather.  I have a notion to gather them all up and put them in one big post for all to read and enjoy before the New Year.  You may write about any holiday you wish, religious or secular, or make one up!  You may  use the prompts from any week from now until then.  Serials are welcome, as long as they are completed by December 20.  On that day I will make a separate post containing all the submissions and will announce winners.  As I said, this is strictly voluntary, a little something extra and fun.

I'd like to keep the stories a surprise until I make the final post on the 20th, so if you'd like to participate, please email me your stories at  You are welcome to submit as many as you are inspired to write during that time.  When you submit a story, please include Holiday Horrors in your subject line, and please note the date and what the prompts were.  It'll help me keep track of things a bit more readily.

I'll be networking  this as much as I can, in the hopes of attracting new folk to come and play with us.  Please feel free to do the same!

And now let's get on to winners and words!

Even though we had but three authors eligible to win this week, I still found it very difficult to choose.

This week's winner is Sandra Davies with A Change of Focus (63):  The dialogue is snappy and has a wonderful, natural, feeling to it and your surprise ending is a fantastic hook to keep the reader wanting more. Thank you!

The Tome has had it's treat of bacon, and provided new words for us to play with!


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.

As the Thanksgiving holiday is approaching this week for some of  us, I will accept submissions until Friday, November 29th at 3:00 PM.  Winners and words will be posted by 11:30 PM that evening.

The Gates Are Open my friends.  Take what the Tome has offered and craft your nightmares into reality!


  1. Thanks Colleen - I was hugely relieved to have a different sort of ending as I feared Pettinger was about to get mired once again.
    And truly, your own post was superb.
    I like the idea of a holiday competition ... and the 20th is my birthday so should be easy to remember :)

  2. A change of focus [64]

    It was hard to believe it wasn’t a film they were watching; the apparently choreographed scattering of geranium-petals across the damask tablecloth, even before the shot finished reverberating. A small hole appeared in Vic Allington’s throat; in less dramatic a contrast, blood cascaded down his bottle-green shirt.
    The woman stood. Her husband’s aim adjusted accordingly.
    Histrionic screams sliced across the smooth sophistication of a background alto-sax then, ‘Police! Jack, please don’t be an even bigger fool!’
    Jack Divine, improbably, smiled, ‘Vanessa! You shot me once before, and missed...’
    ‘I won’t this time.’
    ‘No? I doubt you’ll live to know it...’

    1. stark realism and sharp dialogue, as usual - superb instalment, Sandra!
      Congratulations on being the winner last week. You tend to under rate yourself as a writer, you are quite quite outstanding.

    2. Thank you kindly Antonia - it is the stark truth that this site has improved my writing beyond all recognition.

    3. Oh, this is beyond gripping. It sinks its claws right in and won't let go. There's not a wasted word, start to finish.

    4. I like how up front this is, no hanging about, every word where it should be. That's what flash fiction is all about.

  3. One of the perils of washing up: too much time to think, and this is the result:


    Mattress ticking. She’d been four when Granny said that’s what it’s called. Aged nine, sleeping there, she’d thought of spherical black cartoon bombs, fuse lit. Attention-seeking histrionics had earned her cocoa and a cuddle.
    More than when she’d kicked up a fuss about her brother allowed out late because he was in the choir.
    Uncle John’s sympathy, his ‘Alto only ‘til his balls drop’ had at first confused. Then she’d looked in the medical book.
    Presumably if he had no balls at all, it’d stop him singing altogether?
    He’d screamed though. And the blue striped mattress ticking had turned red.

    1. Ha! clever one! couldn't see that ending coming!

    2. This is so horrid, so macabre, and yet, at the same time amusing when it should not be. So vivid, I suspect it will haunt me for some time.

    3. Good use of 'leading' i.e. leading the story in and leading it out with the same reference; the ticking of the mattress. Nicely done.

  4. Colleen, great idea for the holidays! I found my 'story' almost immediately, which is unusual for me. It's on its way to you as I write this. I will find more, determined to throw off the chains of 'closing one business whilst running another' and getting back to the real life, writing. I hope to get a computer in the shop soon for the quiet times. Then I can work!

  5. It’s been a while since I’ve graced the Prediction. I have missed it. Unfortunately life really has got in the way, what with full time 9 – 5 work, having a lively two year old boy to look after, different writing projects on the go and weekly blog articles to write, but Antonia put out a call to arms to come join the fray, so how could I refuse? I must try to make time for it.

    So here’s my offering.

    Just Another Day

    Ticking of thoughts; a theatrical cacophony of fear and panic spread across a frozen expression. Stale breath remained trapped inside her throat, but Camille didn’t move.

    Alto screams frittered through cold corridors, growing weaker.

    Crimson ribbons glistened beneath flickering lights; larger pools gathered by a lifeless tangle of arms, legs and clothes and bags.

    Residual echoes remained in the mall; sounds of panic, gunfire and shrieks.

    But Camille was safe, jammed behind a counter.

    A distorted reflection flashed in the glass behind her.

    But by the time she heard the shot, it was too late for the little Kenyan girl.

    1. Good to see you here AJ - and what a stunningly evocative opening sentence ... and a kick-in-the-gut final line.

    2. SOOO pleased my array worked... a call to arms at times is appropriate and timely and works and here it worked. Thanks for coming through, AJ and what a brilliantly evocative piece this is too! How to come back, in style!

    3. I have missed your words. You have such a gift for taking the events in our world and making us see them as horrific as they are. We are too used to looking away. This really struck me, and I thank you for that.

    4. Thank you all for the feedback, muchly welcomed.

  6. And so the Captain's journey continues - spoken through his Journal. He must have been loitering with intent, I had scarcely got the file open when he started to write. I wish it were that easy all the time!!
    Here in my cabin there be a ticking sound, at first like that of some old ponderous clock, but then it goes high, alto they call it so I believes, so it baint no clock. If it be they shadow people annoying me and trying to get me into a state of histrionics, they got another think or three to come. The captain baint fazed by such.
    The lookout be on orders to shout below when the Indees be proper in sight, so we can smart up the Infinity and dock with all our colours on show.
    As we should.

    1. I haven't said before, but the captain's voice is so strong and consistent that it becomes almost comforting, even though his tale is most decidedly not. That's a fine balance. Not many can achieve it.

    2. I agree; although not familiar with the Captain, he sounds so real that I could be sitting here by the fire with a shot of rum listening to the old sea dog. Love the characterisation of his slang tones.

  7. 'ponderous' - another oh-so-evocative word, and good to hear the Captain sounding a bit more confident.than hitherto.

    1. thanks for the feedback. The Captain is an old friend, we work well together, he is delighting in his story being told. One day he might tell me how much is real and how much is fiction.

      Sympathies to Colleen for internet problems, we have had a spate of that lately, with my partner not getting on line at all for some days. Drove him mad.

  8. Circle of Death

    How many times must I watch her die?

    I knew the answer. As long as I had to sleep, I would see my mother torn apart, first by creatures still unknown, now by my chosen brother. It would not matter that this horrid thing was in no way my actual dam. Her alto croon and rolling laugh would haunt me just the same.

    There was no point to histrionics. I got up, flicked a piece of the creature’s stolen heart off my sleeve, and turned to Nate.

    “If you were a bomb, you’d be ticking.”

    I nodded. “So I am.”

    1. Oh ... oh that flicking of a creature's heart ... and for Seth to have had to gird so tight his emotions ... This makes me ache.

    2. this is - so evocative in so many ways. Every line says something in itself, as well as contributing to the whole.
      Did I mention I liked it?

    3. '...flicked a piece of the creature's stolen heart off my sleeve' is a such a great line, you make something so terrible seem so mundane; it's laconic in its delivery and yet delivers a punch.

  9. Well, it seems Colleen's wicked internet has acted up yet again, so I'll just close the gates and we'll pretend that happened earlier, shall we? Thanks to everyone for their stories this week. I expect we'll have winners and words on the morrow.