Saturday, 18 January 2014

Change of Plans

One of the things I love about writing is that you can start out with one idea in your head, and by the time you get to the end - or the middle, or sometimes the second chapter - it takes a turn you didn't expect and becomes something else entirely, and as long as it's the story you want to be telling in that moment, it's perfectly fine that it's not what you thought it might be.

The same is true for reading, and the many serials we have going here are living proof of the way ideas evolve or morph or take sudden sharp turns. In fact, it's why I'm always so eager to read the new entries. The conversations that arise in comments are also interesting and often informative, which is a rare and beautiful thing in the vast universe that is the internet.

The win this week goes to John Xero for the latest installment of (rise). Olivia's tale is all about change, so I think it's fitting.

The tome has no intention of changing its ways, which I suppose is good, as it accommodates our request for fresh words:


I suspect you all can do quite a lot with those words, and if you've friends who might like a go, please invite them to play.

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding 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 and stems are fine.

And in the spirit of change, I am switching up the schedule to better mesh with mine.  You have until Friday evening. New words will come on Saturdays from here out.


  1. congratulations, John!
    I lost all the time I hoped to have to come and comment, but for now, let me say it was an entertaining week, thanks to everyone for their superb contributions to my reading.
    The fact is: I was going through 16 anthologies, emailing the authors, checking they were happy to switch publishers, withdrawing those who weren't, answering queries, sending out fresh contracts, advising the new publisher what was going on - and in the middle of all that, sending him Skullface, on the basis that he is an up and coming publisher (Horrified Press) whose anthologies have just taken slots 1 and 2 in the Preditors and Editors Poll, so I thought it might be a good home for my zombie.
    I heard today:
    I am enjoying Skullface! I will be done reading by Friday.
    So I wait...
    and this week should be easier. I have sent out the last emails, now waiting on the flood to come back in (there were 40 this morning) but the real big job is done, all I have to do now is fill the empty spaces and get the anthologies out there!
    I need your good writing to see me through, guys!
    Go write!

  2. Well done John - long may Olivia survive.

    A change of focus [71]

    Pettinger veered into the lay-by, brought the car to a halt, removed and pocketed the keys.
    Cooling metal ticked.
    Blackness enclosed them.
    Wind brought riot to tall poplar trees.
    So quietly, that menace was made the more enormous, he spoke.
    ‘Vanessa. You won’t force me to lie. You know my genetic heritage. Raptor may not have been my father but we share bloodlines. No Petzincek can be coerced against his wish.
    An unzipping. A scrabbling. A rasping.
    Miniature Olympic torch illuminated features of desperation.
    ‘John. You’re not the only one with dodgy genes – Jack Divine’s the father of my son.’

    1. I like the little touches of sound that bring this to life, the metal cooling, the wind in the trees, the unzipping. Everyone should try describing scenes in darkness, to remind them that speech is not the only sound in life. =)

    2. with you on this one, John, sound makes a difference to a scene and not everyone sees that. This is so good, Sandra! You just get better -

  3. Thank you! =)

    And now for something a little different...


    "This is enormous!"

    "No," Henry shone his torch into the pit, "that is enormous."

    "But," Giles protested, "You and Julie!"

    In the pit, tentacles unfurled with a schlupp. They suckered to the walls and the creature began hauling itself upwards.

    "We're not discussing my love life. There are more pressing matters, like your deeply disturbing heritage."

    "But you guys hate each other."

    "And your grandmother had a major thing for tentacle sex. Deal with it."

    "I don't think–"

    "Stop avoiding the subject. We have woken Rath'nep, slathering space beast, your grandfather, and now he wants to eat us. Prioritise."

    1. A 'little' different? *eyebrows raised*. So admiring of that 'Prioritise'. The rest an admirable demonstration of the ... um ... breadth of your imagination, John.

    2. so - different! Loved it, and that final word really clinches the whole thing!

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  5. Considered action

    He teetered above me, regained his balance, stepped away. Silently regarded me, his bulk enormous within the doorway then, distracted by shouts, he turned his head. It had grown dark; beyond him the flare of a fire reflected, two tiny torches within the darkness of his eyes.
    Turned back, light disappearing, I became aware of some age-old power, strength from a brutal heritage beyond anything such as Burk could claim.
    I attempted to arrange my limbs to rise; if he did not wish it I would soon know.
    A rattle of chain betrayed movement.
    I stilled, anticipating violence.
    ‘Get up’

    1. Moving the pieces around without giving the game away, keeping us teetering on the edge!

    2. Yes, John, it's called "waiting until the right prompt words come up"

    3. Ha! I know that feeling... ;)

    4. tis good, as always, scary, isn't it, that someone can be so consistently good?? Like, everyone who plays here each week...

  6. (Cosmic Discord)

    As my crewmates scrambled to the flight deck I lingered by the porthole. The capital ship was too far out to observe any detail, and still it was enormous, dwarfing any of the nearer meteors. Ours was a heritage of war and violence, the Dismal Outlook an unequivocal manifestation of that belligerent disposition.

    It could berth a thousand ships our size. More.

    Just one of its fusion torches could effortlessly incinerate us, and it had hundreds.

    Its intentions were unlikely so brutal, I suspected, inclining more toward capture. An advantage of sorts, though it was barely any advantage at all.

    1. Contemplative pause, not out of place. Nor complacent.

    2. it says a whole volume in that short space of words. Pictures are conjured, scenes are set.

  7. (rise)

    "We're the abandoned, so the abandoned is our heritage, see?"

    George's words were just more noise.

    He shoved her sideways at a wall. No, at an open hatch.

    She tumbled down a shoot and caught the impression of an enormous basement stretching away from her, but the dim light slimmed to a sliver as the doors were closed, and darkness descended.

    Someone slid into her and they spilled across the floor in a tangle of limbs. In the uncertain yellow light of a freshly lit torch she saw George's face close to hers, a finger to his lips for silence.

    1. oh scary, now where does this go?

    2. Scary indeed, a sort of standard scary, but no less for that. Perhaps because we care for the well-being of George and Olivia?

  8. I was grateful for the extra night this week, as I was out last night, oh shame of it, not sitting here working...
    anyway, the Captain said:
    Infinity 40
    The enormous stretch of the ocean is our heritage. Our domain, our place to roam. I stood this night, with pitch torch for light, charting our journey. The torch kept the creepy ones away, they didn’t like that. First Mate wasn’t much better but he be used to me.
    And he be as excited too when we saw the flicker. Another merchantman, by the Gods, coming at us – drifting at us – ours for the taking.
    But there is a chill, that says be sure of what you think you see, wild captain. For once I be grateful for the shadows.

    1. At least the captain appears to have recovered from his slight madness ... though I'm afeared he'll safely survive this next encounter.

    2. A boarding action! Something to occupy the crew, and keep them from grumbling. If the merchantman is real...

      I like that he calls himself 'wild captain'. =)

  9. Gates closed. Winners and words up shortly.