Monday, 26 May 2014

Re-purposing The Future.

I'm always looking for new ways to come up with story ideas.  The friend who visited recently, gifted me with a new deck of Tarot cards.  I've been reading for many years, and I collect new decks, mostly because I love the art.  However, I've been suffering of late, for new story ideas as well.  I wanted desperately to start something new, as therapy for the sort of week I'd been having. I happened to be randomly laying out cards from the new deck, simply admiring the art.  I wound up with a nifty little story idea based on the meanings of the cards.  I'm looking forward to writing it.

The experience serves as a reminder to me that ideas can come from anywhere.

And with that little story told, on to winners and words.

Our winner this week is Chris Allinotte with Monument:  I got so caught up in this that the ending totally took me by surprise!  Great story!  Thank you.

And in second place is John Xero with (cosmic discord):  I love the description of the AI personality, and as a bit of a computer geek, the naming of Dumb Intelligences and how they are used.  Was great fun to read this.  Thank you.

The tome has been given a bit of bacon, left new words, and gone off to sit at the window and growl at the birds.   This week's words are:


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. You have until Friday evening.

Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media best pleases you and, if you like, remind your friends that we are open to new and returning writers.

The gates are open!  As ever, thank you all so much for playing here!


  1. I use tarot cards but where mine came from is anyone's guess... they are black and white photographs of just about anything you can think of, from Ghandi to a football field. I know they are 1930s, Canadian and not much else. I can't work with the conventional tarot but these speak to me and work with me. Yours sound good if they've come up with a storyline!

    Congratulations Chris and John, fine writing, always is. The Captain is busy muttering about the new words, he is working out which way to interpret mold, if I can understand the muttering, much of which is disappearing into the huge black beard.

    My zombie book will be in ebook format any time soon. It's available from Lulu in print form if anyone's interested
    The Skullface Chronicles by Dorothy Davies

    I am deep into Cro-Magnon times for my next book but then... I saw a camper van today with DEVON on the side. Immediate thought, that's a good name. Where and why I don't know but I will follow through with thoughts. Eventually.

    Looking forward to seeing who plays this week!

  2. Wow - thanks Colleen! I'd come nosing around as a way to beat the writing blahs - and I'm definitely glad I stayed awhile.

    Will see what this weeks words produce. (Forgot how much FUN this is!)


  3. Congratulations Chris and John! You guys never disappoint.
    This is an early concept for a steam punk horror story that's been in my head for a bit. I hope you all enjoy it!


    I picture hellfire as lights going on in a dark theater. The lamp in my hand grows hot as it masks the stage and actors in blue.
    “Blackjack tonight? I’ve a new deck of cards.” Richards is an old hand at the Cormorant; he smiles brightly from behind black teeth.
    “Careful Ingrid,” teases Wemble, the choreographer. “Don’t be molded by this wastrel.”
    Richards splutters. “I’ll have you know that I am the very…” He looks up, and his eyes look like dying embers.
    I see the light that is killing him; it is soft and fragile as a dove.

    1. I've had 'steampunk' explained to me a couple of time but can never remember exactly what it is. No matter, this is very visual and stuffed full of dodgy-sounding characters.

    2. I am instantly hooked. This is beautifully set and I want to know more about everything. Well done!

    3. I was asked to edit a steampunk anthology, I declined, I cannot get my head around the concept but I love this short piece!

    4. I really like this - and it's funny - wondering at the steampunk element - but it also reads as a straight up, and rather sad - but engaging - tale. Good one!

  4. Well done Christ and John - entertaining as ever - thank you

    Service Station

    I thought cessation of movement had woken me, but when I looked we’d been here a while. Dove-mottled horse unhitched and grazing, he bent over a fire, a smell of meat reminding me I’d not eaten for two days. Muscles in his Matisse-moulded back reminding me of other things I’d once needed daily; since eschewed.

    Then, from a cardboard box beside me, a thin mewling, prickled my nipples with other than lust.
    Unsmiling, he brought water. ‘Silence it, lest we be heard.’
    ‘We’re hiding?’
    ‘Until we reach my people.’
    ‘Who are?’
    ‘Not at all like you.’
    ‘And then?’
    ‘And then.’

    1. Oh my, this is so tightly written that I keep having to read it again for all the layers and implications. Can't even pick a favorite phrase, they're all so good.

    2. Unsmiling, he brought water.
      Says it all in so few words. Such clever characterisation.

  5. A change of focus [87]

    DC Brickwood sorted the bibles by size. ‘Most of them, the pages’ve gone mouldy –’
    ‘Foxed; that’s what the brown spots are. As I am as to why –’
    ‘Why she’s done it?’
    ‘Don’t even know it was her.’
    ‘Bible’s the means. Opportunity –‘
    ‘Anyone, the door wasn’t locked –‘
    ‘And no-one left a calling card, unless there’s fingerprints. So we’re down to motive –’
    Pettinger grinned. ‘She’d’ve had motives galore. Not that any of them justified murdering the poor sod –’
    ‘What now?’
    ‘This one’s been hollowed out - there’s half a bloody pigeon inside!’
    ‘Pettinger checked: ‘Dove.’

    1. I did not see that coming! I am constantly impressed by your ability to write twists without belaboring or cliches.

    2. the best use of the prompt so far!!!!

    3. Nicely done - and a grim and gruesome surprise to boot!

  6. It’s Going To Be A Great show (6)

    The nurse’s station’s been cleaned for use as a ticket booth. It was full of moldy paperwork and trash. There’s an office at the back. It’s been padlocked from the outside since I got here. It belonged to Dr. Jacob Lancaster, the last director of this place. The cleaning crew broke it open three days ago. The room’s perfectly preserved, save a thick coating of dust.

    They found two things on the desk. A dove, long dead, its corpse dry, nearly mummified and a single patient committal card for one John Baldwin.

    Haven’t seen Emily since they broke the lock.

    1. I have no idea why this makes my breath short, chest tight, so I am both dreading and looking forward to the reveal. Great atmosphere in this one.

    2. definitely waiting for the reveal, it holds so much menace in such a short space.

    3. superb build up, now waiting to see what happened to Emily!

    4. Matter-of-fact so closely allied to dreadful doom. But nothing said specifically, you've just planted it in our minds - very clever.

    5. Love this setting. So very much can happen ...

  7. Homecoming

    Thomas left his card, as a gentleman should, on the silver tray. Neither his name nor face caused spark of recognition in the butler, who withdrew silently. The only visitor to Pennsfield since armistice stared at the sparse décor, pretending he did not feel the mold slowly eating at the manor and everyone in it.

    Eliza emerged, widow’s weeds exchanged for dove gray, better to hide the lack of quality. She looked at the visitor with a sad longing, her smile a memory.

    “Liza, love, can you not greet your husband?”

    She sighed. “Not until you admit you’re dead, Tommy.”

    1. My goodness ... creepy indeed, but I love the dove grey so as not to reveal lack of quality. So well-costumed, this.

    2. Good stuff. "Pretending he did not feel the mild slowly eating at the manor ... " is a wonderful line.

  8. 56.
    We been at sea too long, there be mould on my journal cover. Heaven forefend it should be damaged – but then what if the crew saw my thoughts? I should distract myself with a game of cards now and then, methinks.
    We been sailing for an age, nearly thinking to send out a dove to find land. Small joke. No one laughs around here. That last landfall feels like a hundred years ago, but I know well tis a false thought. Perhaps I should find those cards. Ha! Tarot cards at that, see what is foretold for this here captain.

    1. This really gives a sense of the fear and loneliness of being at sea. The way you note time passing in this serial is masterful.

    2. "No one laughs around here," tells us so much about this world so concisely. Excellent writing, that.

  9. Yet again, what seems like the definitive use of these prompts, and I'm SO glad you used sending a dove to find land because I could not squeeze that in anywhere! But the captain so melancholy once again.

  10. And that, my friends, is that. The gates are closed. I will post winners and words tomorrow when I come in from the garden.