Friday, 25 August 2017

Sirens and a shiny lighthouse, flashing blue

Is what I hear and see from the windows of my daughter’s apartment. Invigorating in comparison to my usual hedge-bound golf course. Prediction entries this week were varied and interesting, incorporating  the prompt words amidst imaginative phrases. I had a short-list of four:  and it was as much a stabbed-pin struggle to select a winner as it is becoming every week. In the end, it was the matter-of-fact tone with which Jenkins and the professor discussed their dreadful predicament that won David’s ‘The Purse Anomaly' this week’s vote for the number one slot

Words for next week: barge elegant wing


Entries by midnight Thursday 31st August, words and winners posted Friday 1st September


Usual rules: 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. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

92 comments:

  1. Wow! I am honoured to be this week's winner. Enjoyed everyone else's stories. Looking forward to what people come up with this week.

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    1. Congratulations David, an original little tale

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  2. Great story, David. What an imaginative tale!!! At first look, this week's prompt words appeared to be something of a doddle. Now, I'm not so sure. (Became a little better when I realized I'd misread "elegant" for "elephant," but not by much.)

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  3. Congrats David, yours was a very worthy story.

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    1. congrats, David, keep that standard going!

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  4. The Dream Continues

    “This avatar is a pleasant surprise, dear.”
    “Avatar, what do you mean,” this isn’t English!
    “Your eleventh avatar. It’s elegant, despite the pinkish skin.”
    “I’m Rakt-ka-Beta, I was taking pictures...”
    “You’re Vishnu the Preserver and Protector. I’m your consort, Lakshmi. Why take paintings you own?”
    “Not paintings, pictures, the temple is mostly ruins.”
    “This is the temple city for Vishnu, and is far from a ruin. Would you like to take your barge or summon Garuda, and on his wings, see your capital temple?”
    “I don’t understand?”
    “Lay down and I’ll explain, then we’ll remove our clothes.”

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    1. An intriguing glimpse into reincarnation, and well used propmt words

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    2. Intriguing dream. Lots going on here in such a short span.

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    3. Thanks for your comments but this is the second entry. The first was during the week of June 16th of this year.

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    4. just for once the names didn't seem to jump out, you blended them well.

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    5. I'm with Antonia on the blended feel to this piece. Intriguing with a lovely use of the prompt words.

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  5. Gargoyle With A Broken Wing

    In the war between sky and water humanity was expected to remain neutral. But when the gargoyle with the broken wing took refuge on the elegant, gilded deck of his barge Captain Doghan knew he’d feel obliged to protect her from the marauding mermen who controlled the canal.
    He saw them now as the barge drifted toward the lock. Malicious eyes above the waterline. Whispering a prayer for both their souls he pulled a tarpaulin over the wounded creature and reached for the handle of his scimitar.
    Unspoken laws were about to be broken.
    Hell would be unleashed…

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    1. Wow!
      I love everything about this piece. "Malicious eyes above the waterline" is a perfect sentence.
      Thank you!

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    2. A world created in 100 words. I liked all hell would be unleashed. An excellent story David.

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    3. This is rich enough to wallow in - a massive sort of perfection. And Jk has identified one especially delicious sentence.

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    4. I too was struck by the eyes above the waterline. I could just picture the eeriness of the scene with mist and roiling waters. Really nice piece.

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    5. I enjoyed this visual - obliged to protect her from the marauding mermen who controlled the canal.

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    6. excellent story, David, capturing so much in so few words.

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    7. I am enamored with the "malicious eyes above the waterline" as much as any commentator who has gone before. It is without doubt such a perfect visual that lends a touch of brilliance to an already outstanding tale.

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  6. Excommunication

    He'd barged in during a private conversation. Uninvited. Unannounced. And expressed an opinion. It wasn't done. Couldn't be tolerated.

    His descent, with neither a wing nor a prayer, was less than elegant.

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    1. Good things, sometimes really good do come in small packages. Very tight, enjoyable and very good prompt use.

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    2. Unlike the elegance of your prose, shown to perfection in this little jewel.

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    3. A perfect little piece of an awkward interruption. loved it.

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  7. Kursaal (Episode Eighty Five) - "The Amorous Adventures Of Arbuthnot Jester/Part Five"

    Despite declaring she wouldn't touch Arbuthnot Jester with a ten foot barge pole, Manasa found herself fascinated by the diminutive performer. Pursuit of Maximillian Corviday was going nowhere. It was time for a fresh conquest.

    Arby was not adverse to a liaison with the elegant snake charmer. Her provocative belly-dancing sideline was aphrodisiacal and he was tired of the Deviant sisters, who constantly sought to clip his roguish wings.

    The conjoined twins would doubtless rant and rave and eventually blame each other (possibly with fatal results). But, as always, he was sure to emerge unscathed and smelling like a rose.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------


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    1. 'roguish wings' conjured a lovely image.

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    2. An enjoyable story, conjoined twins blaming each other. Like the prompt use.

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    3. What a place this Kursaal is. Great way to use barge. I laughed at that one. And roguish wings... brilliant. You took the prompt words and used them to intensify the story instead of throwing them in. Nice.

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    4. A lot goes on in this Kursaal, none of it sugar and spice and all things nice... as this shows. Nice one, Patricia!

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  8. Proposal

    A monochrome mooring of black barges edged the bank of a silver-sheened canal, mercury disturbed only by the slow-unfurling wake from an unhurried swan, unveering even when it lifted and readjusted its wing, smoothly efficient as royalty exiting a carriage.

    We paused to watch. I slid my arm around you, refraining from breaking the silence, recalling what you’d said about swans mating for life. Emulating its elegant efficiency I slid my hand into my pocket, fingered the smoothness of what lay within.

    The only alteration I wanted to my life was to add a splash of scarlet to the scene.

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    1. lovely evocation of the calm before the storm

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    2. A restrained fury, in that your story seemed, held back by the way you wrote it. Very nicely done.

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    3. Your words, especially that first sentence, were like velvet covered porcelain. Smooth and soothing, suggesting light and color, really lovely.

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    4. the use of the swans is evocative and clever, adding that touch of melancholy to a scene about to be painted red.

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    5. So picturesque and descriptive, then leading us into a scenario that threatens to totally destroy our perception. You are so skilled at this type of deception.

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  9. Gostegodd 009

    Rioja ran her fingertips over the dark material of the elegant cloak, hoping for hidden pockets, to find something she could use to demonstrate her usefulness, daring even.

    But nothing. She would just have to follow her instructions, place the listening bug somewhere unobtrusive. She pulled it out of her cleaning trolley. It looked like a bug, all haematite shiny filigree lines and translucent wings. How it worked she had no idea, it might even be a bug, an intelligent one, for all she knew.

    She’d just slipped it in a trouser pocket when Aonghasa barged into the room.

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    1. And, oh, the suspense as we wait for next week! Such smoothly inserted prompts in a riveting tale.

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    2. Nice continuation, keeping us intrigued for the next installment. Very enjoyable.

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    3. I could picture Rioja searching her pockets for something she knew wasn't there. And then how she admired the bug, even during a stressful moment. It gave us further insight to understanding her personality. Enjoyable.

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    4. smoothly done, as smoothly as the bug being hidden again. Awaiting more!

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    5. Beautifully put together. Loved the suggestion that it could even be a bug. So inventive. Look forward very much to what is going to come next.

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  10. Ellis 004

    I had no idea what he was talking about, so I tried winging it. indignantly.
    “Jasper, what the fuck are you talking about? Why barge in here and tell me seven shades of shit?”
    “You really don’t remember, Ellie?” he asked, gently. He reached for my hand, grasped it.

    That threw me, I wasn’t used to Jasper being kind and considerate. He usually dished out a more a boisterous sort of tough team love.

    “I’m going to call Jessica,”
    Stands to reason, his elegant ex-girlfriend and staff nurse.
    “Hopefully she can help identify whatever you’ve been drugged with.”

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    1. "winging it indignantly" - perfect. This is also addictive.

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    2. The feisty Ellie, all befuddled by Jasper's actions and apparently something else. really well done.

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    3. I wonder if Jessica selected the drug? This was a very enjoyable continuation.

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    4. waiting on more, who did what to whom and why - all set up for answers and we have to wait for them. Sigh.

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    5. Very nicely done with an interesting insight into the relationship between Ellie and Jasper. I was trying to come up with a way of using "winging it" and hit a brick wall. I'm glad I quit while I was ahead now. I seriously doubt I could have been so adept at its use.

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  11. Nought for him [Threshold 177]

    He handed me the knife, proffered his forearm. ‘You first –’
    ‘You self-harming or merely playing games?’
    ‘Place your cross –‘
    Delicate as the brushing of a fledgling wing I made a mark. Had re-angled for the second when the other Twin barged in.
    Black hair tumbled from its usual elegance, eyes on his brother, ‘Bastard Raven says no way – Oh –‘
    Twin One smirked. ‘Should’ve taken without asking –‘
    ‘You’ve already –?’
    ‘Had her? But of course.’
    Twin Two seized the hand which held the knife. With the merest twitch he peeled the skin and blooded in a square.

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    1. Loved her response when he handed her the knife. Sounds like something she would definitely say. What a tense moment you captured.

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    2. Branding, a family afair? I agree with John on the tension.

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    3. Magnificent interactions with equally magnificent visuals. These Twins are most definitely something else!

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  12. Saboteurs

    I watched CNN and saw him on the deck of the barge he’d hijacked. I could hear bullhorns and helicopters. His lone hostage was shouting obscenities and flipped the bird at the television cameras. I watched it unfold; not exactly elegance in motion. I flinched when he shouted my name: his mentor, his wingman. Black helmeted men ran from behind and twisted him to the deck, guns pointed, cuffing him, swatting him around. A silence ensued as the barge passed the Statue of Liberty. I pressed a button and the sky turned orange. I wish he hadn’t said my name.

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    1. Ye gods and little fishes! This evoked a gasp of genuine horror, so vivid I was there!

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    2. A terrorist attack like none other. A scene well described as to be visualized.

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    3. Such a very current-feeling piece. That ending was, as Sandra put it, a "gasp of genuine horror." I didn't even notice the prompt words and had to go back to make sure they were there. What as inspired incorporation of "wing" into "wingman." That one had never even occurred to me.

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  13. Limited

    "Description?" they ask.

    I provide what I believe pertinent, but there's little of value to report when the view is through a crack at the bottom of the door.

    "Wingtip brogues. Highly polished. Oxblood brown. Uses a cane."

    I will never forget that elegant tap-tap-tapping menace of stainless steel on unforgiving concrete.

    "Not much to go on."

    I agree. But it doesn't really matter.

    The cylindrical drum containing most of his remains is already on a barge bound for the English Channel.

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    1. Yet anther smooth-told tale of later mayhem emanating from such innocuous words.

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    2. Chilling and clever. Most of his remains.... very effective.

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    3. An excellent tightly written story. Mysterious and done with a nonchalant attitude.

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  14. Change of focus [250]

    DI Pettinger groaned. ‘Bleeding heart Leftie I suppose –’
    ‘Popular enough to create a stink , but –‘
    ‘Stink or not, Morgan needs to be stopped. Else it’ll end in a bloodbath. Question is, do we deal with it or leave it to Jason and the Mayhews?’
    DS Brickwood grinned. ‘Collaboration ending in fairy-tale truce? It’s an elegant solution, Boss, but unlikely as pigs sprouting wings. Another possibility is co-opting Morgan senior’s help.’ Ignoring Pettinger‘s snorted disbelief, he continued. ‘He’s from a family of bargees, used to rubbing up against the realities of Life. And is waiting to be interviewed.

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    1. Pettinger, proving that politics have no relation to morals.
      A very well written story installment.

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    2. love the way you slid the prompts into this instalment!

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    3. Love the touches of humour accompanying this installment. Brilliant prompt variations, especially the image of flying pigs.

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  15. My Victorious Muse

    She’s in the middle of a rice paddy,
    Nesting birds all around,
    The golden statue, adds to nature’s elegance.
    Her hand beckons me onward.
    I barge across the water filled terrace,
    becoming a mud pie beneath my feet.
    Birds of all types ascend, creating a storm of wings,
    darker than night.
    Trudging through the guano filled field,
    doing my best, not to fall.
    I reach something hard,
    The statue I’m sure.
    The birds fly away.
    The sky is now clear.
    She isn’t Victorious,
    but lovely, just the same.
    I laugh at the jest
    The pyrite statues name:
    Partial Success

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    1. I like the rhythm of this piece, as well as the title and that final line. Nicely done!

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  16. Cripplegate Junction/Part 111 - Departure

    Marmalade watched the fledglings' ineffectual attempts to fly. They fluttered along the ground, clumsy and awkward, barging into each other with irascible chirps. Atop a nearby power line, the Rook observed the proceedings, feathers ruffled and claws fidgeting at the cat's proximity to the defenseless chicks.

    With feigned indifference and an elegant swagger, Marmalade exited the Nookery. He later returned to find the nest empty. The brood and their protector had apparently taken wing in search of less perilous quarters.

    Tiny wisps of black and yellow down tickled his nose. His whiskers twitched with irritation. He hated lost opportunities.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. I feel sorry for the Rook's apparent victory and theft from Marmalade.
      Really liked the prompt use.

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    2. A rare misjudgement by Marmalade. "feigned indifference and an elegant swagger" the perfect description.

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    3. oh yes, I know that well, the 'I didn't think I'd get it and it doesn't matter anyway...' look. BTW, one of my cats has been pestering and clingy today, so he's on the chair next to me, fast asleep. It's all right for some...

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  17. Party

    Hanna's brow rose as her nose crinkled in disdain, "You want to go where?"

    "Look," I slid the pamphlet across the table, "it's not gross, the barge has been repainted. The parties are phenomenal." I couldn't stop my legs from bouncing. I watched her eyes dart over the page as she scanned the details.

    "Well, that is an elegant design they've created."

    I clapped with pleasure. I knew the intricate floral artwork would appeal to her.

    Hanna's glaucous gaze locked on me, "Do they have wings?"

    I let out a whoop before replying, “Only fifty different recipes. Let’s go!”

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    1. So glad you included a painted barge, and love the used of 'wings'

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    2. that all comes over so well, I can almost see the fidgeting of anxiety!

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    3. This was so very different from anything else offered this week. Lighthearted with a definite infusion of fun. Very enjoyable.

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  18. As I live very close to Buffalo, I hope those are the wings being discussed.
    A nice, light story a breath of freshness amongst all this mystery and skullduggery. A pretty good story as well.

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    1. :) I am just outside of Niagara Falls Canada - so Yes the Buffalo wings have an influence, glad you were able to pick that up.

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  19. Kandar 23: I’m the Greatest

    ”Papa. I’ll concede that orcs do have a society. It’s crude, gothic in nature yet almost worthy of being considered a culture. Kadget, was by their standards, worthy of respect, emulation, and perhaps had an air of elegance. He died during the battle of Zeras Lake, was placed on a barge, with his enemies loot and spoils along with his winged vulture helmet. Zeras Lake isn’t shown on any map I have. Eight months later his city was razed. Why would a thief want this helmet? The potential for undiscovered wealth has its allure; he’s a half-breed after all.

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    1. I enjoyed the less frenetic nature of this (longer sentences?)and the use of prompts.

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    2. This definitely qualifies as one of the most enjoyable installments to this serialization. I agree with Sandra in that it comes across as far less frenetic and thus, moved much more smoothly.

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  20. Dinner Date
    He watched her barge her way into the restaurant and winced. Elegant, no; peasant, yes. Yet there remained an overwhelming attraction, one he could not resist. There she was, stuttering her apologies for being – what, half an hour late. What did she do with her time? It wasn’t spent dressing well, styling her hair, applying makeup which did not look clown-like on her round, almost bloated features. She was the type to wing her way through life rather than plan.
    She had no idea of his plans for her. They started with long pig and went from there…

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    1. Do you know - for most of this I was waiting for a "Yet he loved her despite ..." Stupid me, clever you!

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    2. Wow, that captures some people I've seen. I love how you blended that together.

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    3. Long pig! Could his attraction be a future dinner? A very enjoyable if unsettling story, elegant use of the prompts.

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    4. That conclusion took my by surprise. I was expecting a much different direction. Nicely diverted.

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  21. I was on the verge of saying the Mad Italian had nothing to say this week. Not entirely true, he had some idea but the prompts didn't fit so he stomped off and came back with something else. Now that's done I can get back to work - I am actually writing! My Life With Spirit/Your Life With Spirit is on its way. Half my life story of spirit work, half a handbook on getting started working with spirit. A medium I trust said be sure to leave the horror out... she's right, that would terrify so many we'd never have any new mediums coming through and I don't plan on being here forever...
    OK, here's Leonardo's contribution for the week.

    20.
    There can be a sense of elegance as the departing sun takes itself off to another part of the globe, or there can be a sense of it barging its way past the horizon and flattening the natives of the other part of the globe. It all depends on perspective – yours. Two people can look at the same thing and see something entirely different from the other. It is thus with politics, where insults wing their way across the Chamber into the minds of those opposite who brood on it and nurse it and ignore what follows… to their loss.

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    1. As ever, apparently bespoke prompts amidst a musing on sunsets.

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    2. An interesting story, with applications outside of politics.From sunsets to politics.

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    3. Spot-on musings and observations as always. I'm glad the Mad Italian got over his little snit and decided to return with such wise words.

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  22. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #92
    Water Displacement


    “So there’s this barge, right?,” Rosebud said.
    “Right,” Georgiana answered.
    “And Natasha is flying so her wings are open.”
    “Right.”
    “And the barge, the barge just shouts up ‘Quit with the flapping you crazy bird!’”
    “They did what?!”
    “They did! So Natasha, Miss Elegance herself, flips up her wings and flops down next to them. She almost swamped them!”

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    1. Quite, quite lovely. Beautiful humour and delivered with a magnificent sense of timing. Not too shabby with seamless prompt insertion either!

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    2. You've captured a lovely gossipy tone to this; I can see the shared expressions of horrified amusement.

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  23. A most enjoyable and well written story. All dialog and nicely put together.

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