Friday, 1 December 2017

Broad expanses, stretching the mind ...


... Something all entries had in common last week - an escape from these four walls which was very welcome, and my thanks, in advance to Patricia who has so ably kept this site going in my prolonged absence, providing the necessary fillips of comment and order of merit. 

Words for next week: cherub, flicker, short

Entries by midnight Thursday 7th December winners and words posted Friday 8th

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.

34 comments:

  1. AND THE BEAT GOES ON...

    There were some truly inspired uses of the prompt words last week. As always, choosing a winner was incredibly difficult. John's "cheeky" piece (which appears to have no title but involved an invitation to "Kiss my ass") brought a chuckling snicker while Dan's The Hunt conjured visions of a pitchfork-wielding cannibal (which may or may not have been the intent).

    Still, at the end of the day, it was Rosie's Fires Are The Best With Songs (The Adventures Of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #105) which totally captured my imagination with its lovely visuals, whimsical scenario and delightful composition.

    This doesn't get any easier, that's for sure, and my admiration for Sandra's stamina to take on this task every week continues to grow by leaps and bounds. That having been said, I will strive to live up to her confidence in my ability to do my best until she is ready to take over the helm once more.

    And may the gods (and goddesses) have mercy on us all.....

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  2. Timing is Everything

    Billy wrenched the cheap plastic stool out from under the sink. He loathed being short but he couldn’t reach to plug in the toaster. Damned if he’d give Charlie the satisfaction of seeing him standing on a kitchen chair again.

    The cherub stool, Charlie called it.

    Billy’s hands trembled and his eyelids flickered when he found the bread to be moldy. Charlie’s entrance and unfortunate laughter didn’t help.

    The coroner wrote: 63 stab wounds to the lower abdomen, massive blood loss… she paused and wondered how to word the part about the toaster being plugged into the victim’s ass.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm ... so will you tell us in the next episode? Thought not. Somewhat mischievous as well as nasty.

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    2. Now this was one horrendous image. I assume Billy was the perpetrator (especially given the "lower abdomen" reference)? Love the use of "cherub" combined with "stool." Such a perfect description. I'm wondering about the relationship between Charlie and Billy. There are so many scenarios, each with its own set of possibilities.

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  3. Hexenhaus

    Great-great-grandma loved Christmas and we loved great-great-grandma, so the holiday was special. She didn't know some of us, born after the onset of dementia. She'd had a brother, long deceased, and kept his photograph in a pinewood frame. They looked very much alike.

    We displayed her most treasured decoration -- brass carousel with spinning cherubs and flickering tea lights -- where she could easily see it. It brought a smile.

    Thanks to well-fitting dentures, she enjoyed seasonal treats. Cinnamon stars, browned-butter shortbread and her favourite vanilla crescents. But not traditional lebkuchen.

    Inexplicably, to see gingerbread made great-great-grandma Gretel silently scream.


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    Replies
    1. A festive treat. Loved it.

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    2. Something very nasty lurking here, beneath the festivities.

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  4. Heaven Will Fall

    The second defibrillator short circuited. The air filled with the fragrant aroma of singed angel flesh.
    “Told you it wouldn’t work,” said Emerson. “When those things fall they fall hard.”
    The paramedic attempted mouth to mouth. More a consequence of mesmerized adoration than professional commitment, Emerson felt. Turning her head to draw breath she glanced up at him. “You say there have been others?”
    “Dozen of them stacked up out back,” said Emerson. “All dead. Thought I might hack off the wings and sell them on.”
    The sky flickered.
    Another cherub came tumbling Earthward.

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    Replies
    1. This one makes me sad, evoking so much emotion with only 100 words. Well Done.

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    2. What an opening sentence!! Followed by many-layered tragedy.

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    3. I had contemplated a tale about fallen angels, etc., but nothing truly came together for me. I'm glad I didn't push it now. It certainly wouldn't have compared to this. And the idea of a stack of fallen angels waiting for potential wing amputation is heart-wrenching.

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  5. A Short Story

    Nothing was how they told her it would be. You'll soon forget the pain, they said. But she didn't forget. It will be worth it at the end of the day, they said. But it wasn't worth it at all.

    The times of peace and quiet were too short. Rest was impossible. The moment her eyelids flickered in tired contemplation of sleep, demanding cries startled her into distressing awareness.

    Before she was taken away, they informed her she could visit the little grave with the headstone of carved cherubs and chiseled butterflies. But she told them she really wasn't interested.


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    Replies
    1. Too real. Shocking. I don’t want to know more. I don’t want my suspicions confirmed.

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    2. I agree with Dan - my mind compelled a follow a path I really did not want to take. Excellent manipulation.

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  6. First Kiss

    The fedora looked cute on her. She was resting her chin in her hands and staring at me through the heat mirage. I began thinking about sneaking a beer and gazed back. The fire reflected off her golden legs, illuminating her perfect skin. I gave my head a shake and headed for the unguarded cooler in Jack’s truck. She caught up shortly and pressed me up against the tailgate.
    “How do you like me now, mon petite cherub?” She asked before kissing me hard.
    I kissed her back, my throbbing eye teeth flickering over her lips, eager to break skin.

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    Replies
    1. Uh-oh - this not the simple scene it first implies, either.

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    2. What I appreciate most about this is the unresolved tension and the intense mystery of what comes next. It really could go either way. Not easy to accomplish in 100 words or less. Very nicely done.

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  7. Explanation, of a sort [Threshold 188]

    Expression far short of cherubic, eyes a constant flicker reminiscent of a rattlesnake’s forked tongue, Lant forced Raven to pay attention.

    I was not even sure what I needed to know, apart from the obvious: where did I rank in Raven’s world? Was it likely he’d charge me with despatching his enemy? Did Lant even count as such? Why else so secretly hand me the knife? A knife I still grasped but not for much longer since Lant gripped my wrist with increasing viciousness.

    I repeated Raven’s last words: ‘Self-flagellation?’

    Lant sneered: ‘He knew lying with you would bring consequences.’

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    Replies
    1. Let me begin by saying how wonderful it is to see your contributions once more...and with no loss of your incredibly talented flair for the written word. This was a great continuation and I didn't even need to go back to refresh my memory. It took up precisely where I remember it being left.

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  8. Cripplegate Junction/Part 124 - The March Of Time

    Short bursts of smoke spiraled from the engine's chimney. Poppy likened the vapors to cotton wool cherubs that drifted away to parts unknown. The prospect was very exciting.

    The hands of the Station Clock flickered and began to swiftly circle the face. Poppy was amazed. The timepiece had been stagnant for as long as she could remember.

    A hunched figure shuffled unsteadily along the platform leaning upon the frame of a lace parasol for support. Swathed in pale lavender, the woman was almost ethereal. Poppy squinted. Surely, it couldn't be? Too aged. Too frail. And yet...in a whisper...

    "Miss Constance?"

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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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    Replies
    1. 'Disintegration' is the word that comes to mind, despite the charming imagery of cherub smoke clouds. Think I'd better seek out that lace-edged hanky ...

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  9. Kursaal (Episode Ninety Seven) - "Grave Guardians"

    Shortly after the twelve rotating cherubs vanished from the topmost tower of the whimsical Cosmic Clock, ten were found mingling with the sandstone piskies and alabaster faeries on display at Primrose Lee's Emporium of Enchantments.

    When questioned, the elixirologist denied all knowledge of their sudden appearance and simply shrugged elegant shoulders when asked the whereabouts of the missing pair.

    Later, a petite figure carrying a flickering torch and accompanied by a small dog was seen leaving Lucy Pepperdyne's burial site, where two rosy-cheeked cherubim now stood resolute sentinel at the foot of the little girl's final resting place.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    NOTE: The Cosmic Clock (and its cherubs), Primrose Lee (and her Emporium of Enchantments), as well as little Lucy Pepperdyne herself, have all featured in previous episodes.


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    Replies
    1. So clever, this - stands alone but links so efficiently with previous episodes.

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  10. Change of focus [260]

    Recognising that his flicker of cynical disbelief concerning the re-education of those genetically disposed to crime had been noted by Tolly Morgan, and anyway having more than enough in the way of other crimes to investigate, John Pettinger handed the man and his well-meaning scheme to DC Henry Moth. Two years in the job had not yet ironed out dimples worthy of a cherub’s bum in Moth’s smile, and he would at least listen carefully and be more than tactful in pointing out potential shortcomings.
    Moth was already buzzing with ides: ‘Morgan’s ex-bargee, yeah? Plenty of education on the canals!’

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    Replies
    1. "Dimples worthy of a cherub's bum" has to be the absolute best use of that prompt word this week. I have been watching a British series that I've only just became aware of called "Midsomer Murders" and can't help but compare Pettinger and Moth to Barnaby and Troy. Not that I suggest any form of plagiarism whatsoever...far from it, in fact, since your tale is unique in so many ways...just that the two relationships in and of themselves are somewhat reminiscent.

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    2. Ah, yes: my husband watches 'Midsomer Murders' but I've never seen it; much preferring the grittiness of such as 'Happy Valley,

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    3. I don't believe "Happy Valley" is available over here, but I will have to check and see. The USA is getting much better lately at giving us access to the Best of British programming.

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  11. Given the fact you are now posting, Sandra, will you be taking on the task of choosing this week's winner(s) or would you like me to continue for the time being?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Patricia - I was intending to take up the reins again and pick the winners, though it won't be at 5.30 a.m.

      I have so much appreciated having you to rely on, and you've done a wonderful job. It did cross my mind to suggest we share editorship, but I've a feeling that doesn't work as well as it should, I'll certainly look into it.

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    2. Happy to hear that you feel well enough to take the helm again, Sandra. I was delighted to help out in your absence, but I do believe everyone will be over the moon to see you back in charge. I tend to think your observation of a dual editorship probably wouldn't work as well as it should. It certainly seems like a one-woman job for the most part. That having been said, I am truly flattered that you consider me in such a favourable light. Thank you so much.

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  12. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #106
    Cherubim and Seraphim Thronged the Air


    The starboard light flickered as we crossed the last border. Luckily Natasha keeps spares on board, or we wouldn’t be allowed to land at school. We paused for a short while in a lovely little grove just over the border to swap the bulbs. The bureaucrats think I’m a perfect little cherub so it wouldn’t do to be seen with a faulty marking light. They don’t remember that proper cherubim are many-winged terrors who’d never wear pink beaded ruffled lace.

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    Replies
    1. Lovely last sentence, Rosie ... apt end to a scene well-set.

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  13. For God and Country

    Sergeant Tobias grasped his walker, grimacing as he stood. The pain, always there, his crushed pelvis hot, throbbing and a reminder virile youth is gone forever, a memory of yesterday. The commission had terminated his contract, awarding him a pat on the head for work well done and a pension large enough to ensure an existence of poverty and embarrassment. Their killer was flawed, no longer a viable option. Expendable, a throw away toy soldier. He eased the walker forward towards their conference room, the glock cool and heavy against his side. One more mission. His.

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