Friday, 15 December 2017

Ink blots, gouges and sticky shadows

All these and more tell the history of the plan-chest acquired at auction by my husband who knew  I needed one but had no idea of the space available to put it. Took a while but he has ceased offering to clean it up a bit.
And Patricia was on the verge of cleaning up this week, since at first read all her offerings were winners, but ultimately, despite my declaring a tie between ‘Persona Non Grata’ and ‘Crowning Glory’ , she has to share the No.1 spot with Rosie for her ‘Normal is overrated.’
Thank you all for your magnificent contributions and comments.

Words for next week:  pride quirk wedge

Entries by midnight Thursday 21st December winners and words posted Friday 22nd


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.

55 comments:

  1. Congrats Patricia and Rosie. Great writing. It's so entertaining to come here and read all this cool stuff.

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  2. Prince Tuggy

    The delinquent pride of Grand Ledge Middle School tiptoed toward his next wedgie victim. It was too much for Eddie Prince to resist, the Fruit of the Loom tag so prominent. The mannequin exploded as Eddie jerked the waist band, spewing blue machinist dye into his open mouthed face. The entire cafeteria erupted with laughter as Eddie dripped and sputtered while running from the room.

    The reserved but quirky Peggy Thompson calmly bit into her pastrami and rhubarb jam sandwich, the blue stained nails of her left hand drumming out Jingle Bells on the Formica tabletop.

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    1. Cleverly delivered, in both senses of the word.

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    2. There was so much to enjoy here, from "Fruit of the Loom" reference to the "drumming out" of "Jingle Bells"...and everything before, after and inbetween. Luckily, I was never given a wedgie. Maybe it was reserved strictly for boys. Similarly, I've never indulged in a "pastrami and rhubarb jam sandwich" and doubt I ever will. In any event, loved the chuckle and you go, Miss Peggy!!!

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    3. Patricia, you haven't missed anything by not ever been given a wedgie. They are not pleasant.

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  3. Fitting In

    Sheltered by a wedge of darkness in the back of the room, she tried to masquerade her oddity as a quirk, perhaps an eccentric quality in lieu of stigma. She feigned pride, instilled confidence, all to no avail. A handsome young waiter walked by with a tray of drinks. She smiled, her radiant eyes shining but the beguiling man glanced furtively at her hooves and quickly moved on. She sighed and scrolled through her phone. All dressed up and nothing to do. The other centaurs were such bores but she wondered if one was available tonight.

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    1. What a great opening phrase - sheltered by a wedge of darkness - perfect

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    2. This was magnificent. I adore references to myth or folklore or fairy tales. What an imagination to have conjured such a whimsical story.

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  4. Heavens to Betsy. What an honour!!! Two of my humble offerings actually sharing top spot with Rosie. I really struggled last week and didn't expect to play anywhere at all. Thank you.

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  5. "Odds And Sods"

    He couldn't believe it, wedged between a single glass slipper and tarnished brass lamp. How quirky was fate? He'd only taken the alley as a shortcut to the main thoroughfare.

    He remained laid-back as he entered "Odds and Sods." A casual browser. Eagerness could drive up cost and funds were limited. As it turned out, the price was extraordinarily reasonable.

    He would be the pride of the brotherhood. Hero of the hour. The knight who found the Holy Grail.

    It wasn't until he reached the gates of Camelot that he noticed "Made in Taiwan" on the underside of the chalice.


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    1. There's one born every minute. Really clever.

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    2. He should have gone for the glass slipper - what adventures await!

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    3. Oh dear, the worst possible choice, and no-one to advise him.

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  6. The Liberty of Statues
    A pride of stone lions basked in the wedge of sunlight that spread across Trafalgar Square, beyond them a gaggle of mossy gargoyles, claws clacking.
    Statues had been animated by anomalous quirk.
    Nelson rose gigantically to address the assembly. Several Churchills, a Mandela and a Mountbatten, children of the kinder transport, Boadicea in her chariot, a winged airman, generals and knights.
    Nelson’s voice was like the grinding of gravel, but his words spoke a simple truth.
    “Stone is solid – flesh is soft.”
    The statues rumbled a thunderous appreciation.
    A fragile human was crushed to prove the point.

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    1. Those statues really mean business. A truly original piece and very well done. I'm continually amazed by some of the word choices I see on here. I'd never have come up with anomalous.

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    2. reminds me of the joke - your child may be lovely and kind, but German children are Kinder ;)

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    3. Massively disturbing - thanks to the power of thr writing.

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    4. Very nicely done and an extremely unique take on the prompts. Animated stone crushing frail human flesh. What a picture. I wonder if Nelson spoke from atop his column or if he stepped on down to address the crowd.

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  7. It's My Party

    Won't you please stay for light refreshments? We'll be having buttered scones and Earl Grey. I take pride in setting a nice table. However, we won't be using the Bernardaud crockery I'm afraid. Every piece is smashed. I got the blame for that despite it being nothing to do with me. Still, the Melamine is serviceable and doesn't break so easily.

    I was expecting a few quirky friends but apparently, they can't make it this time. Fortunately, the Dormouse is still wedged in the teapot though and obliged to attend.


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    1. In researching my reply to this magnificent piece, I learned a lot of the Hatter and the March Hare, both interesting characters. For instance, the term Mad Hatter never appeared in Carroll's novel. Nicely done.

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    2. And now there's that raucous song in my head! Love the wedged dormouse.

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    3. yes, the dormouse image for me too!
      It is surprising how 'classics' become not so classical when things are added. This also led me on to the Tom Petty song Don't Come Around Here No More and the utterly surreal video.

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  8. Confessions of a Reaper

    Ebenezer says Christmas is harvest season for money lenders. It’s my harvest season as well. Yes, the holidays are a quirky time where a subliminal suggestion pushes the depressed. One whisper wedges hope from the old and sick. An additional bit of drama, for an overburdened youth, is suffice to overwhelm. I plant doubt and watch pessimism grow.
    I take pride, my role is to deliver. I am neither merciful angel nor murderer, but an accomplice. I encourage the reluctant to let go and hurry along. I have no say where they end up. It’s someone else’s job to judge.

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    1. I like this a lot. Explains why suicides escalate during the holidays.

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    2. Such a lot to like in this - prose and philosophy, succinctly delivered.

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    3. a lot of truth here - nice piece.

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    4. Love the idea of more than one "reaper"...or at least, that's how I pictured it. A whole company of them roaming the landscape looking for likely souls. Nice Christmas reference with "Ebenezer" too.

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  9. Ellis 014

    After they had both left, I tucked my wounded pride under the blanket with me.
    I never caught Jessica actively trying to drive a wedge between me and Jasper, but that’s how it felt.
    Jasper and I had grown up together as siblings in a commune, an amorphous bunch of kids and adults on a farm. He was my adored big brother, he was daring and right and full of purpose. I followed him, into the police. By some quirk of hard work and talent, he made it to Sergeant and became my boss. Jessica just didn’t get our closeness.

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    1. Wonderful opening line, and intriguing continuation.

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    2. so much good characterisation here, looking forward to future episodes.

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    3. Nice to see the return of this serialization. Also nice to have a little background on the characters. I look forward to the continuations.

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    4. I picture Jasper as being physically attracted to Jessica and emotionally connected to the narrator. This seems to be a recipe for disaster and many good stories to come.

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  10. Unappreciated skills [Threshold 190]

    Pride, at having gained Raven’s praise, however grudgingly and for an unfathomably vague quirk of – presumably – sexual deviance which to me might have been no more than a minor whore’s trick, was short-lived.

    While we debated Raven was still leaking blood. I didn’t want to leave him alone with Lant – a man capable of sprinkling cayenne onto open wounds, if ever I saw one – so used my teeth to tear strips of sheet to bind him.

    T’would have been better to wedge him but for that I needed help. Instead he held my shoulders, half-sitting. And shuddered at every twist.

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    1. there is pain written all over this, no matter whether it's imagined or real, beautifully portrayed, it's not easy to do.

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    2. As Antonia said, this was quite exquisite in its portrayal of pain in many different guises. As always, the images are vivid, especially that of tearing strips with the teeth in order to create bandages.

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    3. Loved the use of t'would to arrive at 100 words exactly. Man, these two really go through it. Very nice.

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  11. Change of focus [262]

    ‘Not optional, John, an order.’
    Bollocking shit. Another PR event, statistics hung like bunting (and as tatty round the edges as the pride he was supposed to be spouting about in some after-dinner speech.) Waste of a weekend.

    But not.
    She was there.
    The girl – woman now – from all those years ago. That poster. She recognised him as quickly as he did her. And, Christ, hadn’t she grown up! And shed her disinclination to get to know him better. First time, courtesy of a wedged-shut cloakroom door. Second because thanks to a quirk of allocation, in the room adjoining his.

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    1. oh my, such underhand dealings going on here...

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    2. Intrigue and yet more intriguing suggestions. You manage to pull this off week after week and am becoming increasingly envious at the talent.

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    3. The word tantalizing comes to mind. Loved it.

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  12. Kursaal (Episode One Hundred) - "Table For Two"

    Charlotte Fitzroy seldom received reservation inquiries. Indeed, the one tacked to the door of "Lottie's Larder" (the Kursaal's only outdoor café) may have been the first.

    Charlotte was proud of her exotic edibles and elixirs but acknowledged the bill of fare catered to acquired tastes. Some of the items requested, however, transcended even Charlotte's quirky menu.

    Over a bowl of Escamoles and wedge of Pont-l'Évêque, the intrigued Charlotte considered possible identities of the anonymous diners. Performers? Patrons? Most mysterious. Even the occasion was noted simply as "special."

    But, as she pondered, a shortlist of likely candidates became increasingly apparent.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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: Charlotte Fitzroy and "Lottie's Larder" have featured in previous episodes.

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    1. I trust you're not going to make us guess? Or keep us uninformed for too long.
      I picture you with what much be near a full pack of characters by now, drawn by John Tenniel, shuffling and selecting week by week and creating stories from each new conjunction. So clever.

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    2. it is an enchantingly intriguing serial, with complex well drawn characters. Where will this episode go...

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    3. I'm not really an exotic edibles kind of guy but am intrigued by the upcoming menu and the identity of the guests. Very suspenseful, even though it's a relatively ordinary scenario.

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  13. Cripplegate Junction/Part 125 - Temporary Lay-By

    Failing to remember passing through either arch, Clive Bailey found himself in the grounds of Cripplegate Sanitarium. The garden, resplendent with pale pink London Pride, reminded Clive of wartime bomb sites. A quirky recollection since he'd never actually witnessed such devastation.

    A nearby Wendy House also seemed familiar. Upon entering, Clive immediately noticed a bag of marbles and collection of Christmas stockings. An alcove held the figurine of kittens peering over the edge of a Wedgewood blue basket. The litter was incredibly lifelike, particularly the orange tabby.

    A trick of the light perhaps, but Clive was sure the whiskers twitched.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. oh nice one, with classic cliff hanger last line!

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    2. The first go through of this, I thought you had written 'the kittens peeing over the edge of the basket,' and I thought, what? Then I read it again and noticed my mistake. Lots of strange things go on in that sanitarium, I'm sure the whiskers did twitch.

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  14. The Mad Italian 35.
    It has been an interesting week, watching as pride once again goeth before the fall of those who have quirks they are unable to control. Their constant lying forces a wedge between the trust of the constituents and those in government and those who indulge in the darker practices should remember that when throwing caution to the wind. A high powered position is not a guard against dismissal from high office. It is a wonder there are any persons in positions of power in the government, for all harbour their own dark secrets – and light always finds the dark eventually.

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    1. I'm with John. That "light/dark" phrase is simply beautiful. I know I constantly repeat myself with this comment, but our Mad Italian is just so wise.

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  15. Truth is revealed by 'light always finds the dark eventually.' Loved that line.

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  16. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #108
    Flying Blind


    It’s snowing! Even Natasha loves this sort of snow, though it makes flying difficult. She takes pride in being able to fly through anything the weather gods throw at us. Snow, and the sanity or insanity of flying through it, is quite the wedge issue amongst airships. Oddly enough trains are generally in favor of snow, but they despise ice. There was this one mountain railway populated by quirky little engines who loved snow, but despised rain. Something to do with mudslides, I think. I love snow, though I wish it would let up enough that I could see.

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    1. Delightful images followed by more of the same. At the risk of repeating myself (since I'm convinced I've "voiced" this before), the Adventures of Rosebud would make such a brilliant picture book. Pop-ups would also enhance the experience. Do they even make those any more?

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