Friday, 26 January 2018

Buttered scones and great imagination

This was one of the most exhilarating weeks for colourful and supremely imaginative leaps I can remember; it seemed the standard of offerings shot up tenfold (not that they are normally at all shabby!). Perhaps I should offer more in the way of misspelt and mildly obscure  prompt words?  
I thank you all for your contributions, and thank you all again for commenting so diligently – a vital part of this site.
As usual, near impossible to pick a winner, however, for the gut-punching  impact of her final line – Antonia’s ‘Deception’, aptly named drew a small squeal from me, so little did I anticipate it, and deserves top place this week.

Words for next week:  ladder ripe venture

Entries by midnight Thursday 1st February, winners and words posted Friday 2nd


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.

62 comments:

  1. thanks, Sandra! Having been somewhat brain dead on ideas for so long, it feels good to be writing again and as always thrilled to be chosen the top one, when there are so many excellent writers and outstanding stories being sent in every week.

    This has been a strange week for writing, my current author, JFK, has not visited but my best friend reminded me that when it comes to their death scenes, all my authors back off, so he isn't being difficult, just following the trend.

    Meantime my nonsensical advertisements continue to entertain the customers, it seems, but really, they are (as the prompts often are) perfect for ideas. Example, a table blender, I described it as 'blending tables perfectly' and today, 'wardrobe seeks other bedroom furniture for ongoing relationship...' what else do you say about a single wardrobe, as in, just the one item out of a bedroom suite? Tis fun and it does make listing endless pieces of furniture and other items a good deal more challenging than just 'here it is and its price is...'

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  2. Congrats Antonia! Well deserved. :)

    I love your advertisements! A clever and fun way to list furniture.

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  3. Nicely done, Antonia. As I said, back with a vengeance!!! Like Zaiure, love your creative advertisement wording, especially the "wardrobe" one.

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  4. Cripplegate Junction/Part 130 - Time And Place

    In the middle of the Wendy House, two children played "Snakes and Ladders." Clive Bailey recognized the scene...Crossing Canteen at the time he'd first ventured inside. But not everything was the same. He wasn't in the Canteen, for instance, and then there were the children.

    The girl, in a lavender princess dress, took ladylike nibbles of buttered teacake. The boy, proudly wearing a soldier's uniform, licked crumbs and ripened blackberry compote from his grubby fingers.

    "There you are," said the girl. "We thought you'd got lost, didn't we George?"

    George agreed.

    "Me and Constance didn't think you'd ever get here!"

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. What a great scene. I could feel the eeriness of the children deep down. You don't want to be in a setting where it doesn't feel right and have someone say, "There you are."

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    2. This the perfect encapsulation of the series. Love George's grubby fingers.

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    3. lovely depiction of the slightly not-quite-right children!

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  5. A Little Less Conversation

    Another night of romantic words and poetic declarations of love from afar. This was getting monotonous and Juliet was ripe for some action. Nothing ventured nothing gained, after all. The balcony wasn't that high. Had Romeo never thought about bringing a ladder?

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    1. Enough love stuff there Romeo, Juliet's ready to kick it up a notch.

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    2. Girl after my own heart - well done you for the succinctness.

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  6. Six to Go J.E. Deegan

    I alone escaped the frozen lake and dared to venture upward. Ladders were not allowed here, thus climbing was painfully grueling. I paused at a level where lines of hapless souls, some clerics, it appeared, were writhing and wailing beneath the whips of demons. I continued upward.

    The smell of blood…rich, ripe. I halted upon a level where a red, boiling river laden with flailing bodies crawled past people-like trees populated with monstrous screeching birds. Beyond them, a fiery rain punished miscreants upon a burning desert.

    Though exhausted, I couldn’t tarry at this level. I still had six to go.

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    1. Nice work, Dante would approve! Whips of demons and people-like trees. Haunting stuff!

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    2. Vary nice/nasty work. These sort of scenes always bring the same soundtrack to mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4eh9NTzn7I

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    3. horror and horror, excellent nightmare scenarios.

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    4. Beautifully crafted and reminded me of Dante's Inferno. Innovative but very apt use of "ripe" to describe the smell of blood. I liked that the final sentence had something of a desperation aura.

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  7. Wow, a great horror story. What a trip this MC is taking upward.

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  8. The Piper of Haran

    Jake had tarried at the inn all he could and it was time for action. The ladder from his dream remained ripe in his mind’s eye. He was convinced angels were descending by the score and soon the earth would be overrun with them. From his various readings, Jake knew once angels settled in it was hard to get rid of them. It was time to set the ascending venture in motion.

    As he slept soundly, Jake approached the base of the ladder and sure enough, angels loitered about. He took up his flute and started climbing. He knew they would follow.

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    1. A fascinating tale, John. You have a wonderful imagination!

      J.E. Deegan

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    2. This has all the makings of a novel!!! Greatly intrigued

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    3. Eeh - those pesky angels - and what a brilliant way to control them

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    4. oh, I wanted more! liked the scenario being built here, controlling angels with the sound of a flute.

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    5. Magnificent twist on the "Pied Piper" scenario. I like that angels appear to be "hard to get rid of" once they "settled in." The name "Jake" coupled with the ascent of a ladder was reminiscent to me of "Jacob's Ladder." To be honest, I've never seen the whole film it brought the final scene to mind, which I have seen a couple of times.

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  9. Skilamalink

    Night ventures were risky. A predator was abroad. Corpses, piercings through the eye into the brain, were later found relieved of any valuables. Rozzers were on alert. Thus far, unsuccessful.

    But a working girl must take chances. Far from comely, Iris was obliged to loiter in shadow. Her unbecoming bonnet, the colour of overripe plums and decorated with wilted pansies, obscured her face. She raised her skirts, revealing louse-laddered stockings, only if assignations seemed likely.

    Iris often passed mutton shunters on the way home. They paid scant attention to the doxy wearing a plum-coloured bonnet secured by a glass-topped hatpin.

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    1. Delightful from start to finish.

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    2. 'louse-laddered' I thought a stroke of genius, but 'mutton shunters' ... yeugh!!

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    3. Does sound a bit "yeugh" I agree, Sandra. But...appearances can be deceptive. It's actually old Victorian slang for a policeman. As in: "Leg it, chaps, the mutton shunters are coming!"

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    4. Thank you for that - I worked out that must be what it meant but, thinking 'mutton dressed as lamb', my mind initially wandered in another, less pleasant direction.

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  10. A hatpin used for piercing it seems. If you can't earn enough via the oldest profession, steal it...
    Very nice, P.

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    1. A tale about a predator...right up my alley. Description of her clothing beautifully done. Great idea for a weapon.

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    2. so much to admire in this one, especially the louse-laddering, a very good way to use a prompt word!

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  11. Someday
    Jerry Gaither

    He stood in the kitchen, weighing the ripened silence. The darkness. He ventured towards the stairs, moving around a stepladder that had been left out. Quietly up the stairs, missing the toys.

    Down the hall, avoiding that creaky spot. Slipping quietly into the bedroom, he paused as he looked at her moonwashed face and smiled. She was so beautiful.

    He loved her. More than anything. With a heavy heart, he left the room and returned to the basement. Someday he would let her know that he lived here, unknown to her. Someday, the time would be right.

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    1. A perfect combination of creepy and touching (although I would have to put emphasis on creepy). Very nice.

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    2. "weighing the ripened silence" a wonderful opening, as the ending was wonderfully unexpected.

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    3. definitely creepy and scary too.

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    4. Poignant in a marvelously weird way.

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    5. Voyeurism in its most intrusive form. I'd love to know more about this character who lives below stairs. Though it seems apparent he intends the sleeping woman no harm, one cannot help but wonder...

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  12. Home is a point in time, not a place.


    Despite blinding mist, you find a ladder leading into the storm. Eager to get home, you climb with the frantic desperation of a lost child. Venturing higher, a carousel of cloud shapes revolve around you. You recognize fleeting glimpses of loved ones long gone, and the clouds spin and new faces emerge. You step on a rung that’s there but isn’t and you fall. You see an empty building but the sounds are gone and the world is grey. Your heart, ripe with bittersweet memories, breaks and weeps over a place that’s not the same. You can’t go back home.

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    1. This is so surreal and strange. I get the feeling the climber may be dead and this is what happens after you die. Nicely written, Dan.

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    2. Agreed. Could this be the afterlife?

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    3. Great imagery in this piece, Dan. Well done!

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    4. Beautifully poetic and mesmerising.

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    5. too scary for words - I cling to the hope my insights and given wisdom really show me a different and real afterlife.

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    6. This seems to echo with allegorical references. I love the "carousel of cloud shapes" image and the "fleeting glimpses of loved ones long gone." It would appear that the main character is suspended in time, which makes the title all the more apt.

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  13. Change of focus [266]

    DI John Pettinger projected nonchalance while regretting – for her sake as well as his – DCI Vanessa Quintain’s absence (a one-rung ladder to retirement). Rather than condemnation, her ripe appreciation would’ve seen him promoted in exchange for a film of his sexual sins, should such exist.
    Addressing the green-eyed traitor in whose bed he lay, ‘You’re claiming my father’s father fathered you?’
    ‘According to my birth certificate –‘
    ‘I’d venture to suggest that information is erroneous. What’ was his name?’
    ‘Teodor’
    A bark of bitter laughter. ‘That a name of my youngest brother; used for convenience. Well known to be impotent.’

    [Two names from much earlier episodes dragged in here - apologies but I'm trying to dig myself out of a plot impasse]

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    1. names dragged in or not, it's still a good instalment!

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    2. If a "plot impasse" generates an installment as intriguing as this one, then I hope you run into many more such obstacles. I particularly liked "my father's father fathered." It just really captured my fancy. I don't recall an impotent "youngest brother," but adore the concept anyway.

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  14. Answering nature’s call [Threshold 195]

    Raven nowhere to be seen in his bedroom.
    Upstairs so fast; only when my panting ceased did I discern his groans. Bathroom.
    He twisted and naked across the chequered tiles: black snake seeking ladders in a monochrome version of the children’s game.
    Except, in venturing off the bed he’d tangled foot in bedding and landed on his back. Burst five of the ten barely-healed tallies scored by Lant. Like over-ripe plums, they’d scarlet-dribbled through the sheeting; left blotches where he rolled.
    ‘What were you wanting?’
    ‘To piss – is that thunder?’
    ‘Yes. A storm is on its way.’
    Me the instigator.

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    1. now we are getting down to some seriously nasty stuff...

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    2. That image of Raven on the chequered tiles was positively striking. What an impressive description!!! Thunder heralding a storm on the way really takes this tale up another notch. I am anxious to know what comes next.

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  15. The Mad Italian 40
    There is a ladder in your Parliament, it is there for one reason only, to assist those who have dug themselves a hole and are incapable of climbing out without help. For those who venture into the murky world of politics, such ladders are vital, especially for those ripe for promotion who become over confident and are then pilloried by the press and populace. Would that such assistance were there for the ever ignored ‘man in the street’ who would appreciate a helping hand at times just to get through another week on low income and minimal self confidence.

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    1. What can be said about the observations of the Mad Italian that I haven't already enumerated? He is always on point with an artistic finger on the very pulse. I think this must count as one of my favourite commentaries thus far.

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  16. All the Luck In the World
    He defied superstition and walked under the ladder, missing the falling can of paint. He tempted the devil by eating an unripe apple, he wasn’t sick. He went against all advice and ventured into a seriously ill-advised business and made it a success. Black cats ran to him, mirrors refused to break in his presence. Pokers left in the fire, crossed knives and/or shoes on a table held no fears for him.
    How strange, then, that he should be consumed by lust for the green eyes and red hair flaunted before him, concealing the assassin’s poison in her bag.

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    1. Strange indeed (but I bet we'll never hear why.)

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    2. There are worse ways to go. Nicely done!

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    3. Lovely incorporation of the various superstitions that may or may not come to pass...well, not in this particular instance. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to have prepared him for an encounter with such a femme fatale who seems to have been take straight out of the lyrics of that temptress known as "Jolene." Your stand-alone inspiration has certainly returned in spades, Antonia.

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  17. Kursaal (Episode One Hundred Five) - "Situations Vacant"

    The rope ladder hanging over the starboard side of the sloop at "Picaroon Lagoon" was a new feature. Any ventured ascent, however, would be precarious. Some of the rungs had been rat-gnawed thin as scruffy old baggywrinkle.

    On the poop deck, there was further evidence of recent activity. Next to a crate of sour unripe limes, stood several tubs of grog and affixed to the main mast with a rusty nail, a lead pencil dangled from a twisted length of twine. Below the stub, yellowed parchment offered a most tempting opportunity:

    "Sign Up Here To Join The Skeleton Crew."

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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: "Picaroon Lagoon" has featured in a previous episode.

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    1. Ooh - so mesmerised wandering from description to strange sight, I didn't see that coming.

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  18. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #114
    Assassins Are Like Bears


    Dear Cleopatra,
    When do you expect to arrive at the castle? My assassin friend is around, so I’d suggest using the front door instead of that ladder I know you keep by that one sticky window. Of course, if I get there first I’ll warn Georgiana and you may enter however you wish. I shan’t be back until after the pears in the kitchen are ripe. I ventured out for jelly beans, but I’ve yet to find any.
    -Rosebud

    P.S. Seriously, don’t poke the assassin!

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    1. Rosebud seems a little more ... distrait than usual - has she been indulging in mind-altering substances? Lovely all the same.

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  19. As entertaining as ever. I am always totally blown away at how you manage to put an entirely different spin on the prompt words every single week.

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