Friday, 6 July 2018

Maggot-pies and choughs and rooks ...

Macbeth, raving with powerful imagery, and sounding a lot more poetic than those harsh-calling around here all day. I'm having to be a bit more circumspect  re titles - last week's garnered a lot of interest from porn sites!

Shakespeare certainly created something akin to what we have conjured this week, unsurprising given the words but impressive in the breadth of invention. John’s ‘pending quickness’ immediately set the tone, Atlas’ huge grin after a night in the whoremadillo house continued it and David’s smutty organic life forms finished it off.
This week, Joe’s  ‘A change of mind’ is runner-up and Patricia takes first place, but I can’t decide whether it should be with Kursaal  episode 121 or ‘Pure as the Driven’, so leave each of you to decide.

Words for next week:  execute feckless Venice

Entries by midnight Thursday 12th July, words and winners posted Friday 13th

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.

182 comments:

  1. Change of focus [289]

    Khakbethia via Schipol via Venice, with a transfer time too short to so much as catch the water taxi there and back to glimpse Piazza San Marco, might have left Pettinger seething were it not for the anticipation of seeing Aleks’ face that evening.

    He’d not needed to exert much effort to convince his DCI that the proper execution of his ‘no stone unturned’ policy necessitated visiting Tamara Pretty’s birthplace.

    Only on arrival, forcing his way through the usual mass of feckless beggars; failing to immediately note the gripping of his elbow, did he realise how tired he was.

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    1. Here we are, in Khakbethia. Should be pretty exciting. At first, I thought it was Moth who gripped Pettinger's elbow, but now I'm wondering if it was someone else. No, probably Moth.

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    2. Though I've been back a few weeks, the last I remember of Alex and Pettinger, was Alex on a computer screen, that Pettinger was carrying. Sandra, you write wonderful stories in a uniquely designed world. I'm in awe and enjoyment of them. This episode is no exception.

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    3. So much conveyed in so few lines, yet again, Sandra. Brilliantly well done.
      Although I am, like John, trying to guess who it is at Pettinger's elbow, I am also now starting to wonder about the real importance of Tamara Pretty in the grand scheme of things.

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    4. Nicely done, Sandra. Wonderful use of the prompts and your stories flow beautifully.

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    5. Pettinger's world is so quick and rich. I love the phrasing of the final line with 'failing to immediately note the gripping of his elbow'.

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    6. good use of the prompts in this instalment and hints of nastiness, as always!

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    7. I really like Pettinger as a character - and his tales work so well in this format!

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    8. I too am wondering who could be loitering at Pettinger's elbow. John apparently thinks it might be Moth, but I'm not so sure. What an excellent use of the prompts.

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  2. Jeffrey here. Kudos and accolades to Patricia for two stories sharing the laurel and to Joe for his extremely good story as runner up.

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    1. echoing Jeffrey's comments, Patricia, brilliant writing and Joe, just as brilliant in my eyes!

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  3. Some jobs couldn't be trained for with any standard means of instruction despite the claims of various feckless institutions who would claim to have such knowledge. Ignore the blazers, the well framed spectacles and ornate scotch glass bullshit, these pricks couldn't execute a will let alone the person who wrote it.
    Venice was well experienced in those arts well before she had reached adulthood, but she didn't let it affect her work simply because she didn't know how. It was less a subject than it was habit by this stage.

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    1. It sounds like she's learning on the fly. This is really well done with superb wording. Loved the description of the law office environment.

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    2. Nice descriptions, Rob and execute a will is one good line.

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    3. Very well crafted, Rob. She is a very interesting character. Liked this very much.

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    4. There's a meaty solidity to this; lovely turns of phrase, especially "ornate scotch glass bullshit". Much enjoyed.

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    5. Sandra picked one of my favorite phrases. The descriptions set the scene and characters beautifully.

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    6. vivid images here, which are valuable in any piece of fiction.

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    7. LOVE Venice as a name. Great style to this.

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    8. Although my eye spotted "Venice" immediately (for obviously reasons...proper name, capitalization, etc.), the other two prompt words were so excellently woven as to disappear entirely. I'd like to know much more about the exploits of this intriguing Venice.

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  4. The Headless Journeymen

    The final Venetian execution occurred on November 2, 1877. The Gondolier Guild always recognized the fate of Feckless Freddy at each annual Journeyman Day banquet. Last year, Bruno Braganini, the outgoing chairman, proposed abolishing the tradition and the motion passed by a narrow margin.

    Rowing his boat home after the meeting, Bruno froze when the translucent gondola drifted into his path. Unable to avoid contact, Bruno lost his balance and fell into the canal, his scream cut short by the powerful swipe of the headless apparition’s blade tipped oar.

    This year, Feckless Freddy and Beardless Bruno were duly recognized.

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    1. A date with fate can't be avoided. I did like the macabre humor. A good flowing story.

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    2. Good use of the prompt words John, and as Jeffrey says, a well constructed flow to the story.. I love the idea of ghostly retribution and that hint of dark humour.

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    3. Great story, John. Wonderful concept. Well executed.

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    4. Oh yes. Thrillingly conceived and conveyed. Ghostly retribution.

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    5. This is good. A nicely crafted tale.

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    6. A clever and unique tale. 'Translucent gondola' created a perfectly spooky and dark setting in my mind.

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    7. A nicely constructed tale, John. Smooth and very easy to follow. Great use of a spook.

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    8. nastiness abounds as does a hint of black humour.Nice one, John

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    9. Brilliantly crafted with your usual touch of humour which, to me, is indicative of your superb trademark. And as for those names....words escape me!

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  5. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry 12 Encounter At The Rat-Trap Inn


    Creeping through undergrowth in Rat-bottom gully, Armi arrived at the back door of the Rat-Trap Inn. He executed an intricate melody of knocking, slid into the shadows, and waited.
    A large, feckless looking, rat and a diminutive dormouse, carrying galoshes, emerged and set the footwear on the stoop-step.
    The dormouse produced a map-roll and stuffed it into one boot.
    The Rat coughed, ‘I still fink it might rain Denzil.’
    ‘Maybe, so, Mr Venice, but me legs are short; the boots chafe me bits, so let ‘em go’
    Before the door closed behind them the galoshes, map, and Armi were gone.

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    1. I initially read it as door mouse, when I googled it I saw that I was close. A beautiful world you have here with such consistency.

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    2. The use of prompts was weaved into the tale well and in many ways reminds me of stories I used to read as a child where it seemed like anything could happen, and often did

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    3. Suddenly this has changed from comic to delicately water-coloured illustrations as per Alison Uttley - dormice & galoshes. Lovely stuff.

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    4. Nicely done and greatly entertaining.

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    5. A beautiful and captivating scene. I loved all the characters and the phrasing of this line 'He executed an intricate melody of knocking, slid into the shadows, and waited.'

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    6. I am loving this totally off the wall surreal serial!

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    7. Once again, Terri, you have created a quite interesting and engaging scene. Your choice of language, as always, is exquisite.

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    8. Great story. Loved the rat and dormouse and the way that spoke. Wonderful last line.

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    9. A nice glimpse of Armi in action during his missions. Well done.

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    10. Oh, lovely, lovely! This was so entertaining and the image of a dormouse carrying galoshes totally enchanting. What a brilliant cast of characters you are creating.

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  6. Really honored to be mentioned twice and congratulations to Joe for a magnificent contender. It truly boosts the confidence to be considered among the top runners any given week amid such a supremely talented group of wordsmiths.

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    1. Congratulations, Patricia. Well deserved, and thank you for your kind words.

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  7. Mea Culpa

    He held his breath as long as he could, but eventually, the bubbles blew out, and he died, easily. I warned him, I begged him to stop his feckless lifestyle. Grow up! But he ignored my pleas, and so became my victim. To execute a full grown man by drowning him in the canals of Venice California is no easy task, thus the chains and weights. I watched a few more seconds, and then floated back up and out of the water, then up into the sky, free of my worthless body, finally. I really am my own worst enemy.

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    1. Cleverly constructed and a brilliant piece Dave. Great use of the prompt words.

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    2. Thank you Ma'am. I have a lot of learning to do if I want to hang with this crowd!

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    3. Dave, this is a nicely written story. Good use of the prompts and a little twist at the end. I'd say you don't have as much work to do as you think.

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    4. Nicely done with a twist I did not see coming.

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    5. Excellent piece Dave, smooth and impressive.

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    6. I was also surprised by the twist at the end. Well done! I loved the phrasing of this line 'I watched a few more seconds, and then floated back up and out of the water, then up into the sky'.

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    7. very nicely done, Dave, good phrasing and good read.

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    8. Good one, Dave. Having yourself as an enemy is very dangerous it seems.

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    9. Dave, that was a brilliant concept. Wonderfully constructed.

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    10. An ending that took me completely by surprise. How well this piece was put together, never giving a hint as to what was really going on until the magnificent reveal.

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  8. I'm sorry, I seem to be posting stories as comments on other folks comments, but it seems to be the only way I can get them to publish. Am I doing something wrong?

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    1. I thought I did that a lot too Dave but have noticed.... if you reply to a post it usually draws that all important line that separates one story from another.

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    2. It seems to happen when it's the final post. I get round it by reposting my comment above the line and deleting the other; tidying up all deleted comments as I go. Feel free to try that.

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    3. Dave;
      Jeffrey here. Done that myself, still do sometimes.

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  9. Rough Guide to London 2075


    Rising sea levels and failed flood defences have created a new and somewhat idyllic Venice on the Thames.

    On summer evenings charcoal smoke drifts from veranda eateries. The humid air fills with chatter and the chinking of wine glasses.

    From these vantages one can witness deft bargees execute delicate manoeuvres beneath crusts of barnacles on Admiralty Arch and drift their rafts across sparkling waters to where damsel flies dart and Nelson rises like Neptune.

    Here feckless tourists haggle for cheap tat with the vendors who line the jetties. And reckless boys dive to touch sleeping lions for luck.

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    1. David, a very unique and well thought out story. All narration but well done with good flow and prompt placement.

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    2. AN interesting view of what could be, what I found more amusing about the piece was the understated nature of what had or was happening which felt very British.

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    3. How very visionary - supremely well imagined, right from the brilliant opening sentence.

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    4. This was filled with beautiful and vibrant descriptions. I especially loved the imagery of the 'sparkling waters' 'where damsel flies dart and Nelson rises'. Gorgeous.

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    5. how to show a world has changed completely and a new life is in place in 100 words. Clever and entertaining.

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    6. The third paragraph is a work of art, David. Simply beautiful!

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    7. This skillfully reminds me that humans are very resourceful and adapt as they need to. Hopefully, we won't have too much adapting to put up with.

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    8. Brilliantly constructed. Flowed beautifully. Well done.

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    9. As a born Londoner, this was easy for me to imagine even if the wonderful descriptions hadn't been so vivid. So many excellent images that it's difficult to single out one, but I think Nelson rising like Neptune has to be my favourite. So inventive...so unique...so creative.

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  10. Brilliant! Bravo for using a very original idea, and crafting an interesting, if not lovely semi-dystopian answer to a very real world exercise.

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  11. Unintended Consequences

    “It was a soft summer night. The Piazza San Marco, in Venice, was crowded and the perfect location for the execution, my first and only. You see, Death robbed me of my Psyche, only fair that she suffer the ultimate punishment. Revenge is a feckless pursuit and has unintended consequences.
    The power of my arrows isn’t what you think. Denying people free will is impossible. Making people shed their inhibitions and fall in love is possible. For three hundred years I was the worst husband-ever! Over time I came to love her, isn’t that right dear?”
    “Verily, dear Eros.”

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    1. I liked the descriptions such as 'soft summer night' and the prompts were well integrated.

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    2. A clever imagining of an old tale. I loved your use of dialogue to spin the story.

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    3. Even the god of love has his problems. Entertaining story, Jeffrey.

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    4. Nice one, Jeffrey. Well thought out. Well constructed. Excellent use of prompts.

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    5. Very interesting take on a mythological fable. Love the idea that the power of Eros' arrows isn't necessarily what we might imagine.

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  12. She was a feckless sort. A dull-eyed slug of a woman who grated on my nerves as she slurped on her straw, sprawled on the couch and hooting at Jerry Springer.

    Not for the first time I wondered what God I pissed off to end up with her and living in Venice, Arkansas. To say that I fantasized of her untimely demise would be a gross understatement.

    I had many well-thought out plans. I just never had the nerve to execute them. I always came to the inevitable conclusion that I would get caught.

    "Give 'em hell, Jerry!"

    But still...




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    1. I find myself thinking patience is not always a virtue ...

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    2. the hero's dilemma is clear, tis hard to move on from somewhere as exciting as Venice, Arkansas, for sure... (LOL)
      nicely done!

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    3. "what God I pissed off" is a great turn of words, RJ. I'm wondering how long this fellow can last without doing something. Nicely done!

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    4. A strong dose of imagery with that second sentence. I can feel the character's displeasure.

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    5. Nice one, RJ. Living with a grating, dull eyed slug watching Jerry Springer would get on my nerves as well.

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    6. Loved this story, RJ. Venice, Arkansas. Lord help him for sure. Loved those last lines.

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    7. Oh, yes. This was definitely a nice one! Had to chuckle at "wondered what God I pissed off..." I really am going to have to remember that. I'm sure it's bound to come in useful.

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  13. this is a very good story RJ. Loved the line about getting caught as to why he hasn't done it.

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  14. Assessing other options [Threshold 212]

    Smut, if smut it had been, invisible on Raven’s ebony fingertip.
    Disappointment behind a face blank as a Venetian carnival mask, I recalled red-haired O’Bedrun. His measuring me ‘feckless’ as Irish as the execution of his solution; had I conceived I’d be with him still.
    He too the only man who knew my family history and my name, claiming, back in the mists of time, we were related, stating, ‘Alive, you’re worth more than your appearance would suggest.’
    I recalled the topaz gleam in his eye as he led me to his bed.
    His greed for other than simple procreation.

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    1. I always love the imagery of your pieces, from Raven's 'ebony fingertip' to 'face blank as a Venetian carnival mask' to 'the topaz gleam in his eye'... beautiful.

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    2. it is the imagery which sustains this week on week. Keep it going.

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    3. "back in the mists of time"... what a beautiful description of the past, Sandra. This is a wonderfully constructed tale.

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    4. And yet another side of the narrator with her former suitor making an appearance. I like getting all these little snippets, using them to piece together the life and identity of the elusive one.

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    5. You use words like a sculptur, showing us tiny parts at a time of what, once completed, will be a work of art. Beautifully written.

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    6. The cohesion of this serialization from week to week is par excellence and yet, each installment works quite well as a stand-alone, such that it's not necessarily important to know what went before. Wish I had that kind of talent.

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  15. Sandra;
    Jeffrey here on break. Sofly written and enjoyed “mists of time”, using topaz for his eyes was a good descriptive. As always, an enjoyable story.

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  16. Avowed

    He swore he would take me to Venice where, it is said, if two lovers kiss on a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs, they will be granted eternal bliss. But he was feckless, irresponsible and, worse of all, unfaithful.

    Beneath the Bridge of Sighs, I kissed his lips, now cold and indifferent to female persuasion. It was the execution of a dream as we both sank deep into the promise of infinite euphoria at the bottom of the Rio di Palazzo canal.

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    1. I hope she could swim! This is neatly done indeed.

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    2. Patricia, have you ever considered writing horror? This is a very well written story, good prompt use and a twist.

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    3. Gorgeous phrasing seems to be the theme this week! (And always) A beautiful and dark piece, I loved the imagery that came to mind at 'beneath the bridge of sighs, I kissed his lips, now cold'.

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    4. horror can be described in 100 word but judging by the amount of stories I reject, it's far harder to sustain it over 1000+ words! Patricia's vignettes are always a delight, sometimes it's the best way to write.

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    5. I, like Zaiure, love the phrasing in this, Patrica... "cold and indifferent to female persuasion" really stuck with me.

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    6. A really cool little piece of revenge and sacrifice. Well done, P.

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    7. Wow. Great one. Murder suicide, or did she want to be sure he was dead. Nicely done.

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  17. What Would You Say

    The human-like female had a piece of metal protruding from her side, a feckless issue; She was giving birth. Her delivery-room, a macabre caricature of a crashed Venetian galley. Electric spark showers, multi-colored clouds of smoke, all accentuated by her coughing and terror-filled screams. She managed to wrap the baby in a blanket with her bloodied hands, each having five fingers with no thumb. She placed her child in a hexagon container and then completed her self-execution by dragging the container to a nearby road. She looked at her baby, kissed it and said, “Ghisml Ykzor Talen.

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    1. another species carefully delineated, nicely done.

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    2. I'm dying to know the meaning of those final three words, Jeffrey. Perhaps we should have a guessing contest. Should we, my guess would be "You're free now." Am I close?

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    3. A fascinating world filled with color and sound. I'm also curious about the meaning of her final words. Well done!

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    4. This story is a macabre as the crashed Venetian galley. Nice wording and scary images.

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    5. Jeffrey here on lunch. Sorry to disappoint but the words have no intended meaning, hence the title. I took this ending from the end of The Time Machine, were the friend asks the house keeper; “What three books would you take to start a new civilization?”. I also used that same question as a homework assignment when I taught social studies.

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    6. Nicely done indeed, Jeffrey. Your hand at description has come a very long way.

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    7. I really liked this, Jeffrey. Great description, and very creepy. Loved that weird last line

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  18. The Red Lady

    The Red Lady of Venice lay dead in the street. Someone had covered her with a black cloak, but Cass could still see dark red curls from beneath the hood. The crowd was hushed, and anger filled more than a few faces.

    Though new to the city, even Cass had heard of her. It seemed impossible anyone would wish her harm.

    “It’s an execution,” a gruff voice said behind her.

    “Who would dare?” a woman whispered.

    “The Elorians would do this. Cut out our heart.”

    “Rendal…”

    “Is a feckless bastard. She’ll never be avenged while he’s in charge.”

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    1. I love how we enter this scene when it is already in progress, and leave before it is fully done; before we've had chance to meet all the protagonists.

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    2. it's the finest way to write and you do it beautifully, coldly and with ultimate horror passion.

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    3. A fine story..a precursor of thing to come perhaps. Very enjoyable and with well placed prompts.

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    4. Remind me never to cross Rendal, the way he treats popular townsfolk. I liked the way you used Cass, so the dialogue didn't fall on deaf ears.

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    5. It's always such a treat to see your name above a posted piece. You never fail to entertain and intrigue. This is no exception. I do miss you when you're gone, milady.

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  19. Behind Closed Doors

    She has taken another to her bed. She is feckless and unfeeling. Yet, she has my heart and always will. I wait in the shadows for her latest conquest to emerge, satiated and fulfilled. She never allows them to spend the night. I alone know that pleasure...but not any more.

    None of them live to see morning. I am quite the consummate executioner. Who knew there were so many ways to kill?

    Until then, I wallow in my envy as I recall the ecstasy that takes place beyond those venetian blinds in the boudoir of my identical twin sister.



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    1. What a close to this very engaging tale, Sandra! Perfect!

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    2. clever one, Patricia.. very clever.

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    3. Unrequited love and a streak of jealousy, envy or both. I second Antonia in saying clever.

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    4. I loved being surprised at the end with the reveal of their connection to each other. Also, that first line sets the stage perfectly and is almost an entire story in itself. :)

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    5. I agree with Zaiure about the first line which, along with what follows, delivers an entire feast of possibilities that fill the mind for some considerable time.

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    6. I use the word delicious to describe this; the executioner, so cold and matter-of-fact. I wonder if the horny sister knows of these killings?

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    7. Awesomely creepy. This one had sweat popping on my brow. Great story.

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  20. The shop is next to impossible to find, but it's worth it. In between the tourist-choked square of San Marco and the cries of desperate gondoliers, is Peter's glassworks.

    Venice is filthy in its untravelled alleyways - like dirt left in the cracks after a rain. Feckless tourists with their dollars hanging out would certainly miss the faded blue door on their way to the next selfie station.

    Peter's execution is flawless. He creates my hearts for me. Their tiny, delicate anatomy is shot through with tongues of red dye like flame.

    They create a striking contrast against dead white flesh. Who says art is dead?

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    1. Very interesting, Chris. Many clear and vivid images (dirt left in the cracks after a rain). Nicely done!

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    2. good to see you, and what a lovely vivid piece of writing!

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    3. Yes, very good imagery. I'm curious where that 'red dye' came from.

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    4. This is perfect! I tried three different versions of a Venice-located tale, all fell leaden to the ground. Am even more glad I didn't force it, having read this.

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    5. I like the mention of 'the next selfie station.' One misses so much running around taking pictures. Very tight writing and really entertaining.

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    6. Your description of Venice back alleys was superb. Red hearts against dead white flesh. Well done.

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    7. This was a lovely piece with some truly elegant descriptions. Even though the image created might be horrific, the tale is executed (ahem!) with no end of finesse. I think I'd like to pay a visit to Peter's glassworks...but as a customer!

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  21. THE TRANSMOGRIFICATION

    John Howe stood naked, his body striped with moonlight peeking through the Venetian blinds. Pain ignited in his skull. The transmogrification began, again.
    His brow receded; his eyes narrowed and turned yellow.
    His jaw elongated; his incisors lengthened into ivory daggers.
    His limbs truncated, each sprouted four razor-sharp claws.
    His skin rippled, leaving in its wake a coat of black.
    His insides repositioned under a quick shudder.
    And within the mind of this powerful mass of sinew and muscle, human reason was executed and replaced with predatory instinct…with an inexorable need to kill.
    The night, rife with feckless humans, awaited.

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    1. that's the kind of horror scenario I love...

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    2. Is this our John Howe you are writing about J.E? If you know his secret you better watch out. :-)

      What a wonderfully powerful image. Brilliant.

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    3. That is indeed our John Howe, Terri. None of our talented writing comrades are safe once my wicked fingertips fall upon a computer keyboard.

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    4. Man, I swear i heard a bell ring as he shape-shifted. Short but concise and descriptive transformation, J.E. a well done story.

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    5. That body stripe of venetian blinds is such a powerful trope; never fails. I trust you haven't brought John's writings to a halt.

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    6. I'm back... a bit disheveled, but sated. Really powerful piece, J.E. Loved it. It's funny, but I live in a neighborhood with a street light near by and when I lay in bed, with the light weakly streaming through the blinds, my body really does appear striped.

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    7. Wonderfully done. Your description was so vivid I could see it. Poor John.

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    8. There have been so many unique pieces this week that have truly gone "outside the box" of creative thinking. This is among the best. I always felt there was more to John than he was letting on!

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    9. Love how you do in 100 words the sort of transformation that takes some authors pages! Cool stuff.

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  22. The Mad Italian 63.
    63.
    The will of the people is currently acting like an executioner, one head after another falling and the body vacating the higher echelons of the government. Whether these people be reckless or feckless, the facts are individually they have given up the battle and walked away. Together they make a substantial hole in the Cabinet and the Prime Minister will be hard put to patch this up. Her government has been somewhat like Venice, appearing to float on water and be a place of stunning beauty, but someone pulled the plug and the water is fast running away.

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    1. Wish such would happen here, a pulled plug. That's our choice in a little over two years. For many reasons, first of which is the writing, I totally enjoy these vignettes.

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    2. I haven't been to Venice, but I imagine its appeal would dwindle drastically without the water. Good analogy with that and the PM's cabinet.

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    3. Reckless or feckless. I loved that. Superbly written. The comparison to Venice was excellent.

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    4. I'm with Joe. That "reckless or feckless" comment is brilliant. Also brilliant is the comparisons drawn in this submission, but the our Mad Italian is a past master at that.

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    5. "Someone pulled the plug." Such succinct eloquence. Loved it.

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  23. Best laid plans

    We’d not spoke since Venice, words harsh, opinions unforgiving. I heard of her death via a phone-call from her disapproving solicitor: I still named as executor.
    ‘Regrettably, your wife died prior to her appointment –‘
    I’d got to the feckless bitch in time.

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    1. A well timed murder, indeed. I wonder what he'll do with the estate now... I'm sure it will be fair to all.

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    2. short, defiant, killer sharp. Love it.

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    3. Small package, very good story.

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    4. What a kicker this one was. That final line, a total clincher. Short and sharp and so beautifully put together.

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    5. This is wicked sharp, and wicked well done.

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  24. There is Another


    You are feckless and irresponsible. You cannot be trusted to cross the street, much less to Venice with our survival at stake. We will find another.”

    “There is no other, you fool. I am the most qualified and I resent your tone.”

    The two stared, growling. One old, one young. Both wrong. There was another. One quite skilled at killing. He lurked in shadow, sharpening his claws against old brick.

    He would save his race. Would journey to Italy and execute the one who threatened them. First, he would disembowel the two idiots. The Ghoul smiled amidst their bloody screams.

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    1. SUCH a leap from three innocuous words to this! I like the image of He lurked in shadow, sharpening his claws against old brick.'

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    2. there's a whole back story here which is fascinating, wonder if we'll ever see it?

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    3. That is one bad ass ghoul. And a whole race of them. There may soon be more disemboweled idiots.

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    4. Nicely done with this story, humanizing such a creature.

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    5. How Sandra is going to pick a winner from this amazing crop of tales this week is beyond me. Yet another intriguing story here, which would lend itself so easily to a serialization. The Ghoul is a fascinating creature.

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    6. I love the juxtaposition of "disembowel" (which always sounds fancier than it means to) with "the two idiots." Punchy and dark.

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  25. Kursaal (Episode One Hundred Twenty Two) - "By The Numbers"

    The notion of an annual masquerade ball à la Venetian style was originally proposed by Alexis Champagne, Maximillian Corviday's personal assistant. After she disappeared, however, the idea was shelved until Kat Shelton, organizer of the Tudor-themed bridal receptions, orchestrated execution of its revival.

    The exclusive affair held at the Kursaal's grand Palais de Dance was by invitation only. Masks and costumes mandatory with no feckless riff-raff to be admitted. The heavily-tattooed Georgie-Boy Endicott, jack-of-all-trades, monitored the door and swore blind he allowed entrance to ticket holders only.

    Which begged the question how the body count exceeded the guest list.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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: Alexis Champagne, Maximillian Corviday, Kat Shelton and Georgie-Boy Endicott have all featured in previous episodes.

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    Replies
    1. oh yes, Patricia's done it again - that killer last line caught me out!

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    2. Oh man, what a massacre. I think Kat's going to have some explaining to do, as well as Georgie-Boy, if he's still alive. Really well done, Patricia.

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    3. I'm trusting you'll explain it, Some day. Please. Lovely, lovely phrasing

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    4. I agree, start next week. Well written and with good pacing and prompt use.

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    5. ... and the Red Death held sway over all.

      (Nothing like a good massacre, well set up.)

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  26. Death Wish

    I told him he couldn’t choose to be executed just because he had cancer. He insisted he had that right, but instead traipsed off to Venice with a horde of feckless call girls financed with funds from his father’s irrevocable trust. He was clever that way.

    After they caught him with the last girl, mutilated like each before, the extradition process was expedited. He was returned in chains to the great state of Texas and eventually found his way to death row. The son of a bitch won again.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but not yet ... surely? Intriguing idea this.

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    2. Be careful what you wish for. Death Row isn't a foregone conclusion. Enjoyable and your prompts were just melted into the background.

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    3. A novel approach to use of the prompt words, John, but doing so is a quality of yours. Well done!

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    4. there's a whole lot of nastiness going on here - hope he gets his comeuppance!

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    5. So inventive. And if you really want to face the executioner, there's probably no better location than Texas. Nice twist of the prompt words and they weren't easy to find. Always the sign of an entertaining little story.

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  27. Likely no "Cripplegate" installment this week since I'm running out of time and nothing I'm coming up with seems to fit. However, I shall return tomorrow with comments and a possible episode...if my muse takes pity and decides to be kind.

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  28. Cripplegate Junction/Part 148 - Innuendo

    "Ever visit the Doge's Palace, dear boy?"

    The Station Master escorted Clive Bailey from the Wendy House, across the lawn and through a narrow alley that led to the Junction platform.

    Clive wasn't sure...wasn't sure of anything any more.

    "The passageways here are similar to those corridors in Venice used to transport both the simply feckless and the confirmed villainous to the prison cells."

    He laid a hand on Clive's shoulder.

    "The Palace was also the site of executions. Hangings. Decapitations. That sort of thing."

    His smile conveyed comfort.

    "Not that Cripplegate has such a lurid history, old chap."


    -------------------------------------------------
    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. "His smile conveyed comfort" What a treacherously uncomfortable phrase that is. Something you excel in.

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    2. Clive shouldn't believe a word of it... so very nicely done!

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    3. A sheep being led to slaughter in such a wickedly crafty manner. An excellent piece!

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  29. Patricia. memories are such a fragile thing. This was a very sofy story that sneaks up on you. Loved you used lurid.

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  30. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #137
    Simplifying the Situation


    Banquet devoured and feckless delegates commanded, concussed, or compelled, Cleopatra left for the Venetian glass caves while I began a ramble. Said ramble is intended to carry our maps to Rosebud, but she never minds a few convenient executions along the way.

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    Replies
    1. What an excellent method of dealing with delegates!

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  31. Jeffrey here, had to see if you slipped one in. Is Rosebud related to the Red Queen? As always an enjoyable and nicely written story.

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