Friday, 20 March 2020

Black birds against spring sky


Another week of writing and reading richness and difficulty for me in choosing a winner from the many candidates, but while it was relatively easy to decide Terrie pipped the rest of you to the post, I was unable to decide which of hers – I was hovering between three – merited the topmost spot. So this is as much an award for  consistency as superb story-telling. Thank you all for so tirelessly posting and commenting each week; your participation propels this site to excellence.

Words for next week:  affect dregs journey

Entries by midnight (GMT) Thursday 26th March, words and winners posted Friday 27th

 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 uses 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.

192 comments:

  1. Thank you for awarding me winners slot this week Sandra, I am really enjoying writing the continuations.
    The Prediction site popped into my life when I was at such a low point my writing was all but motionless. Now, almost two years on my confidence, ideas and output is flourishing thanks to this select and wonderful community of writers. You are all inspirational and always set the goals for achievement really high. What a great place to learn and share our writing.

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    1. Good job, Terrie. Your tales are always enjoyable to read.

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    2. jdeegan536@yahoo.com20 March 2020 at 15:32

      Yours was the right stuff last week, Terrie. Congratulations!

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    3. Congrats Terrie! I always enjoy your writing. :)

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    4. Terrie, a well deserved selection for last week.

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    5. Marvelous job, Terrie. I'm not surprised that Sandra was unable to decide which of your magnificent tales should take the actual top spot.

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    6. Thank you for saying this Terrie - there are occasions when the choosing - or, more accurately, NOT choosing, makes me feels as if I'me being ungrateful so it's good to be reminded that taking part is the vital bit.

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    7. congrats, Terrie, you've worked for these accolades.

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  2. Congratulations Terrie, a well deserved winner. Your consistency and skill set a high standard

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  3. The Reluctant Hussy

    Misty talked on and on as they enjoyed the tuna surprise. Gradually, the destructive dregs in Patricia’s mind subsided. The girl was all heart and could positively affect Scrooge himself.

    “Misty, can I ask you something?”

    Misty looked up from her broccoli-slaw.

    “You know you’re a hooker, right?”

    “Oh yes.”

    “But yet, you don’t, I mean you’ve never… journeyed with a gentleman.”

    “Well, not yet…” Misty wiped at a tear. “Patricia, I mean Candy; do you think, well maybe, there’re some girls out there that need a hooker?”

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    1. An interesting turn of events

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    2. Yes, a definite surprise there but it appears logical, though how she didn't check that box on the application is a mystery. Very good chapter John.

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    3. I enjoyed the phrase 'the destructive dregs in Patricia’s mind subsided.' It sounds like Patricia might try to help Misty now.

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    4. Echoing Holly for the favourite phrase, and William for the turn of events. And wondering, where next?

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    5. intriguing, so much being said in so few words of dialogue

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    6. This was quite a warmhearted exchange. Nicely portrayed, John. Good use of dialogue to bring forth emotions.

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  4. What a brilliant last line. This is so good John. Please keep it going.

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  5. jdeegan536@yahoo.com20 March 2020 at 15:36

    Oh my, I didn't see that last line coming, but one wonders if there are lesbian hookers. Well done, John!

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  6. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry 92

    Sarg was alone.
    Dregs of spittle hung from her hairy-lips and she looked troubled as Armi appeared from hiding.
    ‘Knew yu’ were there,’ she said, eyeing his recent wounds. ‘Them ‘urts ‘ave affected yu’ movement. Wot yer got fer me?’
    Quickly, Armi told her all he knew.
    Interruption came with the arrival of small female, ‘news from the “contraption platoon”,’ she whispered, panting from the effects of her hurried journey.
    ‘They march in 12 moons seems clear, one-armed devil, is probably Moloch’, mused Armi after the small ‘dillo delivered her message. ‘but ‘oo the ‘eck is she?
    Sarg looked thoughtful.

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    1. 'oo the 'eck is she is right. Is Armi a little ga-ga over this girl? Very entertaining, Terrie.

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    2. I love this world you have created, even eww of “dregs of spittle hung from her hairy lips”
      (Being careful that auto correct hasn’t weaved it’s chaos)

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    3. Again with excellent dialect speech and a mystery at the end. Very good and enjoyable SAS chapter Terrie.

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    4. Who is she, indeed? I agree with Jeffrey, I always love how they speak and the ending always has the right amount of mystery. Can't wait to find out more!

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    5. I'm thinking ‘oo the ‘eck is she?' was asked from suspicion - has Arni recognised her from somewhere else?

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    6. excellent continuation of an excellent and so unusual serial.

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    7. "'oo the 'eck is she" is something we'd all like to know. And I'm wondering about Sarg being thoughtful. Has the small 'dillo put in an appearance before?

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  7. A Digital Orange Part 4

    I could really kick myself at times, the way I react to the dregs of society, I shouldn’t let them affect me. I should just accept them for what they are and continue my life’s journey in a calm mood.
    Unfortunately I can’t help myself, but I can help them find Karma.
    I knew the names of all the gang that taunted my daughter, but better than that, thanks to a genealogy database and some other matters of public record, I knew more about them than they knew of themselves. Now what happened to my memory stick.

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    1. What good is a memory stick if you forgot where you put it? This guy is a little scary. I hope he doesn't have data on me.

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    2. Hey, he's only doing it in self defense. I guess accidents do happen. Very good narration. Well done William. Also I hope that things are better for you.

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    3. I'm inclined to think a good kicking better than Karma to teach them a lesson ...

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    4. A promise of more to come. I wonder what his plans are for the gang.

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    5. there are plans, for sure, gangs always have plans, don't they and I'm keen to find out what they are...

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    6. This seems to be kicking into high gear. A certain someone has been taking names and looking to kick arse, methinks.

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  8. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry 93

    ‘Yu know im?’ someone asked Atlas.
    Not t' speak to, that evil-voiced, weasel-bitch don’t usually leave ‘em alive.’
    Nigel and Cinereus came closer, ‘you know who did this?’
    Atlas nodded, ‘Wanted t’ save em all but mission cums first, right Nige?
    Not seen nuffin like ‘er in all me journeyin’ She’s a cruel one: No mistake.
    Voice like a snake: Moves like one too. Teeth like daggers.’ Atlas was clearly affected by what he’d seen.
    Nigel rummaged in his tool-belt and offered Atlas the dregs of his cactus-gin flask.
    They listened, in silence, while he told them what he'd seen.

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    1. Not a word of description, but I can see then all so clearly - that's magical dialogue!

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    2. Lots of great stuff in this one. The dialog really kept the tension racked up.

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    3. The dialogue really does paint wonderful pictures of each of the characters. I loved 'Voice like a snake: Moves like one too. Teeth like daggers' as well as Nigel's 'cactus-gin flask.'

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    4. tight writing, vivid dialogue, what more could we ask?

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    5. If we listen in promised silence, can we also be privy to the story? I am simply hanging on by a thread for more.

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  9. I love this, and especially the idea of Cactus Gin. I make my own hooch, Dorset Tea Wine being my most favoured recipe at 13% abv and £2.00 a gallon. I want to make cactus gin now.

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  10. Why not, tequila is from the blue agave plant. Evil-voiced, weasel-bitch is a good line. Another well done story, Terrie.

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  11. Gift [13]

    It was the Abbess herself who climbed aboard, her green eyes sharp as glass beneath her fitted hood. Caeradin affected an air of tranquility that fit him poorly, but it didn’t last. A long look from the priestess returned the sullen look to his face.

    “Disregard the child,” Haera said, ignoring Caeradin’s furious hiss.

    The Twelve, emerging from the hold, took up postures of interest.

    “You journey to the Temperian.” The Abbess held out a slim wooden box. “This will help.”

    “You offer us your dregs?” Caeradin sneered.

    “A deathstone.”

    Dathasha gasped. “I thought they were destroyed!”

    “All but one.”

    Read the previous episodes of The Shepherdess here.

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    1. I realize I used 'look' in the same sentence. I've rewritten it to 'A long stare from the priestess returned the sullen look to his face.' :)

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    2. Love the idea of a deathstone and as Jeffrey said some really vivid imagery here.

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    3. And again, an atmosphere - so different to that Terrie created, of slender, watching, well-spaced suspicion.

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    4. I loved 'took up postures of interest.' You can often tell when someone is interested by their posture, but I've never thought to put it in words before. I'm sure this death stone will come in handy for someone.

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    5. a death stone is always a good thing to bring in... racks up the tension a bit more though you're doing a good job on that already!

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    6. A Deathstone is such an enigmatic addition to this already enigmatic tale. I wonder if it is associated with the obvious or if there is more to this than meets the eye. As always, the visuals are equal to the descriptions and the descriptions are constantly outstanding.

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  12. Green eyes sharp as glass was such a vivid image. I'll make use of the link you provided as well. A intriguing and well done story, Holly.

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  13. Affect, dregs, journey

    Iskaria 8

    Our journey began that night. I emptied myself, her ears becoming an altar for my hopes and dreams. I evoked an affect I never anticipated. That place between love and respect, between desire and reality, we found it. The dregs of our souls were exorcised; I hated arranged marriages. My parents wed for love, yet my father’s testament had been laid on me. Our bonding was set for six months. We returned to my…our estate with a small staff and her mother, Belinda, who was more interested in the lineage of the children and which servants I slept with.

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    1. Love the phrase Her ears becoming an altar for my hopes” A very evocative piece.

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    2. Everyone knows a Belinda. This arranged marriage seems to have potential. We'll have to see about that.

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    3. I agree with William, that line was very beautiful and evocative. An interesting little note about Belinda as well.

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    4. I echo everybody else's admiration at the "ears becoming an altar for...hopes and dreams." Wonderful turn of phrase. I had a doll called Belinda when I was little. My favourite uncle won her for me at the local fair. I called her Belinda Blue Eyes. Unfortunately, I left her too close to the burning fireplace and she exploded!

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  14. Euthanasise the Dregs

    “It was a dreadful journey,” said Alice. “Little Johnny’s engines got frozen. We had to rely on his back up pistons just to get him to walk. We passed through one of depressing Dreg districts. All those filthy people with no enhancements whatsoever.”
    “Appalling,” agreed Monica. “They should be compelled to upgrade. The affect they’re having is a drag on scientific advance.”
    “I was sorely tempted to access my weaponry,” said Alice.
    “Here, here,” said Monica, charging herself from the mains. “I’m all for a bit genocide in the name of progress.”
    Alice’s eyes spun as she reconfigured.

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    1. A cyberpunk feel to this enjoyable story. Genocide in the name of science is such a loaded line and one possibly spoken by others in the past.David, a wonderful entry.

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    2. Love this tale of what I read to be hybrid bionic humans.

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    3. I like the thought that not having any enhancements is appalling. An enjoyable read.

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    4. Fascinating descriptions of enhanced humans (if that's what they are). I especially loved the imagery of 'Alice’s eyes spun as she reconfigured.'

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    5. wonderfully described hybrids, David! what mischief are they going to get up to?

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    6. This was a magnificent example of a science fiction tale involving hybrids and humans...or maybe hybrid humans? Doesn't matter when the story is as entertaining as this one.

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  15. Change of focus [369]

    Long experience had brought Pettinger to view journalists as only one up from the dregs of society, such as those who murdered the unnamed lad in the mortuary. That she was female and attractive affected him not a jot.

    Henry Moth, more susceptible, reported.
    ‘She’s Philly Stepcart, Boss –‘
    ‘”Filly”? Mother hoped for a horse?’
    ‘From Philadelphia –‘
    ‘American?‘
    ‘British. Conceived in Ala┼čehir, once-Greek now-Turkish city.’
    ‘And she knew the victim?’
    ‘Named. She’s investigating how kids who’ve made a cultural journey, a transition, cope – like your Aleks. He’s on her to-be-interviewed list.’
    ‘Over my dead body!’
    A remark instantly regretted.

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    1. For Pettinger to think that he's unaffected by an attractive lady is him being in denial. Good dialogue between them.

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    2. Oo wonder where this might go a frisson or friction

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    3. I'd say Pettinger will be seeing more of this reporter whether he wants to or not. The interview with Aleks should prove interesting.

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    4. I doubt a journalist would be very good for Pettinger. Those last two lines left me waiting for more. :)

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    5. goodies to come, to see where Pettinger goes with the interview for a start.

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    6. Oh my dear Pettinger, why do you find it necessary to voice such dangerous thoughts? So, she was female AND attractive AND Pettinger was unaffected? Not sure I'm swallowing that one completely.

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  16. FOLDS OF LIGHT.

    Time does not affect the pulse and flow or journeying glow
    of flame-speckled suns that illuminate the dark, where star-streamed,
    pearly, dust falls in a curtain across the shadowed bowl of sky.
    Here frosty winds blow dregs of clouds across a startled moon
    and, small flakes of snow float and sparkle in the mysterious dapple-dark.
    Slowly, growing below the dye-dipped shades of flickered air,
    the violet-hue, and glitter-green, of rippled colour dances above the silent earth.

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    1. A lovely imagery filled poem. A requiem on a dead planet. Sad but still enjoyable. Very well done.

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    2. This piece is one of beauty.

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    3. This is so intriguing. You name the earth, so we know where we are in this piece. But there are flame speckled suns, not just one sun, that illuminate the dark. Our sun does more than illuminate the dark, so perhaps that sun exploded and these other suns were formed from the remaining particles. But then, maybe not, just my take.

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    4. jdeegan536@yahoo.com24 March 2020 at 00:02

      I just wrapped myself in the beautiful images you created, Terrie, and reveled in enjoyment.

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    5. Gorgeous descriptions. I loved the play of colored light and darkness.

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    6. lots to think about with this poem, full of fascinating sights as it is.

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    7. This was absolutely beautiful. What a talented plume you do have, Terrie, that composes this magnificent piece and yet also transports us into the underworld adventures of a roll of armadillos...yes, I said "roll." I looked it up!

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  17. Gathering magic - 7

    Batt watched and wondered, if she was so powerful with magic, why she knew nothing of more worldly things.
    Age will affect her knowledge, he thought, that and the idiot dregs of wizardry was so blinded by his own goal he never bothered with anything every day.
    Batt guessed the wizard never intended to tutor those things, or allow her journey to maturity: He would have killed her when he had taken all he wanted.
    If she can be guided in balancing the power within her perhaps there is hope, but
    Whoever mentors her faces an arduously perilous journey.

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    1. A perilous Journey indeed, loved the phrase “idiot dregs of wizardry”’ reminds us that even among peers there are sometimes ones that do not follow conventional manners.

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    2. I wonder how Batt is at mentoring? I suspect he'd better get used to it. I would think successful magic, in the long run, would require a basic knowledge of practical things.

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    3. how much of the arduously perilous journey will we see - looking for more of this serial, please.

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    4. Yes, I am finding this unsettling and want to know more.

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    5. And here is yet another side to your talent. I'm really not sure which genre I best prefer so I think I'll just absorb them all.

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    6. Sounds like Batt will soon find himself with a student. I doubt it will go very well at first. :)

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  18. Batt should be careful, Icarus got too close to the sun and paid for it. Nice narration here Terrie.

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  19. Coming to terms part 1

    She was the centre of my universe, everything I did was for Shelly. Then suddenly she pulled the plug on our relationship. No reason given other than “I can’t do this anymore.” Sitting at my local bar staring into the depths of my sixth pint, surrounded by societies dregs, I sought answers. My mind drifted, focusing on the rising bubbles. I watched as each one took the long journey from the nadir of my glass and snaked their way towards freedom.   No malice in their action just something they were compelled to do. Nothing could affect their direction, I wept.

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    1. A sad story with very identifiable images, William. If it's a true story, my sympathies about what you're going through.

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    2. Hi Jeffrey no real life relationships were harmed during the writing of this piece.

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    3. I think 'maudlin' is the word for this. Well depicted.

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    4. This poor guy is going through it. Since you partially titled this part 1, it appears more will follow. You have set him up nicely for whatever is to come. A damaged man who tales solace in a pint glass can be very dangerous.

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    5. jdeegan536@yahoo.com23 March 2020 at 21:53

      Many a tragic story can be seen in a pint of ale or a bourbon mist. This indeed is a good one, William.

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    6. I'm a non drinker who, when accompanying someone to a pub (not right now, though, they're all closed!) sits looking at the ever rising bubbles, wondering where they originated from and where they will go when they burst... and then you give me this - I won't look at them the same again!

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    7. What a wonderful description of a soul lost in the depths of a depressed state. I love the idea of rising bubbles being compelled to do so.

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    8. Sad but beautifully written. I also loved the phrase 'No malice in their action just something they were compelled to do' in reference to the bubbles.

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  20. Affect, dregs, journey
    Umbrae Calling 3

    “What do you want?”
    “For me, redemption, others to serve our purpose. We’re on a journey from being the dregs of our society and I wish to affect that.”
    “We’re?”
    “Shadows, we were so much more. Humans have a desire to learn, a function of your intelligence. In younger days, you called us guardian angels. Our purpose, to protect your soul. We failed and were condemned to remain tethered to you. Humans could see and hear through us while sleeping, hence dreams. Humans let technology supplant us, losing your desire to be in control.”
    “So?”
    “Want that desire back?”
    ***


    NOTE: I wish to thank all of you for your response to this series. I never thought it would garner what it has and I wish to thank you for your comments and I'm flattered that you've found it so enjoyable.

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    1. I'm not sure I would trust a shadow to protect my soul, assuming I have one. And now that the shadows are making this push for humans to regain control, one has to wonder the motive.

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    2. jdeegan536@yahoo.com23 March 2020 at 21:48

      So, guardian angels failed to protect human souls and were reduced to our shadows. What a marvelous concept, Jeffrey!

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    3. I've always loved the idea of guardian angels, although I'm not sure they actually exist. I once had a visor clip in my car that read: "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."

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    4. Enjoyed this take on angels and what dreams actually mean. I have quite a lot of vivid dreams myself ... :)

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  21. A very chilling piece, that spookily ties into something I’m reading at the moment for my training as a business coach.

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  22. [Threshold 293]

    With startling suddenness a lethargy reminiscent of how, in childhood, I’d been affected after draining the dregs of every sticky glass post my parent’s parties left me. Clearly I’d been drugged at the start of this journey, but had no idea why, since not accepting a lift, a drink, from silent man would’ve condemned me to die.

    Had Raven feared I’d find another salvation? Would refuse? Unlikely.

    Just how unlikely obvious when I spotted him, stood proud atop a roof. Watching our approach.
    Blackness polished to ebony. Enhanced by parrot-vivid silks.
    And a woman. similarly-clad, identically-skinned, close by his side.

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    1. Appearances can be deceiving. I also remember draining glasses at my parents parties when was a wee lad. Could Silent Man be a delivery man? Good tension and descriptions in this Sandra.

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    2. Not exactly the reunion I was hoping for. But if this dark, silk clad woman turns out to be Raven's sister, I'll be okay with it.

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    3. whoo, parrot-vivid silks!! what a wonderful description!

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    4. Very interested in hows this develops and who the woman next to Raven is.

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    5. Ooohhh....ooohhhh....a mystery woman! Related in some way to Raven? I expect so, but how? Seems we must wait to find out...as must our protagonist.

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    6. Loved the description of Raven beside the mystery woman. I'm very curious who she is and what will transpire!

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  23. A Digital Orange Part 5


    Woodsie’s life was a constant journey of sofa surfing around the families of his crew. So to wake at home was unusual thanks to the rotation of men his mum called clients. The dregs of cereal and milk (yesterday’s dinner), spilt on his duvet as he moved. He pretended this lifestyle didn’t affect him, directing his frustration at those more fortunate. That memory stick he found had done the rounds with him, but all they found were stupid games and an encrypted partition they couldn’t get into, despite trying, one more go he thought shoving it into his mums laptop.

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    1. And another well-evoked place of domestic misery.

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    2. jdeegan536@yahoo.com26 March 2020 at 00:37

      What a woeful life for Woodsie... so well-described, William.

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    3. What a treat to have Woodsie surfing your couch. A product of his environment it seems. The memory stick contents are going to be interesting.

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    4. Woodsie better take care, I think. I do believe there might be someone hot on his trail who is in search of that memory stick.

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    5. Very curious if Woodsie is going to manage to get into the encrypted data before its owner arrives.

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  24. Dregs of cereal and milk was a good use of the prompt. Nice continuation, William.

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  25. Situation Vacant

    The deep-rooted hack from Cedric's lungs was affecting his work and the journey through Winter's bitter chill to accomplish obligations took a debilitating toll on his health. Soon, a replacement would be necessary.

    But this profession called for an abundance of strength to be drawn from the dregs of the soul...a soul that suffered with each and every experience. Appointment of a successor would not be easy.

    Dealing with women was the worse.

    Women with pleading eyes that daggered the heart before being covered with a blindfold.

    Women forced to kneel in the straw before the fall of the axe.

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    1. Looks like counselling won't be enough to persuade him otherwise.

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    2. The poor executioner, so for gotten for the pride and attention to detail that Cedric took an d applied to his job.

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    3. jdeegan536@yahoo.com23 March 2020 at 21:43

      For Cedric to be able to look past 'eyes that daggered the heart' (what a great phrase!) says a lot about Cedric - none of it good. But this entry sure is good, Patricia.

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    4. another dark entry, another glimpse into the darkness of some people's lives. Brilliant!

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    5. jdeegan536@yahoo.com26 March 2020 at 00:34

      Something soothingly poignant and comforting about this, Patricia. Superbly written!

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    6. This one has got right under my skin, very chilling indeed.

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    7. Talk about bleakness...
      I too like 'daggered the heart.' very nice writing here, Patricia.

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    8. I imagine it would be hard to find a successor, as those who'd be eager for it should be avoided. I also loved the phrase 'daggered the heart.'

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  26. Alis Volat Propriis

    She was done with dregs of endless medications. They affected her memory and tattered recollections were all she had left. Nothing else brought joy. Her journey had endured beyond its time.

    The photograph of her two brothers when young was heart-wrenching. When did they pass? Such details had faded. But the shadow across the counterpane remained vital. He stood upon the window ledge, hand outstretched.

    "Remember the way?"

    "Of course!"

    "Then why wait?"

    "What about...?"

    "You don't need that any more!"

    She spread her arms.

    "Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning."

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    1. A nice continuation of an old classic and maybe a return to a first love. A well written story, Patricia.

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    2. Thank you for Alis Volat Propriis, and for this affecting tale.

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    3. this is just beautiful, a different look at a sad subject.

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    4. I'm lost for words at the tragic beauty of this piece.

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    5. This has to be my favourite entry this week.

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    6. Great imagination you have there, Patricia. She flies with her own wings. An aged Wendy and Peter, ever so young and vital. Hopefully her destination will work out.

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    7. A sad all too realistic fate. Who would believe in Neverland? I'm glad Wendy gets to return.

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  27. Mr. Wrong

    Light from the hall filtered into the dark room. I could hear her heart pounding as I stood in the doorway, me creating quite an affect I’m sure. Her journey was reaching its end, the dregs of humanity in full pursuit.

    My strength would consume her; perhaps even comfort her at the end. I’d like to think so anyway. I wasn’t completely depraved.

    “Are you ready, Sugar?” I said.

    She said nothing.

    “You shouldn’t have joined eHarmony if you didn’t want to date.”

    I’ll admit it was quite a shock when she rose with a gun in her hand.

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    1. Based on the ending sentence, she did intend to date. A nice mystery, John very good prompt and narration with a spicing of dialogue.

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    2. jdeegan536@yahoo.com23 March 2020 at 21:36

      Not completely depraved? That is questionable. And one depraved individual deserves another, which could be the case here. Very interesting John.

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    3. must be the times we're living through right now, such dark tales, so well told.

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    4. It must be my age but I often get unsolicited emails from E-Harmony and the like, that I have no intention of following through with. If I did I think Mrs D. would be the woman with the gun. Avery chilling tale with great use of the prompts.

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    5. I always knew danger lurked behind the fancy doors of those online dating sites. Interesting twist on who just might be the victim here.

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    6. It does sound like he may not be the hunter in this case.

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  28. Affect, dregs, journey
    The Janus Door VI

    Eight hours later, the sun was close to setting and their walled city had taken shape. Tents, lean-tos, cooking fires, and happy people, all protected within a ditch and wooden walls, celebrating.
    “A new home means a new journey. No dregs or nobles. Your leadership, Vibius, has affected them well.”
    “We’ve over five hundred people with children, Caseo. This new lease on life will be very hard but better than death in Pompeii. You’ve done just as well encouraging them and directing all to help my soldiers.
    “Thank you, brother. My fear is will we be up to their expectations?”

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    1. A splendid tale, Jeffrey. I hope their happiness lasts awhile, but uncertain times are coming. Forgive for not remembering, but are Vibius and Caseo actual brothers?

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    2. Yes, Vibius and Caseo are brothers, Vibius is older.

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    3. And this serialization continues to go from strength to strength. Nicely done, Jeffrey, and some lovely little descriptions of what lies inside a walled city.

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    4. I loved the description of the walled city. I hope they've found a safe home.

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  29. Affect, dregs, journey
    The Council of Canossa 5: The Third Dream

    “I was on top of a hill, watching my empty sedia gestatoria take a journey, carried by the saints Mark, George, Ambrose and Januarius, around seven hills. There was a bridged river they never crossed. In the valley between the seven hills, the dregs of the world were so affected by this, they wailed in lamentation. The French and English kings on one hill. Louis IV and Charles IV on a second. A fair queen and three Doges on the remaining four hills.”
    “Your Holiness.” Said Vincenzo as Albornoz looked about the room. “What would you have of us?”

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    1. This work is as educational as it is well written. I now have Sedia Gestatoria filed away in my memeory banks.

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    2. There was a bridged river we never crossed. A very ominous phrase. If I were them, I'd consider crossing the river.

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    3. My thanks for your comments and following the series. This is an Alternate History to our own, yet close.

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    4. "Alternate History." The very phrase I was searching for. Is there a particular reason for the choice of those precise four saints?

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    5. I'll answer it by saying yes but not giving the reason. With one exception, every character mentioned was a real historical person. Father Vincenzo was a creation but the his position as the Papal Confessor is an historical one.

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    6. I'm also very curious about the bridge they never crossed. I wonder about its significance.

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    7. Yes, there are reasons, both religious and historical. After all it was part of a dream.

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  30. jdeegan536@yahoo.com23 March 2020 at 18:58

    THE SHADOW SERIES: TONIGHT’S PREY

    That persistent need deep in your underconsciousness… the one you’ve buried among the dregs of other prurient cravings... the one that both frightens and arouses you. You felt it stirring today when that attractive woman from down the street strolled by.

    What affects you affects me, thus I too felt that restless desire you’ve managed to control – thus far.

    But I am not subject to your restraints.

    I freed that ambient need and slipped from you into a moonless night that provides concealment in its darkness.

    My journey will be short.

    And though asleep, you know my prey, don’t you.

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    1. Jim, talk about laser targeting. Good tension and prompt use. A macabre feeling to this well done series.

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    2. nasty things creeping up on unsuspecting targets... nice one, Jim!

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    3. I think I'll be sleeping with one eye open from here on in.

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    4. "But I am not subject to your restraints" - chilling indeed.

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    5. What a great concept, the shadow slipping away and doing untold deeds. Imagine watching the news and seeing the results and knowing deep down you are involved.

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    6. Vivid images of how what we perceive in dreams may be more than just dreams. To be honest, I've always suspected as much and often ponder astral projection and the silver cord.

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    7. I've also wondered if there was more to dreams than we think. Very chilling. Sandra picked my favorite line as well. :)

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  31. The Reluctant Hussy

    Patricia’s journey was underway. At the train station, she stepped over the regurgitated alcohol affected dregs of a homeless man’s recent meal. She dodged away before an evangelistic crazy woman was able to grasp her arm.

    On the platform, ticket in hand, Patricia glanced at her watch. For the first time in ages she wore comfortable shoes.

    “There you are,” said Misty, effervescent eyes shining.

    “Are you sure about this?” Patricia said.

    “Not really, are you?” Misty said. “But I’m willing to try.”

    Holding hands, they boarded the train. And the train actually left the station.

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    1. What a nice continuation, the two heading off together. Hopefully a happy ending. Well done with this John, a very well written and enjoyable story.

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    2. jdeegan536@yahoo.com25 March 2020 at 21:48

      Bound for where, on wonders, John? Great opening paragraph, artfully describing a place one doesn't want to be.

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    3. "the regurgitated alcohol affected dregs of a homeless man’s recent meal." I'm both repulsed and in awe. A great continuation and turning point in the tale.

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    4. Heck of a scene-setting, which seriously undermines the apparently promised happy ending.

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    5. I'd take a wild guess that they are not departing from Cripplegate Junction? I do hope you'll allow us to travel along with Misty and Patricia. I'm dying to know what they'll get up to.

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    6. I'm very curious where they're headed and what waits for them there.

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  32. Stop The Week; I Want To Get Off (90)
    Who’d have thought a virus could affect the entire world so fast, with such devastation? I’m sometimes digging into the dregs of the coffee jar to keep going, having to wait on others to shop for me. How can I sustain a level of mental ability while my shop sits; empty, dark, waiting… it sounds dramatic, but - 70+ stay home. So I am, wanting to be out in the sunshine viewing the windows I changed… it’s going to be a long journey, for I will be channelling work from spirit authors, and a journey I may well enjoy – eventually!

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    1. Stay at home shouldn't mean you can't be in your yard enjoying a sunny day. If life imitates art, are we somehow analogous to the Martians? I hope your channeling is a smooth and comfortable time.

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    2. Definately stay at home, I know it is troubling for those that have businesses and want to get on with life. I work from home all year round so nothing has changed for me other than increased background noise, and I can't flounce to the shop for wine when I have a bad day.

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    3. our 'yard' is a courtyard, cement and moss and 6' fences, one uncomfortable bench and nothing to look at but a fresh leaved horse chestnut bonsai. Once upon a time it was crammed with plants and bonsai, slowly it has slid into the sad state of now, no energy, no strength to carry water down 2 flights of stairs in the heat, or clean up the moss after rain. No, I won't be sitting out there, too many reminders of what it once was and how age has crept up on it as it's crept up on me! I'm better off inside, sitting in the sunshine coming through our huge windows, just as the cats are doing. They're the ones to emulate, they're so laid back it's untrue.

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    4. I'm looking at my yard now, through the window. It is in need of a good spring clean-up. You mentioned a journey opportunity... go for it.

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    5. Emulating cats when the sun shines is good. Stay safe Antonia.

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    6. I think it's important to try and stay busy during this time. Anything in which we find pleasure and which occupies the time will work, I think. Pondering on a situation we can do nothing about only brings stress and depression. To quote an old Persian adage: "This Too, Shall Pass." I'm hoping sooner rather than later.

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    7. I definitely have restocked my favorite coffee. I'm grateful I have writing to escape to, though it's become a tad more difficult now that my little ones are home 24/7.

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  33. The Mad Italian (149)
    Still it spreads, like the Plague, affecting this one, that one, seemingly at random. It takes the dregs of society as well as those in high office, your Prince has brushed the edge of the virus, and those who live in small homes and work in even smaller offices where light is unnatural and often sets their eyesight on a journey to destruction. I ask you all now, accept the world, see more of the glories of nature; care for your loved ones. No one knows what the next disaster will be – but there will be one, that’s a guarantee.

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    1. How true his words are. The Plague had gone down but flared up several times during it's reign throughout Europe.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Very wise words from our Italian friend as always.

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    4. Thanks, Leo, for the inspiring words.

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    5. Indeed yes. The human race has weathered this before and will doubtless do so again when this COVID-19 is history. Thank you for that timely reminder, Leonardo.

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    6. I do hope we come out of this better as a society, as there always is another disaster.

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  34. No serializations this week. Been sick with stomach virus....but at least it's not COVID-19. Back tomorrow hopefully with comments. Stay safe everyone.

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    1. Sorry to hear you've been unwell. I wish you a speedy recovery.

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    2. get better soon, Patricia. It's not much fun having anything wrong with you at the best of times, this isn't the best of times for any of us to even get a twinge of something wrong!!

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    3. jdeegan536@yahoo.com26 March 2020 at 15:02

      Chin up, Patricia. Stay home and get well soon.

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    4. Take care of yourself, Patricia. We'll miss your serializations but enjoy them much more when you've recovered.

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    5. Hope stomach settles soon, Patricia.

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    6. Thank you for the good wishes fellow Predictioners. As for staying home, don't really have much choice on that one lately...!!! Be back this afternoon with comments.

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