Friday, 24 December 2010

Lily's Friday Prediction

I've been scouting around matey bloggers' bloggety blogs to find everyone has already sent out their festive greetings messages. Have I slept 48 hours and woken up on Boxing Day? I bleedin' hope not because I wanted to see little un's face when she opened her presents. No? Fortunately it still seems to be the morning of Christmas Eve and everyone apart from me is simply being organised.

Congratulations to Aidan Fritz for winning last week's Friday Prediction with his stark elven chiller Mörkt Alven and to runner-up William Davoll for the frank and disturbing The Lie.

Time to lay my hands on the old book... This week's three words are:

  • Priory
  • Gold
  • Shift
Hmmn; that combination evokes something dark in in my gut. What does it do for you?


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have all week until 9pm UK time Thursday 30 December to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday or Friday. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

So be inspired, and in the meantime eat, drink and be merry to your heart's content. Have a good one.


  1. Merry Christmas, Lily!

    Thanks for running your weekly challenge! As I'm off to mull some wine, I'll also mull over your predictions for this week!! :-)

  2. Hi, Lily. Here’s my effort for this week…

    Christmas In The Asylum.

    The Priory is a residential home for celebrities. They come here to mend their fucked up minds. Most never did.

    I hated the night shift, though. Twelve hours of insanity. The droning noise of the residents: the moans and screams. They drove me mad. Almost made me think I was one of them.

    I was gazing through the window when I saw it. A burst of gold, silver, red and green flashed past.

    “It can’t be!” I looked closer, my nose pressed hard against the glass. “It is. It’s Santa!”

    “George,” a nurse behind me said, “time for your medication.”


    Dedicated (a tiny bit) to the crazier than crazy George Michael, who doesn’t seem to learn after he fucks up!! Hahaha!! I’m losing my mind!! Too much red wine already!!


  3. The Intended

    Your purity need be the gold standard, this must never shift. The blood coursing through your veins carries the marker and saving it for the intended is your only priority. Waver not, centuries of genetic manipulation has resulted in you being the vessel of deliverance. Fast for a fortnight; it will concentrate your “gift.” The intended awaits you, knowing not what is to befall her. Be swift and certain. Humanity depends upon it.

  4. The Priory

    The ancient chapel predates the adjacent priory, and houses a solid gold statue of the Virgin Mary. The monks take no measures to protect it from theft; I have been watching.

    Tonight, I make my move.

    I make my way into the chapel silently in the dead of night, and am unimpeded. As my hand closes around the statue, I feel the stone floor shift. Slowly, I am being sucked down through the solid stone and into the ground as easily as if it were quicksand, passing the remains of others who have made this attempt on my way down.

  5. The Governor's Daughter

    Blood clots the ropes tying Esmeralda to the bed frame. Over twigs scraping the priory, hooves announce her father's latest bounty hunter. Greed fails to make them good. They never check the prior's attic.

    Hours whuffle past. Her mind returns to the man with carnelian eyes and bruises he left beneath her shift.

    A tap at the doorknob, kicks her heart. Calm, only the prior knocks.

    They enter. A bearded man hands gold to the prior. The prior shakes while untying her. Hope blooms.

    Flaying knives flicker from beneath the bearded man's cloak. No, just a surgeon, she tells herself.

  6. wow, you guys have been busy! My thoughts have hardly kicked in yet!
    David, love the humour in that last line!
    Michael, solemn stuff that feels as if it could lead to much, much more
    Mimi, lovely horror overtones here
    Aidan, another nasty for a poor heroine ...
    enjoyed them very much this Christmas night, thanks for a good read.

    Merry wishes to you all.

  7. Treasure Hunt

    It’s like, see, this old ruin, spooky place in the dark. Someone said it was a priory, right, like I know what one of them is. Who cares what it was, it’s got gold buried there, so the talk goes. And I want some of it. So I might have to shift a few stones, a bit of earth, worth it, innit? Worth it to get my grubby mitts on treasure. Ha ha!
    They said there’s a guardian – don’t believe it, but if there is – so what? I ain’t afraid of nothing, me.
    What’s that? Damn. They was...

  8. So far, these entries are excellent!
    David, this is crazy good. I'm pulled in, and then there's that beaut of an ending that just throws me for a laughterous loop. Nice one!
    Michael, I see a blockbuster hit..."Waver not, centuries of genetic manipulation has resulted in you being the vessel of deliverance." That's the coolest sci-fi out there.
    Mimi, another great movie, one that all Dan Brown fans would love, which is just shy of 2 billion. You have great plot and suspense in here, always at the top of my "good writing" list.
    AidanF, great suspense, love the narrative in this, the subtle backstory in your descriptions are perfect. Fine penning!
    Antonia, love the voice in this one, convincing, yet the reader know that trouble is around the corner, and you played off that well, with the hints of warning and caution about dark places, moving stones, "or so the talk goes", treasure, etc.

    Well done, everyone.

  9. Merry Christmas everyone, a bit of a joke entry this one I will come back with a proper one later in the week when I can shut out the happy feelings.

    Yo Mother

    A shaft of gold sunlight told me it was time to blow this priory apart. “Yo Mother Superior” I roused her from sleep “We’ve gotta shift ourselves” We readied our AK47’s, and kicked open the door of the sacristy, unleashing a hailstorm of bullets as we went. We took those bastard Friars by surprise. Her habit made her a sitting duck, but agility gave her the edge. “Grenade” she shouted but it was too late.

    There was a white light then “Bill… Bill… Bill!! I told you to leave the Stilton and Port alone last night you’ve been dreaming again”

  10. Hope everyone's having a good break. I am over-stuffed, over-tired and near-prostrate after hurting my back but hey, all part of having a week off.

    So, what do we have here, little girl... I ask myself.

    David, bless George Michael, silly old soul. There's no hope now. I do like Christmas in the Asylum, cleverly twisted to read as though narrated by a staff member, not potty Mr Michael.

    Michael, what a voice! A terrifying message dealt with dread.

    Mimi, this is so exciting. I am desperate to know - not just what happens next, but who the watcher is.

    Aidan, the menace in your final line made me shudder. A first-class piece of fantasy, Grimm-style.

    Eek - I'll be back later - my battery's gone!

  11. I have now bathed in rosemary oil (not just rosemary oil - too expensive and somewhat dangerous), had an ibuprofen gel spine massage, got me black on and sprayed myself liberally with Stella (McCartney perfume - not Stella Artois - because that would be stupid and sticky.)

    The drugs have kicked in, the battery's charging and I'm momentarily comfortable so I'm back to finish what I started. Maybe then I can write an entry myself - as well as submit my 5x5 to Angel Zapata.

    Stop rambling woman and get on with it:

    Antonia, ...right? Hoodies in graveyards a-seeking booty and getting come-uppance. What great japes. :)

    Merry Christmas to you too William. Yo, Mother is brilliantly humorous on so many levels. Loved the line "Her habit made her a sitting duck."

  12. thanks for kind comments, everyone. I wrote this from one angle, looked at it and thought, nah, too predictable, try again, wrote another, kicked that out, then this emerged full blown. It had to be the one I submitted.
    William, LOVE the humour in this one! Great images and a lovely last line!
    Lily, get that back better soon, nothing worse than crippling backache. My current author suffered from it all his life, he knows well the agony of spinal pain.

  13. Michael - A great, dark piece of writing.

    Mimi - Erin and Lily said it before me. More please. Well done.

    Aiden - Like a lamb to the slaughter. Great piece of usual!!

    Antonia - Loved this one. The dialect gives a face to the voice. Great ending.

    William - A dream? That'd make a great movie scene. Well done.

    Lily - Being over stuffed is all part of Christmas. I've been grazing for 3 1/2 days now. I'll need a stairlift just to get me to bed tonight. LOL!! Hope your back is better soon. Enjoy the rest of your time off!

  14. Cheers Antonia and David. Determined to be up a.s.a.p. - will decorate the walking stick with goth tatters.

    Here's my entry, it's a bit raw...

    Unholy Worship

    I had to shift to unwedge the rod of gold. I tell you – it’s a cold metal to carry rammed tight inside your sphincter. The lads at the priory are used to it – carrots, candles... digits dallying in each others’ orifices – but this was new to me.

    He made me do it in front of him; his trembling cassock belied his pleasure at what should have been a simple delivery. Appalled, I turned my back on His Holiness, ignored his grunts and focussed on straining.

    Finally the costly treasure shot into his hands.

    Shuddering, he sighed.

    “Thank you, Mother Superior.”

  15. whoo Lily, that was a bleak one! Unexpected too! Does that reflect your mood from having a bad back??

  16. Bleak Antonia? It made me laugh my unfettered arse off!

  17. Congrats to teh winners! I hnstly wrked on one last week, Lily. Two huors in and I stll cuoldn't get a complete story under 100 wrds- yikes! Plus, my letters are rearranging themselves agian. I hope yuo aer having a plaesant holidays. ;-)

  18. Lily - HAHAHA!! (That's really loud laughing!! Just scared the kids with that outburst) The ending was a cracker!!

  19. clear example of how words can translate differently to different minds!

  20. William, you've inspired me with a fun write. Yo Mother is a great title to the catchy ending of your story.

    Holy Sh*t, Lily! You've got the gusto in Unholy Worship. This is unbelievably good: "...his trembling cassock belied his pleasure at what should have been a simple delivery."

    Now for mine:



    There’s no better time to shift your lousy attitude. You’re like Eeyore, dateless at the prom. The negative graffiti in your spiritual priory could decorate the Bronx, and whatever visions you have of becoming a writer you might as well flush with the waste of your pathetic excuses. It’s not about taking home the gold, it’s about the game, and you’d better get your ass back in it! Also, don’t forget that your other twin has a heart and call your damn mother.


    To say that you’re “crabby” is a fucking understatement. What you need is a good…

  21. Aw Jodi - no worries. You've got all week, but I know what it's like. So much desire, so little time.

    Cheers David but sorry for making you frighten your kids!

    Erin - thank you, my lovely. As for Free Horoscopes, I loved this - me being a Gemini 'n' all. It was an (hopefully) unwitting kick up the arse - there should be no excuses. I do, however speak to my Mum every single day. Good fun and a great read. Plus, very good advice to more than one Cancerian I know. :)

  22. Erin, like it ... how about a complete story for all Zodiac signs, could be good ...

  23. Wow - I'm coming in way late this time - so much good happening here! Lily - rest that back. I know from bitter experience what that's like (having to crawl into an ambulance on all fours was a particular treat.)

    David - loved the manic mirth, and the twist at the end was worth a chuckle.

    Michael - I second the other comments - this is a truly captivating sci-fi scenario, and we all need more

    Mimi - Love the thievery and the supernatural come-uppance. Tricky damned monks!

    Aidan - Don't your heroines ever get to win??? So captivating, yet so tragic. Well written as always.

    Antonia Short and not-so-sweet. Love the clipped off ending, and the bravado of the narration.

    William That was a lot of fun. The imagery is fantastic, and made me smile. A nun with an AK47 - heh.

    Lily - so the old bird had a stick up her arse, eh? This was so clever and full of your inimitable goofy-grotesquerie. Loved it. (Oh - and spraying down with Stella Artois "would be sticky and stupid" had me grinning for the better part of an hour."

    Erin I second Lily's comment (and I'm also a Gemini(!!) Sometimes a good kick in the ass is all it takes to get moving again. You've got the knack down for penning a believable horoscope, but your charming irreverence made it awesome. Like Antonia says - go once around the clock - it'd be a great little piece!

  24. Here's my go. As I said last week, Diana's moving on to her own, longer work. (FYI - if anyone has a fave fantasy 'zine that takes that sort of thing, let me know!)

    Okay - enough damned talk:

    Beneath the Tombstone of St. Selabon

    "Why'd you stop? Shift that dirt, lacky," laughed Peters, flicking his cigarette into the grave.

    "Quit it, you arse" shouted Morton. "I want to get out. It's wrong."

    "At what point, while digging up His Worship there, did that dawn on you?"

    "It's just... We done it before an' all, but never a Priory."

    Peters snapped, "Quit whining. This is where the gold is. Blame St. Squitterbum."

    "Actually, it's Selabon, you ghoul" said a voice from behind them.

    Two pistol shots rang out.

    After that, nothing disturbed the cool night air but the soft sound of falling soil.

  25. Erin - A horoscope for us all...complete with a kick up the arse. Great work!

    Chris - Loved it, mate. You can't beat a good grave-robber story.....and in 100 words or less! Well done, Chris!

  26. Chris, great one! love that last line!

  27. Thanks for the (prostrate) support Chris. How it's crawled from lumber area to my shoulder-blade I'll never know but a few glasses of South American Chardonnay at the pub eased the pain (such a martyr) - for this evening at least.

    Beneath the Tombstone of St. Selabon is a hoot, with a terrific last line. Totally enjoyable. I'm loving the humour this week! Is it because we're all a wee bit more relaxed?

  28. Chris - (Gems rock) love cemetery stories, and the quirky dialogue between your two characters works great in the atmosphere, not to mention that killer last line- falling soil, the last to hear- perfect.

    I think you're right, Lily- we must all be a bit more relaxed, and Chardonnay doesn't hurt...unless you wake up with two empty bottles.

  29. Hello and Season's Greetings all!

    I came up with two ideas this week and couldn't decide which to go with so ... here's two snippets. Not sure why women disguised as monks came to mind but here you go, let me know which you prefer! Enjoy. :0)

    Buried Treasure

    Bright moonlight illuminated the orchard path as a young woman scurried away from the priory. Moving with haste she pulled the monk’s habit over her head and tossed it to the ground. She’d retrieve it later when she needed to shift back into her disguise.

    Her feet skipped through leaves and loamy soil as she clutched the worn map to her chest. Excited to have finally found what she’d schemed for, she hadn’t noticed the monk watching her as she’d stolen it from the library’s archives.

    He followed her now; lurking, spade in hand, waiting to thwart her gold quest.

    Monks’ Mistress

    With a furtive glance over her shoulder the woman reached under her monk’s habit and pulled out a roll of crinkled banknotes. She handed it to the man leaning against the stone wall and placed a finger to her lips, hoping to keep any noise to a minimum.

    Smirking, he grabbed the money before belting her with the back of his hand. Caught off-guard she gasped and cupped her cheek, blood trickled from her lip.

    “Go, start your next shift.” He snarled through laughter, shoving her. Having his girl in a priory was proving to be a gold mine.

  30. Susan May, love both of them, no choosing between them. No wonder you couldn't decide.

  31. I had hoped to introduce West Mercia's finest detective but a modest chap that he is he gave way to a louder older voice that insisted their story be told. I personally blame the fine lurgshall mead we imbibed last night.

    Her Beauty took mine eyes

    All along the Priory Row,
    came a horse with naked cargo.
    Not ain a shift did she wear,
    to cover up she used her hair.
    All shutters by order were closed tight,
    to stop folk gawping at the sight.
    One tailor, who had thrills to seek,
    took a rather lustful peek.
    Such beauty and a sinful sight did set poor Tom’s eyes alight.
    Now that Tom is fully blind,
    he carries the vision within his mind.
    Leofric’s blood is running cold;
    he will not get more peoples gold.
    The towns folk of the coffers tree,
    celebrate Godgifu’s lack of modesty.

  32. Winter Bleak

    Cracked and bloodied feet left an inanimate trail on the snow-laden cobbles behind her. Mary followed by the pervasive spirit of a waif, stumbled towards the Priory.
    Beneath her shift, was a stomach swollen from a lie.

    She did not seek gold for services rendered, she wanted the one they called Gabriel, and his promises to be kept.

    Turned away by his brethren, she lay under a tree, and there in the snow on that bitter night, she gave her gift. The world was silent now; like shadows. The waif cradled her soul, and delivered them both to their maker.

  33. Susan, Buried Treasure has a black and white, 1950's movie feel to it. Monk's Mistress made me laugh; interesting concept which could easily be expanded upon.

    Both good reads, but out of the two I think Monk's Mistress just clinches it for me.

  34. William, Her Beauty Took Mine Eyes is a beautiful telling of the legend of the Saxon Lady Godiva and old Peeping Tom. I've gone all Pre-Raphaelite. Loved it!

    Winter Bleak is a really clever, highly visual depiction of the "virgin" birth. I see you also conjured up a couple of previous Prediction words with inanimate and waif. A very well-crafted piece.

  35. Thanks Lily, I started winter bleak last week as a Victorian workhouse number, but couldn't get the right finish to it. I picked it up this morning and it all just kinda came together.

  36. Susan May - Loved them both. They were full of atmosphere and both were dark tales. Buried Treasure has my vote!

    William - Another pair of fantastic pieces of writing. Loved them. Both were full of great imagery and well written. Well done!

  37. Hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas. Writing has taken a back seat this last week or so. Can't think why...

    Of Separation

    Footsteps echoed along the stone floor.
    Whispers of the dead circled the lofty chamber of God, dissipated through the beams of light filtering through the stained glass windows.

    Shadows shimmered.

    Flames licked at the Priory entrance; raspy breath oozing into the umbra. A figure approached.

    The monk stood by the altar; hands tight around the chest of gold, dared not shift, even as the soldier loomed. He saw the glint of steel. Fear began to dissolve his veins.

    He heard the slice through muscle and gristle...then the thud of his head against the stone.

    And he watched his body fall.

  38. Thanks everyone for your kind comments, another week of brilliant pieces from everyone.
    David I loved it, poor old George
    Michael Powerful Stuff, sounds like the prelude to a brilliant Saga.
    Mimi You gave me the creeps, I loved it
    Aidan I Loved the descriptions in this piece, very visual.
    Antonia I too loved the voice in this piece
    Lily God moves in mysterious ways, and now we know why his servants do too.
    Erin Loved the Phrase "you're like Eeyore dateless at the prom"
    Chris A well crafted piece, I could feel and smell the soil at the end.
    Susan May Loved both pieces really can't choose between them, both are brilliant.

  39. Pure AJ, and right up my street. Poetic horror and a parade of atmospheric description. I really enjoyed the sounds of "... raspy breath oozing into the umbra."

  40. AJ I always love your work, I can't get those images out of head, brilliant

  41. David: There's such a thing as too much red wine? I have something to strive towards. I like the way the story leaves open whether he's one of the residents or workers.

    Michael: like how this feels like a prophecy.

    Mimi: Ah, the camouflage hides the carnivorous priory.

    Antonia: cute; love the voice you and how that voice reinforces my belief in their naiveté as they go into the ruin.

    William: Yo Mother, enjoyed the action sequence and the specificity of Stilton in the twist ending. Her Beauty Took My Eyes, amusing poem; liked the lines with alight and then going blind. Winter Bleak, sad tale seems to whisper of suicide at the end. I liked how you grabbed some words from previous weeks.

    Lily: I never expected to have an image of someone "shitting" gold. Not sure I want this image in my head. Interestingly, I thought it was a he initially; and had to re-adjust my thoughts at the end.

    Erin: love the attitude in the free horoscopes and the way you take images like the graffiti and mix it with the priory in ways I hadn't considered.

    Chris: I enjoy how you manage to get so much into your dialogue to move the piece along.

    Susan: Buried Treasure, love the orchard path mixed with priory; this gives me a very vivid picture of a Mediterranean setting for some reason. Monks Mistress, the violence in this piece is abrupt and surprising. I like that effect. (I liked both; forced to pick I'd go for Buried Treasure).

    AJ: lovely images; shadows shimmering brings an otherworldly cast to the tale for me that through the next lines turns demonic.

    Lily, sorry to hear about your back. I hope it is doing better now!

    Chris, I don't intentionally make the heroines lose; but I did have a guiding principle: "out of the frying pan and into the pot" when I thought about this one. (Actually, I think most of my protagonists in the predictions "lose").

  42. Susan: 1) I love the ending. It's just a perfect amount of tension to go out on. 2) I actually like this one a little better - the concept is fresh, and you've pulled it off nicely.

    William: 1) Love the imagery - a sick part of me wonders if it was worth the look regardless. You balanced story with rhyme very well. 2) Dark and sombre take on the Nativity. I was captivated.

    AJ - perfect title. You've captured a spirit of desperate inevitability here - wonderful!

    Aidan - There's a famous quote by Terry Pratchett, "Writing is chasing your protagonist up a tree, and then proceeding to throw rocks at him." (that's more-or-less it) It's something I struggle with in my longer work, but you've nailed it!

  43. William, that is so stark and cold and real.
    AJ, that is one surreal image beautifully expressed. As always.
    Odd visions are bothering me - I think I am slowly clearing them by writing them out ... the latest was a black unnamed building and the need for 'no witnesses' when the drunk goes to find out what it is.
    The reason I am telling you this, boring you all to death, is that the stories seem to be coming with the same dispassionate almost indifferent 'voice' as some of these pieces. I wonder what that says about me??

  44. I'm afraid Lily if I can't get some inspiration in the next hour, I won't pluck anything no entry from me this week I'm're words have appeared to stump me...


  45. AJ - Another fine write. I was there just with the descriptive words in the fisrt 3 lines. Well done!

  46. Not a problem Pixie, hang around anyway. Hoping to get the results out pronto this evening!

  47. Crime won't pay

    “What are we doing in the old priory ruins, Joe?”
    “Trying to shift all that gold is impossible. Nobody will touch ingots.”
    “And …?”
    "We can store it in a casket in the crypt. Nobody will ever look to see what’s in there."
    The heavy iron gate screeched open and Joe dragged the holdall down the steps. At the bottom he stopped, surprised to find the room lit by flickering torches. A vaporous, almost human shape formed in front of him.
    “So, you expect us to cover for your crime …?” The sonorous voice rumbled through the crypt.

  48. Ooh - a last minute Scratch! A lovely vignette - who and what is this almost human shape? There's nothing like a crypt to tickle the tendrils of your soul.

  49. Okay, so I managed to come up with something...


    ‘Hurry up Andy and shift this bulk into the van!’ Stevie spat, shoving the large crates of stolen gold into the blacked out van.

    Andy struggled, beads of salty sweat running down his face and neck, chilling him. He looked up helplessly. ‘I can’t’s too heavy...’

    Stevie growled, glanced at Andy. ‘Keep shiftin’, I need to make a call...’

    He moved around to the back of Andy, pulled out his revolver, fired.

    Andy jolted, blood spraying onto the gold from his wound.

    ‘Ya should have stayed in the Priory...’ Steve whispered as he heard police sirens. ‘Ya too weak...’


  50. Ha, love it Pixie! We're watching a rerun of The Sweeney at the moment (sorry - young people and non-Brits won't know it) and your tale is exactly the "Cor blimey, strike a light guv, less 'ave the bastards and sneak in a snifter of whisky and a fag as we jump in the mo-ah"

    Noir on The Feardom - good times. :)

  51. Haha! I know the Sweeney, Lily, my dad watched one a while ago, so I'm familiar. It just kind of came to me...glad you liked :)

  52. The Prediction Shop is now shut, and judging is under way... No more entries please, unless you are prepared to pay. :)

  53. Scratchy - Nice job!

    Pixie - A good rush job. Well done.

    Another fine week, Lily. A lot of gold thieves! Well done all!


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.