Friday, 31 December 2010

Lily's Friday Prediction

Today's Prediction comes to you live from the sick bed of Lily Childs (now the back's OK I have a smattering of flu to contend with. How dull.)

Firstly, congratulations to last week's winners and runner-up - William Davoll for Winter Bleak and Michael Solender for The Intended. Well done both.

All change - well, a little bit

Secondly, there's a little change to this last Prediction of 2010. Whoever wins the challenge will get to judge the following week's Prediction - the first of 2011. Hope you'll be up for that? Just a one-off for the moment but let's see how we get on.

So here are this week's words:

  • Keel
  • Fury
  • Clock


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 on Thursday 06 January 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.

And as one year closes and another begins I raise a virtual glass to wish you all a happy, healthy, literary and prosperous 2011. Cheers!


  1. The Day Sadie Left

    Sadie doesn’t like me taking my medication it pisses her off. She doesn’t like it when I’m on an even keel. “Hell hath no fury…” she sings that to get me to stop.

    I’ve not taken it for days now, so she took over today, got me doing… things.
    Fingers... in places...

    Sharp things in soft parts. Fountains.

    “How long will it take you to bleed to death” she taunted, before she left.
    Been watching the clock since then.
    Counting. Nearly have an answer.
    Shame she’s… I’m nothing without her, she told me that.

    I’ll just rest… close my...

  2. Sorry, forgot to say Happy new year Everyone.

  3. WOW!! A very dark and twistedly good story, William. Nice job!

  4. A happy new year to everyone!

    This flight of fancy is dedicated to former acquaintances who were chronically late. They got off easy.

    Killing Time

    I can pinpoint the exact time I had decided to kill him.

    I had been on an even keel most of the day, anticipating his arrival at 7. I watched the clock as the minutes went by. 7:01. 7:05. 7:15. My fury increased exponentially with the passage of time.

    Finally, at 9, he showed up. No apologies. Two hours of my life wasted. Not for the first time… but it WILL be the last.

    Yes, he will pay for his chronic lateness. For precisely two hours, I will make him beg for the sweet release of death.

    He will never keep me waiting again.

  5. Here's mine. Hope you enjoy.


    I stared at the clock, watching the minutes pass by.

    I hate lateness. I could feel the fury growing. My burning heart started to quicken, my skin flushed, tingling up my neck and face before setting my scalp on fire.

    Who were these people that they thought they could keep me waiting? Thinking they were on an even keel with me.

    “Sorry for the delay, boss, he was a fighter.”

    I got to my hoofed feet and ran a hand down my long pointed chin.

    “Go now. He’ll pay dearly for making me wait. Hell waits for nobody.”



  6. William, nice one, with a gut wrenching last line!
    Mimi, wishing ... that we had the chance to do that to everyone who kept us waiting ... like it ...
    David, the thoughts of hell no less on New Year's Eve but oh my, what a lovely little piece of writing! No ideas yet, am busy with crossroad blues at the moment ...

  7. Mimi I love the phrase "I will make him beg for the sweet release of death."

    David I love the idea of someone keeping the devil waiting and getting him a bit pee'd off. I love the line from the minion “Sorry for the delay, boss, he was a fighter.”

  8. Ooh William, The Day Sadie Left is a menacing recounting of torture and abuse. Very nasty - I like that.

    Mimi I had a frisson of fear as I read Killing Time as I am always late, however organised and prepared I am. I will bear your story in mind in future. Thanks for the chill!

    David, yours too felt like a warning. A lovely diabolic write - love the hoofs and long pointed chin.

  9. Time and Memory

    I hated the clock for its endless ticking.
    I was about to keel over by the time Carina arrived, overdue, smiling, wondering what the fuss was about.
    ‘Why so worried?’ All dancing curls and fuss and beauty. I loved her, my dream, my life.
    ‘I thought you’d been in an accident! You’re late.’
    ‘So I am. So sorry.’ But there was a lie there.
    ‘See Jonathan today, did you?’
    ‘No. He’d gone when I arrived.’
    Another lie.
    She forgets, my Carina, that I remember things.
    I know Jonathan stayed home today.
    She will go nowhere ever again.

  10. PS:
    keel - .
    (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Carina.


  11. Such a mystery to Time and Memory, Antonia. Who is the narrator? What is their relationship? Did Jonathan stay home because someone had stopped him going out? I love fiction that makes me ask questions. And I adored the deliberately casual description of "All dancing curls and fuss and beauty."

  12. thank you! That's how it came, with its mysteries. Just completed a vampire story called Transformation (not the transformation you would expect)which came full formed too. I think more than one person is writing horror and things with me at the moment.

  13. Smelling Salts

    Cherry blossoms accompanied the clock waking the Fir Darrig. Fury erupted from the fae. His last memories of fried flesh -- abbott, his favorite -- quashed by flowers and bark. Gross, cinnamon? A dozen god men slaughtered for his millennial slumber.

    Like his too good cousins a box squealed, toothed circle spinning, approaching to cut musty spiderwebs.

    "Who are you?" he yelled.

    "NU-CU-LEE-AR KIT-TEE." Rancid, but sweet like meat.

    "What do you want?"

    "PRO-TEK." The blade struck a beam, spraying pine stench.

    The fae spat lightning at the beast. Forged tongues ate his breast. Blood keeled, sewage splashing the floor.

  14. Aidan I am overwhelmed with the visuals in Smelling Salts. Astounding descriptions. "...toothed circle spinning" is a fabulous use of words.

    I must, however confess I didn't quite understand it all; I'm a bit thick sometimes. But I loved it, even so!

  15. Aidan, the pictures are so vivid - even if, like Lily, I couldn't get the sense of the piece ... but for all that, striking and imaginative and wow!

  16. Theater at Eight

    Racing with a laughing clock is never wise. In this instance, my insouciance inspired the fury of the misuses. Normally an even keel kind of gal, I tempted her good nature with my comment about her makeup.

    “It’s fine love,” I proffered, “We’re going to be late and after all we’ll just be sitting in the dark at the theater.”

    “No, dearest,” she cooed, “You’ll be sitting in the dark – alone.”

  17. William: Nasty love the soft pants

    Mimi: Ha I riffed on late too, but not nearly as viciously as you!

    David: Late also! There is a theme here..

    Antonia: Simply killer closing line

    Aidan: Positively Gothic..

  18. The Two Blokes decided to play this week. To those who are not familiar, one of them thinks he's quite intelligent and witty while the other is quite thick (sometimes), a bit hard of hearing and mishears words. Click HERE to read more/catch up on them.

    The Two Blokes

    “Did you get your clock fixed?”

    “Shh. Don’t tell the whole pub.”


    “About…you know.”

    “I said CLOCK.”

    “Oh…Yes, I got it fixed. Cost me forty quid though.”

    “It’s an heirloom. You can’t put a price on something like that.”

    “Suppose not. Did you watch that Fist of Fury movie yet?”

    “Yes, Bruce Lee’s great. Made me want to keel over and grab my nuts when he kicked one of them between the legs.”

    “Mm. I’m quite partial to a cashew myself.”

    “Bless you.”


    “Nothing, just humouring you.”

    “Was it funny?”

    “Give me strength. Two more beers please, mate.”


  19. William: wow, strong piece. Reminds me a little of the professor in the medical school who poisoned his wife. Except here, I'm left with a little bit of sympathy for Sadie...
    Mimi: amused; I don't have any sympathy for him. Nice opening line.
    David: Abaddon: Nice, I hope to go down as a fighter too ;) Liked the line "scalp on fire." The Two Blokes: cute misdirections; two beers should help them along nicely.
    Antonia: I get a strong sense of jealousy from this piece. The emotion is thick with this one.
    Michael: elegant; I like the subtle twists and miscues right through to the end with the final line. (Had a great image of someone running with a baby-grandfather clock down the hallway.)

  20. Lily & Antonia, I think I may have cut too many words this week (I typically write long and cut). Looking at it I might have cut one or two spots differently and saved a couple of words. My original title was going to be something like "Science vs. Magic", but it didn't have a nice enough ring to it.

    Another helpful clue would be this youtube video.

  21. Michael - a man who says the wrong thing. Surely not. Was Theater at Eight a genuine faux pas? Did the missus give you what for? Tee hee - made me chuckle.

    David - hah! Love these guys. Had a good old dirty laugh at this episode. They really do need their own column or TV show. Great fun, as always.

  22. Back to comment in a bit. For now:

    The courier

    Ink-black water beat furiously at the rowboat's hull. Rain punished his exposed flesh, and Mischa bent over, hauling on the oars, face contorted with effort. The keel rose and fell on the swells of the waves, slapping the water hard enough to bounce him slightly off the seat.

    Onya would wait for him until three o'clock, and no more, lest the King's scouts find her. The package under Mischa's seat must make it to her in time. His sister must take the velvet bag to Vladovich.

    With the head of the Crown Prince in hand, the real tempest would begin.

  23. Wow Chris - I love The Courier's Slavic twist on Shakespeare. The motion in your turbulent waters is so skilfully described I felt I was riding the tide with Mischa. An excellent write.

    Got a couple of my own coming up shortly. One light-hearted, the other...

  24. Here's the first. A light, short little thing...

    Giving It Away

    Don’t cut down a tree to bury me.
    When my time comes to keel over,
    my clock-a-stopped,
    my clogs popped,
    recycled cardboard can carry
    my shell to nourish hungry worms.

    Don’t vent your fury that there’s no priest
    binding me to a judgemental hell.
    My soul will flee,
    my heart, free
    to travel the stars and dance out
    my name on Akashic records.

  25. And here's t'other.

    Of Justice

    When your wife keels forward into her lover’s arms, her death will be avenged at Megeara’s pleasure; her rage a blanket for your jealousy.

    When you commit patricide Tisiphone will fly with wings of blackest leather to mete out your punishment with claws of dread.

    When you poison your sons and daughters with vitriol and lies, take heed. For vengeance in my name is the worst of all: Allecto – like the never-stopping clock, like the tail of my whip – is endless.

    We are Furies, three. Twisted sisters.

  26. love these two pieces, Lily, very twisted indeed!
    Chris, stunning stuff as ever ...
    Michael, this one is great!
    David, you're having a lot of of fun with these two blokes... keep it going!

  27. ...And I'm back. First off - Happy New Year everyone.

    William This is such a gripping and eerily plausible look into the mind of a "cutter". The sadness is palpable, and the writing is tight.

    Antonia Late, and a liar? I'd say she didn't have a chance.

    Aidan I enjoyed the visceral imagery of your words, but having the advantage of reading that it's "Science v. Magic" - it makes a lot of sense. I particularly like the "nuclear kitty"

    David Way to make the old portrait new. One forgets that the image of old Mr. Hoofed Pointybeard is supposed to be threatening. And he is. Well done.

    Mimi Obsession, done right. Love the counting of the minutes.

    All these "lateness" riffs remind me of Fight Club, "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time"

    Michael You are speaking way too convincingly as a man who learned the hard way that there's just some things you don't say to the woman in your life. Loved it.

    David I'm a big fan of the two blokes. There's a simple charm at work here with the chronic misunderstanding that only works because you still get the sense that they're good mates.

    Lily (1)Loved the poetry here: "my heart, free to travel the stars and dance out
    my name on Akashic records" That's a proper way to go, that. :)

    and (2) I was hoping someone would take on "the Furies", and there's no one more capable of capturing the power of the violent feminine than you.

  28. Happy New Year to everyone.

    The Same Air

    Tick. Tick. An imaginary clock; yet these sounds easily bruised the whispers coiling around the shopping mall, as though to stifle. Slow footsteps stalked, creeping in like a heavy, sullen mist.

    A salt stream trickled down his face, stopped him. He blinked, somehow kept frayed nerves at an even keel.

    He felt something stroke his hand and he looked down. A child’s touch.

    He stared, empty. Fury would soon melt and shred skin from bones and darken the hall with crimson ribbons.

    He opened his jacket. Pretty wires.

    Tick. Tick.

    The little girl smiled.

    He smiled back. Pressed the detonator.

  29. Mimi - Very nice indeed. Never EVER keep a woman waiting. Or not more than a few times anyway! :-)

    Antonia - I'm always late. Good job I'm married to a woman who is also late. Good job!

    Aiden - Had to read it a few times to get it. It is indeen a fine little story. Imagery is fantastic.

    Michael - I hope that wasn't written from experience?? Ouch!!

    Chris - Excellent, mate. You could hear the water slapping the sides of the boat, so ggod was the writing. Well done!

    Lily - #1 You KNOW you get me with your poetry. Loved it.
    #2 Twisted Sisters indeed. Loved this one and I'd like to read a lot more about these....please!

    AJ - Great piece, once again. A suicide bomber...or just somone who was pissed off? Loved it!

  30. AJ, this is so dark and very nasty, loved it!

    Thanks for kind words, guys, much much appreciated.

  31. Ally,your ticking clock in The Same Air is terrifying. There is so much here in so few words. We don't know until the end what he is going to do - and neither can we guess whether the little girl is with him (and part of the reason for his actions?) or has simply approached the man. For me what is most frightening is the slight and guilty empathy I feel for him - am I alone in that?


  32. Thank you for the comments. That’s the great thing about flash fiction; it makes the reader imagine what the outcome might be. The ‘bomber’ in this instance is who you want him to be...

    Onto to business.

    William – Loved the dark undertone to this. ‘Sharp things in soft parts. Fountains.’ Excellent stuff.

    Mimi – The suggestion in this piece is so provocative. We don’t know what will happen, but we can imagine...

    David – This made me smile, in an ever so dark way of course!

    Antonia – Another piece that plays so well on suggestion. Who is the narrator and what exactly will happen? This is the beauty of clever fiction. We get to decide.

    Aiden – This is reminiscent of the likes of Clark Ashton Smith; fantasy and horror served up on a juicy platter. Some lovely descriptions here.

    Michael – Stark and to the point; I love her brush off.

    David – This made me titter. Only because they’re so real...I know these at my local pub!

    Chris – This is full with a beautiful descriptive quality and great imagery that conveys so well in so few words. Masterful.

    Lily No 1 – Your poems always have a rhythmic beauty and dark pulse. Love them.

    Lily No 2 – ‘Her rage a blanket for your jealousy’. Simply divine description. A great use of imagery conjured through the narrative that lulls and seduces the reader.

  33. As always, a plethora of great reads!

    William - This was excellent, I read it twice and got two different takes on it. At first I took it that Sadie was a real person, fed up and leaving her ill partner (after possibly years of abusing him). The second time i read it I thought Sadie was in your character’s head and that with suicide this extra personality finally left! Either way, great story, it left me wondering and wanting more!

    Mimi - hmm... lateness drives me nuts too so I could empathise with your character. Well done!

    David - ooh, I didn’t see this twist at all! The voice is good and I liked the pace! The second piece you did was also well done; very witty and all in dialogue (which is a difficult task I think). Well done indeed!

    Antonia - Uh-oh, looks like someone has cottoned on! Well-written, I liked the sound of ‘dancing curls’!

    Aidan - Excellent piece. It made me ponder. It was like viewing a piece of fine art that you don’t quite get at first until you stand back , squint and just ‘feel’ it! You said that perhaps you’d cut too much out - I’m not so sure, I quite liked the poetic sound of it. Left me chewing.

    Michael - Ha! That got him didn’t it? It made me laugh, well-written and a good pace.

    Chris - I was pulled in right off with ‘ink black water beat furiously...’ I really liked the sound of this piece and the head of a Crown Prince in a velvet bag...perfect!

    Lily - Giving it away - I love the sound of this and laughed at ‘my clock-a-stopped, my clogs popped’ and I admire the pragmatic voice here. Of Justice - I love the sound of this one as well. Two very different tones; excellent! I especially like the closing ‘We are Furies, three...’ Good stuff!

    AJ - What a horrific image with the little girl! Very sad but excellently written. Well done! And I agree with your comment on flash, it leaves so much more open to the imagination doesn’t it? And it’s fun! :0)

    Right, now....fury, keel, clock, ...I need a cup of tea and my thinking cap and I shall be back!

  34. Chris: I like the details of swells slapping him off the seat; there is a lot here and it intrigues the imagination. I want to know more.

    Lily: Giving, I like the closing lines which echo the clogs slightly and have a nice light feel with the clogs/clock lines. Justice, love the short snippets of the furies and the way you tie this into a coherent whole with the man's story on jealousy and where it leads him.

    AJ: heart-wrenching. I find it sad the way it makes me feel for the two and how they seem to connect just before the end. I feel sad for him; but not sure that I empathize with his actions.

  35. And I'm back with my offerings for this week... :0)

    Off Keel

    Black sand scorches her bare feet while waves and wind roar and whisper like taunting laughter as she races towards the water’s edge.

    She’d waited hours, twisting her ring, eyes glued to the pool-bar clock.

    Finally she’d returned to their room and there it happened, the ultimate catch.

    The red-faced chambermaid, his stammering, shrieks of second chances melted together with the heat of Hawaii and for a spell she was thrown off keel.

    Fury now subdued she arcs her arm, flinging the object into the ocean. Again she toys with her ring, wondering how she will dispose of the bodies.


    Last Dive

    Keep your eye on the clock. Clive remembered the words of their chief as he checked his oxygen tank’s gauge. Frustrated he motioned to his partner, even though the investigation was progressing well, they’d have to finish tomorrow.

    But Tom, ignoring him, beckoned towards the sunken vessel’s keel; he’d obviously found something significant.

    Holding out his arm he tapped his wrist; they’d need to be quick.

    Moments later he felt something heave against his back and, grappling to reposition his gear, he saw Tom’s fury.

    Lungs filling with water, Clive realised his promotion had come between them after all.

  36. Susan, I love the opening line to Off Keel. It rises and falls and I even hear the frothing sound of spume as it hits the beach. I'm intrigued to know how she killed them - was it with the ring?

    Ooh, I felt my own lungs fill with fear with Last Dive. Nasty.

  37. Here to play =)

    ”It´s to keep me on an even keel,” she states, pronouncing every syllable distinctly, and tosses the jar of medicine into the fire.

    He burns himself rescuing it.

    She dances, paints, writes in a frenzy.

    He cries, begs and finally screams in fury: ”You´re not bloody van Gogh!”

    ”When the clock stops,” she replies insanely, ”it´s like death. The very definition of death; stillness, end of change.”

    ”Please, try,” he pleads, ”I love you!” He reaches for her but she pulls away.

    ”Tick, tack,” she says and her smile´s genuine for once. The she swallows her medicine. All of it.

  38. Susan, there is a lovely inevitability about Last Dive, so clearly defined there is no other way it could have gone and yet, having gone there, we are sad for him. Clever writing.
    Your first piece is beautifully done.

    Asuqi, lots of layers here to think through. What an ending!

  39. Back from the holiday rush and bustle, and finally a few minutes to bang out a story. As soon as I saw the word "keel", I heard a voice stretching out the word, and meaning something very different from the spine of a ship. The rest just got filled in around that voice. . .

    Distant clock's chime marked the hour; the ancient panel slid open. Watery light from the doorway seemed to take a moment before entering the room; afraid of what it would find, perhaps? But the figure on the table was securely shackled, not that it had any strength remaining to test its bonds, or protest its bondage.

    A rattling breath, and crudely formed words. "Lehhht meee keel eeeet. . ."

    I looked to the other occupant, staring out from his cage with fury barely controlled. And smiled. "No, no. The same as ever. I will kill it. Then you will eat."

  40. Asuqi I love the madness in your piece. The dance, the frenetic pouring out of creativity until she can take no more of the impending stillness. Dark and wonderful.

    Welcome back Bill. A cheeky use of the word keel, but it works. This has an ancient Chainsaw Massacre feel to it - eternal fear. A disturbing and enjoyable write.

  41. Either I'm very ill or someone has nicked my touch. I've got an entry here, that's in no way good enough for this. Will post it later though.

  42. Bill, that is one hell of a story.
    Pixie, mine wasn't up to par this time either, but enter it anyway, it's good to know you've at least posted something. Waiting to see what you don't think is good enough ...

  43. Here it is...


    ‘How much does a life cost?’ he spat at me in fury.

    My eyes focused on the barrel of the 22 calibre rifle in front of me; sweat chilling my spine as it trickled down my back.

    My mouth spluttered for an answer, my legs beginning to buckle.

    ‘Answer the question!’ He flicked off the safety catch.

    I shook my head; fumbled with the gold object in my hand. ‘I-I-I...’

    ‘There is no price!’ He fired the gun.

    I keeled over, felt my life ebb away into the darkness.

    I only stole his priceless golden clock. He stole my life.

  44. Interesting perspective Pixie - the thief versus his victim, becoming the victim in turn. Very clever and a great pace all the way through.

  45. Right. Stop writing... now!

    No more entries tonight thank you. I'll be back very soon with the results.

  46. Susan: Off keel, loved the black sand scorching which took me to hawaii immediately and liked the combination of image with that; Last Dive, the matter-of-factness of the ending chilled me, nice complete tale.
    Asuqi: love this tale of madness; there is so much embedded in this piece.
    Bill: I like the image of watery light and the twist on keel.
    Pixie: enjoyed the playing on stolen... life vs. clock.

  47. Pix, great story! beautifully structured, carrying us through to that last line.


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.