Sunday, 30 January 2011

Author Listing - February Femmes Fatales

After re-reading all the entries from my invited guest writers I am very excited to now announce the authors who are taking part in the inaugural February Femmes Fatales.

  • Susan May James
  • Asuqi
  • Marissa Farrar
  • Lily Childs
  • R.S. Bohn
  • Lou Treleaven
  • A.J. Humpage
  • Laurita Miller
  • Sue Harding
  • Pixie J. King
  • Erin Cole
  • Jodi MacArthur
  • Dorothy Davies (Antonia Woodville)
  • Ellie Garratt
I received twenty-four exceptional pieces of fiction and poetry, all of which easily 'made the grade'. I have added four previously-unpublished works of my own to complete the 28 days. I feel privileged to be in such divine company.

I can't wait for the 1st Feb to post the first, delicious story from a fabulous Femme Fatale.

Don't forget to come back! You are in for some very dark pleasure indeed.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

We have a cold January sun lighting up the roofs in Sussex this morning. I have the day off so may even get something written for the Prediction the same day it goes out, for once.

Congratulations to Aidan Fritz for winning last week's challenge with his amazing Mount Tamalpais. Loved it.

I am reaching for the book from which to pluck today's words... Grunt and groan - jeez it's heavy. Now, let's see. OK. No, really? Alright then.

This week's words are:

  • Temper
  • Gouge
  • Milk
Should be interesting.


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 3rd February 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.

Don't believe it! Got something nasty formulating already! Good luck all.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Prediction Winner

Some deliriously dark, even humorous entries this week. Isn't it interesting how different people in different countries across the world catch the same mood?

Let's see what the hounds dragged in:
Cretan Bee Pendant
  • Pixie came in first past the post with The Hunger. A sneaky seduction with a reward of blood.
  • Mimi's Circe dragged us under the pulling tide with her heroine's tentacled hair.
  • Aidan's players at Mount Tamalpais set the scene of ancient rites beneath the Druid Oak King.
  • My cavernous tale of plumetting prisoners in Oubliette had some of you believing Beatrice was a spider. Just because I said 'web'? She's as human as they get. :)
  • Rebecca (R.S.) gave Death and Moira back to us for another outing with just seconds to spare in The Horse's Mane. And then her girls made the boys leap over bulls in my favourite place in Ode to a Greek Goddess. See my note against David, below.
  • Chris's Milton and Blackwood raised their naturally suspicious heads again in Silk as we welcomed them back with this bloodbath.
  • Melenka teases and hurts with dancing imagery in her poetic sacrifice Recompense.
  • Kittylefish's Sapphire sparkles with a fairy-tale quality laced with an ethereal edge. 
  • William roared us back and forth through time from what was, to what will be yet remaining in the here and now in Hide and Seek.
  • AJ's Song of Silence raged with tragedy, screaming with no words. Terrifying memories of worthless war.
  • Antonia's true Nightmare spiralled us down, bone by bone. A familiar dream, I'm sure - to so many.
  • David's numbnut thieves chose the wrong shopkeeper, a man whose spiritual magic threw a curse more powerful than a gun in Wrath.
  • Asuqi plunges in with her bald, avenging bride, eating the guests and making a splendid mess in Till Death Us Depart.
  • As an aside, David your piece came after Rebecca's Ode. A spiritual guardian of Knossos and of Crete is the Cretan Bee - see the pendant image (I wear this in silver). The first time I went to Knossos I was stung by a bee on the way there. When there, I wandered into a passageway (which is no longer open to the public). A small swarm of bees was hovering in the centre. One of them flew towards me and hovered in my face, not threatening, just communicating. I did me old shaman thing, and we parted as friends - and have been so ever since.
I have to tell you, this is the hardest week ever. The entries are so diverse in style and subject; you are all too talented for my own good.

This week's winner, because it touches me to the core is Aidan Fritz' play Mount Tamalpais; outstanding and believable mythology. Congratulations Aidan, and my apologies that I am not academic enough to know the terminology to describe theatrical settings.

What am I going to do about runner-up place? The fact is I have four and I genuinely cannot choose between them. As such, and this isn't copping out, I cannot place a runner-up this week. You are all way too good. Please forgive me and shout at me if you will. Melenka and Kittylefish - please don't let my indecision put you off.

I'll be back with another challenge tomorrow. Do treat me gently.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

February Femmes Fatales - Coming Soon

The closing date for invited entries has now passed and submissions are all in. I am very excited by the prospect of selecting the final twenty-eight tomorrow. It's going to be tough, but so worth it. More news very soon.

Original Post:

In my travels across the blogosphere, on forums, in print - and right here on Lily's Friday Prediction I have had the honour of rubbing literary shoulders with many talented writers.

It is now my pleasure to announce, or rather tease you with news of a collection of work to be showcased here on The Feardom. Offered up in a goblet of delicious darkness, the words of a different Femme Fatale of the Fiction world will feature every day throughout February.

Submissions from invited writers are already coming in. I'm looking forward to choosing the final twenty-eight pieces to spread fear into your heart, turn your blood cold and make you shudder with... ah, now that would be telling.

Monday, 24 January 2011

New site for Col Bury and Pretty Pinholes bursts forth

Friend, shit-hot crime writer and Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers co-editor Col Bury has a new blog. It's clean, it's mean and, actually it's representative of the true pro that Col is.

Take some time to visit -

Not only that, Col is also posting stories by guest authors. I'm very proud that my dark and shiny, nasty piece - Pretty Pinholes - is parading its filthy head once more as the very first in the list. It would be lovely if you could comment and rate it - if that's not asking too much.

You can read it here...

All the best with the new site Col.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Face Off

I just couldn't get the lippy right this morning. Something to do with the rapidly oscillating light outside and dancing to The Chemical Brothers. I now have that Drag Queen look.

Anyway, it reminded me of a story I wrote which first appeared over at Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers in 2009, so I thought I'd dust it off and slip it in. Here it is...

Face Off by Lily Childs

I keep it in a bag, my face. It hides there of a night when I slumber and dream.

The bag isn’t new. It is black and it is padded and it reminds me of cheap, knock-off Chanel. For five years it has been home to the composite pieces that come together every morning to rebuild my mask. It is the latest in a long-line of face keepers; storing cosmetics for me since the first time I walked out of Woolworths without paying for the pearly pink lip gloss tucked into my size 6 jeans pocket. I was thirteen.

‘You look… different,’ said Julia when I walked into the youth club, mouth sparkling. There was no verbal invitation but from then on I hung out with the girls; I was one of them – when it suited. But I wasn’t a beauty. I wasn’t good enough to go to the parties, and was certainly too dull to be introduced to the boys.

Eventually I grew sick of being dropped, or having Julia turn her back on me, mid-conversation when someone more interesting walked into the room. Silly bitch. She married a thief. It’s thirty years on now, and she still thinks she’s special. She’s like a skull on legs and her husband’s back in jail. Yeah, Julia. You’re that special.

The face isn’t what it was back then. There’s far more to it. I have sculptured eyebrows in place of thick doorsteps. Add a perfect ten to that teenage size 6 and I now have a couple of extra chins. But I also have a method.

There’s the seaweed wash. There’s the algae toner. Marine moisturiser spreads thinly over my fleshy visage, followed by thick demattifier to soak up the evil oil that seeps from my pores.

Beige foundation – it’s too yellow, this one. I have to mix it with a bit of pink. I smudge it into my skin until every flaw, every blemish is covered, concealed.

I pull my hair back and look at the bare-faced lie reflected back at me in the mirror. A blank canvas. I could do anything with it. I could be anyone.

But I want to be me. I’ve always wanted to be me, not her.

The ritual begins. Rose powder on the chub of my cheeks. Coffee blusher down the sides, and beneath my chin. Pale cream below the eyebrows, bumhole brown shadow on the lids. I have a tiny pot of ebony powder – I poke the black dust into my lower eyelashes, in the centre only - for that Captain Jack Sparrow look. More black goes above my eyes at the outer edges. Keep it outside – not in, if you want big and smoky. Pinched and piggy’s not nice.

I stop for a moment. It’s stark. But it’s taking shape. Eyeliner – black. Eyebrow pencil – black. Here comes the liquid liner with its tiny brush to give me those Audrey Hepburns. I have to let it dry so I stand and stare at myself, watching the green of my irises change from oyster to verdigris. And back again.

My lips are thin. They want to pout, want to be full and luscious. I take the camel hair paintbrush – it’s meant for acrylics and watercolours, but it suits my purpose perfectly. I slide it, coat it fully in a thick, black cherry lipstick, and I start painting. There has to be precision when you design your mouth, particularly the top lip. Too pointed, and you are Siouxsie Sioux for the day; too round and you could drag for England, with the rest of the queens. I fill in the white spaces where my own lip pigment doesn’t reach… and there is my outline. I make it thicker, then thicker again. I could do mulberry pink, for the office, or violent red, for me. I opt for red, more cherry – a dirty scarlet. I push the waxy stick inside my mouth, painting it as deep as I can. Then I blend it into my outline until I have a solid, unique burgundy. I blow myself a kiss, sneer in an Elvis stylee – both sides – it’s a talent I have. Now to make it permanent.

I don’t like glossy lips, the sticky gloop looks nasty left on my tea-cup, or my glass of Sauvignon. With naturally oily skin, a glistening, wet mouth looks like the oil has run and deposited itself there. Not a good look for a girl.

Instead I take a natural translucent powder on a soft pad and dab it all over my lips, encrusting them. I blow. Gently rubbing the excess inwards and away, I reveal the plump, matte, red velvet result. I am Clara Bow.

Nearly ready. Can’t go too fast or it breaks the spell. I dip a finger into darkness, into chocolate. I rub it round my eyes, softening the effect of the dried, thin black lines.

There’s a penultimate act – chunky mascara, layer upon layer. It’s clubbing stuff for divas; it makes fat, thick lashes. I don’t temper it for day wear. I like the false look.

I am complete. Now I look like the me I want to be. I’ve stopped looking like the aunt who brought me up, dragged me up – in place of my mother. No longer resemble the vile woman who hurt and abused me from infancy.

Our hair, mahogany and thick as haystacks was always the same. Long, unkempt, wiry. I cut it all off when I was fourteen, not long after the shoplifting started. Later I bleached it blond, kept it cropped in crisp white spikes. I was disguised.


Four years ago, happily married to Jack and nursing our first child, I got a letter. ‘Dearest Zoe. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I’m trying to get the family back together again. Don’t you think that would be nice?’ She left her address, and a phone number. I didn’t reply. I didn’t call. I bumped into the usual cousins, uncles, nieces about town and I just had to ask, casually. But no-one else had received a letter. So why just me?

I looked down at my sweet baby, cooing in my arms, and I knew…

It was Christmas when I saw her in the street, nowhere near where she lived, but just two roads away from my house. I wouldn’t have recognised her if she hadn’t called out. I squinted, and my heart turned to stone. She was grey now, a light, indistinct grey that was short; short around her ears, short on top. She looked like me. She looked like the person I’d deliberately turned myself into. I had to swallow the bile that hit my throat.

I was a coward. I didn’t have the guts to take her to task, though all I wanted was to smash her face in for what she’d done to me, make her grovel for mercy as I crushed her skull in with the heel of my boot.

She started to walk towards me, but I shook my head, and walked away.

That afternoon I headed straight into town to my stylist.

‘I want to grow it out, Joey’ I said. ‘And I’m going natural.’

Joey fingered my locks, looking dubious.

‘What the hell is your real colour, hon?’ So I told him.

‘Mmmmn. Well, let’s do it gradually’ he said. ‘Lowlight it out. Give people time to get used to it. Because you know, at your age…’

‘Just do it,’ I told him.

I left the salon a brunette for the first time in decades.


It’s the festive season again. Millie is making paper chains, and the tree is sparkling in splendour. I’m nearly back to the original me. I have bouncing dark curls. I’ve a face I’m not afraid to look at. And whilst I’m cuddly, I’m losing weight. I’m turning back into the woman I should have been if my mother hadn’t died in a car crash when her own sister was driving. I’ve learnt to smile again, because this summer, they caught her.

"Widow Moira Gentry turned to fostering when the niece she had cared for from the age of four, left home," the newspaper said. I read on, horrified. "After Gentry approached two of her victims, now adults with new families of their own, the former foster-children each went to the police, suspicious that Gentry was trying to gain access to their own young ones".

I felt sick. That was what she had tried with me.

"One of the victims said, ‘She was disgusting. Her house was filthy; she was filthy – in every way. She used to punish us for things we hadn’t done, then use her revolting ‘special’ way of making you feel better.’"

More than half-a-dozen women came forward. The court case was plastered all over the dailies, and I read every word, appalled yet relieved beyond belief. Relieved but desperately sad I wasn’t the only one. Relieved she hadn’t got to Millie.

Every day throughout the trial I told myself I needed to go to the police myself; give them my story. Actually I was amazed they didn’t contact me. Perhaps they felt they had enough evidence to send her away for a very long time without distressing others she may have abused. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What if she got off? What if they let her free to hurt and destroy the souls of other children? I decided. I would do it tomorrow.

Divine intervention is a wonderful thing. I never had to make that call. The night I made my brave, momentous decision Auntie Moira died. She didn’t just die; she was kicked until her ribs broke and her spleen burst. She was punched in the face, repeatedly; shards of cheekbone pierced her eyeballs. It seemed only right. But most satisfyingly, the other women in the prison stamped all over her hands, smashing her evil fingers to pulp. When I read that, I sobbed. Because I thought of all the things she’d done to me with those hands, and I was glad, ecstatically glad that she suffered, that she died slowly of internal bleeding, and according to the newspapers, in horrendous pain.


It is a beautiful June morning. The light shines in through my windows and into my heart. I smile at the mirror – my face is clean and my hair is down. I am slim. I am well.

For the first time in my adult life I leave the house wearing no make-up. The fear has gone. The mask is broken.

I don’t need ‘the face’ any more.

I’m keeping it in the bag.


Born Trippy

Trippy wears a top hat.
Tips it, flippy, floppy,
slipping back and forth
on greasy hair.
There’s nothing else,
no clothes, no skin –
tissue torn and muscles thin,
entrails surge and splay as
Trippy plays his game
upon the noisy stage.
Tap-shoes stuck
on bleeding stumps,
a grim and lush parade.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Skull-Shaped Lover - Illustrated!

You've seen this before, but now it's back with a gorgeous photo-illustration courtesy of our friend - artist and Red Skies Press editor, Mark Anthony Crittenden. Wish I could say I'm the one in the undies, sadly she's just an aspiration (sucks tummy in).

Skull-Shaped Lover
Artwork by Mark Anthony Crittenden
Skull-Shaped Lover
by Lily Childs

There is more
than bright colours
in her wardrobe.
There’s the head
of a dead man too.
He peeks through flouncy blouses,
winking in pink,
smirking at blue.
She found him by the roadside,
detached, quite
Grinning at passers-by,
spitting at them with lies
about how he got there -
laughing at their replies.
He prefers the dark, he says;
likes to laze in her
cotton and silk.
His milky eyes suck in
tints and hints of greens
and reds.
He licks the hanging fabrics,
bites off trailing threads.
And when she’s home
from the office,
kicked off her shoes,
fed, bathed and nude
he calls to her, sweetly
“Miss Suzie”
until her hands finger the door,
when she joins him
behind her dresses.
She strokes the tresses
of his cold, dead head,
kisses his mouth and then

takes him to bed.

Lily's Friday Prediction

I have to shoot down a hole to the real world in a minute. These Friday mornings seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

Congrats to R.S. Bohn for winning last week's Prediction with her powerful Death Wants a Moment's Peace. And well done to Mimimanderly as runner-up with the tragic The Horse Thief. Two excellent pieces of writing amongst a platter of delicious literary offerings. I was proud to gorge myself.

So, what are we to make of this week's three words:

  • Thousand
  • Spiral
  • Hair
Hmmnn, interesting. Good luck with these, everyone.


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 27 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.

Now, where did that wabbit go...?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Prediction Winner

Well, I'm not sure why Horse, Tunnel and Judge evoked so much pain this week (me included). I guess certain ingredients make muddy pies.

A heart-rending, curious, mystical bevy of entries. Let's take a peep:

  • Mimimanderly jumped straight in with The Horse Thief. Justice for justice's sake is never right, and this sad tale is testament to why.
  • Trojan Horse is classic Aidan Fritz, studded with the characters that myths really are made of in an atmosphere of warring doom.
  • Chris Allinotte whipped our hides in the vengeful Daltry's Hideout; justice again - working overtime. By contrast we find ourselves aiding and abetting the criminal Horse as he escapes back into our world in Getting Out.
  • The eponymous old hoss in Antonia Woodville's Jiggety's Fate led us right into that murky hole where the sticky stuff lives.
  • Moira seeks out Death on the ephemeral plains, pestering the blighter to get back to work in R.S.Bohn's daring Death Wants a Moment's Peace.
  • We were treated to a bloody facial as Sue H's barber closed the game in her chilling fiction-noir, Close Shave.
  • My stark piece Pavement was more a purge than an inspiration, telling the tale - not so untrue - of chemical life on the streets. Then in my untitled poem, Beth clings to the tragic memory of her father's tears at her own graveside as she dresses in his favourite colour.
  • David Barber's chilling Voice sang out with terrifying clarity as Death predicts the end that is nigh for all and sundry.
  • AJ Humpage's killer times the whole atrocity down to Eleven Minutes; his filthy cold heart discarding his young victim without a care.
  • A frozen entity born in death, yet not of it flies from Asuqi's pen to manifest and terrify, in her Alter Ego.
  • William Davoll plays a ghastly tune in the Ballad of Kit Crewbucket, the headless boggart who wanders the canals, seeking to drown barges and their crew.
  • The narrator in Pixie J. King's cold tale takes their despair to a tragic end in The Tunnel.

I read, and re-read the fourteen entries, morbidly enjoying every one for different reasons. My winner this week is R.S. Bohn's Death Wants a Moment's Peace because I was struck by the bleak coastal landscape, and the mightily-powerful vision of Moira, a woman unafraid to give Death a rap on the knuckles. Congratulations Rebecca.

Runner-up - so, so hard, but Mimimanderly's The Horse Thief touched my sense of family, and of mis-spent justice. Well done Mimi.

Excellent writing, all of you. Thank you as always for entering and for having the courtesy to share your opinions and comments. What a great bunch you are. I'll be back in the morning for the next Prediction. Sleep tight, don't let the demons bite.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

And here we are again, back in the land of the living (dead) and ready for the new Friday Prediction.

Thanks go to Asuqi for judging last week's challenge. Pixie J. King's The Tree House was a worthy winner with Aidan F and AJ Humpage as very close runners-up with Kelb-el-Khela and Driftwood.

Back to business then, and the magical three words are:

  • Tunnel
  • Horse
  • Judge


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 20 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.

Do excuse me while I fly away to save the world...

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Prediction Winner

Lily's first Friday Prediction of 2011 came with a difference - with a guest judge to choose the winner.

2010's final Prediction winner Asuqi had the huge task of judging the challenge - and I think she's realised quite how hard it is! So well done Asuqi - you did a great job!

I'm going to shut up now - and hand over to our beautifully articulate, Swedish wordsmith, Asuqi...

Wow! I´ve been equally nervous/terrified and excited all week! This is a tough job, I tell you, and the responsibility weighs heavy on my shoulders -- such a variety of stories and such fine writing! I've tried to go about the summary ´Lily-style´ and in choosing the winner and the runner-up, I used my gut feeling. I hope you're all okay with this! Here we go:

  • Michael hit it off with a tale of hatred and revenge that in the end turned to comedy -- sorry Phoebe, but that was so amusing!
  • Anthony treated us to classic horror with his story about supernatural abduction. Killer last sentence, Anthony, I haz chills!
  • Mimi brought us a raw story about the danger of suppressed emotions. Hatred and humour in unholy combination -- henpecked, indeed ;)
  • William jumped in with a clever comment to what the ambitions of modern people in western society might be worth in the afterlife.
  • Then came Chris' creepy tale of the insanity that lingers underneath. Another classic horror-piece. People, if something feels 'off', just run away from it!
  • Antonia came bringing a vengeful housewife. A smooth tale about the perfect revenge. Maybe this lady's a match for Mimi's guy?
  • Aidan wrote a ghost-story with mythical qualities, poetic language and great imagery.
  • David brought us two pieces. The first one's about a lesson learned the hard way. The second one's a brutal tale about truth. I like the bizarre element here.
  • AJ treated us to delicious terror in her piece about betrayal. Great dynamics in this one.
  • Susan wrote a story about managing multiple worlds. A lovely description of what it can feel like when one's pulled back to the real world.
  • Lily brought mythical creatures locked together in sad and twisted passion. Superb imagery.
  • Scratchypen wrote a strong monster scene. Yes, how effective indeed? Silver bullets, anyone?
  • Pixie finished off with a stark picture of abuse. Or is it? Maybe it´s a story about someone deeply disturbed, imprisoned by his/her own mind…


This week's winner is last minute contestant Pixie. The voice in this piece captured me, such a strange and captivating perspective giving the story a profoundly creepy atmosphere. I also love the tree house setting -- perfect! Congratulations Pixie!

Two runner-ups (sorry, but there could have been four ya' know! ): Aidan F for his Kelb-el-Khela. This is a very rich story, lots of content in few words. Poetic language and wonderful imagery won my heart, and AJ Humpage with her well-balanced, illusive Driftwood.

Great writing, everyone! I don´t feel right judging your wonderful work, but I can at least say I´ve read everything many times (knows a lot by heart now, in fact) and lots of thinking effort has gone into this!

Thanks Lily for having such faith in me -- I´m truly honoured! And thanks everyone for participating this week and letting me be your judge! I wouldn't say it's been fun exactly (too damn difficult to choose!), but it's been very interesting and a great learning experience =)

Thank you so much Asuqi - I know we all appreciate your hard work.

Congratulations Pixie, and well done Aidan and AJ.

Be on your toes, I may pick a guest judge slot again in a few months time!


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Skull-Shaped Lover

Skull-Shaped Lover
by Lily Childs

There is more
than bright colours
in her wardrobe.
There’s the head
of a dead man too.
He peeks through flouncy blouses,
winking in pink,
smirking at blue.
She found him by the roadside,
detached, quite
Grinning at passers-by,
spitting at them with lies
about how he got there -
laughing at their replies.
He prefers the dark, he says;
likes to laze in her
cotton and silk.
His milky eyes suck in
tints and hints of greens
and reds.
He licks the hanging fabrics,
bites off trailing threads.
And when she’s home
from the office,
kicked off her shoes,
fed, bathed and nude
he calls to her, sweetly
“Miss Suzie”
until her hands finger the door,
when she joins him
behind her dresses.
She strokes the tresses
of his cold, dead head,
kisses his mouth and then
takes him to bed.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Their Dark Masters - On Sale Now

I am dead excited to announce that the long-awaited Their Dark Masters is now on sale through Amazon. (Amazon US for the moment, UK in a few days time.)

This "extreme vampire horror" anthology includes two of my stories 'The Infanta Triptych' and 'Walls of Flesh' as well as work by some of the most respected horror authors of the moment - Lee Hughes, Erin Cole, Barry J. Northern, Carrie Clevenger, Marissa Farrar, Gregory Miller, Paul Anderson, Rebecca L. Brown, Erik Boman, Tyree Campbell, Henry Brasater, Brian K. Ladd - and Mark Anthony Crittenden, the editor and designer of the beautiful cover.

Huge thanks to Mark for his passion and talent in editing TDM.

Excerpt from The Infanta Triptych:

"...Flickers of breath tremored through the near-corpses. Scarapat bent towards them, gagging at the collection of odours. Each one had been discarded after a single bite. He stood up and clicked his fingers. Dull light spread into the room as the heavy factory door opened allowing four men to enter.

“Dispose of them. Quickly,” the caretaker said.

After further guidance from Scarapat, the tallest of the four turned to his team and spoke in a low voice. The group split up to circle the bodies, grabbing limbs to separate one individual from another, ignoring the drug-addled screams.

‘Sshhh,’ the foreman said, dropping bones to the floor. Slowly, one man after another ceased his labour. Sandalwood-scented smoke swirled in and out of the gaps between muscle and victim. The Lady hung there, drifting; teasing at the men’s skin, breathing in their fear. Her laughter burst through their ears as breaking glass. She screamed.

“Lay me out a Jacob’s Ladder”
(c) Lily Childs

The Infanta Triptych sings the tale of Napoleon Scarapat, protector of an ancient painting that houses his own dark masters. They have waited so long, and now they want to go home, but not without a little taste of Art-World elite on the way. They'd like to invite you along for a sip and a bite - I do hope you will enjoy the ride.

Lily's Friday Prediction

It's the first challenge of 2011 - and we have a guest judge in Asuqi - who won the final Prediction of 2010 - and will decide the winner this time round. Congratulations to you Asuqi, and also to Chris Allinotte as runner-up.

In the meantime, everything else is unchanged except the deadline is 7pm not 9pm next Thursday, so please write and comment as usual - for we love it! This week's three words are:

  • Revolve
  • Savage
  • Ladder


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 7pm (not 9pm) UK time on Thursday 13 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.

What will this year bring...?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Prediction Winner

Such a variety of style this week yet a consistently high quality of writing. I'll summarise in just a moment but a reminder that as a one-off, whoever wins - and I won't know for sure until I reach the end of this post - will judge the next competition and choose next week's winner.

  • William Davoll's The Day Sadie Left is riddled with sadness, as the object of the narrator's love forces him to take his own life.
  • Fury at her man's chronic lateness has Mimimanderly dispensing of his services, with relish  in Killing Time.
  • The Devil waits for no man, we are warned as he speaks to us direct in David Barber's Abaddon. Then with the latest episode of The Two Blokes, a mis-hearing of 'clock' starts a whole new conversation that ends up with nuts.
  • Lies, love and unsaid threats stir throughout Time and Memory by Antonia Woodville.
  • Sci-fi merges with mythical, magic lands in Aidan F's vivid Smelling Salts.
  • Michael Solender puts his foot in his mouth and ends up without a date in Theater at Eight.
  • A raging tempest hinders Mischa's passage to deliver the royal booty in Chris Allinotte's The Courier.
  • I give out my final instructions in Giving It Away, followed by a dedication to the mythological Ladies of Judgement that are, The Furies - in Of Justice.
  • A human ticking-clock, waiting to explode takes everyone with him in AJ Humpage's The Same Air.
  • Susan May James double-deals, firstly with a newly-wed's vicious revenge in Off Keel. The lure of discovery is the pull that traps Clive - before his partner does - in Last Dive.
  • Asuqi's spiralling dancer whirls into a frenzy, her meds discarded - then wolfed down in one go.
  • Morbid greed abounds at Bill Owens' dangerous table, shackled and bound.
  • Pixie J. King's thief defends himself against the victim of his own crime in Stolen.

Tough, tough, tough. But the winner of 2010's final Prediction, and judge of 2011's first - is Asuqi with her mad-eyed dancer. Congratulations Asuqi!! I wasn't sure whether Here to play was your arriving comment or your title - but it suits. I'll be in touch about next week's judging. ;)

Choosing a runner-up was an equal challenge but Chris Allinote's tempestuous journey The Courier roiled me around and slapped me down. Well done Chris.

And THANK YOU to everyone who entered Lily's Friday Prediction during 2010. You are an extraordinarily talented group of writers and it has been my pleasure to invite you in. A very happy, healthy and successful 2011 to you all.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Rest In Peace

I'm very touched that my poem 'Rest In Peace' has won Writing and Writers' News Magazine's monthly One Word Challenge on their online forum Talkback for December 2010. The theme was 'Peace'. I had several ideas for the challenge and particularly toyed with words about worthy Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo - but the poem wouldn't write itself. I guess, for once, I felt too emotional about it.

So I returned to the darkness, took a suck of a Grimm lozenge and spat out a character, Benjamin Spinks - who may well take on a life of his own if I don't rein him in.

Rest In Peace

Benjamin Spinks is the prick
to my finger,
his spindle - the weaver
of darkness and spite.
He lingers at noon
with a love declaration.
The door to my boudoir
is locked and shut tight.

At night when he croons
with a howl through the mist
I cry
“Leave me in peace!”
He laughs in my face, his voice
creeping tendrils from
outside the gate.
I am trapped by his cruelty.
A victim of hate.

I’ve no turret, no secret,
no fine golden thread.
I’ll be dead before morning,
his chains round my wrists.
He answered my prayer.
Five long days he’s been gone.
Not a drop of cold water,
no food’s touched my lips.

I whisper my last breath,
watch skin leave my bones.
Benjamin Spinks
has left me alone.

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.