Friday, 25 February 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

The glory of morning rises over the Sussex coast... or at least it would if it wasn't so damp and squib-like. (What is a squib anyway, and why does it always have to be damp?) Anyway, it's my final day off and I intend to use it, skin-sucking mist or not.

This is of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the Friday Prediction so I'll ram my fist into my big mouth and get on with it.

Firstly, many congratulations to Mimimanderly whose poignant and dignified tale Letting Go was the winner of last week's challenge. Well done too to Melenka for her marvellously twisted poem Wed, which caught the runner-up cup.

To me, this week's words are simple but immediately evocative. I just know they'll inspire you. And for regulars, I'm sure you'll be relieved to know I'm giving your Thursdays back - at least for the time being.

  • Fertile
  • Thirst
  • Denounce


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 March 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.

I look forward to your scribbles, drabbles, poems, coquettish prose and dangerous flash. In fact, I'm hungry for them...



  1. The Perfect Successor

    Her womb lay barren after her first. A morose child, no thirst for joy, a black heart. She denounced motherhood, thirsting to spawn no more.

    Satan’s minions reviewed the situation. Gleeful upon his birth, the iciness of his blood registered upon their devices as did his petulant demeanor. An able replacement, though a sibling was needed, “in case.”

    ”She’s sworn off reproduction though she remains quite fertile,” a supplicant reported.

    Stroking his pyramidal chin, Lucifer nodded, grabbed his traveling garb, flashed the serpent between his legs and said, “The fiery beast will not be denied, I’ll see to it personally.”

  2. Michael - I LOVE this! Superb dark imagery; exquisite description. I want to steal it away and keep it all to myself. Wonderful writing.

  3. Seed

    An alligator’s silhouette, but it’s only little Moss. When he grows big, I wonder at what thirsts he’ll possess. For now it’s legless soldiers and eyeless corncob dolls (and where does he find them? There isn’t a corn field for a hundred miles). His imagination’s a fertile, scabby place. I try not to hear when he converses with his toys – that’s a row I care not to hoe, for Moss is my son, and if he is so, then am I not as well? The creeping fear is like his shadow, always behind me. The knife cannot denounce the blood.


    Hm. This may call for a second try. Liking the words very much, though.

    Hey, Michael -- ha! Sharply funny. I love it. That Lucifer's a sexy bastard. But then, I'm a bit twisted.

  4. Small Consolation

    Fertile ground thirsts for rain. People are dying; first the old and sick, now the young.

    At such times, they revert to savagery, looking to gods for a reason. The priests have found one: me.

    Denounced as a witch for my healing abilities, they intend to water the crops with my blood; this will bring the rain.

    I do not believe. And yet, as I lay in the field, slowly bleeding to death, I feel the first drop of rain fall on my face. I try to find consolation in that.

    And that they no longer have a healer.

  5. A squib is a firework, so a damp squib is a disappointment... no boom. ;)

    Been reading these flashes for a little while, might have the guts join in at some point. =)

  6. Rebecca: love scabby places and corn cobs - yes indeed you are twisted - precisely why I love you so much..

    Mimi: OOh Gods won't be saving them me thinks..

    John: C'mon in the water is fine tho full of serpents, gators and blood...hahahahabrewhahah

  7. Mimi--Nice, tight write. A full story in 100 words; that's difficult to do. And to make it compelling as well? Congrats on a great write.

    John--No guts, no glory. ;-) Seriously, please join us. Love to see what you've got, and you can't find a friendlier writing comm.

  8. Mr. Miners Lettuce in the Greenhouse with a Squib

    The scene:

    Farmer Pueblo's torso facedown in fertile soil with legs smeared across planters of lettuce, fleshy leaves quivering. Detectives photograph while frowning at Gabor; her cigar drips ashes.

    The players:

    Dame Gabor: a PI with a perfect record
    Jetson: her Watson


    "Not an accident?"

    "I can denounce all plausible accidents."

    "But -- no one saw anyone enter the greenhouse. No footprints."

    "An explosive accident while repotting?"

    "Well --"

    "When you rule out the possible, you deal with the impossible."

    "Murder? How?"

    "Underneath the shelf --"


    "No, miner's safety squibs. A misnomer."


    "GM Lettuce thirst for blood."

  9. Michael: nice mythos you create here; the flashing of the serpent between his legs fits nicely with the piece.

    Rebecca: starting out with an image of an alligator creates a strong resonance of other and fits with the later which makes me question whether they are real or not.

    Mimi: nice ending stab of revenge. Like how the rain comes to reinforce the villagers' belief in gods.

    John, You'll fit in fine here with this bloodthirsty crew ;)

    John captured the popular use of squib as "dud". It also refers to an unmagical child in the Harry Potter universe born to magical parents, a brief piece of satire, an american football move, a race in Star Wars, and a sailboat.

  10. Michael, the nasty side of the devil - good one
    Rebecca - clever twist on the words here with a so and his toys. Love it
    Mimi, nice one, perfectly crafted.
    John: come on in, the water's fine - watch out for the occasional shark, is all.
    Brain dead today, no chance of a story from me just yet. Out this evening, too, with an enchanting (perhaps not) story in progress, too.

  11. Pillar of the Community

    Mandear denounced me as barren. Stood up in the square like the wicker witch, I burned with anger they all mistook for shame. When cold night came and I remained tethered, I wept.

    He came to me then, the horned one, perhaps mistaking my form for his sacrificial bride. Leather ties broken by his will, I slid into the comfort of his arms, tears forgotten, and let him make me his fertile home.

    Eyes avert at my fecund strength, round, whole, His. When the child comes, I will slake its thirst with their blood, binding them to the new god.

  12. Dangerous Dabbling

    ‘I denounce thee, evil spirit!’
    Do I? Sounds stupid when I say it.
    Perhaps my imagination is too fertile, perhaps I should quieten it down, take a few calming pills or something.
    I’m not sure the pentagram is right, bit lopsided and shouldn’t there be another point to it? If I’ve got it wrong...
    There’s something in the room, something dark, something –
    Oh, dry throat, thirst, burning, don’t like this –
    Whatever it is seems to want something from me.
    Can’t shout, can’t speak, can’t –
    Scared now. Wish I hadn’t dabbled.
    Too late to wish anything.
    Too late to -

  13. busy all afternoon with Amazon work, updating and requesting and arguing with them - long distance - then this came out full formed ... perhaps as a reaction!
    Melenka, nice little bloodthirsty tale for the afternoon read, thank you!
    Aidan, another intricate tale that looks as if it should be lots longer!

  14. OK, I think my prose might be morphing into something kind of resembling poetry? I didn´t see it coming...

    Magpies Lost

    Hungry, thirsty, eternally starved.

    A woman bought yet another cellphone, like a magpie craving silver spoons. On the other side of Earth impossibly skinny children burned her old ones, inhaling the thick smoke, wanting their metallic parts.

    Fertile land gone lost, desolated, washed down the oceans.

    There´s ancient waters between you and me; polluted but filled with that rich, black soil.

    Do you suppose there´s a world down there on the bottom? One mirroring our own but cleaner, more innocent?

    This waste is tiring. We´d denounce it without hesitation, for a fresh start.

    Like magpies, seduced by a gleaming promise.

  15. Michael: Loved it! Great feeling of mythical destiny here.

    Becky: Weird kid, great story! Brilliantly deliberate language! Stunning opening and ”His imagination’s a fertile, scabby place.” *drools*

    Mimi: You work wonders with the mythical stuff!

    Aidan: Perfect tone in this! So much fun!

    Melenka: So beautiful and strong! ”… and let him make me his fertile home.” ”… binding them to the new god.” So good!

    Antonia: Forceful and with a very unique voice. You really manage to pull your readers into the story!

  16. Aidan--One of your most visually evocative (for me). I am temporarily toying with the idea of employing friends and neighbors in the presentation of this scene. Brilliance like lettuce leaves.

    Melenka--I say this often, but (luckily) you haven't heard it yet: I LOVE revenge stories! Whether or not it was as she might have wished, venegeance is hers. So satisfying.

    Antonia--AHAHAHAAHAHA! Sorry, but those silly "witches." That was tres amusing.

    Asuqi--*whines* It's not in Sweeeedish. :-) Srsly, you have so much poetry in your prose that you routinely blur the lines between them, and that, as I say so often, is my favorite sort of writing. It's terribly interesting and fun, even when tackling serious questions and issues of our time. Divine imagery in the burning of the phone on another continent.

  17. Melenka: love the strong protagonist. Great lines, particularly: "Eyes avert at my fecund strength, round, whole, His."

    Antonia: you've made this character incredibly vivid for me. It's so easy to get in a little over your head. Some things you shouldn't stretch for until your ready.

    Asuqi: enjoyed the clever circularity of the magpies in the beginning and the end along with the metaphor of cell phones and magpie craving silver.

  18. Sorry; I have been attempting to be several people in one this week and have failed miserably to comment and post. Promise to try harder, Miss.

    Rebecca, Seed is a delightful extract from a wandering mind. Love and fear for one's offspring bound by tendrils of concern. This needs to be illustrated.

    Mimi, how right you are. The ignorance of the masses, sacrificing a saviour under a different name - witch. This resonates with me (I'll write about it when I'm ready). Really well described - I love the sad imagery of the raindrop on her face cleaning through the blood.

    John, welcome! Do please send something in. We'd love to read it. I do know what a squib is really; you can't live in Sussex with centuries of bonfire tradition and not know about these and other explosives. I just love how we use the term to describe disappointments and failures, and wondered who might comment on it.

    Aidan, ha! Lovely Cluedo tongue-twister. Great characterisation, particularly Dame Gabor who I could instantly visualise. Très noir with a political pop at GM. Excellent.

    Melenka, more sacrificial darkness, exquisitely defined. Yet another piece that would make for a powerful painting. I adore the abject fecundity, and the revenge that will be played out. Fantastic writing.

    Antonia, indeed. I'm intrigued as to your character's intentions. Is she trying to exorcise herself and her 'fertile imagination', or a place? She's certainly getting her regalia mixed up! Great fun, and I liked the disappearing final line.

    asuqi, and talking of fertile imaginations, yours is one I just love. You have such a unique view; you pause in your wonderings to write them down - and I'm so glad you do. This is a stunning read, full of tragedy and awe with, yes - a beautifully poetic delivery. One of my favourites of yours to date.

  19. Dressing the Well

    You drink of me and I drink of you in return. Centuries – millenia of worship and ritual, of begging and greedy, selfish prayer. Beneath this monstrous edifice to a latter God, you believe me trapped, claim me even as Holy Water.

    Slake your thirst, then. Baptise innocents in me. I piss on you still.

    I am fertile land. I am the blood of the Earth. I am life-force - liquid and sparking with the wisdom of Nature. You may denounce the truth, bury your blessed dead in my belly; my memory is long.

    Do not fear my revenge.
    Await it.

  20. Lily, myth turned dark. Wonderful.
    Asuqi, definitely poetic and intense. Love it.

    This has been a welcome break in proof reading articles for England's Standard - thank you all.

  21. Second Coming

    I see the way they look at me, with their suspicious glances and ignorant minds.

    ‘Denounce her,’ they’ve shouted, spat and cried. ‘Denounce the Witch or the Sun will not rise.’

    Why don’t you just slither back to your infested holes and let me do my work? I’ve travelled far and my thirst for a fertile land shall be quenched. My people will go on.

    I reach down and kiss the alien ground, already ripe for impregnation. The single Moon, still high in the sky, illuminates the human masses. I shall tell them I’m the second coming.

    The End

  22. this is darkly dramatic, Ellie, with so much unsaid behind these words. Very sharply crafted.

    I wonder my witch was so incompetent ... a reflection of me, perhaps? I'm a good medium but not a good witch? Really, do I want an answer to that one????

  23. Michael Solender - the Devil himself. Deliciously dark. I want more!

    Rebecca - such great imagery; legless soldiers and scabby places. I love the way you used the toys to reveal a sinister lurking shadow.

    Mimi - she has her revenge and I feel glad of it. A powerful story in so few words.

    Aidan - I loved the title and adore stories told through dialogue. A great tale.

    Malenka - I shall slake its thirst with their blood. Stunning.

    Antonia - you had me drawn in and headed along the wrong direction - humour and then horror. I adored it!

    Asuqi - such a sad and powerful message, told through beautiful prose. Stunning.

    Lily - I loved the tone of this piece and the anger of the Earth. Brilliant.

  24. Lily--There are some words that just jump off the page (for me), and you've used them here to great effect. Even better, you've truly pushed the envelope with this one. It reeks of bitterness and anger, and where it's aimed is juicy, juicy stuff.

    Ellie--Yes, darkly dramatic! You brought the goods here. This is a very strong piece. I love how you and Lily both wrote pieces snapping at the bit, pawing at the earth with sharp, smoking hooves.

  25. Lily: For me, this speaks of the necessary balance in nature/our world; between good and evil, female and male, fate and free will... A tale of the dark depths of something so profoundly good as the force of life -- intriguing!

    Ellie: You had me at the title! And when you speak of alien ground and a single moon, making my head spin with images of myth gone sci fi... Well, that´s just brilliant =)

  26. Last One Chosen

    “You’re sure no one saw?”

    “She was at Club Thirst. I saw Darian denounce her. None of them will take her now. No one will miss her.”

    “Idiot! Darian’s as desperate as we are. If he rejected her she can’t quicken. We need a fertile one.”

    “Darian’s too picky. Bloody fangers couldn’t scent it because she’s older. Their loss.”

    Jared looked from the woman chained in the bed, to the thing chained in the corner: his younger brother, half-turned, growling eagerly, scenting the air and the female. Lucas would save them. Lucas and this woman, would save the Loup Garous.

  27. Ravewnways,oh are you ever at home here among us horror writers ... what an amazing last paragraph! so full of images!

  28. A Songless Bird

    A warm downpour pelted against the soldiers, filled the air with a clammy cloud, quenched a thirst. Pools of dirty rainwater collected at their feet, shimmered with their tenuous expressions.

    The sound, bristling like the surf in long forgotten memories, rushed through trees and long fertile grasses, clung to them.

    A trail of broken bodies led a bloody path to her, kneeling in the mud. A Viet Cong, silently crying like a songless bird.

    They stared. Dog tags glimmered as they circled, cold intent forming like a stain across shadowed eyes; to denounce.

    And one by one, they moved in.

  29. Waiting on Onuava serve God...

    The radio's reception crackled out. Lawrence rechecked his clipboard.

    "Ms. Faimler?" he called.

    "Helena," replied a mellifluous voice from the end of the hall. "Bring some water, please?"

    ...denounce sin...

    Lawrence brought a cup from the kitchen, but stopped inside her door, stifling a gasp. The agency had forewarned him, but this defied description.

    Helena lay in fertile, naked langour across two queen mattresses.

    She's the Goddess of Sex. Sudden, primitive knowledge throbbed between his legs. He was instantly, painfully hard.

    ...pleasures of the flesh...

    She saw him, and beckoned, "I'm thirsty, Lawrence."

    The water spilled.

  30. Michael - Nasty, funny, and succinct. Great write!

    Rebecca - "legless corncob dolls" - that's just creepy goodness right there.

    Mimi - loved the bittersweet ending of this. Great ambience all throughout, which made the tragedy stand out in greater relief

    Aidan - twisted fun - I want to play this version of "Clue" (loved the title too)

    Melenka - way to stick it to the man! Great, dark revenge tale.

    Antonia - and THAT is why I won't touch Ouija boards. I won't. I won't do it. Just in case. (Great writing... omg... what was that???)

    Asuqi - Prosetry? Superb, spartan and a clear message. Well done.

    Lily - love this one. The Earth really does have nothing to fear from us. It'll wait, and we'll be gone soon enough.

    Ellie - so rich and dark, this one. Love the sci-fi flavour in the witch-y stew, and beneath it all, the Earth. Well done.

    Ravenways - this is a fantastic werewolf tale. I really like the modern, almost noir-ish angle you've taken with it.

    AJ - you never fail to produce the goods. Real human horror here, and so easy to realize that the black & white we were told about was nothing of the kind.

  31. Michael - wicked and complex. I think she's in for a surprise...

    Rebecca - What a compact burst of imagery! There's an implied darkness there without needing to be explicit. Creepy.

    Mimi - bitter. Small consolation indeed. Why do I get the feeling the harvest will not bring all they hope for...? ;)

    Aidan - Nice, made me laugh. =) Good job working the squibs in too.

    Melenka - Revenge is coming... I liked the use of the witch burning imagery without needing to literally burn the witch.

    Antonia - She really seems a little clueless. One for the Darwin awards... ;)

    Asuqi - That's wonderful. Poignant, engaging and, yes, poetical.

    Lily - Gave me shivers. The classic Gaia's revenge trope twisted dark and grim.

    Ellie - So very intriguing. I really want to know more! =)

    Ravenways - Good to see a story where the supernatural isn't so dominant, where the vamps and the weres are both struggling.

    AJ - So atmospheric. This speaks volumes.

    Chris - I love ancient gods brought into the modern world. Very nicely paced and structured.

    It's interesting to see what similarities, and amazing how much variety, comes from a simple three word prompt. =)

  32. Acolyte

    I denounce my blood.

    Is the first commandment. Forget your past, forget your family. Those things have no meaning.

    I denounce my body.

    Is the second commandment. You are but fertile ground for the red plague: let it inside you, let it become you.

    I embrace my thirst.

    Is the third. It will be all you know.

    She licks the warm, sticky gore from her hands, trembling as it slides down her throat.

    She looks at the flesh that lies around her, broken, torn and hollow. It had names yesterday. She had family yesterday.

    Today she has the plague.

  33. Ravenways--Reads like an excerpt out of a novel. That's the kind of thing that makes people want to buy the book.

    AJ--You've managed to produce a stark and stunning image. It's difficult to look away, even though I tell myself, "It's in the past," it's still hard.

    Chris--Yes, I love it! He's done for, you know. Afterwards, she'll suck him into her womb as payment. See ya, Lawrence.

    John--Um, John? You the guy who said he was afraid to dip a toe in, etc? HOLY SHIT. Gorgeous in composition, tightly written, and you come out of the gate first time with one of my very favorite subjects ever: PLAGUE. YEAH. Seriously, though, this is perfection. Welcome, and please please please come back. Now I really want to see what you do each week.

  34. John. Wow...SO glad you decided to speak up. Beautiful imagery. Love the plague reference. Like it's a horror you embrace, willingly, but still a horror. Wonderful story.

    Melenka. As always, I love the way you weave so much into so few words. And, you know...the revenge thing...tasty indeed!

    Chris Horror though it is, your description of Helena almost made me want to BE her, if only for a moment. Truly scary in a "self-analysis" kind of way...which is exactly what horror is supposed to do, in my opinion. Thank you!

    AJ. I'd want to read more of this. The images it evoked will stay with me for a long, long time.

  35. Ellie, the power of your protagonist's resolve is exciting. It's a rare stranger that can win over a crowd of ignorant/scared villagers. I agree with John, this has got huge potential and should be explored.

    ravenways, this is glorious. I love the dismissive and intolerant tone. I want to know what led to this, and definitely what's coming next.

    Ally, this is AJ Humpage at her best. Evoking the senses and the desperation of a situation in an instant. The fear in this flipped back and forth between the soldiers and the girl, all of it wrong. Stunning writing.

    Chris, this is just fantastic - I love it. Your Helena is Clive Barker's Celestine; a Goddess bound and oozing with addictive sexual energy. Luscious writing.

    John, I totally agree with the comments so far. I laughed out loud in dark delight as I reached the end of this beautifully crafted piece of writing. Seeming to embrace cult, horror and plague in equal measure this is an absolute pleasure to read. Please, do stay.

  36. Not sure this quite counts as poetry...but it manifested itself while I was thinking about something else. Anyway...

    I walk the boneyards and forests, a barefooted mist
    Under the New Moon
    The dog follows, his footfalls crunching in the snow and leaves
    Where mine do not.
    I denounce his thirst along with my own but still he trails behind
    Reminding me of my indiscretions
    I want only to sing to the fertile land, and the sun, and all the places where you dwell:
    To warm and sweeten the frozen soil with my breath, tinged red by your very soul.
    I walk only in darkness, ever following the sun.
    And I sing only to the stars, never touching you.

  37. Forgive my absence and the self indulgence that follows


    My misery mewls like a fertile cat, desperate and unsatisfied.
    I’m driven by the thirst for one last bask in the splendour of your smile, but your death has robbed us of that.

    We used to squander our time together, by being apart. Through faux immortal eyes we laughed at death, and those that wallow in pity, but your sudden frailty tore longevity asunder.

    I will not let death denounce your existence.

  38. Michael Nice take on "an heir and a spare." I like the minions being bureaucrats. Poor, reluctant mama. I fear she has no choice.

    Rebecca The corn dolls creeped me out, especially as there was no corn nearby. "a fertile, scabby place" - perfection.

    Mimi This hit so many buttons for me - sacrificing the "witch", stupid superstitions, and the beauty of knowing they will die without her. Love it.

    Aidan I want to film this. legs smeared across planters of lettuce is a delicious detail. And the idea of killer lettuce is both absurd and disturbing. Vegetarians beware!

    Antonia There are reasons rituals are carefully observed, as your poor narrator learns too late. The sensation of failing was excellent.

    asuqi I have seen documentaries of the tragedy in your piece. So frightening because it's all true, and we're too busy looking for the next gadget to notice.

    Lily So much to love here - the cycles of worship changing while the liquid does not, the anger of a planet ill-used, the certainty of revenge. I spoke it aloud and it was resonant.

    Ellie I like the dismissive outlook on the stupid humans. The best way to subjugate us is to appeal to our religious traditions, as many have done.

    Ravenways If this was the front piece of a novel, I would buy that book. So much tension and promise in this short piece. That they are worried for their survival is a nice twist.

    AJ This made me a little ill, perhaps because I remember the nightly news showing pictures of the horror of war while I sat eating my dinner, a child absorbing and only understanding later what it all meant. There is such evil in the picture you paint, and yet we still do these things.

    Chris I adore you for using mellifluous. I felt this one much in the way I suspect poor Lawrence did. The spilled water was a delightful metaphor.

    John Gorgeous, lyrical, and gross in its joy, especially the end. The monster's perspective can be so enlightening.

    Ravenways It counts. Boy does it count. There is such longing in this piece, an unsettled and unsettling quest that still sings with acceptance.

    William This is heartbreaking and speaks to all of the loss I've felt when people were taken from me. If this indulgence is your grief process, it is a fine tribute.

  39. ravenways - I agree with Melenka, this would make a stunning opener to a novel. The last paragraph describes a chilling scene of conflict and horror, and I want to know what happens next.

    AJ - you managed to capture the full horror of the Vietnam war in so few words. I will not forget this one in a hurry.

    Chris - deliciously dark and erotic. Loved it.

    John - and you were nervous of entering? Well, don't be! Horrific and beautifully written; perfect.

    William - you indulge as much as you like because that was heartfelt and so real. The final line said it all.

  40. Michael – I love this. ‘Flashed the serpent between his legs’ is so evocative. Lusty and dark.

    Rebecca – Lovely descriptive writing, as always. I like the ‘scabby places’ this conjures. Great imagery.

    Mimi – I like the double edged sword feel to this, that her death is her revenge.

    Aiden – Apart from a fab title, this little number made me smile and then I was imagining Triffidesque monster lettuces rampaging after human flesh…

    Melenka – This is dark, pithy and wonderfully visual.

    Antonia – The creeping fear in this is so real, reminded me of schooldays messing about with things we didn’t understand…

    Asuqi – Visual and poetic, a perfect balance of narrative and description.

    Lily – For me there are environmental overtones of Mother Earth’s angry stirrings here. Watch out humans.

    Ellie – An emphatic, dramatic piece, a hint of foreboding too. Lovely descriptions.

    Ravenways 1 – Dark and delicious and easily pulls the reader in with promise of salivating satisfaction.

    Chris – Oo lusty, Chris. Metaphor just oozes from this, interspersed with puritan thoughts and devilish pleasure.

    John – Love this, so dark and full with horror and very well written.

    Ravenways 2 – I like this piece. It’s beautifully composed, descriptive and subtle, it falls from the page so effortlessly.

    William – The loss here is very real and the emotion is quite heartfelt. Another well written piece.

  41. Oasis

    His thirst for revenge and the public denouncement of the sheik had not gone well. The hot desert sand was up to his chin and his arms were packed tightly against his sides. In sight but out of reach, water rippled in a brass bowl, and the blazing sun blistered his shaven head. His fertile, but desperate mind searched for a solution.

    He sensed that he was not alone, and a blessed shade fell across him from behind. The familiar sound of a scimitar being drawn focused his attention. The blade’s shadow arced upwards; he closed his eyes, and waited.

  42. Lily: "I piss on you still" love this viewpoint and muted tone entirely in control and confident of the last laugh.

    Ellie: an interesting story here. I'm intrigued by the viewpoint that in my reading doesn't quite understand the predicament that she's in. (Or perhaps I underestimate her). Nice vitriol in "slither back in your invested holes".

    Ravenways: Last one chosen, thank-you for introducing me to Loup Garous. Nice strong dialogue in the opening with the twist at the end opening us into the world. Boneyards, I like the turn of phrase boneyards and forests; a haunting ghost story.

    AJ: you do a gorgeous job of grounding this emotionally with pools of dirty rainwater. Pitch-perfect images on this.

    Chris: "I'm thirsty, Lawrence" drips with double entendre. I enjoyed the mix of viewpoints that gives it a slightly poetic flavor with the italicized thoughts.

    John: lovely plague; interesting use of commandants structure. I'm intrigued by the effect accomplished in the last part with concrete images (gore trembling as it slides down her throat) with the voice "had names yesterday" which drives home the removal from the scene.

    William: thought-provoking, I really like We used to squander our time, by being apart.

    Kim: the executioner/savior from behind evokes a strong image in my mind. Great opening that makes me want to know more about what led to these events and wether he's being executed or released from his torture.

  43. ravenways - poetry - prose, both work for me. This is beautiful - longing and wistful, ever destined to wander the night in search of the day. Lovely.

    William, welcome back! Squandered is an enormously tragic outpouring of the soul, his(?) lover - or even a friend or relative - snatched, it seems without warning. Frank and bitter. A great write.

    Kim, I am filled with claustrophobia at his burial and bemused as he still seeks a way out. One assumes the scimitar will behead him, but perhaps you know otherwise? Loved the torture of the water in the brass bowl as the sun blisters the skin on his head. Highly intriguing.

  44. Thanks for the compliments, and for making me so welcome. =)

    Ravenways - Very evocative and multi-layered. I get something more with each re-read.

    William - heartfelt and moving. I was particularly struck by the same line Aidan mentioned.

    Kim - I can't help but focus on the bowl of water... (much like your protagonist, I imagine), it really drives the hopelessness of his position home.

  45. Kim - a claustrophobic piece that left me gasping for more. Was the shadow a saviour or executioner?

  46. Just saw the reminder on Twitter Lily so got my thought box on.

    In Dark Trenches.

    This war began long ago, yet still I fight with comrades at my side. No thoughts of withdrawal, our thirst for victory drives us forever forward. Some try to take over, but we have dark methods for those.

    We had leaders before, all denounced and rotting in the darkness now. We keep the spirits aflame with stories of lost battles. Of suffocations, chemical warfare and spikes stabbing away life.

    My comrades are weak. I’ll abandon them and swim faster, I’ll break through the walls and win this war alone.

    I will be victorious.

    I will impregnate.

    I will be fertile.

  47. well out of touch with all the entries this time, been flat out busy with submissions to my (15) anthologies, they went rather mad, good stuff I have to say - but this, all these wonderful entries, all have stirred my imagination in some way. Amazing vivid writing, loved every one.

  48. Michael- A clinical of the Devil and his cold hearted clan. Creepy stuff. ‘Stroking his pyramidal chin…’ Great description that made Old Nicky jump to life.

    Rebecca- That story had a very apt title as it planted a dark seed in my mind. A proper chiller.

    Mimi- Really beautiful story that broke the spine of the words and gave us such pain. The refreshing rain gives her the last thoughts of a legacy of revenge through absence.

    Aidan- Great stuff-killer salad. I was not expecting that but loved it when it came.

    Melenka- I really felt the anger in this story. So glad she’ll have the revenge in the end.

  49. Antonia- Oh the dark dabbling that leads to danger. Okay too much alliteration but I like the idea of innocent games opening up dark doorways. Oh there I go again.

    Asqui- The effects of globalisation and consumerism that ravage our world told in horrific details. I like the way you held up a dark mirror to the costs but asked us to then look into a brighter reflection with hope.

    Lily- We are water and all we do is water. Yet if water had contempt for us then it could wipe us out and have the Earth to itself. Such a horrible thought that could so easily come true. Did I hear a tap dripping upstairs?

    Ellie- That brought images of ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Aliens who are really us, yet are really just aliens now. They come here to steal our lives and our water yet we build them as gods before smashing them like revolution statues.

  50. Such vivid imagery from all. Such imagined evil. It is imagined, isn't it ...? Wonderful stuff.

    As for the man buried in the sand, I don't know ... to die would be too easy, methinks.

  51. Anthony, In Dark Trenches could be any war, any time. I am reminded of so many reports of soldiers living in tunnels and isolated out-stations for weeks, months, even years after battle has ended. Your protagonist fights on still - self-preservation.
    Very skilful writing.

    OK, the Prediction is now closed for the night so no more entries please. Come on ladies and gents - let's be 'avin ya. Finish your drinks and head on home now. Thanking you.

  52. John - loved the multi-layers. This was evil, gracefully done.

    Ravenways "a barefooted mist Under the New Moon" - loved that image, and the undercurrent of melancholy was so well done

    William - that was as raw as it was beautiful in the simple truth of the words.

    Kim - the bowl of water was a nice touch - nothing like the torture of thirst to keep the mind present for one's execution

    Anthony - just read Lily's comment on this, and wow - two totally different impressions here- I got that the protag was a brave and mighty sperm, headed for the trench of all trenches! Reads totally different (and yet still valid and good!) if taken as a literal battle scene.

  53. Chris, I reckon you're spot on with your interpretation of Tony's piece. I was under the weather yesterday; spent the whole day missing the bleedin' obvious! Anthony - any comments?

  54. Hi yes Chris is correct it is a sperm battling to be the sole winner. But I wanted to write it as a sort of unreliable narrator and a little vague as to have the two meanings. I did plant clues in almost each line that could be re-read afterwards and then put together to show who the protagonist really was and what his journey was all about.

    I hope it didn't come across as a sort of trick because I really wanted it to have the duality of meaning. I wanted show that even before we are born that life and all its battles seem to have the same patterns repeating.


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.