Friday, 29 April 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

I opened an old notebook this morning and discovered something tawdry I'd jotted down a few years ago. The writing was terrible, but the complete story shone through and I know I can do something with it. Not only that, I'd illustrated it - probably because at that time I didn't feel able to describe a central character properly.

I love it when we come across a nugget from the past and can shape it. In this instance I'm referring to writing but it works with life experiences too.

Congratulations to John Xero for his powerful winning entry from last week's Prediction challenge, Who pulled the trigger on the Universe Gun? Stellar writing from everyone; well done all.

This week's words are:

  • Cult
  • Neglect
  • Syrup


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 5th May 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.

Where will your pen take you this week, I wonder...?


  1. Encyclopædia Universsica: On the Origins of the Wyrm Cult

    Wyrm cult, any of the religious movements chiefly, but not entirely, in the Ceres and Andromeda star systems exhibiting belief in the imminent arrival of the age of ecstasy to be brought by the solarworms. Adherents neglected science, believing solarworms required human sacrifice rather than the lithium-helium syrup used for wormhole transits.

    The cult's leader, Salem Parris, engaged the fears of the masses, creating an ochlocracy demanding blood. The first of his millions of sacrifices was rumored to be his wife. Historians discovered divorce papers in the Ceres court archives and hints of a reconciliation, a reconciliation that never arrived.

  2. Whoo, what a good start! very intriguing.

  3. Lily I took up your suggested challenge, hope you like it. I'm parking 'after the Plague' after this one I think its got the bones for something bigger, although Im sure eveyrone must be bored of it by now.

    After the plague. Finale!

    The Pastor assembled his cult of darkness, their encircling vapours hung thick in the air, like syrup.

    Hurriedly my calcite joined the amber and quartz in the basalt vinegar stone, and nature took its course.

    “Paganus scientia aegrescit medendo defende nos ” I recited to focus my nerves, rather than by practised ritualistic rite.

    Heat and light burst forth from the vinegar stone, hurling shards of basalt that diffused the surrounding vapours beyond their evil purpose.

    The pastor his communion weakened, shrieked, “We have Sarah”, as those unvanquished dispersed.

    While he has my betrothed, I shall not neglect the fight.

  4. Aidan--So bizarre, extreme cults exist far in the future and/or in parallel universes. Why am I not surprised. Wherever Man goes, he brings his malice with him.

    William--I liked the feel of the entries, as though each one were a journal entry. And Finale? That last line suggests it ain't over yet!

  5. Girls Club

    Turns out, you don’t need your mom’s knife to cut a dead cat, not if it’s been washed up on the riverbank for weeks. It falls apart when Jeannie pokes it with a stick first, so then we all use sticks. Its insides are gray and sticky. Black syrup pours out its mouth. Where’s its blood? asks Paula. Dunno, I say. Its tail comes apart from its body and lies neglected in the mud. In its honor, we name ourselves The Tabby Girls Explorers Science Club.

    Years later, we reconvene when my husband dies. We don’t use sticks this time.

  6. Thursday

    “Say grace.” Darla scowls by her cast-iron stove.

    “It’s your death cult, not mine.”

    “Blasphemy.” She flips another pancake.

    “Can’t be condemned if I never believed.”

    “Someone neglected your education,” she says. “If enough people think you’re disrespecting their beliefs, you’ll hang for it.”

    “Faith should withstand challenges and dissent.” I pour syrup over the flapjacks.

    The perfect beauty of the Light-Bringer forms in the sticky liquid. No one would report this daily miracle. People have forgotten Him.

    I swallow the divine, go to school, and wait to be blessed as a true believer when Iblis awakens the world.

  7. AidanI like this a lot. It has the tone of a prelude to something bigger.
    RebeccaMesmerised! I had to wonder what they did use, Brilliant!
    Reba I really enjoyed the dialogue, and that she had a secret deity

  8. What goes on in my head troubles me, yesterday it was giant squirrels in a Gay bar. Last night it was this. forgive me?


    After his ritual death his followers disbanded and left Rex to years of neglect, to rot in his tomb. One drunken night two of the cult remembered their creed and finally performed the resurrection ritual.

    He now stood surveying his body, his dry desiccated skin looking like grey rotting baklava.

    “How long” the fractured bag of dust that was his vocal cords rasped

    “Fourteen years dude” Jud sniggered

    His wizened walnuts no longer capable of producing their life giving syrup put a whole dampener on his concept of giving life after death.

    He should shed a tear, if he could.

  9. Aidan - great sci-fi, grounded as all great pieces are, in the very personal human experience.

    William - this was a great series, and you've left it on an intriguing, cliffhanger of an ending - let us know when the "something larger" materializes!

    Becky - Back in style! This is awesome - and I can totally see the expressions of naked curiousity as "the girls" broaden their minds.

    RR - Nicely mysterious, and when you tip your hand with "light bringer", you've got us right where you want us! Great setting too.

    William - fantastic take on the mummy's tale - and a great angle on why they're so ANGRY all the time - I'd be pissed too if I woke up to find my bits had turned into tea leaves.

  10. I'm afraid this isn't my best - but it's what occurred to me - and I've learned you have to listen when the ideas speak - or risk having them shut up!

    The Butterworth Rites

    Zachary laughed again.

    "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, Eileen."

    "It's what I believe in, Zach." Eileen's tone was

    "Well - it's a cult, and it's idiotic," he replied, and turned back to the dishes.

    He neglected to notice the cast iron frying pan was missing.

    The lights went out.


    When Zach awoke, he was immediately aware of being immersed in warm, cloying fluid. Somewhere behind him, he heard chanting.

    "Eileen?" he yelled. "What the fuck?"

    The voice that replied was deep and humourless.

    "And the unbeliever shall nurture you, Lord Bisquick".

    Suddenly, Zach smelled syrup.


  11. ChrisI always knew there was something more sinister with Betty Crocker

  12. Aidan - I really like it, a good solid foundation for something bigger, and sinister undertones in the ending. Ties in nicely with your other Wyrm Cult flash.

    William - Finale, you say? It's been an intriguing, interesting little series, and it deserves more legroom. =)
    Rex is dark, I like the idea of the wasted cultists... made me chuckle.

    Rebecca - poor kitty! O_O Of such shared experiences are lifelong friendships born... ;)

    Reba - I wonder if her sister would have seen Iblis too, had she looked, or her own saviour?

    Chris - bit of a cultural misfire for me, I had to look up Butterworth and Bisquick! Enjoyed it immensely the second time through though. =D

  13. Hive

    Carl knew cults, cults were the job, but he thought the Agency had maybe neglected to adequately brief him this time.

    The robed men chanted as their ‘Queen’ smeared some kind of sweet, viscous syrup on his face.

    Then she opened her mouth, wide, wider. Something moved inside. Something buzzing.

    Bees swarmed between her teeth in a ragged, angry cloud and Carl clamped his mouth and eyes shut. He braced himself, but they didn’t sting; instead he felt their horrible, furry bodies crawling over his face, in his hair. He felt them pushing into his nose, into his ears.

  14. let me post my entry first, then go back and comment:
    Doorstep Salesman

    Of all the times to neglect to put the chain on the door before I opened it... He was all charm, the guy standing there, voice like syrup. I quick realised he was from some cult or other, but thought he was like the Witnesses, I could say ‘sorry, not interested’ and he’d go. He didn’t. He had this knife, edge like a razor, it had, up against my throat so fast I didn’t see the going of it.
    ‘You will listen...’ he said and of course I did.
    Trouble is; I didn’t want to join.
    Now I’m dead.

  15. OK, here goes...
    William, that story has a way to go yet...
    Rebecca, cold and good as usual
    RR, natural dialogue, difficult to write, you make it look easy
    William, like this even more than the first one!
    Chris, leaving so much to the imagination and the pictures you hint at are urrggh and good!
    John, those dratted bees get everywhere... like it.

  16. Apologies for the neglect everyone, I was abducted by a cult that squeezed me like a syrup bottle until I revealed my true identity as a government agent.

    Not really. I've been up to lovely things with my family and working hard on getting Magenta Shaman up on Amazon/Kindle - which it is now - as you know because I haven't stopped blathering on about it.

    I'll stop rambling, and do some sensible commenting instead. Ahum.

    Aidan, you've taught me another new word 'ochlocracy'. Love it! Great wikipedia style to this piece, describing as it does the terrifying Wyrm cult.

    William, ah - and what a finale to the Prediction part of the Plague series. It can't stop there, especially with the promise in that last line so I look forward to the meat you put on those bones.
    Ha! I nearly choked on my tea at Rex-Erection. Absolutely brilliant, though I think I'll pass on the baklava.

    Hey Becky, glad you're back! I love your power of moving between time zones; I've seen it before in your work and you do it so well. The innocence of the young girls here is perfectly realised in the child-like narrative, then tempered in the tragic event of the current day. Great writing.

    Reba, lovely contempt and casual discussion in this story of the ascent of Iblis. An interesting world, well-delivered.

    Chris, no way! Eileen made Zach into a human pancake. I wonder what he tasted like after they added the syrup. Fun stuff; glad you listened to the voices. ;)

    Ooh John, what a freaktrip - I loved it! Fantastic vision of the queen opening her mouth to release the workers - I'd love to see a comic (sorry 'graphic novel) book illustration of that. The idea of furry bodies pushing into your nostrils and ears... shudder. I'm a big fan of bees though; talk to them and everything.

    Antonia, these people that keep turning up at your door are starting to affect your health! The ending made me chuckle "Now I'm dead. Damn." Great fun.

  17. Miss Sickly Sweet 2011

    Painted lips glistening with strawberry-syrup gloss tremble before this week’s cracked mirror.

    “Pout, Kristen. Pout.”

    Her mother pinches her buttock where the judges won’t see. Kristen’s sharp intake of breath will earn her a slap later. She chases her mother’s reflection around the small dressing-room as the woman twitches and rants. Finally, they hear the call.

    “Get your arse out there and win.”

    No kiss. No hug. Just a shove into the hallway where she joins the cluster of mini-me substitutes; their mothers all the same – brutal subscribers to the Cult of Neglect.

    They all want the crown for themselves.

  18. John - shades of Candyman- but with a twist that makes it so much grander - ant terrifying

    Antonia - this is my favourite ending of yours, ever. Love the tongue-in-cheek

    Lily - I love how you give us something so profoundly sad, without the sentimentality. I pictured those poor toddlers in their teased hair - god... pure child abuse!!

    Oh - and Eileen's tone was HOSTILE. I'm unable to comment during the day, and looking at that incomplete sentence has been driving me CRAZY.

  19. William: definitely not bored with this series; intriguing world and characters you've got here. Rex, the grey rotting baklava does a great job at capturing the stomach-turning disgust.

    Rebecca: "turns out" captures the innocence of their voice initially very well. Lovely, dark turn at the end.

    Reba: love the line, "I swallow the divine", fun mix of religion and society. This one has some good thoughts to chew on.

    Chris: nice turn of events; I like this one mixed with Reba's. I must remember not to doubt.

    John: I think bees induce more fear in me than spiders. I cringed at this one. This does create a perfect cult.

    Antonia: that's one way to cut through atheistic reluctance. (sorry for the bad pun... ok, mostly sorry). I'm not fond of anyone who knocks at my door. This will make me worse.

    Lily: I love the action in this and how it speaks loudly about the mothers.

  20. Antonia - You know how it is, there's so many cults these days, it's hard to convince people unless you have some kind of... edge... ;)

    Lily - I so wanted to use the phrase 'Cult of Neglect' in reference to (some) modern parenting, just couldn't do it. A real horror story there, disturbingly real.

    Actually, I probably could adapt that to a short comic script... then I'd just need someone who could draw...

  21. thanks for the comments ... the last lines made me smile even as I wrote them, sometimes you have to write what you see in your head, don't you?
    Lily, chillingly lovely piece.
    I bought Magenta, not had a chance to read it yet, will do very soon.

  22. Antonia, bless you for buying Magenta. Hope you enjoy it!

  23. Bleed

    It crawled along the floor, spread thick like syrup, and yet it tasted like iron on the tongue; base and bitter, clinging thick to the throat. Warm.

    Cotton robes rustled with soft whispers.

    He blinked beneath the brow of a hood; dark, earthen, cold.

    Her eyes stung with years of neglect; a runaway nobody in the wrong part of town, twitching with every cut and making no sound.

    Satisfaction rippled around the cult; a monotonous hum clung to the stone walls.

    She oozed for him; filled another cup.

    He turned to his master, and smiled at Jesus on the cross.

  24. Ally, an ominous and atmospheric glimpse into a ritual sacrifice. Despite the victim's anonymous history the brilliant line "She oozed for him; filled another cup" even suggests she was willing.

    I've just read Richard Godwin's Apostle Rising; Bleed has echoes of this. Loved it.

  25. Apologies for my lateness. Visitors, workload, interviews etc, etc. Anyway, I overheard a couple of blokes talking...

    The Two Blokes.

    "How's it hanging?"



    "How's what hanging?"

    "Holy shit, it's a way of asking how you are."

    "Oh. Well, I'm fine."

    "You need some sugar in your diet. A spoonful of syrup everyday will sort you right out."


    "The natural sugars, they'll help with your brain cells."


    "Fucking Hell! You've negledcted them for so long, they've given up on you."

    "I don't get what you're saying."

    "You should start your own society, you know. A meeting place for dimwits. A cult."

    "What did you just call me?"

    "See what I mean. Two beers please, mate."


    (It was a rush job)

  26. Eeek, just saw this 5 mins ago. Slightly played with rules using cults, syrups and neglected. Hope that's allowed; pretty please! Anyway, offering below:

    I was a God once. Men and women worshipped me alike. Cults sprang up across the Earth, whispering my name in the dark places most people feared to walk.
    The sacrifices and the offerings; oh the offerings. Slaughtered goats, sheep and virgins. Sweet nectars, syrups and wines. All proffered to my glory.
    But then Christ came in his supposed glory and they neglected me. He was more palatable to the masses; less judgemental. And I withered. People forgot me.
    I will wait. Bide my time. Dark times are coming and they will need me. I will be a God again.

    Phil (@phlambler)

  27. honeycombed voices
    coo behind sweet syrup like smiles.
    full of disdain
    feeding on their neglect
    we watch them join our cult

    (hope I'm not too late!)

  28. Ooh, ooh. Some very late-comers! Well done for sneaking in. Too late for me to comment at this stage I'm afraid, but I'll be summing-up in the next couple of hours and announcing the winner very soon.

    Well done everyone.

    No more entries please; I am creaking The Feardom's huge doors to a close


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.