Friday, 20 May 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

So this is the last Friday Prediction Challenge until 10th June. I need to get my head round some important writing projects - including finalising the next Magenta Shaman episode, and researching another. The only way to do that is to take a short break. I hope you understand and will return with me in June.

Prediction Anthology News

My break comes with a promise - part of this will be to collate every Prediction entry since May 2010, with a view to putting them into an anthology. I will contact each of you about it to see if you are willing to have your work included. No-one's work will be published without permission.

I would hope to create a print version through Createspace plus a Kindle download. In the meantime don't hesitate to contact me by email if you have my address, or through my contact form if you have any suggestions or questions.

Back to this week's challenge...

Firstly, congratulations to Antonia Woodville for slipping something nasty onto the streets in last week's winning entry Night Walker. And well done to ttoffee for plaiting up a good-un in The Dog's Bollocks. Ouch.

This week's words should tease:

  • Slack
  • Grate
  • Fanfare


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 Wednesday (not Thursday) 25th May to enter.

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

What delicious tales can you stun me with? I can't wait...


  1. WOW! And thanks! If ever anyone needed a boost right now,tis me! Still suffering shock after effects from the accident and car-less, this has done me the world of good! I tried 4-5 times to get this story to roll properly and it wouldn't go, then hey presto, it is there, full formed and ready to slice - into flesh, as it turned out.
    I am highly amused that ttofee came second, she and I were thinking the same thing...

  2. Well done Dorothy. I couldn't take part last week even though the words were very fertile in my mind. Dorothy, I just went to read your entry and loved it. Not read all of the rest but your story does read like a winner to me so congratulations.

  3. thank you! That is really good to read.

  4. Hey congrats Antonia and ttofee. Fantastic pieces both.

  5. Slack, grate, fanfare...made me feel a wee bit nasty. :0)

    Attention Seeker

    Your shoulders tense, your posture stiffens and your eyes narrow. You lean away as her behaviour starts to grate on your nerves. She doesn’t notice. Slack and whinging, she only stops complaining once she garners a certain amount of fanfare.

    It took awhile to get her alone, but you did what you had to. You lured her downstairs when you thought no-one was looking, when the music was turned up.

    I didn’t say anything. In fact when others asked I told them she'd taken ill and gone home.

    You see, I couldn’t stand her either.

  6. Susan, one grim story ... with a killer ending, love it!

  7. Well done Dorothy! Time/work permitting I hope to be a little more involved this week.


    A billowing violet flourish, a fanfare. The sound of the opera in the background transcended the stink of fear and drowned out the man’s screams.

    The high-pitched wailing grated on Hackett’s nerves.

    The first slice cut through the larynx and instantly silenced; followed by a deeper cut which carved through sinew and muscles and slowly, deliberately, separated head from the neck.

    The eyes fascinated Hackett; the tongue had become slack, but the terror bloomed in the man’s expression. Pain, death. Last moments captured.

    Nerves made the man’s mouth twitch madly in a silent scream.

    It was time for dinner.

  8. The Maze

    Diedrick fought the urge to vomit as he slithered face first through putrescent entrails, squeezing down the tight, claustrophobic tunnels.

    He’d made it further than the others through this labyrinthine nightmare; he’d been smart, beaten all the traps. Surely this was finally his escape.

    And then all hope evaporated, all shreds of optimism torn away by the grate blocking his path ahead. His first and only wrong turn.

    His body went slack as the blade sliced down from above, ripping through his fleshy, mottled back.

    The watching crowd cheered as the fanfare signalled another contestant had entered The Maze.

  9. Susan - wonderful tale and really liked the complicity of the 'observer' in the piece.

    AJ - chilling, clinical story of a cannibal's dinner preparations. Very well executed (pardon the pun).

  10. AJ,really visceral stuff this time!
    Phil, a deadly game, in every way. Brilliant stuff.

  11. I'm out of practice, but taking a (heh) stab.


    Drink, Darling

    Gianni’s fingers in mine are cold. I touch them to my cheek, a slack caress not unlike the ones he gave at 2 a.m. on any given night, and gaze at the ceiling with the practiced sigh of the too-early widowed. He issues forth a reply, a wheeze of last cigar. The bourbon glass crunches under my shoe, the only fanfare I can muster, and I name it Song of the Dead Alcoholic, which is not as poetic as he might’ve liked, but is a dirge as grating as his every grunt over me.

    God bless Mr. Jack Daniels.

  12. Back to comment tomorrow!

    Against the Odds

    Across the arena, the grate slid open to raucous fanfare. Who, or what was next?

    Marcus backed up and the chain grew slack. Something crunched under his feet - fingers, most likely.

    His chest throbbed with a dull itch. The brand of the Christians was a convenient lie; one of Sexus' perverse fancies.

    The gladius was comforting weight in his right hand; his left hung cut and useless.

    From the shadows stepped a masked giant holding a mace the size of a planet. Finally here was some sport.

    Marcus grinned. There was sand in his teeth.

    Now that was troubling.

  13. SMJ--I related all too well and took too much glee in this one!

    AJ--Ooh, a gory one! That penultimate line about nerves and a silent scream is so good.

    Phil--Surely this was his final escape. Er, or not... Great job squeezing the tension out of the situation.

    Chris--Put us right there in the action, starting with, "Something crunched... fingers, most likely." Almost a sense of elation from this warrior. I'm rooting for him.

  14. catching up, I hope ... you are all quick off the mark!
    Rebecca, love this, such a deep dark sense coming from the words.
    Chris, really off beat look at the gladiators, with gore in every line!
    OK, off to try and write my entry... if I can.

  15. The executioner

    Announce it to the world with a fanfare, with a confident wave, with a final hurrah, the deed is done.
    The one who stalked the women is dead. The one who mutilated and rejoiced in their bodies is dead. He of the slack mouth and grating voice is no more.
    At my hands.
    Does that make me as bad as him?
    I sliced his throat, a second smile for the dead. I removed his hands, he could no longer touch. I cut out his heart, surprised he had one.
    Now they seek me, the killer of the killer.

  16. Bermuda Salvage

    Diving through the water, Demas recalled locals whispering of creatures haunting the coral strands. Old men lost to superstitions.

    Demas directed Phoebe beyond the ship, parrot fish swimming past the seaweed-covered hull. Phoebe kicked. Sand in the slack tide hid her.

    Swimming into the hull, Demas searched for treasure in the blue-filtered light.

    Metal clanged, a fanfare announcing Demas' imprisonment. Sand clouded the water. The current must have caught the grate.

    A knife sliced Demas' breathing apparatus. His lungs burned. His eyes lied. A man fled, his legs fused into a tail, his hands dragging Phoebe's head by her locks.

  17. Susan: I wince at the ending because I've felt that way myself. I wonder who I make wince. Does what come around go around?

    AJ: you come in with strong, stomach-turning images with this one. What a grisly gem you've created.

    Philambler: I like this grisly sewage/maze reality-game.

    Rebecca: I like how this captures the hollow feelings left after years of alcoholism.

    Chris: I want to know more about this gladiator. The fingers crunching is a killer detail.

    Antonia: the narrator has a silky smooth voice, especially with "surprised he had one".

  18. Susan: Great details, and a stellar snapshot of one of life's truer - if more detestable states of being.

    AJ: There's a strong noir-ish tint to this grisly horror, and the opera house is the perfect setting.

    Philambler: "Saw" meets the Running Man - cool. Stylish. And cool.

    Rebecca: Missed ya here! This is amazing. I find it gripping that the marriage was dead, long before she finished it off.

    Antonia: love this - especially the note of indignity that creeps in - when they should obviously be thanking him.

    Aidan: great imagery - as ephemeral as if we were seeing this through a forest of seaweed. I like that the mer-creatures are just there on the edges until they sweep in at the end for the denouement. Great job.

  19. Nipping in quickly for a few comments.

    Susan, yeah I've know a few Attention Seekers like that. Would I have done the same in that position? Hmmnnn...
    Well written; you managed to evoke a real irritation with the offender.

    AJ, you've surpassed yourself! Such poetic gore. The concept of the mouth twitching madly in a silent scream had me giggling in horror and fascination. I may well have to tell myself not to dream about that tonight. Excellent.

    And then Phil, throws us "face first through putrescent entrails" into this slithering Maze. I felt nauseous myself with your marvellous descriptions. Phil, I loved this.

    Rebecca, darling. Such atmosphere, such tragedy. You can smell the Jack oozing from your pen, feel the chill of Gianni's fingers as they are stroked against his wife's skin. A beautiful, desperate read.

    OK. Back later...

  20. I see nothing has changed while I've been away. It seems so long, yet ...

    Antonia and ttoffee, well done with last week's entries. Flinchworthy tales!

    Enough ...


    The sound of bone grating on iron was drowned by the fanfare of the sheriff’s departing entourage. The cutting winter wind jangled the chains hanging slack around the festering corpse.

    The lessons learned by Dark John were terminal. To fleece the sheriff of his taxes and the duty on his imports earned him an early death. The route to that death was long and painful.

    The dying had been drawn out over a month; the sheriff enjoyed the dying. Not the death because at death the entertainment was over, but the process of bringing about that death. Ah, sweet suffering.

  21. Chris, such manly sport. Ancient weapons, sanded pits, rippling CGI chests... But Against the Odds suggests something differently cruel, more malicious. An earthy creation.

    Antonia, your Executioner did the deed of the brave. He stole the responsibility so many wish themselves able to embrace outside of the law. He asks "Does that make me as bad as him?", and we all know the answer. Disturbingly probing.

    Aidan, an Atlantean/Pacific mythology in your fluid words. Mer people are at the heart of this mysterious Bermudan tale, dangerous and clutching - for they are not sweet of nature. Wonderful - I love this.

    Kim, your sheriff is a mean MF, probably quite representative of the era. There were two particularly superb lines in this devastating vignette: "The sound of bone grating on iron..." and "The lessons learned by Dark John were terminal." This needs to be expanded.

  22. Dirty Poppies

    Esther stood unsmiling, gazing over London. The fanfare of Victoria’s parade blared through the rotten window frame, rattling the filthy glass.

    I wonder, Esther thought, if the Queen’s potato face is bloated this morning. Slack with opium; eyes black and unseeing whilst the masses crowd the streets to adore their monarch.

    Ash cooled in the grate. December’s ice licked at the attic walls as Esther sucked the vial dry. No more food. No more laudanum. At least not today.

    Even as the shakes took hold Esther laughed, memories of Her Majesty’s private den like smoke in last night’s mind.

  23. Susan – ‘slack and whinging’ sumps up this woman very well. I like the way you’ve left it open so I can conjure all sorts of nasty endings for her in my mind.

    Phil – There’s something creepily dystopian about this blood sport – nicely visceral and very chilling.

    RS – Dark and sadly poetic; you capture the consequence of alcoholism very well. Lovely piece.

    Chris – Love this. Love it. Rich with snippets of description to make us salivate, it builds to a complete picture of lusty violence. My kind of stuff.

    Antonia – I feel for your dark avenging character. Is he so bad? Maybe, maybe not. But I like the way it invites us to speculate and contemplate.

    Aiden – Full with descriptive loveliness as always. I can feel the burn of Demas’ lungs; so apt a word.

    Kim – Just from the description we get a very clear picture of your Sheriff, but we also get a glimpse of the dark undertones that govern his world. Not the kind of man you want to cross.

    Lily – Through the foggy haze of opiates you create a realistic turn; the drug of the masses brought to life with a deft dark hand. Your writing just gets better and better.

  24. Antonia—Does that make me as bad as him? Ha! Yeah, think we all have our own ideas on that one. Now they seek me… Hm, yes, and what happens when they catch up? For they will.

    Aidan--his hands dragging Phoebe's head by her locks. For some reason, although this whole piece is very good, this just gave me the shivers.

    Kim--A very evil sheriff. I found myself wondering about this world, this place, and what, exactly, it’s like. And that’s what good microfiction should do.

    Lily--First read this last night, went to bed with my head spinning. The writing’s gorgeous, the scene evocative and well-chosen. This: December’s ice licked at the attic walls as Esther sucked the vial dry, well, that is beautiful. Rhythm, beauty, decay – of house and mind and spirit. Honestly? Give it to yourself this week. This deserves it.

  25. now there's a good thought, Rebecca, that Lily should award herself the win. The entry deserves a win, for sure!
    Kim, this is one awful Sheriff...
    I wrote a 373 word story last night. The last line was good. Then another last line appeared and that was the shocker. I haven't got over it yet. Some of the spirit authors coming to me have devious dark minds in the extreme. I am excited by the work. (The story has been accepted by Wicked East Press already.)

  26. So kind. So kind. I couldn't possibly choose myself as the winner! But thank you.

    The Friday Prediction is now closed. My results will be posted tomorrow. Sleep well; dream of beauty - tinged with creeping tendrils...

  27. Ah crap. I was gunna try and write something for this tonight, but obviously...I've missed out. Bloody exams...


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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.