Thursday, 30 June 2011

Prediction Winner

I've got a double-judge wig on tonight (and very scratchy it is too). The marvels that are this week's Prediction entries sit before me - blooming with dark petals of talent. Over at the UK's Writing Magazine online forum Talkback, there are some gorgeous pieces of prose and fiction on the theme of Rapture that I need to make a decision on. Prediction's first; so here goes...

  • Nina, there is real anger to Esmeralda in Skinned Alive; her revenge - bloodied with joyous satisfaction - had me grinning, somewhat dangerously perhaps. Most amusing and well-written.
  • Aidan, a cheeky little noir you've thrown at us this week with The Missing Page. I can't get that clock out of my head; bizarre it certainly is.  
  • William, oh yes; The Publisher - a great name for a serial killer. Such a sensory piece, wickedly described. Where's The Fox needs to be full-length. Get to it!
  • asuqi, a frighteningly stark poem stabbed with loneliness. Reloaded reveals the author in many of us; all AND nothing at the same time. Clever.
  • Erin, Mr Jack lingers in many a Brit's psyche, a Victorian legacy of which we are ashamed but morbidly fascinated by. You capture the media horror perfectly here and I can visualise the drawings you have made with words in The Whitechapel Murderer.
  • Chris, kinder indeed! I don't think Master Class is a lesson in romance though, I believe it's an imminent seduction that you're exposing us to and that Amanda Darling is very, very naughty. An intriguing write.
  • AJ, you perfect beauty whilst carving words of horror onto screens and onto skin. Six Letters equals poetic, hard revenge - beautifully crafted.
  • Phil's a comedian this week. I liked Type O negative - 'drape and pillage' me laugh out loud, as did that final line. Great fun; wish I had the same wit.
  • Antonia, A Bee's Life is just gorgeous. I have huge respect for these incredible creatures whose hum and travail epitomise the arrival of summer. I adore this eulogy in their honour.
  • Reba, I love your strumpet; desperate measures. "The skirt barely hid her petals as he nosed his way upward" is a brilliantly written, grubby little line. I think your Heroine's series will be bestsellers.
  • My untitled piece was a condensed version of a ghost story I wrote a few years ago and never sub'd anywhere. Glad Danny showed his face eventually, poor lad.
  • Inimitable David Barber dialogue in So, You Want Realism? What sent the chill down my spine wasn't so much the forthcoming 'hunt' but the thought of a publisher wanting my unfinished novel - in just two months. Terrifying. Thanks Dave.
  • St. Force - Flowers on a Guillotine, such an exquisite title. It totally deserves to be draping itself over a full-length novel - and from what you've give us, I think you've got the concept already. Very interesting.
  • John, I have no words - because you have used them all, my favourites all played out and placed with precision yet with the illusion of tumbling pretty prose. Poet is truly gorgeous.
  • Thomas, your untitled murder story teases on so many levels. Intriguing in itself as a stand-alone tale with a twist it also squeezes our paranoia pulse with corrupt publishers and deranged fans; crafty writing Mr Pluck.
  • Steven, very generous to reveal one of your diary entries. :) I love how it's the door and the lock that are swaying - not Lisher. I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough is the great mistake - do tell me it really happened? Thanks for making me giggle.
  • William, On Forbidden Love is a lovely yet tragic poem that trips off the tongue when read out loud (and I did, you know). What is sadder or more cruel than betrayal of the heart?
  • Zaiure, lots of Twists in here. Publishers are becoming more scary by the minute with their vicious seductions and desperate plans - on here at least. Poor Petal never stood a chance.

We have been veritably treated with different styles and emotions this time around. It has all made for very interesting reading - and a judging challenge. But I do have a winner - just the one. It's John Xero with the beguiling Poet. Absolutely beautiful. Congratulations John.

Very well done to everyone for such great writes; as always I'm looking forward to the next round.

And now I'm going to watch a bit of Medium and slope off to bed. A demain...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

I'm up early after a late night that had me swimming in and out of nightmares, waking every ten minutes with a shuddering heart and distorted vision. That's it - Pizza? You and me are through.

Despite that, the skies are blue and the birds are singing (except for the gulls, whose squawking somehow puts them out of the avian X-Factor league). Post-Solstice midsummer look like being a bright one. So mote it be.

Multiple congrats to Erin Cole for winning last week's Prediction Challenge with The Man with Blue in His Beard. Also to joint runners-up Angel Zapata for his poem Forgiveness and Phil Ambler with Evolution. Well done too to asuqi, who received an Honourable Mention for Void.

Words for 24 June 2011

Please note the challenge this week will close on Wednesday night (UK time) not Thursday.

Ooh, now here's a turn-up-for-the-books - as they still say in the quainter corners of England. The words for this week are:
  • Publisher
  • Drape
  • Petal


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 29th June 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.

Publisher, huh? Could be dangerous waters... Dare you dip your toes?

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Prediction Winner

I am overwhelmed with the quality of the entries this week - is there a conspiracy going on?

I apologise again for not commenting until now - might be that way for a few weeks yet I'm afraid, but I do read every entry - often many times over!

So - this is going to be a long night - I'd better get scribbling.

  • Nina, welcome to The Feardom. A terrifying torture trip you've led us on in this untitled piece. The pain of knees on sea salt crystals made me wince - salt in the wounds. A well-written and disturbing vignette of lost hope.
  • Sandra, the emulsion of colours in Body Art rages and pales - so vividly described. "...its slight greasiness delaying momentarily their coalescence" is so exact I can perfectly visualise what you mean. I love the creative juxtaposition of frenzy and boredom in so few words.
  • Thomas, I've read and reread She Knew How to Choose Them, Too and came up with a different interpretation each time; I want to know more. I like the suggested mystery to this and its stark, Noir feel that resonates with every audible hiss and shush. 
  • William, "...tsunami of the soul" - a maelstrom of meaning in this phrase. Khyam's Box feels exotic and ancient, humming with heat and incense; I felt almost nauseous with the final ebb and flow. An interesting glimpse into a wider tale?
  • Steven, firstly let me say 'Bloat' is a killer title. This a horrid slice of Chapman, served up with a seasoning of gore and repulsion. I love how the second body is "perfect" - for gutting presumably? And then what? Excellent.
  • St Force, isn't there always something about Buried Treasure that's too good to be true? Lovely pace in this; I was desperate to know what was in the box and then... bang. I knew it was coming but it still took me by surprise.
  • Oh Angel, this is why I love your poetry. Forgiveness lifts and lulls, flitting through emotions and senses like fingers nearly touching... nearly. Beautifully written - I loved and want to quote every word.
  • Asuqi, your waters are enticing - I couldn't fail to want to dive in to the Void. I fell with you, the pool drawing me down to rest at the nadir. And the eyes - are they yours? Gorgeous - and your inimitable style.
  • Chris, a ha, so THAT was What Was in the Cage? A terrifying and powerful beast indeed, brought to its knees by its own chosen profession - wasn't the "glazed, hypnotized stare" there before it was captured? You're getting a serial reputation, Mr Allinotte. Well acclaimed.
  • Aidan, an immediate impact of spam at your selection of characters and phrases in Steganography - aaargh! And that was before I started to read! You had us working away in a geek office scene then before we could heed the hashed warning you flipped it around to bizarro pulp. So clever - as always.
  • Phil. Wonderful first line. Evolution is a godly myth, a mystical scientific journey that carries us along. I hum with the space-song, throb with the creation and destruction. I have a personal love of duality formed from a single being, to equate three. Beautiful.
  • Antonia, Man Overboard plucks at our sympathy strings, but I question if all is as it seems? Despite the seering pain, the pity he has for himself feels misplaced and I wonder if his demise has come about through his greed and unwillingness to share. Great ending - I wasn't expecting that. Was his name Bob?
  • AJ, Hackett the psychopath is back, glorifying in his handiwork. Palette reveals his tools, his craft, his self-congratulatory arrogance. The scene is set, dust motes and smoke to caress the red velvet of Hackett's peeled victim. Pulsing. Pulsing. Perfect.
  • David, deadly dialogue and classic Barber. Under the Influence could almost be the Two Blokes from beyond the grave. It's a real talent to be able to tell a complete story through conversation alone, to evoke the scene and the amosphere through spoken words. Clever.
  • Erin, I would immediately read anything entitled The Man with Blue in His Beard. Enticing storytelling that teases; wrapping itself around our hearts it squeezes the life out of our emotions even as the black lotus grows. "...the light of a deformed moon", hell, I wish I'd written that. Gorgeous and darkly evocative.
  • Zaiure, greetings. "Bloody ribbons, glistening wetly" is blissful writing, in my opinion. There is a tenderness to The Ballerina, a pale dance of words that feels so delicate I feel both dancer and atmosphere are about to shatter. Whilst I think you meant Marquis rather than Marquee, I enjoyed this very much. ;)
  • John, Bad Science and Pig's Ear are two versions of the same story, separated by time and by myth. I felt both Cameron and Paul's nausea with the stirring and the gulping of lumps. But principally I regaled in the darkness of the female character in each tale; priestess, shaman, augur, witch. Circe - queen of them all; we speak often. Well met, John. 
  • My tale of the death of an alchemical parfumier Up In Smoke: Absolution speaks of possession - children trapped by unspoken cruelty and abuse; rich women trapped by greed. I enjoyed planting the spark that started the fire which blew up the lab that...
  • Reba, powerful and beguiling power in Independence. Grace is the centrepiece, weaving her own spell by virtue of her sexuality but the narrator is the true magician, observant and contriving. A fascinating read.

This is impossible.

And so - a first. I have chosen a winner, joint runners-up - and an honourable mention.

The winner with her deviant black lotus that swells with promise and with death - is Erin Cole; The Man with Blue in His Beard. Congratulations Erin - I could have drowned in this - and I'm waiting for the rest of the story.

Joint runners-up are Angel Zapata for the spellbinding poem Forgiveness - literary lace. And Phil Ambler who took us on an exquisite chaos journey of mythical creation with Evolution.

The Honourable Mention goes to asuqi, for the eddying waters of Void. Dangerously inviting.

I could go on... There is so little between the entries, all are sublime. I'll give someone else a chance to judge in a couple of weeks time.

Thanks for taking part - I'll post the next Prediction challenge in the (UK) morning. Take your dreams and weft them sweetly... Goodnight.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Heartless and Waiting

This weekend I watched one of the best films I've seen for some time, Heartless. I can't believe Clive Barker didn't write this. 

Terrifying, disturbing, emotional and visceral - set in East London it tells the story of a young man whose face is half-masked with a vivid birthmark that extends to cover part of his upper body. Is the demon he meets real, and are the terrifying creatures he sees in the street watching and waiting? Or are they only in his head? 

To me this has a Donnie Darko feel; you are never sure whether you are watching fantastic horror or the terrifying depths of schizophrenia. Superb, and highly recommended.

New Book for the Wish List

While I was checking Amazon this morning I saw Stephen Jones' latest Best New Horror (22) is all set to be released in October. It's a long wait, I know but like his previous collections and summaries of the year's horror they are a  goldmine of facts and fiction.

Here's Amazon's product description. How can you not put it on your own wish list? Who knows, one day you might be given a mention yourself...

The year’s best, and darkest, tales of terror, showcasing the most outstanding new short stories and novellas by both contemporary masters of the macabre and exciting newcomers. As ever, this acclaimed anthology also offers the most comprehensive annual overview of horror around the world in all its incarnations; a comprehensive necrology of famous names; and a list of indispensable contact addresses for the dedicated horror fan and writer alike. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror remains the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to presenting the best in contemporary horror fiction.

Friday, 17 June 2011


Regurgitating a gruesome piece of horror, Fissurefirst published on Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers in Feb 2010. Don't read if you're squeamish. And excuse me while I laugh.

by Lily Childs

Bernard Baker had an ‘orifice’. It wasn’t an orifice he was meant to have; what’s more, it wasn’t a discreet, insignificant little opening, it was a “bloody-great, super orifice” according to Mrs Baker, which was how Bernard learned the word. He would have called it a boil.

‘Lie still’ Barbara shouted at Bernard as he struggled beneath her. The weight of her was only slightly more bearable than the suppuration that fizzed and frothed near the base of his spine. He groaned. Barbara climbed off her husband’s back and squatted next to him on the bed.

‘It’s a fuckin’ chasm, Bernie. Where’s it come from?’

‘Oh God, I dunno. It wasn’t there this morning. Didn’t know nothin’ about it ‘til we went to the pub after work. Kenny came back from the bog and started freaking out; said me shirt was jumping about. Rippling and shit.’

Barbara prodded the edge of the wound. It spasmed at her touch, a mass of wrinkled jelly and pink blancmange.

She shrieked.

‘What? What Barb? You’re scaring me.’

Barbara jumped off the bed. She stood, staring at the eruption. She shifted her gaze down to Bernie’s frightened eyes.

‘It’s… I don’t know. It’s moving. Like it’s alive.’

Bernard strained his head. It was no good. He couldn’t see it, but he could feel the bastard pummelling at him, breaking loose. He stood up, cheap jeans and baggy boxers around his ankles, and waddled over to the bedroom mirror.

‘Here. Use this.’ Barbara passed him a hand-mirror.

‘What am I supposed to do with this?’

‘Don’t be an idiot. It’s what they do when you go to the hairdresser. Do you remember - the barbers – when you had hair? If you look in the small one then you can look at your reflection behind you.’

They glared at each other a second. Bernard grunted and snatched the ornate piece of framed glass from Barbara’s hand. He shuffled, bent over, stood up straight, wiggled about and craned his neck until he got a really good view of what was chewing at him. His heart thudded with the effort. It pounded even harder with the sight that met him. The volcanic, ribbed wound sucked and blew, hissed and bubbled – a bath-time fart in the flesh. It stunk as bad.

‘Jesus H!’ Bernard tripped over his feet, falling hard; his knees slammed down onto the laminate floor. Pus spat across the room but Barbara fought her disgust and threw herself down to take her whimpering husband in her arms.

‘What’s the matter Bernie? What now?’

Desperate tears bulged from Bernard’s yellowing eyes as he stared up at his wife. He shut his lids tight against her concerned expression. His florid complexion pulsed with tides of horror and embarrassment before he could bear to face his wife again.

‘It winked at me Barb.’ His voice fell away with sobs. ‘It fuckin’ winked at me.’

A furious stench the size of Belgium hit the room. Mr and Mrs Baker fell away from each other, vomiting as the rancid odour rushed down their throats. When they were spent, they lay exhausted. The reflection of Bernard’s infected supplementary arsehole teased him; the sight of his wife’s bulk, gently weeping hit him just as hard.

‘Help…’ Bernard gulped. ‘Help me Barbara.’ He fingered his way across the floor, sliding through spatters of steaming puke to seek out Barbara’s hand. He found her face first, her jowls jangled as her lament grew louder. For a moment, Bernard forgot about himself and wrapped his arms around her.

‘Ssshhh. Ssshhh Barbie.’

Barbara jolted up and shot him a look. Of all the bloody times to compare her to a plastic super-model, this was not the one. Before they could argue, a long, highly-indulgent slurping noise screamed from Bernard Baker’s back.

‘Lickin’ myself home, Bernie boy.’

The voice; a smarmy, grinning voice, came loud and clear from the fat man’s hole. Bernard stared at his trembling wife as she shifted her position to take a look. She gasped.

‘No. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Oh God.’

Bernard crawled at speed back to the mirror. As soon as he caught sight of the long tongue protruding from his body he slumped down onto his belly. The tongue wavered around, its spittle dribbled and drooled, wetting Bernard’s hairy arse, before it plunged down to lick the gob back up again.

Bernard watched in morbid fascination. The sensation of sucking and entering, probing and retreating throbbed through his body and Bernie was horrified to find himself disturbingly aroused.

Without warning the orifice tore itself apart, exposing Bernard’s crumbling spine.

‘Heard of Ouroboros, Bernard Baker?’

The voice that shouted from the void was deep, guttural… ancient. It questioned its host again.

‘The dragon that eats its own tail? Circling, ever renewing itself?’

Bernard shook his head as he died, wanting to understand. This must be something from myth-o-logy, he thought it was called, some kind of fancy history. He knew nothing about it. Didn’t care about it - until now.

Vaguely aware of Barb sneaking out of the room, Bernie dragged some empathy from his heart and tried to reason with the creature.

‘What do you want, Horrid Boris? Why me?’

The demon roared with laughter, working its tongue further inside Baker’s sphincter.

‘Ha, you idiot. I didn’t say I AM Ourobouros. I just like his methods.

Bernard relaxed.

‘Thing is, I’m fuckin’ lazy!’

Bernard screamed as his insides turned out. His guts boiled as they hit the air. His life expired in seconds.

The demon, freshly reborn wiped the bloody detritus from its honed, blue-skinned body. It admired itself in the mirror, turning this way and that, grinning at its glistening erection.

‘Barbie?’ it called, in perfect impression of its former cocoon. ‘Everything’s alright now. I got rid of it. We’re OK babe.’

The stupid woman returned to the bedroom, her footsteps heavy along the hallway. Surprise slapped her in the face as she opened the door. She genuinely believed Bernie had gotten rid of the thing; that he’d be standing there in front of her, completely recovered.

She looked the demon up and down, taking in its strong, lithe form. An involuntary twinge quivered between her legs.

‘Oh God’ she said.

‘Not quite’ the demon replied, and dived in.

Lily's Friday Prediction

Since when did Autumn start in June? It's chilly and raining in old Eastbourne town.

Today I am wrapped in lovely goth black lace, masses of silver on my fingers and hanging from my ears. Lips are as red as velvet rose petals, my black hair is piled on top of my head - ringlets hanging down the sides of my face. I am comfortable in myself. I am ready to enter the darkness - there's horror on the agenda.

But all that's by-the-by. Back to The Prediction and congratulations to Reba Kovar for winning last week's challenge with the mythical, other-worldy A Gift in Appreciation for Your Many Years of Service. I couldn't choose a runner-up because all the entries were so good.

Words for 17 June 2011

I wonder what the old book and your extraordinary imaginations will come up with this week. Here you go...

  • Hypnotise (Hypnotist is acceptable)
  • Granules
  • Float


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 23rd June 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.

Crack those knuckles, let the words spill...

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Prediction Winner

Thank you, everyone for coming back. I was afeared, I confess that something prettier and more dangerous might come along.

This week's words were an odd combination but everyone polished their pens and delivered short pieces of perfection. Judging obviously won't be getting any easier.

A little summary to get us in the mood...

  • Sandra Davies exposes her unwilling victim's fundament, torn asunder by a churchman's vessel born to draw in a bubbling, chalky elixir in Shattering.
  • Antonia Woodville sings us an unexpected Siren Song, the flautist's tunnel swearing and tearing at her hero's senses, ripping into his phobia. Nothing is as it seems.
  • Thomas Pluck with the lovely name whisks us onto a nostalgic flight where men wear high-waisted trousers and talk with cool seduction, not slime in their voices in the cleverly named Cary Me Home.
  • William Davoll slips a dancing creature, almost an Ouroborus between his protaganist's innocent, waiting lips as the Devil's daughter plays him a merry dance with The Serpent's Fife.
  • My Stitch in Spine has a needle-phobic lover labouring over his healer's back, sweating as he ribbons her tight and waiting to tie a tidy black bow.
  • RR Kovar's mythological pantheon plays with the long-serving proletariate, casually observing their actions and failures whilst flicking through the intricacies of human behaviour over time, in A Gift in Appreciation for Your Many Years of Service.
  • Chris Allinotte's Nightcap traps Elizabeth and Edward in a Noel Coward nightmare, arachnid phobias sending a vague shiver through the room despite the caged creature in the corner.
  • Phil Ambler shoves his slim whistle into our grateful visual space before teasing us with a big fat brass of a tuba in Innocence Lost. Ouch.
  • AJ Humpage steers us through dripping gothic halls, forcing us to circumnavigate a monk's foul attempt to save souls from within Vlad's domain in the gorgeously entitled Execrate.
  • Pixie J. King's executioner plays with his/her victim's senses in Arches of Sin, forcing him to wallow in the above and below before plunging him to his death.
  • AidanF gets the girls' cherries as they dabble in a dangerous dance with the handy-bendy undead. Limbo keeps going, the kissing's just starting in Summer Raving.
  • Vix mixes pantheons and throws us to the pleasure of the Gods and acolytes in her musical, untitled Pandemic of poetic words.
  • Col Bury's Rendezvous has the reader shivering in fear and anticipation of the forthcoming encounter; fingers tremble and brows sweat as all he must do is step in to the world of people.
  • Kim deals us The Hanged Man in a marked deck of tarot in Party Line. All he is, and all he will become is drip, drip, dripping into the dark-haired one's flute, for the supping therefrom.
  • John Xero slips his fingers into a troubled world where musical bliss lies in tremor, awaiting the touch of a player - his notes awakening the beauty of his nemesis/muse.

I am in awe at the delights laid before us on the Feardom this week. Well done everybody. My winner is Reba Kovar for her beautiful, Escher vision of the gods playing with us like so many pawns. Congratulations Reba - I swear I have dreamt this vision.

I'll return in the morning with the new Friday Prediction; in the meantime, do sleep and dream well. May your inspiration feed you.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction...

... is back!

I am well into the gathering of the last year's-worth of Prediction entries so it's all systems go for an anthology. I haven't contacted any of you yet, so don't worry - you haven't been missed out.

So - are you there Moriarty? Or David, Chris, Antonia, AJ, RS, Sue, Aidan, Pixie, Tony, William, Phil, Erin, Jodi, Stephen, Michael, Susan, John, asuqi, ttofee and all the other Predictioneers?

For anyone new to Lily's Friday Prediction, the rules are at the end of this post.

Words for 10 June 2011

This week's words are fairly simple but they've got my brain stirring already. Hope you feel the same...

  • Flute
  • Phobia
  • Arch


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 16th June 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 am desperate - desperate - for you to play. I'm game.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mythos, Minos and a pinch of prose

Minoan Snake Goddess
I have just returned from the mystical land of Crete where the Minotaur roams through darkened labyrinths and Zeus welcomes his guests with mighty thunder. I danced under the gaze of the Snake Goddess and fell prey to ancient libation (raki).

In fact, I did nothing cultural whatsoever this time but was able to seriously chill out after what had possibly been the most challenging and stressful few months I can remember - and sometimes that's enough.

Regrettably Broadband and wi-fi was in short supply and I couldn't send email while there, but now I'm back - virtual Pina Colada in hand (I'm a lush and I'm proud) and am wildly inspired to write.


Here's a short piece of prose that has just won the UK's Writing Magazine/Writers News online forum's monthly One Word Challenge. The theme for May was 'Stream'.


She’s the island in the middle, growing fragile at the edges where the creatures dig in deep, boring holes into her soul.

All around her, tinkling and twinkling over polished rocks the summer water flows with ease. It goes about its business without a care for the weeping wart at its centre. A crumbling clump here, a stagnant pool there. Mites hiss, in love with the detritus rotting on the surface.

Lush and vibrant, the silken stream babbles with soft laughter all around the sinking isle. And all the while, the sinking isle plunges deeper, moisture bubbling through her underbelly where creeping sluice tendrils pervade the loosened soil.

All it takes, all it takes... is a passing storm to wreak the final damage. Thunderous rain spills from Zeus’s hands; a waterfall from a purple sky to soak the land below. The crevices expand. Sand – sharp and callous – blends with the furious torrent to bring about destruction, the distressed earth torn to shreds, dispersed.

And all that’s left is a pebble which slips down an empty bank to lie down on its side. Like a single word that’s taken a single girl over her own decaying edge.
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.