Friday, 1 July 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Where does the time go? I mean - really? Did someone steal it when I was sleeping? They took a lot more than they were entitled to, that's for sure. Seems only moments ago I was posting about John Xero winning last week's Prediction challenge with his beautiful Poet... and indeed it was. Congratulations John.

Words for 1st July 2011

These could be interesting. What do you think?

  • Treason 
  • Optic (optician, optical etc - all OK) 
  • Pose


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 7th July 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.

Throw your words at me; make me swear with horror and delight. I'm ready...


  1. No Abdication

    A phalanx of supporters protected her as she tried to rest. Innocence long abandoned, her timid pose atop the ashen sheets belied the acts of cruelty advancing just now in her name.

    What choice did she have? The Empire at her command had turned their wrath upon her as they had her mother and her mother too.

    Demons were at bay, for now slaked from insatiable desires, treasonous commands against their master proved to be folly. Eyes closed, the images danced upon her optic nerve none-the less.

    What price paid for challenging the Queen? More than they would bear.

  2. Dark stirrings in this powerful piece, Michael. I can hear the rumblings of disatisfaction rallying against outmoded empirical governance. Revolution in the making, and a provocative read.

    Here's mine - might have another one later:

    An Eye for an Eye

    In her glistening orb, a glimmer of hope. Pale striation; blues, greens – a fleck of rust. The colours twitch, plummeting Johnny into the widening blackness of The Lady’s dilation.

    “Is this treason?” the self-appointed optician whispers, if only to himself. He nods to his accomplice who steps forward, ready to slice.

    The royal darkness shrinks to a pinpoint.


    He turns this way and that, preening and posing. Thick lashes flutter over the new eyeball. As Johnny takes a sip of gin he idly wonders how long it will take for the real Queen to realise she can’t see through glass.

  3. Michael - dark and disturbing!

    Lily - out with his eye and off with his head!

    Couldn't resist the prediction this week - especially as the words conjured up a 'prequel' to something I wrote yesterday

    So, sneaking just under the 100-word remit, here goes:


    People were no longer hung, drawn and quartered for treason. Nowadays they easily ‘disappeared’, courtesy of the shadowy echelons of the British Security Services, their torment continuing behind closed doors where no one who cared would hear their screams.

    As the barmaid re-filled his glass, Strachan focussed on his pose of sturdy reliance reflected in the mirror behind the optic. The word ‘traitor’ was hard to swallow yet tomorrow, at the bidding of the puppet-masters of Whitehall, he would commit an act of gross national betrayal. The Bushmills empowered his resolve, but mistrust still tainted their promises of absolution.

  4. Michael, wonderful gory images!
    Lily, crystal - no, make that cut glass (dripping in blood) words here.
    Sue, more here than you are saying ..

  5. I failed to comment last week (sorry!)and I won´t be participating this week. There´s something wrong with my son and we don´t know what it is, but at least now he´s getting better =) I´ve been staying at the hospital with him for a few days and it´s been a scary time, but he´s been thoroughy examined and they now think it´s some kind of virus that he´ll recover from on his own. I´m so looking forward to getting him back home, well and happy! Have fun with the prediction and keep your fingers crossed for us =)

  6. Asqui - sorry to hear your sad news- hope son quickly makes a full recovery :-)

  7. Sue, I read and commented on the splendid 'A Dirty Job'. One For The Road is indeed a fabulous prequel; collectively it's classy, intriguing writing and I want to go on the waiting list for the first edition of the novel - if you please?

    Asuqi darling, no worries whatsoever about missing the Prediction. Our love and virtual hugs are spiralling around you and your son. Be well, all of you. xx

  8. Lily - thanks! Yup, Mr Strachan is dovetailing into a new piece (let's not get big-headed and say 'novel'!) that I'm working on that involves GCHQ - more later! ;-)

  9. Well done John X. My offering this week...

    Blood in the Water

    Sedition hung in the air, curled like parched paper.

    The colour of treason inked the assembled alabaster faces; carved elite in silent pose, their stern expressions rounding on him with disdain.

    Bold streams of fading sunlight found a path between robust columns, struck the marble floor with delicate patterns. His vision shimmered; an optical illusion in the heat.

    His sandals were soft across the floor.

    The river Rubicon rusted beneath a setting sun; those slain stained the water, bloated on its banks.

    Caesar smiled.

    Blood oozed through Rome’s narrow streets.

    Behind him, the Senate stood revoked.

    His dictatorship had begun.

  10. AJ - loved that line about the river Rubicon rusting! :-)

    The whole piece is beautifully evocative - well done!

  11. What were YOU thinking?

    He posed me into position with a veteran’s skill. My skin lay naked to the cold metal contraption imprisoning me.
    “Open wide,” he said.
    I paused for a moment, taking in a deep breath before obeying his command.
    The following moments were a blur; grainy sparks of dry pain, relieved by lubricating moisture, finally ending in a distorted yellowish view. My body revolted at the treasonous invasion as my pulse quickened. I fought the urge to flee.
    “Ok Nancy, all done,” he said. “You’re new glasses should be ready in about week. We’ll call you when they are in.”


  12. Where's the Fox PT2

    The optic nerve protruded from puckered eyelids. A pose resembling a pensioner sucking spaghetti through toothless lips.

    Sellings turned his attention to the stuffing of pages from Huxley’s, “Art of Seeing” considered treason by medical folk.

    Huxley claimed to see with broken eyes better than with glasses, it was then he noticed the henna tattoo of an eye on the palm of her hand.

    Sick bastard was killing witnesses, but leaving taunting clues, however the fox remained elusive.

    The constable entered “ Sir, hunt protesters use fox piss to confuse the hunt”

    “Get me Tench now!”

    The end had begun…

  13. The Real Guy Fawkes

    The pain in his head felt like finger nails being dragged along his optic nerves.
    He’d been convicted of treason, and he knew his punishment would be drawn out and painful. His Genitals long gone in pyre before his eyes, his new pose would only let him see the Thames below. His body long since gone, and replaced by a pike, Guido could only wonder what was in those barrels, as clearly it was not the stash of Brandy his new found chums had promised, but at least the cigars had been good. The brass neck of some folk.

  14. Ah William, I have channelled a book from the Real Guy Fawkes, what you have hinted at here is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared with his four days of torture. Believe me, I lived through them with him and it nearly wrecked me! But this is good. One small point, Guido is not a name he chose, as his book makes clear, it came from the Spanish mercenaries he fought with, Guy=Guido in their mouths. Simple. No one seems to have thought of it. Poor, poor man. (His book is out electronically later this year. 85,000 words of pure vivid writing. He is one fine author.)
    Fox Part 2, keep it going!
    Asuqi, love and thoughts surrounding you all at this time.
    Nina, putting me off eye tests forever...
    AJ, image laden with horror as usual ... never fails to stir the imagination.
    Still working on mine.

  15. Michael – Great backdrop. “slaked from insatiable desires” and “images danced upon her optic nerve”. Some great imagery going on here.

    Lily – “plummeting Johnny into the widening blackness of The Lady’s dilation”. Great line, and dare I say, it just oozes with metaphor.

    Sue H – This is a teasing little number of subterfuge and espionage, told in a way that makes us want – need – to know much more.

    Nina – This cleverly misleads us into thinking dark thoughts, carefully chosen words trick us, until the final reveal brings a sense of relief. Nice, sharp writing.

    William – The Fox has great description balanced with the narrative. Love the opening lines. The Real Guy Fawkes – love the descriptions and the simile of fingernails along the optic nerve is simply divine!

  16. Damnation - I commented on AJ, Nina and William's entries but my remarks were stolen away into Blogger oblivion. I knew I should have trusted my intuition and copied my comments before I posted them. Sigh.

    Sorry folks; eyes are shut no so will need to repost tomorrow. Sleep well duckies, as me ol' great grandmother used to say...

  17. @william - I think it was brave of you to take on such a daunting task as writing through the eyes of this tortured man. There is only so much you can say in 100 words, and it's my humble opinion that you used the space you had to convincingly convey a moment of horror in a string or excruciating horrific days.

    @AJ Loved this line "Sedition hung in the air, curled like parched paper. " The whole imagery was breathtaking. Amazing!

    @Sue - WOW, awesome job at laying out the scene, time and place. All about the "show don't tell" here. Switch the name Strachan for Bond and none would be the wiser!

    @Lily - goosebumps, and not those good goosebumps. More like those goosebumps you get when you feel someone is watching is you...

    @Michael - Haunting and daunting. Nothing is more tense than the waiting. Nice job!

  18. Michael - spectacular imagery, and a disturbing look at what it means to be someone's salvation

    Lily - I love the dark cruelty to this. "Self-appointed optician" **shudder**

    Sue H - the "disappearances" are just a little bit too close to my most paranoid nightmares. And the rest just sings.

    AJ - I read this wonderfully classic piece, thinking it a "what if" of Shakespeare's tilt at Rome... i.e. Fuck you, Brute

    Nina - loved it. Great twist that makes this so much fun.

    William - alright - consider me intrigued. Great pacing, and a solid cliffhanger. #2 There's always some poor dumb bugger caught up in these things. Here's his voice.

  19. @chris - Creeeeeeeeepy. Again I got the "Bond" vibe here... albeit a very sadistic and dark "Bond vibe" that would not please the audiences of Bond flicks, but might turn a few heads of the Rob Zombie cult phenomenon.

  20. absolutely wonderful stories this week and absolutely no inspiration whatsoever. Everything I started I rejected out of hand and nothing has come in to take its place. I think my association with Guy has thrown me completely, treason means him and means unbelievable suffering and I can't go there. I almost began one which said
    is it treason not to submit an entry to the Prediction... but decided against that too!
    Maybe next week.
    Once again, thanks for the superb reads, really enjoyed them all.

  21. Revolution?

    One man’s treason is another man’s revolution; it all depends on who poses the question.

    The sprawling branches of the ancient oak held my weight as I lay there focused on the road ahead. The dusty track shimmered as waves of heat coalesced, fashioning optical illusions of dancing devils frolicking across the dead lands.

    The king’s carriage crested the flickering horizon, flanked by a dozen blood bound knights, protecting the oppressor. I saw his odorous, gluttonous face, gorged on the sweat of my brothers.

    My arrow flew.

    Today I am the inquisitor and I will answer to no man again.

  22. Thanks for all the comments on my two pieces.

    Here's my tuppence worth.

    Michael: This has the feel of an Epic about it, I can't wait to read more
    Lily: Dark and Deep as English Porter beer, fantastic my eyes are itching since reading your piece.
    Sue H: If this is the prequel I'd love to read what comes next, powerful stuff.
    AJ: Crammed with passionate descriptives , delicious. I loved the first line you can feel the tension.
    Nina: A very clever piece, Indeed. Drew me in completely in horrific Awe, then relief. Brilliant!
    Chris: I love this piece, It gave me thoughts of a rogue agent being tracked down.
    Phil A really cool piece you have here, I particularly loved the line "waves of heat coalesced, fashioning optical illusions of dancing devils frolicking across the dead lands." so cool.

    Asuqi I really hope your son gets better soon.

  23. Sorry for the late "re-do" - but it's been killing me since I noticed I had very nearly ripped off Michael's brilliant image of "dancing on an optic nerve" Sorry Michael!


    Memories come unbidden in percussive flashes.

    A girl.

    A note.

    A gun.

    Red light blooms in an optic flood behind dehydrated eyelids. Tom's neck itches.

    In the blinding light a man is standing. The pose says authority, the gun on his hip is unnecessary. The running is done.

    "Your sentence ..." the man begins. The only word that matters is treason. Tom shuts his eyes.


    Stolen files.

    A girl.

    On his right, something creaks - something long unused.

    There is just one crime left here that warrants death.

    This one.

    A girl.



  24. Here's my first ever entry, so I hope it's okay! :)
    The Museum of Treason.

    That's what they call it anyway, the people who come to gawk and stare at us. Subtly reminded by the State in school visits and half-price family tickets of the price for treacherous thought and anti-social deed.

    We stand there, convicted, frozen in whatever pose they have chosen for us. White skin, smooth and cold to the touch. Statues with seeing eyes. That is the price of our crimes. Porcelain bodies but living optic nerves.

    In silence, we watch you all and plan our revenge.

  25. Struggled a wee bit this week... I'll try and get back before close with some comments. =)

    CyberOptical Illusion

    Captain Carter glared out at the steaming city. The men behind him traded nervous looks.

    “The question posed, gentlemen, has moved beyond ethics. Commissioner Warton is calling it treason.”

    “Seems a bit strong, boss.”

    Brand was new. Brand didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.

    Carter growled. “Hacking into everyone’s optics. Defacing the king, live. Making the country a laughing stock.”

    He turned and advanced on Brand.

    “Everyone thought King William had a goddamn Hitler ‘tache. Call that a prank? Tomfoolery? High Jinks?”

    Brand, wide-eyed, red-faced, kept his mouth shut.

  26. The Shaking of the Ossuary

    The players:

    Ba'al Ob: one-eyed captain of the Ossuary

    En-dor: Chief Engineer

    Circe: Bone Mate

    The scene:

    En-dor and Circe intertwine on the boneroom's floor in morphing kamasutra poses. The bones pulse blood.

    Ba'al Ob: "En-dor, what treason s-stalks?"

    En-dor's thrusting ceases. "Where're you?"

    "Damned divination s-system's down. No visuals. S-skin's vibrating, vacuum beckoning. What have you done?"


    "Is that C-Circe I s-smell?"

    "My captain."

    "The enchantress is mine. Die traitor."

    "Wait--" En-dor detangles himself and caresses a finger against the engine's optic cavity. "The skull's split."


    "I'll save the ship, but I earn my life and Circe."

  27. AJ, these halls shudder with menace. I love "... assembled alabaster faces; carved elite in silent pose..." You set the perfect scenarion for Caesar's destructive ego trip with glorious words. A very powerful write.

    Nina - you tricked me! I was so convinced this was a smear test I actually breathed a huge sigh of relief at the truth. Very clever.

    William, this Fox series really has got legs - there's so much going on. The spaghetti-sucking pensioner image will stay with me - potentially forever. Smooth last line - I like this a lot. And then the Real Guy Fawkes took on a completely different tone, with a displaced humour that surprised, and dare I say terrified me? An intriguing collection of images here.

    Phil, your opener is a well-raised fact. This is a beautifully written tale of an avenging hero (?). I agree with William about the 'waves of heat' line - exquisite. I visualised the entire scene as a Rackham watercolour.

    Chris, I've read each version! Absoutely thrilling, I felt I was standing behind a swinging, flickering lightbulb that revealed new memories with every blaze. A disturbing glimpse into a traitor's last moments, and really well 'executed'.

    Welcome, Crimson Archer! Your first entry is indeed Okay. I loved this concept - a museum of statues with living eyes. Reminds me of visits to Louis Tussaud's as a kid. "... the price for treacherous thought and anti-social deed" - great line. What an excellent introduction to your writing.

    John, the threat here is tangible. Must be something about the name 'Brand' that makes them outspoken! This feels rather timely considering what's going on in the news this week regarding hacking; maybe it is treason, and maybe hacking optical nerves isn't so unlikely. Worrying - you're very good at doing that to people (in fiction, of course).

    I'm out tonight at a book signing by the Fast Show's Simon Day, but the Prediction will still close at 9pm UK time. I'll catch up with you all later to add any final comments for Aidan and any late-comers, followed by a quick summary and the winning results.

    Bye for now!

  28. @crimson - Wow, and welcome! Or welcome and WOW! Brilliant piece. The description brought me right to the creepy stillness.

    @PHil - Excellent piece. It made me think of the saying "History is written by those who won".

    @john xero - Good piece, but I kept re-reading the one sentencing as Brand new. (As in a brand new ferrari.) Don't worry, it's not your writing, it's my feeble mind playing tricks on me.

  29. Thanks Lily & Nina, what a lovely welcome! :)
    I'll see if I can come up with something else a little less rushed before the deadline. ;)


  30. Okay, I came anyway...

    I really appreciate your kind words, thanks! My son is recovering, it´s going to take some time, but he´s getting better =)

    Now, here´s my entry:

    Perfect Shot

    She´s in an impossible pose, her back prolonged by an optical illusion, communicating heated sensuality through his clever lens.

    She yawns and stretches. In his direction. But he´s mesmerized by the way her hair suddenly floods his view; an entity of organic gold, he needs to capture it.

    She flaunts her cunt at him. He doesn´t even notice, he´s all about the perfect photo.

    She perceives it as a fundamental treason.

    He ends up in the pose of her choice. And what should have been his most delectable flesh is replaced by his biggest objective. She rather likes it.

  31. Here's another from me. I started imagining a darkly gothic family ruled over by the stern Grandma Graves when I was writing this. I might have to revisit them I think. :)

    CA / Paul


    My mummy has the prettiest blue eyes. They sparkle in the flickering light when I visit her in the hospital. Grandma Graves says they are her punishment for treason, as if my mother remarrying was a crime against the family.

    “Just a small puff of air,” the optician told her in his calming voice, as she posed in front on his machine.

    Grandma bribed the man, of course. She's a vindictive old bitch, but has always had the family’s best interests at heart.

    I think mummy will like her eyes when she stops screaming. They’re the prettiest blue glass ever.

  32. Between work and my imminent haggis I'm not going to have a chance to comment properly this week... bad Xero... =(

    Some really great pieces though, lovely writing wrapped around gorgeous imagery. And welcome, Crimson, looking forward to reading more of yours, stick around. =)

  33. Not had time to comment but just wanted to add my well wishes to those of everyone else for Asuqi and her son. Great to hear he is recovering.

  34. Right. I'm home already. Good talk - Simon Day's a top comedian and all-round good laugh, and has had a tough time. I'll buy his book.

    In the meantime - Prediction shop's shut.

    Aidan - you blow my mind. Why am I seeing this in turquoise? I love your mini-screenplays, and this one is mythical sci-fi wild. (Circe - she features here so often - and rightly so). Brilliant.

    Asuqi - Lots of healing vibes to your son - but to you too. xx. Perfect Shot is twisted - in many ways. "...her back prolonged by an optical illusion" suggests a morph and I can feel the nubbed spine beneath my virtual fingers. I love how the model takes her revenge for the photographer's lack of vulvic interest. Great writing!

    Paul (CA) - gosh, how familiar we've become already. Real names and everything. :) That puff of air - I hate it when they do that. I'm fascinated by what led to this - did the husband attack her or did the vindictive bitch arrange to have her daughter's eyes whipped out as punishment? It's the latter isn't it. Great fun - sort of.

    OK - VERY quick summary coming up - and winner(s). (That's the really hard part).

  35. Michael: You've concocted a story-heavy world that I want to know more about. I like everything you've got going on here.

    Lily: enjoyed this coy tale. The final sentence opens mysteries that leave me wanting more.

    Sue: fun spy-thriller feel to this with a dash of whiskey giving it the big-brother feel.

    AJ: I love the way you mixed & remixed the image of old parchment in the first two paragraphs.

    Nina: nice play avoiding expectations with the opening and leaving the story open to dark or milder interpretations.

    William: fox, beautiful surreality to this piece. Gorgeous image of the spaghetti eye. Guy, "new found chums" is a nice tidbit that forces me to reconsider Guy; you captured the grisly torture well.

    Phil: I first misread this and thought he was hanging from the tree. Intriguing use along with the treason, I like the circularity. And depends on who writes the history.

    Chris: nice poetic structure with the percussive memories playing with us. I like the way you played with optic.

    Crimson/Paul: Welcome. Museum, intriguing and well-rendered premise of these statues with eyes & thoughts. What a horrible punishment. Mummy, there is a strong sense of madness running through this story. You've captured the voice beautifully.

    John: nice play on vandalism and a wired world.

    Asuqi: perfect, scorching! Det är sorgligt att höra din son är sjuk. Jag är nojd att höra att han blir bättre. (Excuse me, I wished asuqi best wishes that her son continues to improve).


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.