Friday, 22 July 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Yesterday I began reading Baudelaire again. Today I can't get my mind away from his dark debauch, his delightful horror and enticing bacchanalia. I may have to lock myself away to drown in his words.

But before I do that, I'd like to congratulate Chris Allinotte for winning last week's Friday Prediction with Lessons. Such wicked playmates!

Chris will be your judge for this week's challenge - and he has very high standards so sharpen your pen - and give him hell.

Well done too to runner-up Anthony Cowin for the creepiest concept I've read in a while, Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry.

Words for 22 July 2011

  • Slur
  • Invisible
  • Moat


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 27th July 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.

Chris? Over to you my friend...


  1. Well done Chris and Tony. Great stories.

    Hackett is back...



    Stretched thin like a slur from a loose tongue; she puckered for him.

    Insatiable, invisible unrest wielded heavily in Hackett’s guts.

    A thick scarlet moat encircled him, a slimy barrier that spread across the floor of the workshop.

    She would become Silence, her lips bound by thread, her torso emptied of its contents, a new artwork for display.

    She jolted. No words came. Lips sewn shut.

    Hackett laid the last of her intestines across her chest. He held up his gleaming hand, admired how the slime dazzled in his mind.

    Silence slithered in cold realms.

    She even tasted nice.

  2. Apocalypse

    I slam the blinds. No one understands. TV and movies ain't ever got the facts right. Sure, they get the broad strokes, but details matter. Outside invisible motes float.

    The vidphone blares. Segfaulters, Skynet's army found me. Can nanomachines swim the power grid? I strew papers searching for the doomsday button.

    "Nate! Answer this phone."

    I pause. "Jordan?"

    "Calm yourself, take your meds. The scientists say your prediction is wrong."

    Could it be? No. The words slur with AI mechanicals. I squeeze my hands over my ears, a moat, buying me seconds.

    The half-covered button abuts the wall. It clicks.

  3. hell and damnation, how is anyone supposed to enter something with entries like this for starters??? and the week has hardly begun ...
    AJ, the sheer gore here is mesmerising.
    Aidan, once again, part of a longer story, methinks. Tell me more!
    So, the words are on a piece of paper in front of me, I am about to go get a herbal tea and ponder on them. I will be back...
    that can either be a threat or a promise. Depends on how you feel. (LOL)

  4. here it is:
    An Eye For An Eye?

    Does it not say something about not removing the mote from your neighbour’s eye when you have a beam in your own? Something like that. It is mote, isn’t it, not moat? Ah, the thought of a moat defending your home, rendering you invisible to the world. Safe. Secure. Away from those who cast slurs on your reputation.
    Oh yes, now you see the reason you are here. Your eye opens wide in shock. You understand now. Time you did. I worked hard enough at it.
    So, ex-friend, how does it feel to have a beam in your – other – eye?

  5. Cul De Sac

    Invisible like a pebble in a moat, I lay and wait all day.
    Reality is a slur in my mind, my perception almost blind.
    A lovely man holds my hand, my husband so he says, arrives early and stays till he’s shooed away.

    At night they leave me laying in my soaking wet nightdress, they disconnected my panic button, so I can’t alert my distress.

    My son arrives. If he knew, he’d make this cruelty stop, but worry clouds the beauty of his face, so a mothers love can not reveal the depth of my carers disgrace.

  6. This isn't very good writing from me: it's just from the heart.

    We Don’t Accept Fan Fiction

    They built a moat around her; an invisible fucking barrier that said “You’re a genius, woman. Sing us to oblivion and we’ll take everything you’ve got.”

    Me, I sat on my arse and cried – I bloody well sobbed my guts up when they announced the news.

    She. A voice to turn your soul.

    She. Who reached further than those around her.

    She. Who gave exquisite pleasure but received none.

    Amy’s pain transcended our ability to understand, invisible to the common eye. She had her issues but I will not accept the slur on her art.

    R.I.P. Amy Winehouse

  7. This morning began with a gentle stroll to purchase Brioche, fresh coffee, and fine chocolate, made all the better with the delightful company of chattering innocence.
    But now on to the dark matters in hand.

    AJ "Silence Slithered in cold realms" shiver! I love it, This stuck with me to the early hours of a sleepless night with thoughts as sticky as Hacketts Arm.

    Aidan I loved the idea of a Moat of electricity as protection from nano machines, will he push the button and unleash the EMP bomb. Seriously this is so cool, this is the kind of Sci FI novel I'd love to read.

    AntoniaVengence delivered swift and cold, that had me holding my head screaming not the eyes.

    Lily A tragic Life and a terrible loss of an excellent talent, the pain and loss that many are feeling today are captured perfectly in your heartfelt words.

    I'm off now Watercolour Pan in hand, to follow calming pursuits,as the smells of gammon, slow cooked in mulled Cider waft across the terrace, time to give thanks for the subtle pleasures of life, and savour every moment.

  8. Oh gosh... my first time here.. What talent...
    I absolutely adore 'Hush little baby.....'

    Ok.. Here goes...

    Her last remark. The final slur on his already destroyed character.
    He took himself away. For her sake as much as his own.
    He lay on the wet sand, stretched star shaped, staring up into a black sky.
    As he prayed that something would take him, release him from the torment of his unacceptable love for innocence he felt a soft fluttering against his face.
    He reached up, feathers from some invisible bird.
    His feet were wet. The tide was in, channelling a moat around him.
    The sudden flapping of wings did not scare him. He knew they would come.

  9. AJ: love the sibilance. Stretched thin like a slur from a loose tongue conjures a sense of malevolence. The dazzling intestines is horrific but fits Hackett well.

    Antonia: this protagonist's words are laced with a sense of madness. Oh yes, now you see the reason you are here. Nice and blood-curdling.

    William: Beautiful metaphor of reality as a mind slur. Touching title and I read this two ways, a comatose woman who can't recognize her husband and alternatively where a man has poisoned her and holds her in a prison of madness. The latter is extremely chilling. BTW, your comments are making me hungry, it sounds delicious.

    Lily: sing us to oblivion and we'll take everything you've got is a great commentary, it applies well here, but it also applies so well to much of the society that I see around me.

    Rosie: Welcome! A beautiful scene you evoke with the tide heading out. Feathers is a nice touch after the emptiness she left him.

  10. AJ, "...she puckered for him" - chilling. You've excelled yourself in the gruesome arena with this beautifully described extraction. Hackett - coming to the big screen soon, surely?

    Aidan, no - don't leave me this way! What happens next? You've built an entire mechanical world, wired and wireless, overwhelmingly busy in its complexity. I love the thought of hands squeezed over ears to create a sensory moat. Fabulously constructed, as always.

    Antonia, interesting questions you profer here. I really like the premise you are asking us to consider; thought-provoking... Thank you!

    William, we regularly hear about carers abusing their wards, whether by intent or neglect. This is a heart-rending call for help from a patient, who is not as confused as her 'carer' would like her to be. Touching and very well-written.

    Rosie, welcome to The Feardom and to the Friday Prediction. Feathers feels like we are watching something beautiful; indeed, star-shaped on the wet sand is a gorgeous evocation - but that chilling line "...unacceptable love for innocence" is stomach-churning. You've captured fear and thrown it to the sky - a clever write.

  11. Antonia, you're right, how we supposed to compete? These are so good! Anyway here goes ...

    On the cheap

    Dark John sat on the chair, hunched forward, elbows on knees.
    “As I was sayin’, it’s all to do with loyalty.”
    She lay on the carpet and the room slurred in and out of focus, a moat of blood and vomit forming around her head.
    “See what happens when you get your shit from some low-life, cheap skate.”
    Her mouth opened and closed.
    “Just didn’t know when you was well off.” he stood, took his jacket from the back of the chair and draped it over his shoulder.
    Broken fingers clawed for invisible support.
    “Loser.” The door clicked shut.

  12. A second bash from me...

    Watching Out, Looking In

    “Who are you talking to, Mummy?”

    I hadn’t realised she was there.

    “Myself, sweetie. Just little ol’ me.” I forced a smile.

    Millie ran over and threw herself on my lap, making a moat of love around my neck with pudgy arms. I stared at the bedroom mirror over her shoulder; three profiles reflected back.

    He laughed. Millie didn’t hear him – invisible too, to all but me. I turned my back.

    “Go play,” I told my daughter. Daddy will be home soon.”

    “Why do you lie to her?” the voice slurred from the wall. “Daddy’s been here all along.”

  13. AJ That Hackett's a grim SOB, ain't he? Love the image of the "scarlet moat."

    Aidan I like the ambiguity in the middle, as you introduce just that little bit of doubt about reality in an already convincing sci-fi nightmare.

    Antonia I like the musing tone of the beginning, and the way each of the last lines seem slightly more tense that the one before it - like the onset of hysteria. 2nd person is notoriously tricky - but you're on to something here.

    William This is beautifully presented, and the last paragraph is very moving. We want to scream for her.

    Lily Don't sell yourself short! This captures the raw shock and anger that the news itself brought with it when announced. And agreed - the world's music is a little poorer this week.

    Rosie Welcome! With pieces like this, you fit right in! "the torment of his unacceptable love for innocence " What had seemed so straightforward when you started the story gets thrown into a gigantic tempest of fear and loathing. What is it like to be trapped inside a diseased mind? Powerful stuff.

    Kim Love the name "Dark John". This hits like a flurry of punches to the guts, and the ending is a big KO.

  14. Obviously not contending, but these words require an offering:

    Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting

    Monty threw his drink across the room. By fluke, it hit the bottle, which started spilling onto the floor. He grunted, and walked over to right it. Booze sloshed everywhere.

    "Quit your crying," he yelled over his shoulder. "I said quit." His voice was slurred, but there was no mistaking the familiar, stupid rage within.

    Huddled in the corner, Sasha pressed her bruised and trembling lips together. It was no good. If only she were invisible. If only she were dead.

    Seeing him splashing in a moat of whisky, she suddenly remembered her lighter.

    Was there a third option?


  15. Lily Snuck another one in whilst I was commenting on the others! "Watching Out..." is pure Hellbound Heart material. Please say you'll write this one out.

  16. "We must rescue the princess -"
    "The moat is full of lava." said one.
    "Princesses are girls. Girls have cooties." Another piped up.
    I ignore the slur. "How will we save her from the dragon?"
    "I don't see any dragons." The eldest challenged.
    "It's invisible." Cootie boy answered.
    They glare at each other, as only brothers could.

    A door opened; Dad was home and they were gone.
    "Wait!" I call after them. "What about the princess?"
    "Our sister is fine; just get her off the table.” My eldest answered.
    "Can we watch TV, Dad? Mom won’t let us." They chorus.

  17. Such beautiful entries, and even the comments put me to shame. Here is feeble attempt:

    AJ - Never read Hackett before. This is disturbingly beautiful.

    Aidan - This has a frenetic energy that appeals to me. How could you leave it at a cliffhanger?

    Antonia - It starts out normal enough for me. By the time I realized the character is not operating at full sanity levels I'm beyond worried for this ex-friend.

    William - This was one that I've re-read just for
    the emotional impact. Elder abuse is out there, and you've captured it from the victim's perspective perfectly for me. When read out loud, this poetry flows and carries so much weight.

    Lily - It was hard to believe that another great
    talent has gone so soon. Your writing gave me new
    appreciation for Amy Winehouse.

    Rosie - How intriguing. I see a Lolita style romance and perhaps a merciful angel come to answer his prayers.

    Kim - This made me shiver. A dealer's reaction to
    this "betrayal" is so over the, it makes me wonder
    if it was a setup. That he leaves her to die with
    only an insult is horrible.

    Lily again - Oh, there must be more to this story.
    She killed him and hid his body in the house, he
    haunts her Poe style, but it was a justified murder so she's able to hold it together, barely. That's what comes to my twisted mind.

    Chris - Congrats again for winning last week. Please be gentle. Wow, so not what I expected and it hit a lot of memory buttons. That she has the courage in the end makes me wish the best for her third option.

  18. Honour

    He had led the attack, avenging the slur on his father’s house, yet he still felt hollow inside as he surveyed the carnage he had wrought.

    Carcasses choked the rancid, gangrenous waters of the moat. The festering depths engorged with slaughtered peasants; the invisible people duty bound to the noble houses of Pangkerth. Out of all the mottled corpses, it was the children that most affected him as he stared down uneasily from the ramparts. Their innocent faces, bloated and grotesque, gazing into eternity with haunting, bulbous eyes as carrion fought over their remains.

    At least honour had been restored.

  19. Oh my! I completely spaced this! Paul D Brazill is guest moderator for this week's F3 flash fiction challenge over at, and I was so excited when I heard the news; I dove right into a story for Paul - he is sort of my online "mentor" - and I wanted to do something really good for him. Anyway, I got so wrapped up in that... I need to start tying strings around my fingers, I think! :)

    I am glad I remembered before it was too late... your challenges Lily, I find very exciting and do want to keep participating.

    I will post my entry in the next comment. I am also posting it on my blogs over at and

    Thank you, for all you do, Lily! I look forward to reading everyone's entries this week!


    Her pleas for mercy went unheeded… the words only a slur over her bruised lips… as her tormentors drug her body down the dark corridor…

    Exhausted, she slipped under…

    Consciousness returning… cold, uneven stone beneath her battered body…

    Fingers and toes groping… everywhere she reached out… hot, sharp edges…

    The darkness surrounded her like a moat of pain…

    The air in the room was hot and fetid… it pressed against her frail chest… Death’s invisible hand squeezing the breath from her…

    The girl’s last thought… the door had been unlocked…

    She never left the car unlocked…

    He was back…

  21. Phil - You paint such a picture for my imagination. I like this in that the end could be taken two different ways, at least to me. I prefer to think the last line was delivered in a sarcastic manner, that your character is at the point of casting aside the way he was brought up. The other option I see is your character is so entrenched in his upbringing that the honour of his father is worth the lives of the children and others. When read that way it makes me shiver.

    Veronica - There must be more to this. Who is He?
    I really liked the line "...everywhere she reached, sharp edges..." I feel for this girl and want to know more.

  22. my plans to stay on top of making comments went came naught with two nights out and tonight involved in everything but what I want to do, like write... and comment ... but I have read everything as it was posted. Chris, you're going to have one difficult job judging this week's entries! Congratulations to everyone for some fine writing and incredible images. You're one talented bunch, for sure.

  23. Quick, doors are shut!

    I've got a poetry deadline, so do excuse me - I'll be back! Can't wait to read Chris's summary and results.

  24. Kim, oh hell - this is my very idea of man-made 'hell' indeed. "a moat of blood and vomit forming around her head." - horrific. A terrifyingly evocative vision of the horror of addiction.

    Chris, I gasped at the end of this. More human horror, and so terribly and desperately depicted. Why do we as a race do this to ourselves? And why can't we help it? Brilliantly described Chris, with a dangerous spark (literally) of hope.

    MuckieDuckie, funny how the fairytale can end so quickly. I was looking for the danger but unless I missed it, this was a case of brotherly abandonment. I wanted to shout "Raaargh" with the boys as they ran away to leave their sister to the normality of 'life with Mom and Dad'.

    Phil, always clever and thought-provoking Honour is no different. I had a horrid vision of a facial soup from your moated dead that will haunt me for a long time. Stary gazey pie.

    Veronica, Paul Brazill - guest moderator? Excitement understood. :). I like how you deliver Monster in snatches. A clever twist; I for one, was convinced this was a medieval torture chamber fed by tunnels. When you mentioned the car door - I jolted.

    I must take to my bed now - Chris's results will be posted tomorrow. Good luck everyone!

  25. What an amazing assortment of stories this week... I shall sleep with a night light on at least for a week!

    AJ – Oh, this is going to give me nightmares, isn’t it? Gruesome and terrifying… the dark imagery you create with such a small handful of words… makes Lecter look like an amateur.

    “She even tasted nice.”

    As killer last lines go… on a scale of one to ten? An eleven!

    Aidan – A scary little apocalypse tale… I can almost feel Nate’s despair and distress… the thought of a world such as he is facing… I would reach for the button too. Eerie and fascinating… there is more, I am thinking?

    Antonia – This has a nice vengeance feel to it… cold, calculating vengeance.

    Very well done!

    William D – The rhyme and pacing of this creates such a sad and haunting mood… one mourns for the woman… for her loss… reality and dignity taken from her…

    Lily – A beautiful, mournful tribute to a fallen soul… one we made into an idol… and then tore her down… such a tragic loss.

    This brings sadness to my heart.

    Thank you for sharing these words from your heart, Lily.

    Rosie – Her last words… cutting him… leaving him empty. The image of the man, lying on the sand… in supplication…?

    “As he prayed that something would take him, release him from the torment of his unacceptable love…” Powerful and evocative.

    Beautifully written, Rosie. Brava!

    Kim – Dark and ruthless. That last line left me cold…

    ““Loser.” The door clicked shut.”
    Chilling. Well-crafted prose. Thank you.

    Lily – “Watching Out, Looking In”… this sends shivers down my spine… I may need a night light tonight.

    What an excellent little tease… now, you must give us the rest!

    Chris A – Casts a harsh light on an all too-real monster living in our midst… and the courage of a heart who has to set aside her humanity… because monsters don’t deserve humane…

    Shocking and chilling… well done. I need something warm and happy after that one!

    MuckieDuckie – Thank you! A little light to push back the darkness…

    What a happy little fairy tale! Just what I needed…

    "Princesses are girls. Girls have cooties." LOL! I LOVE this line!!

    Phil A – At what price… honor? Horrific… I dare not close my eyes, lest your words conjure up visions that will cause me sleepless nights.

    That last line… really “slammed” it home for me. Nicely written.

  26. Muckie Duckie… Thank you! There is more… a lot more.
    I don’t know that I have the courage to write it though.

    Lily – Thank you very much! What a wonderful compliment!

    I am so pleased that you got a “jolt”… 


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.