Friday, 29 July 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

It's late. Isn't it. But you don't mind - do you? I wish I could say I've been out climbing mountains or digging up buried treasure but you know that ain't the truth. So shall I just stop making excuses and get on with it? Of course.

Many thanks to Chris Allinotte for his great judging of last week's Prediction. Worthy winner and runner-up MuckieDuckie and Kim get our full congratulations for great flash fiction!

Words for 29 July 2011

If anyone is new to Lily's Friday Prediction, the rules are simple, and you can read them below this week's words:

  • Gyrate
  • Flame
  • Border


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 4th August 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.

So, let's be 'avin ya, guys and gals. Come and light my fire...


  1. Texas Chain Store Massacre

    A line of abandoned shops greeted us behind the cracked stone kerbs. It was the first sign of life since crossing the border into The Lone Star State.

    Amy pointed upward. Flames gyrated against the windows like trapped wasps. Then the child emerged. I hit the brakes of the hired Caddy. Amy screamed but her voice strayed like tumbleweed. I disappeared into the store.

    The bolts locked behind me as they dragged me screaming through the dark deserted aisles.

    Now we stand at the window waiting for new cars to join us.

    The sale ends soon. Hurry to avoid disappointment.

  2. Anthony I love this piece. First time of reading I thought Zombies after new brains. Second time of reading I thought bandits into the slave trade. Then I thought hang on a minute this is a car jacking , and the voice is the car. Brilliant!

  3. Congrats MuckieDuckie and Kim!!!

    My effort for your delectation this week:


    She peered at him over her cocktail as he stumbled around the dance floor, his gyrations a close approximation to what he probably considered dancing. He was cute, bordering on chubby but not obese, slightly young for her tastes.....

    A coy glance drew him to her like a moth to a flame.

    Back at hers she slowly stripped him as he quivered beneath her, yellow veins of fat showing as she flayed his flesh. The taste of copper hit the back of her throat as she gorged herself. If she restrained herself she could have fresh meat for weeks. If.

  4. First Curse

    Memories of first love, her lips brushing mine, her hips thrusting, fled like broom jockeys before a thundercloud, gyrating, twisting into darkness, her stoned eyes staring at someone who no longer existed, someone I couldn't become.

    "It's over." I returned her wand, expecting mine. I knew not to send wizardmail.

    Her face congealed, all the beauty gone, revealing a red-blotched monster. "You... led me on."

    "It's not you. It's me."

    "Damn right, worm."

    Can one kindle love, find the lost flames. I shake, scrunch, and roll. A bird hovers on the borders, my penultimate thoughts, ashes, memories of first love.

  5. Oh, those are some lovely words. I will have to see what I can come up with. Something "dark" perhaps...?

  6. William thanks so much. Though I'm sorry I made you read it three times.

    Phil- Ah the cannibal fast food industry is going strong. Some people crave a kebab at the end of the night, in your horrific tale they hunger for a fresher meat. Nasty in the way I like.

    Aidan- The first curse is the deepest they say. A tale of magic and heartbreak with a twist in a hungry bird’s tail. Love, lost, lunch? I like the voice in this, it brings a reality to the strange and magical offerings.

  7. Light your fire, Lily?
    Look what you sparked...
    A Wish for Summer Rain

    The flames gyrate in a dance of death and destruction.
    Wicker burns fast when dry. The Jack In The Green is an essential part of the ritual for summer rain, for sustenance for the crops, for the future of the community. It is wrought with care, bordered with flowers and whispered incantations for just this purpose.
    The people watch the flames; appreciating the sacrifice, knowing there will be a good harvest this Autumn.
    If they knew of the secret heart of the Jack In the Green, would it trouble them?
    If they knew of the man inside...

  8. OK, now for the comments!!
    Anthony, a whole new urban horror story in there, go write it out in full!
    Phil, bringing cannibalism into what looked like something almost innocent... good one.
    Aidan, another one that holds the seed of a full length story.
    Whoo, what words this week! what more delights do Predictioneers have to offer, I wonder??? can't wait!

  9. Anthony - visions of Romero's Dawn of the Dead here beautifully captured as prose. Like the way the protagonist becomes part of the 'sales team'.

    Aidan - capturing love in a mystical time where dumping someone can be hazardous to your health! Strong visions here of a love betrayed - well written sir.

    Antonia - sacrificial ritual to bring fertility to the crops. What would those villagers do if they knew the truth? Nicely told and leaves that disturbing question about human nature.

  10. Hmm, a banquet of dark delectations indeed. I want to spread these on my platter and wolf them all down in one go.

    Tony, as William says - there are so many meanings to this deliciously-crafted tale - or should that be tales? I'm getting an old-style Stephen King feel from Texas Chain Store Massacre that is throwing different scenes every time I read it. Splendid.

    Phil, what a yummy gorge-fest. I can perfectly picture chubby boy bobbing about on the dance-floor, convinced his luck was in. "... yellow veins of fat..." is a gruesome description that stays long after the story has ended. Very enjoyable.

    Aidan, myth, magic and memories all sewn together in an Aidan Fritz classic. I love how you mix time and place with emotions. This is a huge story in so few words - such an achievement.

    Antonia, ah, the Wicker Man dressed up as Jack in the Green. (If anyone wants to experience a fantastic Jack In The Green event - Hastings' annual JITG fest is superb). You brought so much beauty to this sacrifice I felt I was there dancing around the fire wearing only flowers in my hair and casting shadows in the flames. All wistful now...

  11. Alright - second attempt. My first refused to be held to 100, and I've submitted it to a flash-fic site. Here is what happens when you're trapped in a cabin with nothing to watch but Disney films:

    "Kill Them All, said the Magic Frog."

    On the borders of a deep, dark wood lived the most gentle woman that ever was. She lived with her stepmother, who was wicked to her.

    The young woman, Annabelle, was kind to the animals and birds of the forest, but her suffering made them sad.

    One day, a phoenix flew in her window. It turned a single, lazy gyration, and alighted on her sill.

    "I've come to make you happy, Annabelle," it said.

    "How is that?" asked Annabelle.

    "By putting flame to your stepmother's bed."

    "Oh, that would be delightful."

    "Will you sing while I burn?"

    "Of course."

  12. Anthony I love how you indicate the cyclical nature of the horror. Wicked.

    Phil "Back at hers she slowly stripped him as he quivered beneath her, yellow veins of fat showing as she flayed his flesh." This is such a great line - you twist the story within this single sentence, and it works wonderfully.

    AidanThis is the darker side of Harry Potter, for sure, and a scene I would've loved to have read. Pissing off wizards/witches ain't that smart.

    Antonia Wonderful incorporating of one of the creepier Druidic rites (pls don't kill me if I'm mis-assigning this). This method of sacrifice has always fascinated and horrified me. Well penned.

  13. Clodovea

    They came to see her dance; and drink free tequila from her fountain.
    The flamenco rhythm flickered like caressing flames, just like the oil lamps on every table. They stood hungry, opened mouthed, as her body began to gyrate to the rhythm. Her dancing like a spark to their tinder, all men burned within to break through her border.

    Free shots rained down as tequila flowed from the sprinkler head
    By daybreak every man had burned without, for the murder of the innocents.
    Clodovea had crossed her final Border

  14. Chris - Snow White eat your heart out! The tone captures a Disney story perfectly whilst the end is delightfully dark (plus I love phoenixes).

    William - pictures of a Mexican drinking den a la Dusk til Dawn filled my mind as I read this followed by a huge conflagration. 'The flamenco rhythm flickered like caressing flames..' has a beautiful cadence to it.

  15. Of Warriors And Women

    “Let me, from this cold dank space sing celandine notes and healing howls. Your throat is cut, his too – I see it in the peat-dark pools where visions spread unheeded.”

    Pyrithea hovers above the water, gyrating in birch-leaf skirts. Her daughter clutches at her man, Death’s pale borders close.

    “Rebertha, take the flame...”

    She does.

    Her hand at her own neck, spilling with blackest blood, Rebertha dips a torch into the fire and lays it on her lover’s chest. She weeps as he expires.

    Beneath him yellow blooms erupt; his soul in flower.

    Rebertha lives another day.

    Pyrithea fades away.

  16. Well done MuckieDuckie and Kim.

    Final Journey

    Green over brown; the shifting colours of the forest whipped by - a snatched blur through the slats and the briefest hint of pine.

    They’d left the border hours ago.

    No one spoke.

    The gyrating hum of the train lulled them into a catatonic stupor, despite the ripe stench. Exhaustion nibbled at them; thirst and hunger slipped by unnoticed as they drifted in and out of consciousness.

    One by one, the light in their eyes went out; flame of life diminished.

    The wooden doors finally came open; light found ghostly drawn faces.

    Above them, a sign.


  17. Anthony: I like the line Hurry to avoid disappointment. Fun details makes this stand out.

    Phil: I like the way the title plays with the story. The sensual detail of yellow veins of fat and copper taste made an impact in this story

    Antonia: a deliciously dark take on the jack of the green. Liked wicker burns fast when dry for the sense of tension it creates.

    Chris: you've captured the sense of a fairy tale with it purged of that disneyification. I like the touch with the phoenix to give it a flare of reborn.

    William: beautiful. This has a strong hook and I like the idea of the dancer/fighter dealing with the wrongs committed.

    Lily: love the names in this story and the details are fantastic (birch-leaf skirts, erupting flowers)! A sense of wild/dark magic here.

    AJ: Treblinka captures this tale and remolds even darker. I like the progression in tone getting darker as the train goes until it pulls in to the extermination camp.


    The convoy of army trucks crossed the border at dawn, bringing troops to battle the zombie hordes.

    The woman watched the rotors of the helicopter gyrate in slow motion as the craft hovered over the field behind the farmhouse. Breathing a sigh of relief at imminent rescue, she hoped the soldiers had found her grand-daughter.

    The creature shambled across the field… a long object pointed up at the chopper. In the next instant… it disappeared in a ball of flame.

    Dropping to her knees… the woman began to pray.

    The kitchen door crashed open behind her…

    The zombie moaned.

  19. Once again, a lot of great little "flashes" here... I will get them all read in the next few days and comment.

    I tweeted my entry and posted to my blogs as well -

  20. I Cling Inside the Border-Wall

    When love's rotation gyrates on fear's axis, the strain of years doesn't strengthen the glue of you. The toll bears down heavy.

    The cracking you hear is not of bones breaking but of self shattering.

    His angry face is on again. He shouts the words that show the border between us and little pitchers hear; small eyes shimmer soft as the television tries to hypnotize.

    I'm ice to his flame, no more moved by his rages.

    The border-wall recedes, but the space between us is different. We're half-remembered strangers or half-forgotten friends, but I cling.

    Cling to keep us whole.

  21. Anthony - her voice strayed like tumbleweed
    I really liked that line. I get the sense that who ever started this has been at it for a long time.

    Phil - Thank you! Takeout gives me the creeps, in a deliciously good way. A modern day succubus if you will.

    Aidan - I kept reading this, because I like how my interpretation changed with each reading.

    Antonia - This reminded me of a Supernatural episode. I loved the episode but I liked your ritual even better.

    Chris - I gotta say I love the phoenix, but I'm biased because that's one of children's names. Other than that? The last three lines of your story are awesome.

    William - A place and person who pulls the wicked to their judgement? Perfect little Hell on Earth right there. Now, I want to know about the other borders Clodovea crossed.

    Lily - What a dark and lovely story. Will you be telling anymore of Rebertha's tale?

    AJ - Thank you AJ. When I first read Final Journey I thought it was a story of people trying to enter illegally or perhaps an inside look at human trafficking. The end of this ride was not what I was expecting.

    Veronica - Are you trying to torture with kinemortophobia? What frightened me in Daybreak is that your zombies are starting to fight back.

  22. Antonia- I could feel the dry heat of a place like Summerisle when I read this. The lone voice of reason in the crowd who associates the sacrifice with humanity, yet still the deed must be done. It’s disturbing to witness the incongruous mind that’s able to hold insane faith and logic at the same time.

    Chris- More Disturbney than Disney. Something wicked that way writes and what a great switch from the normal saccharine coated fare we are spoon-fed. I’d genuinely love to see this as a dark animated tale.

    William- There was something about the image of oil lamps on every table that drew me into this world and touched upon the danger. I also thought of Salma Hayek in Dusk ‘Till Dawn. For reminding me of her and that dance I owe you a drink. Well written with each line digging further into darkness.

  23. thank you all for comments. I'm working on a book about Boudicca at the moment, so am steeped in that kind of ancient ritual. I think there is more to come, too, but first ...
    Muckieduckie, superb piece, full of images.
    Veronica, I am disturbed by zombies and this made a seriously disturbing read which can't be bad!
    AJ. I have just 'published' a book from a concentration camp victim. You summed up in 100 words what he took many pages to say. Devastating.
    William, such clarity here bringing its own images. I am constantly amazed at how much can be said in 100 words - currently reading Philippa Gregory and thinking, oh do hurry up and get on with the story! Cut the waffle! You never waffle, it's always crystal sharp.
    Lily. still waiting for you to award yourself the winner one week. This is incredible.

  24. My apologies if I missed anyone... a truly excellent collection of tiny tales...

    Anthony C- A little unsettling… I can’t quite decide who the narrator is, which makes it all the more disturbing. Has a bit of a apocalyptic feel to it.

    Well Done!

    Phil Ambler – OMG!! Cannibals clubbing? Frightening and nasty! Nice little bit of horror.


    Aidan – Ahh… first love! This feels like part of a bigger story… I hope you write more


    Antonia – I love the pagan feel here… worship of something dark and demanding... reminiscent of The Wicker Man.

    Very well crafted! Thank you.


    Chris A – A delightful fairy tale… Disney meets Lovecraft.

    What delicious prose… I love the line…

    “Will you sing while I burn?” Sends shivers…



    William D – Very sensual… there’s a raw hunger to the telling

    Your words create some great imagery.


    Lily – Umm… okay, a little speechless here. Wow!

    Erupting flowers… birch-leaf skirts… evokes images of a fantasy world… fairies and elves…

    Wonderful magic… wonderful! My favorite line -

    “…the peat-dark pools where visions spread unheeded.”
    I hope you tell more on this… spellbinding!

    Brava, Lily… Brava!


    AJ – There’s a dark finality throughout this… that gets progressively darker… and then, I read the last line… one word…


    One word that conjures up a hell that could not have been of mans’ making… yet, it was.

    Well crafted, AJ…


    MuckieDuckie – Your words echo with a melancholy… turned to desperation… turned to…


    A sad tale… Thank you for sharing. Very well written.

  25. Thank you, MuckieDuckie! I appreciate your comments.

    Yes... it is a bit frightening... that the zombies are fighting back.

    I'd best be careful here... I don't want to tell too much... this IS part of something bigger.

  26. Antonia - Thank you so much!

    I think that is why I am enjoying writing these little "slices"... so many people find zombies very disturbing...

    I don't want them getting too comfortable when they read my stories! Bwaaahaaa!!

  27. Finally got around to reading the rest.

    Lily- Your words wrap around this story like vine leaves growing in moist corners of a forest. The imagery is pure Lily Childs, rich and beautiful. Wait those are the words I used to describes my ideal woman in my lonely hearts ad! Anyway if the Olympic torch passing was as eloquent and evocative as this I’d be interested in athletics for the first time in my life.

    AJ- Once again you take us on a journey through those atrocities that have blighted human history. The elegant rather than maudlin approach that you select gives the piece, as in all of your work, a great power. The world seemed blind to these actions and you’ve taken that immense range of ignorance and pinpointed it into a very personal story. Even the passengers couldn’t see the woods for the trees in this tale. The sign at the end is branded at the front of my mind.

    Veronica- I’ve always found the idea of zombies organising and retaliating against their hunters as a very chilling concept. You drew us a scene that could be the prologue or backstory to a great tale of battles and war with the unread here. Pity it stopped at the 100 words as there are so many cool things to use as weapons in a kitchen. Part 2?

    Muckie- I had visions of Big Brother here. I loved the title and the story had a swaying poetry. It does imbue a melancholy as suggested, but the overriding emotion is dread. It is watching your every move and hoping you either go unnoticed or your mistakes will be in the blink rather than the opened eye.

  28. William - This is gritty, yet poetic revenge. I like the "Dusk to Dawn" reference in Phil's comment above - I see that.

    Lily - Wonderful, sensual weaving here. It's an elegant tapestry of beauty mixed with blood.

    AJ - Give me forty thousand shades of demon, flinging viscera like champagne, and it will still never chill me in the way our own monstrous inhumanity to our own brothers and sisters can. Stunning.

    Veronica - Zombies + Rocket Launchers = Win. Your take on the genre is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and action-filled I've read in some time. Please keep going!

    MuckieDuckie - Oh come ON.... last week, you made my heart swell with the simple warmth of family, and this week, you turn it into ice and smack it with a hammer! "...little pitchers hear; small eyes shimmer soft as the television tries to hypnotize" Brilliant writing about silent horror.

  29. The elevator has left the building. Zoooooom!

    No more entries please. I'll add the rest of my comments in half an hour or so, and the results between now and tomorrow lunchtime; a hard, hard decision.

  30. Goodness, thank you everyone for such lovely comments about Of Warriors And Women. Hmmnn might well put that idea into a bigger story. Thanks.

    Chris, yes, Disney has a lot to answer for. I bloody loved this! I was struck how well it worked as a genuine children's fairytale and then - whoop; proper Grimm! Brilliant. And you've given me an idea. Watch this space... ;)

    William, wow, this is packed with rhythm and danger. It reminds me of the Blade film (1?) where the sprinklers come on in the nightclub, spraying them all with blood. A beautiful opening line (and quite an invitation).

    AJ, everyone has already articulated what I wanted to about this extraordinarily heart-rending piece. I've said it before and I'll say it again, your ability to capture the beauty of life whilst delivering its monstrous reality is unsurpassed.

    Veronica, thank you for blogging and tweeting - tell us all your Twitter name so we can follow you! Your zombie horror made me catch my breath, again and again. Oh, they terrify the hell out of me. Yes, me. This though, has got to grow girl.

    MuckieDuckie, self shattering is one of the most beautiful and soul-destroying expressions I have ever read. As Veronica says 'Brava'. This is a stunning, violent piece of work that has left me reeling.

  31. Sorry gang! Somebody stole my week ... I'll catch up, I promise.

  32. Lily - Thank you so much!! I love it when a story catches my breath, so when I can "return the favor"... haha!

    I am @ThePajamaThief on Twitter.

    I am abandoning, for the time being anyway, a sci-fi story I had started for an anthology... it just wasn't coming to me, so.... maybe time to sit down and write a zombie story in more than 100 word bits... or, I could just keep doing these little "vignettes". Your word lists is what has inspired me...

  33. Chris A - Thank you! I rather liked the idea of a zombie with a rocket launcher.

    I so appreciate yours and Lily's encouragement.

    Thank you!

  34. Anthony C - Thank you for the wonderful comments! Yes, the thought of zombies actually becoming organized and fighting back is chilling...

    I do want to write more... my dilemma right now is... is what I written so far, prologue or the ending? Hmmm...

    I would not be surprised to see another kitchen scene... such marvelous and bloody possibilities! :)


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.