Friday, 12 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Yesterday I saw a golden leaf. Dew pooled, chill on windscreens this morning and it seems the blackberries are nearly all gone. And so August is the new September.

I was enthralled by last week's Prediction entries. Congratulations go to Phil Ambler for his winning fest of free-faith hedonism The Devil's Stag, and also to runner-up Aidan Fritz for the extraordinary creation that was Grandma's Legacy. Well done both.

As an aside, Predictioneer Antonia Woodville has a new chiller up at Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers  - Snow Dancer by Dorothy Davies. Do take a look; it's well worth a read and I'm sure she would appreciate your comments.

Words for 12 August 2011

Are your imaginations ready to run wild? Then this week's words are yours for the taking...

  • Legionnaire
  • Scry
  • Envelope


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 18th 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.

Wake me out of my slumber, Predictioneers, for I need sustenance...


  1. Just a quick drop by - don't know if this will satisfy you, Lily (I'm not a great practitioner of shlock-fest gore!) but the that is interesting!


    Reading was always my access to another world. Through the pages of Beau Geste I transformed into a Legionnaire, atop some desert fort; Jules Verne took me to the ocean floor, Arthur C Clark sent me into outer space.

    But I’m pushing the envelope with this latest adventure, courtesy of a small, rather dog-eared volume that fell, or perhaps it jumped, from the dusty shelves of the old second-hand bookshop.

    Now nestled in my hand I discover, perhaps rather scarily, a new transport to things unimagined, following the directions for scrying, watching the future unfold in the rippled water’s surface.

  2. Testing a comment with Google Chrome as Firefox and Internet Explorer aren't working well with Blogger today.

    Be back later.

  3. Nice to see you Sue! - you capture the magic of books so well here, and make me want to go read some A.C. Clarke! Nicely told.

    Here's my go:

    Chercher le futur

    Legris shivered. These damnable legionnaire tents did nothing against the desert wind.

    On top of a supply crate, he flattened out an envelope. The return address read "Maman."

    He pricked his finger, and blood welled up immediately. He daubed the necessary symbols onto the paper, then smeared a rough pentacle across his shaving mirror. The scrying rite was crude, but effective, and the mirror flickered with immediate portent.

    The howl of the desert came again, from outside - and inside. Legris frowned.

    Death waited for them all. But, if he warned the commander, he'd be shot for blasphemy.

    Mon dieu.

  4. Mr A! Wowee! Such a wonderfully atmospheric story pack with details that go beyond mere words!

    (and thank you for the greeting!)

  5. I'm a tad rusty but here's one of what could be a few.

    A Watery Grave.

    The post hit the doormat and I eased myself out of the armchair. I walked into the kitchen with a pile of letters and sat at the dining table.

    I tore open an envelope: a final appointment from the hospital.

    Legionnaire’s Disease had nearly killed me. They didn’t know where I’d picked it up.

    Ha, if they’d gone down to see Wanda, the spiritualist, she could have done a bit of scrying and her crystals would have told them.

    Too late now though. She’s lay at the bottom of the water tank in the loft. She knew far too much.


  6. A timely warning to avoid home plumbing! ;-p
    I liked this David - there's a 'before' and 'after' hinted at that I'd be interested to read too!

    (oh, and ha-ha about the 'rusty' reference.....along with the loft tank mention!)

  7. Jailbird's Song

    I'm innocent like those cowbirds layin' in warbler's nests. If they don't push a warbler egg out, they never hatch their own. Abortion's worse than homicide.

    Fools know nothing. You know. Studies claimin' aggression and abuse are 'heritable. Epigenetics. Look, I know my letters. Newspapers say I'm sociopathic. Blame me bein' orphaned at eight. Got that half right, I 'member playing legionnaires. But, they followed granpapa's orders, toy soldiers pricking poison-tinged bayonets into mamma's neck. She died on me.

    My legionnaires now. I roll them in bubblewrap, drop 'em in envelopes. I don't need to scry. Even judges hatch death.

  8. and there's me thinking the words were hard this week...
    Sue, lovely piece! the magic of books (which I never tire of) with a hint of something else.
    Chris, deep thoughts here!
    David, not all spiritualists use crystals but still ... (I have a scrying mirror and rarely use it, silly me. I have a crystal ball and never use it, silly me, but my cards can tell a true story if you ask them.) Love the piece, very funny if macabre!
    Aidan, complex thoughts and the seed of something longer, methinks.
    OK, so far none of you have ventured into the territory where I want to go, so I will go and see what comes back.

  9. Considering the small fact I am going for counselling this week, as I haven't gotten over the ************* accident which has destroyed my peace of mind, my sleep and my work, this really is best offers! (Boudicca and I are writing her life story, we have 1500 words done, which is a start, you have to admit...)

    Boudicca’s Last Stand
    She hunched over the scrying bowl, the hag with the knowledge I needed. I was impatient but they who wait in the darkness will not be hurried.
    Mist enveloped the small hut where we sheltered from the winter gales. They blocked the sound of animals and predators, I was uncomfortable without that knowledge. It was my form of far-seeing.
    “They come,” she said eventually, staring at me. A person could drown in their depths. The woman was ageless and immortal and frightening. I knew it, I had expected it. The Iceni were aware. The Roman legionnaires were on their way.

  10. Just time to squeeze an offering in this week as work goes crazy! Will be back to normality next week.

    Beware the soldiers

    As a child Esteban had visited a fortune teller who had come to his village in the foothills, housed in her rickety caravan where she scried the future.

    “Beware the soldiers,” she forewarned, spices ripe in the cloying air, “They will be the last thing you see.”

    Lying on the forest floor, his leg broken from a fall, he remembered those distant, half-believed words as they came towards him, destroying everything before them. He could only watch as the Legionnaire ants formed a living wave, moving forward, filling his open mouth as they enveloped his dying screams.

  11. Well done Phil and Aiden.


    Shallow thoughts and sallow eyes - she stared at the churned earth, scrying ghostly images in her mind, wresting death from its muddy hole to invite the light.

    She held a sullied, rotted leather pouch in her hands, like a prayer book, careful not to disturb the disintegrated envelope scattered inside.

    The suffocating cloud of time slowly lifted on the Legionnaire’s last days; broken words on perished paper to loved ones back home; now lost and forgotten and blemished.

    Urged by a breeze, the garnished green fields of Champagne wafted at her feet.

    As one by one, his bones emerged.

  12. Apologies for the lack of comments; haven't been myself these past few days - what with the loss of my friend Catherine.

    Getting back on track now though so hope to comment tomorrow evening. Please keep 'em coming in!

  13. Hi Lily, hope this helps ...

    Gloomy ending

    “Why is Caesar interested in this savage ridden country?” He pulled the blanket round his shoulders to ward off the enveloping fog. The cohort had been sent ahead to check the strength of the Dumnonii, the remaining legionnaires were a days march behind.

    A ragged shape shuffled from the gloom, “What are you after, you old hag?”
    “I want for nothing, but for you I bring a warning.”
    “Been scrying in your puddles, have you?”
    “A warning of an early death …” she looked back into the dawn mist, to the silhouetted hoard filling the horizon.

  14. Sue H – The narrative conjures a sense of magic and intrigue in wondering what bewitching book it might be…

    Chris – I could almost hear the wind whistle and feel the grit of the sand. Very atmospheric; beneath the surface lurks gloom.

    David – What a creepy man – makes me wonder what the spiritualist really knew!

    Aiden – You weave innocence and guilt in equal measure to conjure a deeply hidden veneer of the narrator.

    Dorothy – Another atmospheric one – fear stills the air, foreboding seeps into every word, I can almost feel Boudicca’s emotions.

    Phil – Nature doing what it does best. I can imagine the painful bites – those kind of ants pack a punch, don’t I know it. I’ve been up close and personal with them in the South American jungle, and they get everywhere. Creepy tale, made my skin prickle.

    Kim – Another story that story stirs the past; it captures the sense of people ready for a fight. Nice character revealing dialogue.

  15. In Crystal Vapours.

    Jess looked across the water toward The Castle. As a child she’d imagined it full of princesses. Now at twenty all fantasy had been diluted. The Castle housing estate was a ruin of more than her dreams.

    A place where girls called Jessica are raped as people walk by digs turrets into the soul.

    She dropped her gaze. A scry of death and chaos rippled below her. She opened the envelope. Suicide is painless, she thought before emptying it into the reservoir she once called The Moat.

    She walked away laughing. Killing the bastards with Legionnaires' is much more fun.

  16. Sue H –Magical and filled with such potential of things to come. This reminded me of an Amazing Stories episode or something similar. Would make a great little mystery tale for TV

    Chris – I love the trap he’s set for himself. Knowledge is power but often that power can be the end of us. The setting was well crafted and placed us smack in the middle of the world you describe.

    David – I’m big on the attic and water tank stories. This story actually sparked an idea for me. Creepy and cunning.

  17. I tried. I failed. I went away. Soz peeps - I'm doin' me best. :(

  18. David Excellent to see an entry from you - and a stunner to boot. Keep it goin'

    Aidan Wicked imagery, and the calm of the narrator makes it all the more disturbing.

    Antonia Way to bring history to mist-roiling, mysterious life!

    Phil Thank you for your story. I will be having "the nightmares" now.

    AJ How do you manage to fit so much exquisite detail into 100 words? This one was fascinating.

    kim You simply cannot stop here. This is the perfect set up for at least a short.

    Anthony Love the way you worked legionnaires in. This story is mired in dark and broken dreams.

    Lily Hang in there. We're all of us here for you.

  19. Brilliant as ever, everyone

    Sue H - this is the beginning of a great fantasy adventure

    Chris - Another beginning, we need to know ...

    David - Yuk! Don't drink the water! That's worse than fluoride. I like this

    Aidan - I see a 'Chuckie' type grin on this character

    Antonia - we see the same legionnaires!

    Phil - Scary! real life scary - which is even worse/better.

    AJ - could this be an ending or a beginning - lots more to tell.

    Anthony - 'Suicide is painless' a haunting song - your character will haunt 'the bastards', too.

  20. Aidan- Such a tangled web of darkness and anger. Remorse and revenge wound up to a horrific conclusion that takes the imagination on a very disturbing trip.

    Dorothy- I loved the way your tunnelled us into your tale with atmospheric description. A cliff hanger of an ending that we know is going to bring a brutal and bloody scene even if it is to be played in our own minds.

    Phil- I loved the twist in this one and feel itchy and trapped after reading it. Such great use of the words and a fantastic little tale.

    AJ- ‘Shallow thoughts and sallow eyes. ‘Another of your classic poetic openers that set the tone for the tale to follow. The ritual is the right side of beauty while making us shiver at the images unfolding.

    Kim-I love the sense of building battles here. You capture the moments before the onslaught so well I almost wanted to turn over the laptop like a book to read about the bloody fighting. You whet the appetite for thrilling scenes that march over the horizon.

  21. It isn't horror, and it isn't very good but here's mine. I'll comment on everyone's wonderful entries along with my summary this evening. Thank you for your patience.

    A la Recherche d'un Homme Perdu

    Maman always said Papa never understood loyalty; had no family values.

    When I was seven, Cecile our neighbour grabbed me with her spindly fingers and forced me to sit on her knee.

    “Let me study the orb,” she said, leaning into her cloudy crystal ball to scry. Then she told me that Maman had lied.


    Last week I paid Maman a visit. On the table, an envelope from Papa dated 1976. In her hand, a letter signed, “Always in my heart, your Legionnaire”.

    Maman wept.

    “I’m sorry, mon fils.”

    I nodded, and left for Aubagne to search for my father.

  22. What You Sow

    Rudy stood across the street from the Bellevue Stratford, tapping an envelope on his jacket sleeve. He’d hoped to have the explanation in place before the news crews showed up. Some of the fools had gone inside before they understood the threat. The media was the polar opposite of scrying – only able to see the future in retrospect.

    Without his confession, the press could only speculate on the cause of “legionnaire’s disease.” It was enough for Rudy to know those who had abandoned their mission to support soldiers like him would have as much trouble drawing breath as he did.

  23. Sorry I've been away so long! I've missed it here.

    Sue H - I like the sense of wonder you bring, and how it's left open as to what happens when the scrying works.

    Chris - I love that he knows but cannot say. It has the feel of a latter-day Cassandra predicament.

    David - I am glad I did not read your piece before I wrote my own! There is so much depth here, I want to follow the story backwards to find out what Wanda knew.

    Aidan - That is so bone-chilling, I am almost speechless. Great, great, great voice.

    Antonia - Such a great sense of place in this. Also, they who wait in the darkness will not be hurried is simply gorgeous.

    Phil - Oh, wow. Just... icky. Well done.

    AJ - Is it okay if I say this was lovely? Macabre, certainly, but gorgeous, too.

    Kim - Interesting thing about those savages, they know how to use that mist. I liked how visual this was.

    Anthony - My first reaction is "good for her." I like the projects vs. castles imagery.

    Lily - Such a terrible thing to tell a child and a terrible truth to discover your mother lied. This was melancholy and yet not sad.

  24. Phil, creepy one for sure! Oooh, made me itch. I wrote a story about ants one time, but I don't like the things...
    AJ,. moody interesting piece. I especially liked
    'The suffocating cloud of time'
    Kim, I did wonder if someone else would pick that time ... good one!
    Anthony, I love revenge type stories and this one is excellent!
    Lily, a world of heartbreak captured in your entry.
    RR,that was SO good! Wonderful last line.

    Really good week (again) for Predictioneers, wonderful stuff. I am reading a book of 'Best Horror Stories', they should come here and read some of ours!!!!

  25. Last Minute entry from me, not how I thought it would turn out. Well back to my Day Job.

    Non Lossless Depression

    We believed that Love could beat Death at every single game, but Death sent his Legionnaires to cover our love with shame.

    I look deep into the mirror and beyond to swirling seas of light, I scry, in hope to see you, but all I see is night.

    Eye’s closed I welcome the envelope of dark, through fitful dreams I’m with you down in Central Park.

    Sleep’s warm intoxicating tendrils try to stay me from my wake, like the vines and roots that cover you, in your grave next to the lake.

  26. Enter no more, for the voice is cast, and we are Legion.

  27. William - would be great recited by Vincent Price, the last clause would chill ... to the bone.

  28. Lily, I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

    This week has escaped me.

    SueH: quite the book to discover; a curse, an addiction, science fiction fact.

    Chris: love this world and situation you've concocted.

    David: nice twist with the killer foiling the hospital's investigation.

    Antonia: I like where you took this old world tale.

    Phil: how horrible, this will spawn nightmares. I'd much rather lie dead at the feet of soldiers than ants for some reason.

    AJ: the magic in this is strong and evocative and I love the sense of place you capture.

    Kim: beautiful repartee! loved "been scrying in your puddles".

    Anthony: you capture this killer well and make her sympathetic.

    Lily: sadness is threaded through this. I like the intertwining of seeing the future.

    Reba: enjoyed the twist that lets us see the killer's motivation. Nice touch with scrying and media.


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.