Friday, 19 August 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Good morning world! It's all sunshine and sea breezes in Eastbourne today - which is how it should be in the middle of August. I'm off work next week so am hoping the weather will treat us kindly; if not I'll lock myself in a café somewhere and scribble the days away.

Congratulations to AJ Humpage for winning last week's Prediction Challenge with the stirring and poetic Resurrection. And well done to Tony Cowin, runner-up for his fairy-tale horror In Crystal Vapours. Both chilling in totally different ways.

A Question...

Before I post this week's words - a question. Does anyone read my Prediction Winner posts that go out after the challenge closes, or do you wait until the Friday to see who has 'won'? I'm just intrigued as there are often not many comments on the Winner post - and I wondered if everyone even realised it was there?

It takes a lot of effort to assess the entries and write up the Winner post, so I'm quite happy to drop it - or post it in the comments box on the Challenge beneath all the entries instead. Do let me know - I do it for you so want to make sure I am getting it right. Thank you.

Words for 19 August 2011

Note: the challenge will close on Wednesday 24th August (not Thursday)

  • Gargle
  • California
  • Vandal (Vandalise is fine)


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 (not Thursday) 24th August 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.

Suppose I'd better get up and go to work. Unless you can give me a reason to stay abed...?


  1. personal comment, I read all the postings, the entries, the winners, everything you post here because it is always interesting.

  2. I always read it and always comment on it. I enjoy reading your comments on there. I also like to see if you have caught anything else in the stories we have missed or overlooked.

    Due to the blog hierarchy I do have to root it out though. For a while I could never figure out where the winners post was. That's only due to the new Prediction coming after the winner post. I know where it is now but at first I didn't know it even existed. Which could have more to do with my frazzled brain than Blogger organisation though.

  3. I enjoy the Winner post, though I don't comment as often as I'd like. Your summaries are usually worth the read in themselves!

    However, I think it's because it's only really the latest post for about 12 hours before you've posted the new Prediction that this gets less attention.

    IMHO, if it would save you extra time (pulled away from your own writing, to boot) then adding the winner to the bottom of the comment thread, or taking a moment at the beginning of the new Prediction to pick the winner would work just fine.

  4. Thanks for all the responses so far about the Prediction Winner post. Food for thought.

    Well, look at this. I'm first to throw in my oar! Here goes...

    Watching Demelza

    She’s there. Under the oak. Singing California Dreamin’ in that childlike voice of hers – gives me the creeps. She’s a fifty year-old sack of lard.

    I watch her gargle cider and pull on a joint. She stubs the soggy butt out on Demelza’s headstone like some teenage vandal before dragging her sorry arse up off the ground, gothic black garb flowing in the breeze.

    I catch her arm as she wanders past me.

    “You hurt my Demmie’s grave Vicar. I don’t like what I’ve seen.”

    Two clawed fingers pluck out my eyeballs.

    “Problem solved, old man. Praise the Lord.”

  5. As I mentioned in my comments on the winner post I love your synopsis comments on each piece
    I appreciate how much effort goes into what you do for us all. without the feardom prediction and the encouragement I'd still be shifting from left foot to right and putting my scribblings in a box folder under the bed, never to see the light of day.

    Malcs Revenge

    “I’m glad you enjoyed, your meal David, but I’ve saved the best till last” Malcolm filled their glasses, from a bottle simply labelled “California!!!”

    David swirled the glass, then slurped the wine ready to gargle, out of courtesy he swallowed rather than spray the metallic liquid everywhere. His face contorted.

    Malcolm Smiled “I’m not sure why you show revulsion, don’t you recognise your daughter. The little vandal destroyed a vat of our finest; seems right for her to be blended with our Merlot. By the way she was The Steak in your Diane sauce with cyanide. Goodbye old friend”

  6. Oh yum, William. I am SO in the mood for this piece of meat. It cheers me in an unnatural way (shrugs). Very nice.

    Thanks for your feedback, by the way. I'm sure I'm not the only one extremely glad you stopped hiding your box - as it were.

  7. Regarding the Winners Posts thing, I do read it, I just don't usually get time to comment on it.

    Hey everyone...I've not been around for perhaps a lifetime. But I dropped in and strangely managed to think of something...and it's on a Friday too. Weird.



    My hands shook; wisps of smoke were still escaping the barrel of the gun, as though escaping the terrible scene my bullets had made.

    I lowered my gaze to the blonde haired man on the floor, blood oozing from him.

    ‘Heal yourself out of that you shit,’ I spat. A wry smile formed on my lips when I saw that bastard gargle his last breath.

    Clouds of air exploded next to me; Autumn had arrived. ‘You chased him to California?’

    My gaze never wavered from him. ‘He vandalised and tortured my heart. Of course I bloody did.’

  8. I do read the Winner's Post and will make a point to congratulate the winners, but I usually post my comments about each story on the post the stories are one... sometimes I comment before Friday... sometimes on Friday.

    This week, things have been so CRAZY... I didn't even post a story, much less read everybody's. Hope to get some free time this weekend to catch up.

  9. Sam Collins, P.I.B. (Paranormal-Investigator-Bastard)

    It was something o'clock when I finally rolled out of bed. The remnant of my bedtime bottle was sitting in the bottom of a filthy glass on the floor. I took it into the kitchen, and gargled it with some fermenting orange juice, then downed a handful of aspirin to quiet the timpani in my skull. Only then did I notice the phone was ringing.

    The call was brief - more vandalism, more women missing. Would I lend my particular ... blah blah blah.

    Surfer demons don't have the common fuckin' decency to take a weekend off; I hate California.

  10. Hi Lily,

    I do enjoy reading your winning post too, though like Chris, I don't comment as much; however, I can imagine that it is time-consuming.

    I'm happy to contribute this week and will comment on other's stories after the weekend.

    The Palm Tree

    Gargle grew hope from a palm tree. It wasn’t the towering, fanned species found in places like California or the Bahamas. These palms were the stout, meaty variety seen on the arms of Gods. Their splayed fingers dangled spherical tufts of promises and desire from a web of angel’s hair. They hung like strangled vandals, plump and ready to harvest.

    Gargle stepped up on a knuckle, tugged a pear-shaped wish from the thumb of the palm, and sunk his teeth into it. He tore off a juicy, tart chunk of flesh. It tasted like passion fruit.

  11. OK, first off, many congratulations to AJ and Tony for magnificent contributions. As long as I can all read work as classy and wonderful as that, I for one will be here, every week, anxious to read the entries and congratulate the winners!

    Erin, wow and shock horror ending! Beautifully done.
    Chris: wonderful stuff here, demanding a proper exploration of this character's character. (forgive me, it's Saturday, there's someone clambering over my roof and I have a full on Saturday migraine ... again)
    Pixie, been missing much too long, back with something that is more mature than you usually write, (IMO) which says you've used the time away to develop even more.Said it before, say it again, you are going to be a stunning novelist one of these days. Stay with it!
    William ... oh my, put me off lunch for a week!
    Lily, great one!
    Now I need to go work on mine...

  12. here tis!

    The Connoisseur

    Have you tried to gargle with blood? Damn stuff won’t swill, it goes straight down, smooth as Californian wine, but oh so much cheaper...
    Trouble is, I need to gargle sometimes, to ease the ache in the throat, the dryness in the mouth and quieten the need that drives me mad. But then again, straight down is sometimes better, if the person has been on drugs – ugh! The bitterness is not to be tolerated. I consider that to be the equivalent of vandalising something. Shouldn’t be allowed. Blood should be pure.
    Why else would I want to drink it?

  13. Lily, I always read, I love your summaries! It´s not important to me when you post them, though, in the same entry as the new prediction challenge would work just as fine =)

  14. Writing with a two year old on knee and Peppa Pig on split screen; isn't that how all the greats do it?


    Crimson letters slowly dripped down the hotel's walls. Chad leant back on the ladder admiring his art.

    "Quit gawping; I've got to tag too." shouted Jason from below.

    Chad rolled his eyes and clambered over the ladder top to the hotel roof.

    "Oh fuck!" shouted Chad.

    "What's wrong? What's up there?"





    Chad's limp body slumped over the parapet, blood spurting from his throat, oozing down the wall, mixing with his art.

    Jason clung to the ladder as he stared up at the bloodied Gargoyle looming over Chad.

    Vandals weren't welcome at the Hotel California.

  15. Lily - there's always something about eyes that makes me squeamish. Disturbing tale of a viscious Vicar. Wonderful.

    William - glad your writing is not gathering dust in a box somewhere; far too good for that! Malicious Malcolm serves revenge as Michelin standard fare; classic horror.

    Pixie - I want to know more about the back story now. 'He vandalised and tortured my heart' - great line.

    Chris - lots of story expertly worked into so few words. Would love to read a full piece on this.

    Erin - amazing visual tale. Lots of imagery to salivate over.

    Antonia - a connoisseur of fine vintages. I'd never thought about tainted blood before; lovely idea. The Oz Clarke of the vampire world.

  16. Drill Bit

    Blood and saliva frothed in his mouth as he gargled. Christ, he thought he would drown, but it spilled in a pink torrent down his chin.

    Fear simpered across frayed nerves, made the muscle in his chest bang against his sternum like a demented vandal tearing down a steel fortress.

    Salty beads of perspiration oozed from swollen pores, trickled down his face.

    But the sound outside his fear bristled against his eardrums; the sound of a drill found only in his nightmares.

    Christ. Eyes dilated; a scream halted in his throat.

    ‘Relax Mr Rollings, I’m the best dentist in California...’

  17. absolutely read the winner posts as well as the rest!

  18. It's been quite awhile since I last posted! Look forward to commenting on the previous entries after I get my teeth into them. For now . . .

    Vandal was a good boy. Ate his carrots well, snapped them off like fingers. Chugged organic apple juice by the gallons. His parents beamed. Brushed, flossed and gargled every night before bed.

    What Vandal didn’t have was a girlfriend. A beautiful one, like a princess. Instead, before he went to bed he fondled his collection in his basement room. Squirrels with their jaws taped shut. Kittens without ears. A dog’s tail, hard won. That one’d still been living, but the neighbors had left to California for the weekend. He was good at explanations. Like what would happen to his parents.

  19. AJ - lovely twist, I thought we were off somewhere dark and sinister here! Great as always.

    Jenny - an evil child in the mould of Dahmer. Very good writing with a sense of threat throughout.

  20. Gaia Society Ball

    "Monsieur, heard how Dame Britain fares?"

    "Mein Herr, we must concentrate on the Börsen."

    "But, such tragedy, non?"

    "Nein. Our southern cousins can't implement austerity. That is great unglück."

    "But, her hair burned while vandals humiliated her. She grows too fond of her inequalities. 'Twould never happen on the continent."

    "Nein? I do recall car bombs."

    "In Pari'? Vous watch too many movies."

    "About austerity--"

    "But, now those protesters afflict her children. New world's got so many states. Can't keep them apart, non?"


    "Oui, their subways. A good gargle will get them out."

    "I am sure. Now, about austerity..."

  21. I read everything - honest!

    Night Shift

    The corpse gargled gently as its last breath was expelled through cloying blood. The new, young policeman took a pace backwards.
    The old copper laughed. “Just trapped wind, lad. He won’t hurt you.” He continued to rummage through the victims pockets for … anything interesting really. “Waste of a good Californian red I reckon.”
    “Who ever did this was a bloody vandal - could have used an empty bottle, but no. Smashed the end off a full’n before slashing the blokes throat.” He opened the blood stained wallet and flicked through the contents. “Bloody criminal, it is.”

  22. Oh my! Look at all these stories.. I can I will be busy reading this weekend! Let's see if I can squeeze mine in here...

    I have also posted this over on Blogger and Wordpress. I will "tweet" over at #fridayflash. :)

  23. Umm... Veronica? Did you forget something? Oh! Yes... the story! Hehe!


    Dusk fell over the town.

    The young woman stepped into the fire-blackened supermarket.

    Picking her way through the wreckage of Booths… Cara didn’t think of herself as a vandal… she just wanted water to gargle her scorched throat.

    As she rounded an aisle, her foot slip/skidded a little. Cara turned the flashlight’s beam downward… her shoe stood in a pool of congealed blood. A slurpy, chewing sound made her aim the torch’s light ahead.

    The zombie looked up… hands cradling a boy’s crushed head… blood dripping from her chin… down the front of her I ♥ California t-shirt.

    She hissed…

  24. wow, and double wow! what entries this week!
    Stealing time from work to comment ,,,
    Veronica, gory Zombie story, love it!
    Kim, natural dialogue on a most unnatural topic!
    Aidan, sharp comment on our recent riots indeed.
    Jenny, absolutely chilling
    AJ - my daughter has a dentist phobia, I had best make sure the screen is shut down when she's around...
    Phil, what a lovely twist on the words!

  25. Lily, what a memorable character! Great 'active' descriptions and a nice punch ending.

    William, talk about wining and dining! That gives a new meaning to 'Sweet Revenge.'

    Pixie, another dark glimpse into revenge, sex, and lies. I bloody would too!

    Chris, it’s no wonder investigators drink and swear with their constant, crime-ridden lives. This is an excerpt maybe to something bigger? Nice penning.

    Antonia, dark and delightful. Blood should be pure, however I don’t think I’ll have to worry about The Connoisseur ; )

    Phil, excellent creativity, with the way you used Gargle, and the truly good ending. Loved it.

    AJ, loved it. Excellent language as always and a fantastic ending.

    Jenny, what a great setup to a fabulous ending! Nice descriptions too.

    Aidan, Love the dialogue, very well done. I might put Texas on that list too.

    Kim, I like the characterization of the old copper. Nice take on night shifts.

    Veronica, I always love a good zombie story, and this one is superb!

  26. Blogger is behaving like a spoilt brat this week so apologies to those of you that have tried to post entries/comments and couldn't. It's happened to me twice, and caught me out, so I'll (try to) add my comments when I summarise tonight/tomorrow.

    It seems to be related to html - so if you are using bold and italic html tags, try taking them out and posting.

    If you are having trouble, email your comments to me or use my Contact Form (Contact Lily tab at top of page). Can't promise anything but will try.

    In the meantime, I am trying to add Chris Allinotte's comments for him but it's just not playing ball. I'll keep at it...

  27. Here we go. Shame on Blogger for making this so difficult - maybe Google is too busy with their shiny new (+) toy? Thanks for trying to help Lily! Here's the comments (I hope).

    Veronica - Keep the zombie madness coming! Great details - the "slurpy, chewing sound", and the "I ♥ California T-Shirt" - awesome.

    Kim - That's what's missing from investigation these days - proper sense of priorities.

    Phil - Took a second, but "Gaia society" is clever, clever stuff. Love the tone and the nose-in-the-air quality to the speakers. Funny, but to a point.

    Jenny - You give a perfect note of tension with "What Vandal didn't have was a
    girlfriend..." that doesn't become apparent until then end. Then it's a dagger.

    AJ - Nicely done - and all the more effective in that your reputation (from previous
    entries here) automatically casts us to a more sinister reading. Fun!

    Phil - That'll show those punks! I want to read a whole story in a world where gargoyles
    hate spraypaint.

    Antonia - Vampire or psychopath? Delightful angle either way. Imagine, not having the
    decency to consider the palate of those that want to taste your blood! *tsk*

    Erin - This was just playing with my head. The imagery kept spinning back and forth
    between fruit/flesh/fruit/flesh/fruit. Gorgeous imagery, and using "Gargle" as the name was a
    nice touch.

    Pixie - ‘Heal yourself out of that you shit,’ Ooh - is he a werewolf? That's just awesome.

    William - Your task is now to make this story at least 1,000k and get it over to an e-Zine,
    or print anthology. This is too good not to be a big story, and I need to hear the "before" on this!

    Lily - a little twist on "if thine eye offend thee", huh? Wonderful twist on the
    expectations, from an atypical-ish horror character!

  28. Okay, so I had a kick up the bum and have managed to get something together this week. Here goes ...


    Taste of Revenge

    It might have been years but she recognised him. That vandal had thought it was fun to smash windows and spray paint someone else’s property. He had left her trapped in her home for a year, unable to sleep, afraid to go out.
    And now here he was at her wine tasting evening.
    'This is a white wine from California,' she smiled, handing him the last glass on the tray. 'Gargle properly to get all the flavours. And spit – or not!'
    She watched him obey, not realising his wine was urine – revenge was a piece of piss!

  29. Thanks, everyone for your entries.

    The doors to no 12. Prediction Gardens have now closed.

    In addition to Blogger's hissy fit earlier I have had real trouble getting online all evening - so am giving up for the night. I'll post my winner/comments etc tomorrow morning - all being well.

  30. Although, I may not comment on the summary post, I always read it. It does not matter to me whether you include it in the comments thread or a separate post.

    I recognize judging and commenting are difficult work. I enjoy the community that has built itself here and the comments everyone tries to create (I know some weeks I have difficulty getting the comments in). I know I've become a better writer of Drabbles by seeing examples here, commenting on them, pushing myself, and comments on my flash. I like this aspect of the Friday Predictions.

    Lily: quite the solution; great sense of place you've evoked.

    William: never liked merlot; this must be why, I always thought it was the oak-monster but I'm guessing iron now.

    Pixie: love the title of butterflies and wolves; it adds an interesting atmosphere to this romantic revenge.

    Chris: great attitude here, like the idea of surfer demons.

    Erin: beautiful, beautiful way to envision these palms. I'm wanting tropical fruits now.

    Antonia: this character calls out strongly, there seems to be a whole world hiding in his voice.

    Phil: beautiful way to use gargle. I like this twist.

    AJ: I can sympathize with Mr. Rollings. I spend the whole time drugged and still tense up.

    Jenny: Eek. Yes, squirrels and kittens are just little starter kits before one tackles the big jobs.

    Kim: love the experienced voice of the old copper you have here.

    Veronica: nice details in this touch of terror in the grocery store.

    TToffee: nice final line. Spit or not, it's still a good revenge.

  31. Whew! A lot of stories here... my mind is filled with a thousand images... you all are incredible!!
    Lily - Oooh… startling visual right out of the gate… icy fingers just skittered down my spine!

    And, you are so casual at the end… “Two clawed fingers pluck out my eyeballs.”

    You make the ‘everyday’ deliciously gruesome…. I LOVE it!

    Excellent read!


    William D – OMG!

    Oh. My. God!

    I am sitting here with a glass of merlot at this very moment!
    Maybe its time to switch to a ‘white’.

    Very nicely done indeed! I’m going to miss my merlot. 

    P.S. Just saw Lily’s comment… Yes, I too am glad your little box of ‘scribblings’ is seeing the light of day. They are quite good!


    Pixie – Very atmospheric… I love this.

    I am curious though… the dead man? A were-creature?

    Great little tale… beware a vengeful woman!


    Chris A – Great little ‘morning after” mood!

    I can relate… except for the surfer demons, that is.

    There is more to Sam Collins, isn’t there?


    Erin – I love the imagery… visceral… nice little shock at the end!

    Antonia – Wow!

    Excellent telling… more than I wanted to know about selecting a fine ‘vintage’.

    Were you ever the sommelier at the Midnight Club?

    And, yes… blood must be pure! Otherwise, the hangover next morning is unbearable, as my Erin will attest.

    Nicely crafted!


    Phil A – OMG!! I screamed a little…

    You write just a bit too well, sir! And, a killer closing line –

    “Vandals weren’t welcome at the Hotel California”



    A J –

    Excellent story-telling… you had me hooked from the very first line… your words create such incredible imagery… and I could almost smell the fear… then I get to the last line…

    WOW! Hit me right between the eyes!

    Thank god I don’t have to go back to the dentist for six months!

    Brava, AJ… Brava!


    Jenny D – Chilling!

    Vandal is evil personified… what a frightening little tale!


    Aidan –

    Excellent dialogue and commentary on the recent rioting.

    Well done!


    Kim –

    Now, that is a crime… wasting a good California red!

    I do hope the police apprehend the villain!


    ttofee –

    Ahhh… a lovely little tale of revenge!

    Unlike the ‘wine’… this leaves a nice little taste for my ‘little grey cells’!

    Very nicely done!

  32. Thank you all! Such marvelous little tales.

    Antonia, Erin, Chris, Aidan... Thank you so much for your comments and words of encouragement.

    And now... the hour is late and I must slumber... if sleep will come after reading these dark little slices...


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.