Friday, 23 September 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Up before 6am today and was hammering at the keyboard as the sun rose on a clear, pale blue sky. Fitting for the Autumn Equinox. (Blessed be).

So that's another 700 words on Magenta Shaman Stones the Crow, bringing the first draft up to 10k already. The end is nigh - and I finally know what's going to happen - and to whom.

Time to put shaman mode to one side and open up the big book in search of words that are not my own. But first...

Congratulations to Phil Ambler for tearing our hearts to pieces with the real-life horror of losing a child, and the guilt of passive neglect (It wasn't his fault!!!) Loss was last week's winner.

And well done to runner-up AJ Humpage for throwing the truth in our faces with Just Another Echo; street life is one of desperation and loneliness. How can we bring ourselves to turn the other cheek?

Words for 23 September 2011

I wonder if we'll get bigger, plumper words this time after last week's little pip squeaks. Here goes:

  • Understand (all variants allowed)
  • Carnelian
  • Toadstool
Hmmm - I like these words. Nothing flashes immediately to mind but nothing a little meditation won't cure.


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 the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 29th September to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday 29th or Friday 30th September. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

The equinox at this time of year is also about putting down roots and preparing for the longer nights - all fuel for writing, I think. Let's see if this festival of Mabon warms your cockles...


  1. Disagreeable

    The understanding was clear.

    The rubies to Joe, the diamonds split between me and Petey. We took more risk with the actual hold-up and all.

    It went off like clockwork. The owner fell into himself like a botched souffle and the three cases yielded plenty of stones that made for easy fencing.

    Joe had other ideas. While we split the loot, he pulled out his Beretta and scooped up the diamonds.

    “I haven’t been living under a toadstool, y’know,” he barked, “These ‘rubies’ is simple carnelian, they ain’t worth shit.”

    The lesson? Never have a gemologist drive getaway.

  2. Michael - There is no honor among thieves, is there?

    Very nicely done... I like the pacing... a nice rhythm to it. Thank you.

  3. Something a little different from me... curious to see how it goes over. This came to me in the middle of the night... woken from a not so pleasant dream by sirens in the street below, this sentence literally fell out of my mouth - 'gasoline rainbow 'neath a vast carnelian sky...'. Scared the c*** out of Tina, I might add. I'm thinking that second bowl of penne pasta with roasted mushroom and sun-dried tomatoes might not have been such a great idea... or, maybe it was just a bad pairing with the wine.

    I have tweeted to #fridayflash and posted on my blog at -

  4. Apologies... posted wrong version earlier. Shall we try again?

    By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

    Mortar and pestle mix two into one,
    Dark, bitter organia pinches the tongue.
    Silent demons tell what must be done.

    Do you understand my fate?
    Running… then waiting… always too late.
    The path I am given leads not to a gate.

    ‘Neath the vast carnelian sky,
    Clouds of rose and red drifting by.
    At my feet then does eternity lie,
    Gasoline rainbow reflected in my eye.

    ‘Twixt mushroom and toadstool,
    I cannot but try to understand…
    Truth is only an illusion, devised by man.
    With lit match, Death now makes a fool.

    Two into one… now undone.


  5. Michael, good one!
    Veronica, beautiful stuff.

    I found the words difficult this week, must be me, so here's a sideways look at them ...

    Urban Fairy Tale

    Crystal shops charge the earth for what is in the earth so I thought, go get your own. Cut out the middleman.
    Simple enough, you find where they mine them, hammer off a piece, takes just a little understanding...
    I started with carnelian. Moved on to amethyst, rose quartz, aventurine, thought I could open a crystal shop...
    One big mistake, upsetting the mine owners, wizards and dwarves to a man, or half a man anyway.
    Shouldn’t have said that to their faces.
    I now sit on a toadstool and warn others not to go mining their own crystals. Forever.

  6. veronica - lovely lilting and luscious!

    antonia - otherwordly!

  7. Spawn

    You understand the world's cause and effect. You could sacrifice yourself to Mother Gaia. Your blood a salve to the wounds of carbon dioxide and iron.

    But no. The self centers you as you taste the girl's blood. Ground carnelian sprinkled over her form. You think you smell toadstools. You mistake the smell of death, the demon's birthplace.

    The world is a pleasant lie. A lie letting you bleed. Sell your soul for this creature bursting from her womb. Are you smart enough to bid it? You'll never earn it's loyalty, but that's not why you're here, is it?


  8. Scent of the Serpent

    A thick, carnelian tinted mist rose above the marble columns, slowly enveloped the mount. Moments earlier, sunrise had parted the dusk; now the god of warmth breathed across the landscape.

    She heard a low, resonating hum, peered above the coiling vapour, her toadstool neck craving attention.

    Shapes in the distance snaked through the haze like a seething black serpent.

    The scent of the approaching Persian army laced the air. She understood why they had come. She ran to Athena Polias’ blessed temple steps, collapsed to her knees, palms outstretched.

    Fearful tears splashed against the cold marble.

    But Athena remained silent.

  9. Hello Lily, I'm over here on the recommendation of Mr. Xero, who says that you folks are a good crowd. I hope you don't mind if I leave a little entry for your competition!


    In Knossos they dig up precious stones, thick carnelians like blood congealed. They dig too shallow to understand. Tunnels lurk beneath, dark since modern time was counted. Only toadstools and the labyrinth’s lady still advance within the caves, below the columns… an empty throne. Her husband is dead, her son murdered. No sacrifices come, or are devoured. Blind Pasiphaë drags her monstrous axe, bladed like a pair of horns, and hunts with aching hands. All that remains of her reign are the stones, thick like sun-baked blood, and tales... of Theseus.

  10. Michael, ah, them there gemologists, you never know when they're going to reveal themselves and ruin the game. Good fun; great tale.

    Veronica, beguiling ritual to both the cadence of this poem and the blending of plants and faith. I love the imagery to "the vast carnelian sky, Clouds of rose..." You paint a gorgeous picture.

    Antonia, you're right Antonia; they're not the easiest of words are they? However, I really enjoyed this caustic urban fairy tale and the serious message it bears! (I always ask permission of anything I take from the earth, and don't get me started on crystal shops.)

    Aidan, such power and invective married together here. I read a different story in each line which seems to be at once messianic and diabolic. A fine recipe.

    AJ, an atmospheric glimpse at the stuff of legends, rising from glorious scene-setting through to terrifying adventure. The final line is absolutely chilling. 'Her toadstool neck' is an excellent description!

    Dee, welcome to The Feardom and our weekly Prediction challenge. Enter away... Yours is a dark exploration of the myth of Theseus, and if perchance Mr Xero told you of my love of Crete then you may know how important Knossos is to me. "...her monstrous axe, bladed like a pair of horns, and hunts with aching hands." This is so powerful - and so right. Lovely penning Dee.

  11. Didn't manage my time well last week, been working on a couple of exciting ventures (well for me any way)and it seems eveyrone wants a piece of me in work world, well here goes...

    Hoist by your own petty vengance!
    Understand this! I had no problem with you. You could have led your life the way you wanted, as I am free to lead mine. I hold no issue that you felt sorry for yourself. I even gave you carnelian, the stones of healing, and rose quartz to help your broken heart.

    But when your games affect my corner, my man, my family, I will fight a battle beyond your half prepared wits.

    You’re shivering. How was your toadstool omelette last night? I guess that’s the death cap doing its job.

    Your voice, your spite has become but a whisper!

  12. Michael - I always amazed when people manage to fit decent noir into a hundred words. Love the botched soufflé line. =D

    Veronica - really impressive poem to turn out in the time scale. Good job. =)

    Antonia - a cautionary tale with a good sense of humour. =)

    Aidan - dark and potent, a parable on the selfishness of man?

    AJ - The gods would ever keep their own counsel... Athena can be a cruel mistress.

    Dee! ^_^ Great slice of neo-myth, bringing Pasiphae into the modern age in so few words... impressive. =)

    William - Nasty, I like it. Not a woman to cross.

  13. This one kind of got away from me... but I'm ill (that's my excuse, anyway ;) ).

    Shroomiversal Truth

    His stomach convulsed rebelliously, a sure sign the ‘shrooms were kicking in. This time was bad though, maybe he should have eaten less.

    Too late now.

    The effect was subtle at first. Colours deepened, as if everything was liquid and he couldn't see the bottom; his skin reddened, turning carnelian. Then he fell inside the world, drowning.

    He drifted through the other side, saw the universe from without, understood what the toadstools were showing him: Everything.

    The cat wasn’t dead and alive until it was observed, the cat didn’t even exist.

    By seeing the universe, he created it.

  14. Lily- I swear I knew nothing about your love for Crete! Carnelians really are being excavated there, and dated to the Minoan age, so that (and the death of the Minotaur) gave me a jumping off point that seemed pretty irresistible. I'm really glad you liked it!

    John- Hello you! I had a lot of trouble cutting it down from 150, but it was really interesting to see what got lost and what stuck around! I'm waiting to see what you'll throw down :)

  15. Antonia - Nice little tale... moral here... 'Earther' or 'otherworlder'... cutting out the middleman is liable to get you 'cut out'...

  16. Aidan - Messiah or demon? One wonders...

    Incredibly powerful prose... wonderful, dark imagery...

    "The world is a pleasant lie. A lie letting you bleed." Beautiful!!

    Soulful entreaty... "Pray."

    Bravo, Aidan!

  17. AJ - "A thick carnelian tinted mist..." Beautiful opening line. Your words paint a picture of breathtaking majesty.

    "Coiling... snaked... seething..." In my mind's eye.. I see can see the serpent... hideous and hypnotizing...

    Hot tears of despair won't melt a goddess' cold heart...

    Smashing read, AJ! I love your dark little slice of mythe.

  18. Dee - Dark, powerful prose... your words an enchantment.

    "... drags her monstrous axe, bladed like a pair of horns, and hunts with aching hands." *shudders* Trying to get that image out of my head before I go to bed...

    This is a tale to keep my nightlight burning!

    Very nicely done indeed... welcome, Dee!

  19. William D - Ahhh... the bitter taste of revenge... not 'best served cold' as in the Russian proverb, but with eggs and 'shrooms...

    Clever little tale... love the last line...

    "... your spite has become but a whisper!"

  20. John - I LOVE mushrooms... raw, sauteed, stuffed, grilled... love... love... love... but...

    I may have to take a little break after reading this... for some reason, my beloved 'shroomies have lost a bit of their appeal.

    I love your tale... the dichotomy of the mortal's intestinal distress and his hallucinatory 'musings' that he is some omnipotent being... creator of the Universe.

    Well done, John!

  21. Thank you Antonia, Michael, Lily, and John... your wonderful comments inspire me!

    Poetry isn't really my 'thing'.. writing it that is... I just never could get comfortable with it. I must have been channeling somebody when I wrote this. If my words truly were wrought by the evening meal (shades of Dickens!), I am getting that sauce recipe from Olive Garden! Haha!

    Thank you all!

  22. Michael –I loved the ‘fell into himself like a botched soufflé’. Cracking line.

    Veronica – Some great descriptions -‘Vast cornelian sky’ and ‘gasoline rainbow’ are so evocative. It’s deliciously moody and lush.

    Antonia – A modern allegory on what happens when you take something that doesn’t belong to you. Love the banishment to the toadstool!

    Aiden – Wonderfully descriptive as always, with a cleverly understated chill factor.

    Dee – Ah, the stuff of myth and legend, which still fascinates me. This time next week I shall be satiating my love of Greece and discovering my own myths. This piece oozes the silky lure of the past with an evocative realisation of Pasiphaë as Minotaur with axe and horns at the ready.

    William – So wrought with spiteful revenge. Wonderful!

    John X – Love the title! I like the way you’ve created a ‘spaced out’ feel to the narrative. Good stuff.

  23. Wow, you folks really are a friendly crowd! Thank you AJ and Veronica!

  24. Eat Me

    Above, perched in the carnelian cap of its toadstool, the immense blue caterpillar leaned out into space. Alice was very small, and the taste of mushroom lingered.

    "Really," it said, voice thundering, "It is difficult to converse when you keep changing so." Smoke billowed down from its nostrils, and rolled across the ground like fog.

    Alice breathed deeply, and coughed. She understood everything at last.

    She grinned up at the caterpillar.

    "Piss off, you cranky old twat. You're killing my buzz."

    Laying in the rich smelling grass, Alice began to fade. The last thing to go was her smile.

  25. Michael: Q: What was a gemologist doing involved in crime? A: His life was on the rocks. (I kill me. I really do...) Great dialogue and tight little plot.

    Veronica This is a well woven "spell". Love the phrasing of "Dark, bitter organia pinches the tongue." And a wonderfully dark and surprisingly modern path to the ending.

    Antonia There's a whimsy to your narrator that I love. I'm picturing him as a Garden gnome, stuck to the top of the toadstool, every so often giving a melancholy sigh.

    Aidan So much going on here. I'm totally intrigued by a creature who's blood could "heal the wounds of carbon dioxide and iron", and yet chooses to bring forth demons. Really cool.

    AJ Wonderful slice of history here. It's tales like this that make these time periods come to life, remembering that the pallid, white-eyed statues were modelled on people who wept and loved once.

    Dee Wonderful debut! The ending of this was so well done. You gave us so much of Pasiphae's pain that the mere mention of Theseus is enough to start the flesh prickling.

    William To slight a skilled naturalist is to play with all kinds of crazy fire. That guy is going to have a bad day. Well written.

    John Way to work Schroedinger's(sp?) cat into a drug-induced exploration. This was some fine, fine weaving. "Falling inside the world" was an amazing image.

  26. Posting the following for Phil Ambler - Blogger's being mean to him:

    Ding dong?

    The forest floor was poisoned with toadstools, gangrenous fungi leeching the goodness from the earth. Strangling ivy languorously trailed through the woods blocking the sun's warming light. It made the seven weep.

    They'd found the body but didn't understand the rituals of death. They should have torn out her heart and fed it to the carrion. They should have gouged out her eyes and replaced them with carnelians. Instead they'd followed their traditions and placed her in a glass box in the forest.

    Now the witch lay feeding off the death surrounding her waiting for her Dark Prince to come.

  27. Blogger is being difficult for me, too. Had a job to get in to comment tonight.
    That piece from Phil is lovely, really a good twist.
    John, back to the vivid imagery again...
    William, lovely twisted stuff here.
    Dee, way to go in joining in our fun each week!
    Chris, love this take on Alice!!!!

  28. Oh, I've missed you lot. And the days are getting shorter - how will I cope?
    Still the holiday is passed on with the flash!

    Woodland scene

    Erestor surveyed the forest floor, his eyes like carnelian beads. From his perch atop the toadstool he could see the faeries a-dancing and a-prancing around the puddles. They were pretty. He’d been told about faeries; how they moved, how their wings sparked in the sun, how their slim bodies hypnotised you. Now he understood why his brother was obsessed.
    He watched them play around the pools, dipping their toes in the cool water. He slid off the fly agaric and hid under a dock leaf. That’s better, so close, he could almost touch them - a little closer.

  29. Everyone, I have to go out and won't be able to post comments on William, John, Chris and Phil's entries or summarise until very late tonight, or even tomorrow.

    I'm gutted too that I haven't been able to post an entry myself this week. I had a little tale going about a one-eyed, three-legged troll painting her clawed toenails but I just couldn't get a punchline. Sorry (pout).

    There is still a couple of hours before the challenge closes (9pm UK time) but otherwise - I'll catch y'all later.


  30. William, by God but this is not a woman to cross! "... I will fight a battle beyond your half prepared wits." is a great line, as is the ending - uttered with a Mediterranean passion.

    John, how many more worlds of wonder can you construct? This toadstool view is off its own trolley, a Leary vista and yes, an absolute Schrodinger of a cat. I'm tripping on your fine words.

    Chris, hell, you've perverted the lovely Alice of my youth (Lewis Carroll spent his annual summer holidays in my home town of Eastbourne, don't ya know). This really brought a grin to my face though whether one of a cheshire cat, I don't know. Simply, I loved it!

    Phil, a gorgeous, dark reworking of the Snow White fairy tale. I truly believe yours is far closer to what would have been the original medieval, Eastern European legend than even Grimm. Magical.

    Kim, we've missed you too! Is the clue in your tale 'fly agaric'? Are those "faeries a-dancing and a-prancing" a private hallucination? Fée or human - he's still a peeper. A wicked, but highly visual piece that moves and sparkles in my mind.


    I'll announce the winner in the morning, at the same time as posting the new challenge. I hope that's acceptable to everyone?

    And with a kiss,...


  31. Chris - Loved that line... "Piss off, you cranky old twat..." ... so irreverent. I love your take on Alice... I always suspected there was more to Alice than in those sanitized versions I was fed as a child.... excellent read, Chris!

  32. Thank you for your wonderful comments, Chris! This one was 'interesting'... how the inspiration came.

  33. AJ - Thank you for your wonderful comments!

    Phil A - Delicious twist on an old favorite... I'd love to see your hand put to some of the other classics... you do put a lovely darkness to things.

    Kim - A fanciful little bit of voyeurism into the lives of faeres... lovely piece and your words put some very tantalizing images in my head.


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.