Friday, 9 December 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

With Scotland battered by howling hurricane winds and icy shards piercing the island skies the Lords of Winter have truly made their presence known. Hail and welcome, but we beg kindness.

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

Tough. Tough. Tough. Outstanding penning all round. Who would you choose?

But that's unfair.

My winner from last week is William Davoll with the skin-tingling The Morning After The Peace Before; it made me shiver, stayed in my mind all night and still filled me with a lost sense of despair when I re-read it alongside all the other entries this morning. Congratulations William!

Runners-up, for there are two -  are new Predictioneer Dion Winton-Polak with the heart-stopping chiller Ache, and Erin Cole with her bizarro, giggle cute-fest The Ad. Well done both!

Words for 09 December 2011

The old book's getting frail. Where are my archivist gloves? Let's peel open those pages and pick:

  • Painting
  • Institution
  • Forget
I have something instantly forming with those - better get the Moleskine out and scribble.


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 15th December to enter.

Winner will be announced next Friday 16th December. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Forget Christmas shopping. Hide away and create your own storm, but bring me thunder...


  1. congratulations William, Dion (welcome, by the way) and Erin, superb entries - I loved everyone's this week. Profuse and sincere apologies for not commenting, I have read them, honestly! The reason is ... sound the trumpets ... work I did 30 years ago, producing 20 books for an educational reading scheme have been requested for a new kids' site. But ... being done 30 years ago means they are not in the computer... getting there... and I will try harder next week.

  2. Well done everyone I spent what was left of last night reading the other entries an excellent read I might add. Unfortunately dawn broke before I could comment on them. Congratulations to Dion and Erin for two fantastic pieces. Congratulations Antonia on your news, let us know when the site is up. My goodness thank you Lily for picking my poem, I've been trying very hard not to smile all morning. Some fab words for this week, where's my pen.

  3. Congrats William. And well done Dion and Erin.

    It's back to the land of Hackett this week.

    Viewing Room

    Her leftovers had furnished him.

    She hung like a painting, glistening vermillion, streaked with sinew white and abstract viscera pulled back to reveal still warm insides; fading by the minute.

    Russet wine swirled in a tapered glass; Hackett sniffed it. He could still smell her bouquet.

    He would not forget her face, now deprived of flesh, the way she had smiled at him unopposed by his rakish deceit, usurped by schoolgirl desire.

    Her aroma fizzled on his tongue. He smirked at his creation, another specimen to grace his institution.

    Tomorrow he would read about her.

    And send back her leftovers.

  4. I consider killing to be an aesthetic institution. I was never one for sculpture or painting though I used to see virtue in architectural drawing.I would study blueprints of houses for hours on end. They would fill my heart with glee. The lamp in your room emits just enough light to seep through the gap in your wardrobe door. I've been in that wardrobe for three hours. The next time you open it I am going to simply reach out and tear you to fucking pieces. And each piece will be exactly the same size. I have all night. Perfect.

  5. I forgot the 'forget'! How ironic!!!

    I consider killing to be an aesthetic institution. I was never one for sculpture or painting though I used to see virtue in architectural drawing. I would study blueprints of houses for hours on end. They would fill my heart with glee. And once I've seen a blueprint, I never forget it.

    I've been in your wardrobe for three hours. The next time you open it I am going to simply reach out and tear you to fucking pieces. And each piece will be exactly the same size. Just the way I like it. I have all night.

    Just Perfect.

  6. Thanks Lily! And congrats William and Dion. So many good entries to chose from, every week.

  7. Lovin' how you're daunting gruff ol'Lord Winter, Lily - You storm him right back gal -- with a frenzy he ne'er saw comin'!

    WINNER WILLIAM ~ How fitting, as the read of that poetic on the lyric tale indeed showed works of mind coming forth, over time. Release that smile - what good does it do WORTH, when strapped on in?

    Congrats NewGuy Dion and enigmatic Erin livin' full and free up to her naming to me. Gosh I sure hope your kiddos aren't asking Santa for puppies this year?

    Antonia of rage now on overload? Your spurts and storms are a tale in themselves each week, especially with the glitter of cool cunning in the conquer. Sending energies, plus I pushed over a robust brew and a caramel apple blossom hot from the oven to get those works flowin ...

    Merriment, mirth and natch, some madcapping wished to all frenetic Feardomese. (Erin - treasured what you wrote me; Your kindred Gemini spirit ever senses when I go out on the wordplayground) ~ Absolutely*Kate

  8. Blimey Antonia - however do you find the time? All the very, very best with that, and many congratulations.

    Welcome Ian. Good to open our doors to you.

    For the moment I simply have a small post...

    Bare Bedlam

    “Flip me over, Francesca. I can’t reach.”

    I eyed him. Twelve hundred days since he’d stepped out of the institution; he treated the place as an art studio, and we indulged him.

    “Forget the ceiling, Israel. I’ve a canvas for you.”

    He wouldn’t have it. Wouldn’t have me. And in the absence of my help he bit down and spat; flipped his juices across the wall. A pearly, bloody painting. I called an audience to admire his work.

    Even as he completed the oeuvre with bites and lashes from his hoary tongue, we swore we’d never forget.

    Israel Reporé. R.I.P.

  9. Right, here goes...
    AJ, that was what I was going to do but you did it a thousand times better than I would have done... so ... great stuff!
    Stu, there is a calculated coldness in this that really chills.
    Lily, small entry maybe but a good one for all that!
    AK, thank you! the mailing was delivered, eventually, we can eat - and pay bills this month. Now it's just work work and more work. Lily, I have a 'helper' a non working (as in paid work) daughter who does all the housework, washing, ironing, supervises the work done in the house (today it is taking down a fence that is not strictly our concern but if it falls - and it will - it will stop us getting out of our gate... damn gales!)which means I get to leave work, come home, brief chat and start work. That three hours per night means I can get loads done, and I do. We don't have a TV, I check the news on line and watch DVDS occasionally on the computer. Nothing should get in the way of work and it doesn't!
    Pill Hill's 366 Daily Frights has arrived, I have eight entries, I think! Well pleased, it is a good production.
    I need to go add bits to my website, haven't been near it for some time. Too much happening ... right now, too many unfinished jobs, I must get them done and dusted.
    The words this week are intriguing, will think on them as I type.

  10. Ian? I meant Stu - of course. Forgive this fool. ;)

  11. Congratulations William, Dion and Erin!

  12. Bath time for Alice

    Alice likes painting arms, in shades of pumping red.
    It’s what her demons bid her, from deep inside her head.
    Swallowed by an institution, for a child that was never born.
    The shocks designed to help her forget, and leave her memories torn.
    Strapped naked in the bathtub, all she can do is lay.
    She’s easy pickings for the warders and the vicious games they play.
    Like a missionary in a stew pot, they know not what they brew.
    They ramp the voltage upwards and her thoughts become a stew.
    Sin, No Sin, the evil souls come in!

  13. Hoard

    Yes, the girl remembered him. Her shoulders popped, bones protruding through bruised skin--desperate to escape--but the officers held tight. He bowed his head in thanksgiving.

    "No. No. I know him." Her eyes' veins had swollen, betraying her broken spirit. "He did this. Let me go. Let me GO!"

    The officers exchanged glances.

    "Don't believe the sick. Their minds harbor evil, don't want healing." He opened the institution's doors. "She will forget." His victims always forgot his role. "Be healed."

    They bound her to a gurney beneath the painting. Lost souls cavorted in the pigment flames. A spiritual escher.

  14. Congrats, William, Dion, and Erin!

    AJ: nice punch to the final line and stellar images that create a visceral punch to the senses.

    Stu: I've been in your wardrobe for three hours, after the somewhat abstract threats previously, this provides a shocking threat and makes his voice memorable.

    Lily: madness! This is delectable for the modern image and the depth of characters. Do I detect her frustration in being spurned?

    William: you've stuffed this poem with so much (shock therapy, her abuse, demon taunts, cannibals. Lovely, and the rhythm was quite fun.

  15. I've been a bad predictionaut... made it this week though! =)

    AJ - what a grotesque picture you paint, a refined serial killer with an eye for aesthetics.

    Stu - what a disturbing thought. Great job in bringing it so close and personal.

    Lily - Intriguing complexities, subtleties of character hidden in exuberant grisliness. =)

    William - The innocence suggested by the title makes the content all the more sinister, as does the rhyme. Dark times at the asylum.

    Aidan - oh yes, trust the educated doctor or the wild, young waif...? Is there more to the painting than mere pigment? I could read more of that. =)

  16. I hope you'll forgive my variation on institution. =)


    Burnt out, a building is like an exposed corpse. Blackened ribs of brick and broken wood. Empty windows like dead, dead eyes. Ghosts of ash drifting, dissipating on a mournful wind.

    The Institute of Advanced Necrological Research had been my home; the place where I was raised, so to speak.

    Doctor Frankie had said this day would come, the pitchforks and torches of yore replaced by shotguns and gasoline. In the ruins of her office I find the half-burnt painting of her infamous forebear and I am resolved. I will not forget, and neither will they.

  17. George opened his eyes. A lush, green field surrounded him. Identical to the painting which hung above his bed as a child. He strolled forward, breathing in the crisp, free air, allowing the tips of the long grass to gently tickle his fingers. And, just for a second, he was content.

    “Wake up!” a voice commanded. A slap across the face and he was back.

    Back in The Institution, in his bed, his harness. No longer content.

    The doctor leant forward, a syringe primed for entry into George's temple.

    “Just a little something to help you forget.”

  18. Ok, my entry first and then I'll do the commenting bit. This has taken a few days to come together.

    Ulterior Motive

    There comes a point in your life when you want to forget the past. When all that is written needs to go. When all that was once good has turned to ash and dust. When love walks out and hate walks in. The men at the institution say they can do that for free- with electrodes, needles and pills the size of cookies.
    Should I believe them? Should anyone? What is their motive for this ‘free’ treatment? What do they gain from it?
    I went to visit. I went to observe. I wanted to check it out.
    I cannot leave.

  19. here goes...
    Jack, my reaction was 'oooh, horrid' and then 'brilliant'
    John, nice interpretation! More vivid imagery. You do that well.
    Aidan, what a wonderful piece of writing!
    William, do I give up entering the challenge now??? sooo good!
    One more night to entertain me ... of this week's entries anyway!

  20. I feel like the kid on detention, staring out of the window and watching all the other kids having a great time! Hang on.....I was that kid! Ha!! I'll get one in this week if it kills me. There's a chance work could that, though!

    I'll be back...

  21. Ooh, Blogger's been a bugger this week! I've not been getting emails of your lovely entries, haven't been able to format pasted stories in posts and other irritating failures. Maybe WordPress is calling...

    Anyway, forget all that. Over to you...

    AJ, LOVE it when Hackett slopes silently in. The relaxed delivery of this piece belies the absolute horror of the scene; the readers enjoy the red, red wine of Hackett's victim and we are lured - dangerously - in to his world. Outstanding.

    Stu, greetings and welcome to you! A blissful little horror that had me grinning from ear to bloody ear. The narrator's detached revelations are cold, clinical - yet with passion in the threat. Chilling.

    William, this is absolutely heartbreaking. The despair we feel for Alice as she self-harms is so profound yet we are powerless to protect her. This could be a Victorian orphanage; it could be a modern refuge. Some things never change. Terrifying.

    Aidan, they always say an abuser is known to their victim more times than not. When that evildoer is in a position of trust it makes the situation, though not the crime worse. But a priest? We hear of it too frequently; Wicked, wicked, wicked. Very well observed.

    John, variation accepted - of course! A disturbing life lived here at the Institute of Advanced Necrological Research, presumably born in a petrie dish and 'raised' in clinical observation. But who is her forebear - and what legacy has (s)he left? Intriguing.

    jackkholt, well hello there - do come in and take a seat. It's plush; red velvet you know. A well-paced, stacato delivery to this tragic vignette. We are pulled in to the dreamscape, the escape before being dragged back to George's horrific reality. There is so much more to this - and I want to read it. A great voice.

    Antonia, this is a movie of a tale. For most people that want to move on they might get a boob job, botox or a motorbike - it doesn't necessarily erase the negative state that led them there. Free drugs - now that can only ever be a lie... so what's going on? Captivating.

  22. Hope it's just me that goes through this :-)

    Three little words

    Those three little words stare up in solitude at me from the page. Each word taunts me knowing that I have forgotten the trick.

    I have created paintings of fornicating faeries, the birth of universes and imagination, and the greatest loss of all. I have summoned demons and deities, monsters and murderers, temptresses and tricksters yet….

    …yet I sit in this institution, my brain feverishly buzzing and whirring to no avail.

    Shhh, I hear her jangling her keys, the dark mistress, ready to shut the doors on the madhouse.

    And still those three simple words goad me.


  23. Ha haaah! Cheeky Phil, I love it.

    A belated thanks for all your welcomes and congratulations. Feedback first, then on to my entry...

    Antonia and Aidan - really frickin' creepy. Nothing so unnerving as betrayal by the apparently benevolent.
    Jack - harsh. Reminiscent of Brazil. Thumbs up.
    John - nice extrapolation of the big F. The work MUST go on!
    William - I enjoyed the notion that "They know not what they brew". Would love to see a grisly revenge enacted.
    Lily - you scare me. I guess that's the point :-D
    Stu - Ew! Talk about making the wardrobe scary again. I'm sure I just heard it creak...
    AJ - you've just sent chills up my spine. Lecter eat your heart out (no, wait! I mean...)

  24. Mask.

    In my mind I'm sharp, fluid, alive. When we talk, the world - brightens. I forget myself and grin, alert to every detail. She makes me witty, spontaneous, expansive, wry... (but is it me?)


    We only speak on the telephone. Placing orders, chasing credits. How can that mean anything?

    She's here though. Now.
    In town for a couple of days.
    Meet... up?

    I hear her voice at the bar and turn.

    She's no oil painting but my chest lurches. Hard. Jaws taut, tongue chained - a grand institution - I desperately hammer my walls.



    Who am I k-k-kidding?

  25. AJ Hackett's in fine creative form, I always enjoy your descriptives
    Stu I woke up last night to thunder, I remembered your Piece, and spent the rest of the evening watching the wardrobe
    Lily What wicked images you weave Lily, I'll never use water colours again
    Aidan A tragic story well told, I love Eschers work and am intrigued by the reference.
    John Xero Vivid images painted so well in your words.
    Jackholt Having been rudely awakened from a wonderful dream in the early hours this morning I feel deeply for George. Theres a bigger story here that I so want to hear the rest of, more please!
    Antonia YOu've hooked me, I'd love to see and hear the whole of this. This would make a great tales of the unexpected. I wish they still did them.
    Phil Very Clever and witty, and I must admit some weeks I've thrown my head back to look at the gods when I run out of time.
    Dion I can relate to this, made me want to shout "No stay you fool", how many times do we lose out on opportunity from our own fear. Great Job.

  26. John: fun updating of the myth. The first paragraph drips with lovely detail and the second one zings with personality.

    Jack: nice entry; the PoV casts a glamour over his memories and casts the doctor as the thief.

    Antonia: concerns about the value of this service were raised, but evidently not strong enough. This captures the way people think it won't ever happen to them.

    Phil: fun meta-play, I like how you play with previous ones and then bring this concrete as the mistress nears.

    Dion: wistful! Serious longing hides in here with a dose of insecurity. Captures this character's voice well.

  27. Hi - Dion has introduced me to this site, which is intriguing and I've had fun reading through all the entries. My name is Hilary and I work with Dion. I'm a little nervous of putting my creation out for people to read, but Dion has urged me to give it a go!

  28. The Portrait.

    They held hands, gazing at each other. They did not need to speak.

    "Wait for me," he whispered as she left. The institution of marriage - a wonderful invention.

    Back in his prison cell, he now daubs feverishly at his painting, remembering each line and wrinkle of her face. Thirty years together; such a long time. How could he forget her?

    At last he is finished. He looks, satisfied, at the portrait of his wife, her pale complexion and the vermilion rivulets emanating from his hammer blow.

    "Wait for me..."

  29. Hilary, you will fit right in ... this is superb! no way did I see that ending coming! Brilliant.
    Dion, you captured hesitation, reluctance and heartbreak so well in such a short piece.
    Phil, so clever! And yes, I often feel like that! nice one!

  30. Phil, this is the cheekiest entry I've ever seen (oo-er Madam!) on the Prediction Challenge. Of course I loved it, adored the desperation of your trials and lapped up the reference to 'dark mistress'. Ingenious.

    Dion, your narrator's journey made me nervous as hell and just shows what can be hidden behind a voice, and how confidence can fade away to nothing - face-to-face. A terrifying date.

    Hilary, welcome to The Feardom! Don't be nervous, we're all very supportive ;) The Portrait is a tightly-written glimpse into a prisoner's obsessive love of the woman he murdered. His wife's 'gaze' would have been the emptiest. Chilling.

  31. I said I'd be back BUT it is a rush job. Trying to keep hold of my mojo.....

    The Game.

    I’ve been in an institution for a long time. It’s actually a mental hospital. I tell the white coat brigade that I can’t remember stuff.

    They think I’m crazy.

    “Malcolm, do you know why you’re in here? Can you remember what you did to those people?”

    I just tell them I forget things and don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a great game.

    Today, though, I’ve got a painting for them. Thing is, they’ll be crushed. There are eight people in the picture. They think I only killed three.


  32. David, if that's a rush job... rush some more! It's great! what a great killer ending!

  33. Here I am, busted on bolognaise and getting attacked by the cat - and who should waltz in with a scorcher as the Prediction door creaks shut but David Barber himself.

    And a killer ending indeed, Antonia - absolutely right. What scares me most David, is the "I'm not insane game" because there are criminals such as this that genuinely seem to murder for pleasure with no evidence of psychological disorder.

    Well worth the wait.

  34. Allez - fermez. Va te faire...

    Door's shut - awwwwwright?

  35. A couple late comments...

    Hilary: what marvelous horror you weave... for someone who lacks visual memory this has added depth.

    David: I've been listening to a podcast episode recorded after psychiatrists deemed Anders Breivik insane that focused on the ruling, so this creates fun resonances.


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.