Friday, 10 February 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction

I'm having a Banshee moment. I caught something on BBC4 about Siouxsie Sioux and have been thrown into a whipped-up sea of reminiscence.

I can't count how many times I saw this extraordinary woman perform. I love everything about her - her look, her voice and lyrics but perhaps most of all her determination to be herself in a very greedy and narrow-minded music business. Hail Siouxsie Sioux!

(Oh and I'll always remember getting thrown out of a friend's parents' snooty Golf Club dinner/dance for my personal performance of Mad-Eyed Screamer back in Siouxsie's Creatures days. It made my, and the DJ's night.)

Talking of highly-talented women, please don't forget to read the incredible dark fiction in this month's FEBRUARY FEMMES FATALES showcase. Several Predictioneers are sharing their work and would love your feedback.

And Gentlemen, just because the showcase pieces are written by women it doesn't mean the stories are only for women - please dip in and support your fellow writers. You can flip back through the posts here on the Feardom, or go to the FFF page where the posts are listed in date order as they go live.

Thank you!

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

A healthy pot-load of Prediction entries last week despite that 'mangle' word! We have one - my hubby uses it for print-making.

I've read and re-read your wonderful words - even with fewer entries than the previous weeks it doesn't make it any easier to chooser a winner. But the job is done:

My winner is Jack Holt with the atmospheric and intriguing vignette Fallout. This strange nameless woman and the even stranger location stayed in my mind for days. Is this a derelict casino? And what is she about to do? Do tell. Oh, and congratulations!

Runner-up, with Big Boys Don't Cry is AJ Humpage. The vivid description of this horrendous accident is so powerful you can smell the carnage. Well done AJ.

Words for 10 February 2012

I've rambled on for England so I'll make this quick...

This week's words are:

  • Conserve 
  • Hare
  • Crucify
(All verb and noun forms accepted on the first and last words).

Good luck!


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 until 9pm UK time on Thursday 16th February 2012 to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday 17th February. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it. Do give feedback to your fellow Predictioneers - we all appreciate it.

Slide down your Helter Skelter and finger some great fiction. I want to be left Spellbound...


  1. what can I say about last week's entries? Outstanding as always. Never fails to amaze me how many variations we come up with on the three words in such a tight word count. Apologies for not responding to all of them, I could do without two things in my life:
    ultra sensitive stomach which reacts badly to food which I can oft times eat without problems and
    Flashing lights means I can't see the screen -
    but anyway, outside of complaining, congratulations to Jack for that startling piece of writing, haunting and lingering, as Lily said, and AJ who once again turned up something that sticks in the mind. How do you DO that?????

    1. What you said, sure said it, Antonia:

      "Never fails to amaze me how many variations we come up with on the three words in such a tight word count."

      What a diverse swirl of talents gather @ Lily's lair. Fortunate I feel to come jive with you folks' teeming talents. And dear Lady, can you feel that? I just sent *calming* energies 'round your aura --- See the lights change? - NO NO - not the flashin' 'puter ones - the soft dancing soothes in pale pinks I sent 'round you. Be wonders-full, Be well.

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

  2. this time next week flowers will be on their way to Tewkesbury Abbey, to commemorate the passing of George, duke of Clarence, in 1478. I do this to draw attention to the duke's tomb and then hopefully to the shop where they can buy leaflets on his life, which I prepare and send for fundraising.
    that isn't the reason for telling you. The reason is that this is also the time when I am highly amused by the reaction of the staff in the florists. I hand them a sheet with the address of the abbey, that's fine, then the message
    In Memory of George, duke of Clarence, died 18th February 1478. Requiescat in Pace.
    It's at that point I get things like 'is this a relative?' or some such comment.
    The truth is, the duke is usually standing right by me, muttering something about #peace? living with you?' and it's all I can do not to laugh and ruin the moment...
    I just tell them they can find the duke's book on Amazon, Death Be Pardoner To Me and leave it at that.
    The truth of this sad occasion is that the execution, for it was truly that, was ordered by the duke's brother, Edward IV. He was 28 and had been held in the Tower for nearly 8 months, right over Christmas and all, knowing what was to come. Sometimes I think all the horror lies in the past!!!
    (but then I think on the victims of the terrorists who were beheaded, Margaret Hassan, Ken Bigley and others, and know it isn't true. Men do the same cruel things now.)

    1. What a delightful anecdote -- and natch, a cruel heads up too. But curiousity of the Kate ~

      Antonia, what flowers do you ask to be sent for the good Duke of Clarence? Has he a preference that makes good 'scents'? ~ Absolutely*Kate

  3. Thanks, Lily! Delighted you enjoyed it so much. Well done AJ, too.

  4. Heiress

    She'd gone haring off across the southern counties again, the devil at her heels. Simon, pill bottle in the glove box, spun down dusty roads and called into the kudzu-soaked woods from his window: Felicia, Fe-licia. The fullness of shadows answered, reminding him of Georgian nights spent between her legs. No place for a conservator. Or a cousin, however distant.

    At the crossroads of 53 and 164 he found her. Like a scarecrow, dangling crucified from the road marker. Hands purple with pokeberry juice. He convinced her to let go, pushed a pink pill into her cracked mouth.

    Whispered, Felicia.


    Been a while. And I got nothing scary. And I played with the chosen words. Ah, well.

    1. Rebecca - how we (I)'ve missed you and your blissfully dangerous words. Not scary? This makes my lips curl with dark delight; you've delivered incredible imagery here with this desperate tale of strange passion and escape.


    2. R.S. ~ I echoe our Grande Dame ~ "Not Scary??!"

      I *felt* this kudzu-soaked woods-scene and had a chill. Now THAT's scribing brought within. Brava on the motion and the emotion all in one dangling dangerous swirl. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. R.S. impressive, artfully delivered.

  5. RS, lovely piece, saying a lot without saying, a back story here that could be explored. Loved it.

  6. Well done Jack Holt and AJ Humpage

    Meat Animals

    The city dies more each day; we almost bust an axle last hunting trip. Our meat hangs, crucified in the smokehouse. Mother prepares it for the coming winter. Conserve and survive is the family motto. We chance another bone-jarring ride into the crumbling edifice called Manchester.
    The cry goes up from the cab, “We got a Hare, a doe this time.
    ” floor it,” I cry as the woman breaks cover.
    My brother Crandall prefers female flesh. I grab the handrail and gather my nets as the 4x4 accelerates forward squirting gravel. The hunt is on.

    1. Sorry it is a bit untidy.Pressed send before I had combed it's hair and cleaned it's teeth.

    2. Ooh, nasty. This is a very 'special' family; I think I've met their relatives in my neck of the woods. "Mother prepares it" is chilling. I felt I was on their bumpy ride and worse, could see their flat faces and inbred cold stares. A frightening and very well written piece.

    3. S.K. ~ You certainly made a left turn outta Mayberry RFD. EGADS! Though "Conserve and Survive!" as a rallying cry, sagely put these meaty morsels in context. ~ Absolutely*Kate

  7. Love it, SK, great twist and if it comes untidy with mussy hair and uncleaned teeth, so be it!

  8. Well, someone had to do it and as I have already channelled Judas' version, here's another one. Shorter than his 85000 words by about 84,900...
    The story retold.

    I was there when they ‘arrested’ Him, there when they ‘tried’ Him, there when they scourged Him. I saw Him crucified and my heart broke, never to be repaired. They say He rose from the dead. I have not seen Him.
    An innocent man. In the end, the hare, and they the hunters. Nay, I lie, we the hunters. For did I not believe Him to be a rabble rouser, a troublemaker, until the moment of His death? And then did I not believe?
    I must conserve my strength. I fear now I will become a hare. Now they know.

    1. A tragic recounting of the Judas tale Antonia, one can hear the keening soul in his 'voice'. Very troubling.

    2. Antonia ~ You channel a plaintive cry wrought from within with such 'being there'. Very deft slid-in word-use. Brava and Bless you -- uh, I mean Judas. "Forgive him Father, he knows not what he does, that hare-brain."

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Is that why silver tarnishes I wonder? Well written Antonia.

  9. Ok, Merkin McGherkin is all wrapped up. If anyone knows who'll pay to publish a humerous noir poem I'm appreciate a tip-off.
    Now I can get back to flashing all you lovely people - wait... oh you know what I mean.

    1. Tell a lie - swamped with Geek Syndicate work for the rest of the week plus folks coming up on a rare visit.
      Next week is my holiday though, so I will definitely be back for that.
      Have fun!

    2. Catch you next week Dion. Hope you find a home for McGherkin.

    3. DION ~ We've been running *THE SHADOWS OF OUR NOIR* over AT THE BIJOU ... with "NOIRETRY" and even Haiku Noir under spots and kleigs between our storied crime and shadowy acts. Send it to me (e'mail's on FB and @ ATB) and let's see how it showcases in most noirtorious glory. This half-year event shall be out in book forms, with editors, agents and publishers frequenting our red velvet seated audience from time to tiempo. Why Feardom's DAVID BARBER and the lascivious LILY (apres Feb. FEMME FATALES of course, of course) shall take the stage and cause quite a ruckus! Trust that helps. Best to the zest o'you.

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

  10. *********************************************************

    Ol' Brer Rabbit was a wily ol' hare. He darted. He dashed. He brambled briar patches quick as a bunny hare's heritage be legendarily told. There was no careful to his caution. No conserving to his swift. Brash, brazen, brave, Brer Rabbit hopped brilliance into bold.

    Came a day though, in a meadow where storm clouds brewed, that ol' Brer Fox laid evil trickery's lair for furry nemesis' brood. 'Pon Scarecrow Bob's splintered frame, Brer Fox crucified both bloody bonnet and apron of Brer Rabbit's everlovin' mama.

    "EGADS! MAMA MIA!", burst Brer Rabbit to seein' the scene of the crime.

    Clouds broke. Rains came. ............................ Ketchup flowed rivulets.

    ~ ~ ~ e p i l o g u e ~ ~ ~

    Hunter Hank took aim at Brer Fox's shame.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

    1. THAT is a title to die for; very clever. You captured the feel of the Brer Famille so brilliantly then the truth came out, full of bloody horror and poor spinning bunnies. Extreme supreme.

    2. Merci beaucoup Lily ... I smiled so grand at the chouette of 'Extreme supreme'. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Clever, amusing and dark,loved it.

  11. Well done Jack.

    Alone On the Hill

    Deeply red, His colour. It scored the wood with thick, insistent streams and pooled at the foot of the mound.

    A darkened sun dipped low, scattered amber beams across the barren landscape, slow to descend, as though to conserve the fading glow.

    Polonius blinked against the haze and dust, pulled his sagum around his shoulders. A forest of crafted crosses stretched into the distance, scattered the light, but all he could see were scarlet ribbons wrapped around branchless cedars.

    Dark eyes, like a frightened hare, pierced his conscience.

    He stared at his blood-smeared hands. Stained, by the colour of crucifixion

    1. "scarlet ribbons wrapped around branchless cedars" - beautiful, a poetic vision. My eyes are glazed with the multiple shades of red in Alone On the Hill. Wonderfully descriptive.

    2. A forest of crafted crosses stretched into the distance, scattered the light . . . Beautifully crafted glimpse into colour, fading glows, and a stained haze, AJ.

      Made me a breathless a few moments, it did.
      ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. And it's not even Easter yet.Beautifully written, AJ

  12. Congratulations to Jack and AJ Brilliant pieces.

    Not sure where this came from as it breaks a couple of the rules I set myself, but I can't shake it.

    Little Crystals

    The room was adorned with taxidermy, the intended centrepiece a boxing hare standing proud but ignored by the forensic team.
    Tench hunched reverently over his notebook, which gently rested on a casement. Its contents staked out row after row like they were ready to fly.
    Sellings offered, “How could anyone crucify butterflies?”
    “They’re not butterflies, Sellings!”
    Sellings applied his glasses and reviewed the contents of the case that bore the gold leaf inscription “To conserve their Innocence, so young spirits might fly”
    With trembling voice Sellings queried “Not all of them?“
    Tench looked up with tears “Yes the whole orphanage”

    1. This is horribly dark William, and a strange, intriguing concept. I like it! How terrifying that a decision has been made on behalf of these tiny souls; how can they know if the sacrifice worked? More please.

    2. "GULP" ~ William, from the reverent hunching, this piece took on its own pace . . . “To conserve their Innocence, so young spirits might fly” . . . Last reply a wallop. Bravo sir. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Oh dear,that macabre offering sent a genuine shiver up my spine, very dark William

  13. don't knock it, William, wherever it came from, it's wonderful. Heartbreaking, too.
    AJ, beautiful piece.
    AK, got carried along with this non stop pace, fantastic writing.

  14. Congrats to Jack and AJ! I was so hoping to enter last week, but the time got away from me.

    I've been playing around with this for a little bit now, but I don't think I'll ever mange to make it perfect so you'll just have to take it as it is.

    Behind These Closed Doors

    The March Hare came to visit today and when all my children wanted was Daddy; he was gone for hours.

    Where is my medicine?

    So innocent, but the noise they make is . . . too loud, too high, too much.

    A rage I’ve always hidden burns in a secret corner of my brain, and right now I’m poison.

    I need to conserve my words or I’ll end up crucifying them with my sharp tongue.

    Slowly I shut down, with thoughts that are so loud.

    I hope he’ll be home soon; I shouldn’t be alone with them.

    1. Amber, an absolutely terrifying voice of a parent driven to despair for such little things. " I shouldn’t be alone with them is so chilling, I genuinely shivered. A skilful write.

    2. "but the noise they make is . . . too loud, too high, too much."

      Muckie-Duckie, how pointedly you convey the crucible of over-the-edge, so close, so tight, so fearful. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Another frightening glimpse of madness, "Roll up Roll up, Step right over the edge if you please."

  15. Well done Jack!

    Here's my offering for this week's challenge:

    Power Drain

    He banged in the last nail; it’s tortured screams echoed all around him. It was necessary to crucify the hare. He watched as it hung helplessly from the makeshift cross.

    He must conserve his energy now and wait till dark. Unable to resist the smell of the ichor that drooled from the hare’s wounds, he knew it would come through the veil that separated its world from his own. He must be quick, if he is to trap it and drain its dark magic for himself. A smile crept across his lips at he thought of the power he would possess.

    1. Animal magick; it will be short-lived. Helen, this is occult horror rarely seen these days; I am reminded of Wheatley. They don't make books and films like that any more. Very disturbing.

    2. I agree. You scared me like a rabbit, Helen. You're no bunny til some bunny loves you. Sorry, I've been waiting all night to use that somewhere, and I thought it would lighten your darkness. Who knew you were so adept at calling in the dark side, lady of grace?

      ~ your pal, Absolutely*Kate

    3. I would love to know more, Helen I was curious to know about this person and their plans

  16. @ RS an interesting piece, nice use of the words.
    @S K Adams - great twist!
    @Antonia oh a dark tale!
    @Kate a grim tale indeed.
    @AJ wonderfully visual
    @William gruesome! yet sad.
    @Muckie very chilling in the sight of madness, hope Dad comes home soon!

  17. A short comedic piece which actually comes in under 50 words!!!! If this doesn't win then I'll eat my hat (better pass me the salt and pepper then)....


    "Noah's going to crucify you!"

    "What for?"

    "What for?!?!? We're meant to be conserving these creatures. You know, the animals went in two by two and all that."

    "Yeah, I know."

    "Well what kind of hare-brained idea was it to put the unicorns in with the lions!"

    1. Phil, now there's a battle to be lost, or a coupling made in Hell. Noah will be hacked off indeed.

    2. Phil . . . I'm passing the Grey Poupon. All I have to say to you is ~ "Ark, ark, ark, ark, ark".

      ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Worked for me, rumour has it,the great man wasted a lot of Do Do's before he sent a dove...

  18. RS A striking piece, got me hooked I want to hear more
    SK I love the post-apocalypse hunters
    Antonia An interesting insight into the mind of a betrayer in fear of being betrayed.
    Kate That wicked Fox needed a lesson
    AJ Your words paint a vivid scene that lifts the flap to another world, I'd love to hear more of this
    Muckie The torture of a troubled mind perfectly captured, a darkly disturbing piece, well executed.
    Helen Spooky stuff I can sense the Hare struggle within it's on self unable to escape
    PhilYou got me, I first had visions of their cargo being cooked up and served to the crew.

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  20. Fallout: Flight

    She takes only a drop. Conserving the contents of the vial is critical. She allows herself a moment to rest, wary that the war-weary forest now offers little protection.

    For a moment, silence. Nothing but gentle breeze and soft breath. Like the old days.

    “Get it!”

    To her right, a small hare bolts through ash, kicking up a dusty reminder of the Final Day. Its unknowingly helpful distraction buys her a few valuable seconds.

    They hunt, they kill, they crucify. The Bishop's warnings return to her consciousness.

    She forces a deep breath.

    They can't be allowed to find me.

    1. Jack - who is she? This is a fascinating scenario. My mind is racing with the possibilities - unless I'm missing the obvious? Fabulous pace - I am almost breathless.

    2. Headline: Holt haunts from title on down.

      I think I took an unforced deep breath too.
      ~ Absolutely*Kate

  21. That's better. :-)

    Some great stuff again this week.

  22. @Phil Oh the lions and the unicorns - standback!

    @Jack Nice little big of tension in this piece.

  23. Just Relax

    Sadie studied the crucifix hanging on the wall of her cell. The priest had hung it there when he visited her that morning. He told her that she should be grateful to Jesus, for he had died for her sins.

    "But Father," she had exclaimed. "I wasn't even born yet when Jesus was crucified! How could he have died for my sins before I even committed them? Where do you get these hare-brained ideas?"

    As Sadie gazed at the image of Christ, she marveled at how peaceful he looked, in spite of his pain. She wanted to emulate Christ's courage, as she was being strapped to the electric chair, one hour from then. But first,she must conserve her strength. So, she lay down on her bunk and took a nice nap.

    1. That's an argument ever to be had. Guilty before even being born, the most emotionally cruel and controlling governance of all. I love Sadie's attitude - "lay me down" - a quick kip before death will do the trick.

      Oh, and Madam Z - you are very welcome here in The Feardom's Halls! Thank you for joining us.

    2. YAY! I knew Madam Z would to Feardom come. Those cinnamon and brown sugar bread crumbs left strewn did their sweet trick . . . but how amaZing you stepped up to the first challenge. *applause, applause*

      Z, Sadie should be pardoned by the governor before she wakes up from her final zzzzzzz's -- She's a character to bring round again, and again and then some. -- PLUS -- we all wanta know what got her to death row. Superb dialog-reasonings. Your mind speaks through your characters inherently. *welcome* -- You'll like the minds here and they'll rise to yours. ~ Katie

    3. Sadie seems far to relaxed, just guessing here, but cant wait to discover the mode of her impending escape.

  24. Madam Z, oh wow, what an ending!
    Jack, another of those pieces that could be expanded into something - startling.
    Phil, loved it!
    Helen, dark magic, always good
    Amber, chilling stuff

    William, in fact Judas was not the betrayer we think, as has been postulated over many years and is outlined in his book, he had to fulfil that role for the whole plan to work. Check out Thirty Pieces of Silver by Dorothy Davies on Amazon... I actually intended my piece to be one of the Roman guards but couldn't quite get there in the word limit.

  25. Forgive me for breaking my own rules. I still have a couple of comments to make and have closed the Prediction for this week, but as I still have the key am sneaking this little pagan drabble in - fashionably late.

    The Old Ones

    “Run with me.”

    We do. We course through the fields, wheat at our heels, barley dusting our ears. A triple Goddess - maiden, mother, crone - shifting our shape with every step – fox, hare, deer.


    Harry stared from his bedroom window at the huge crucifix of flattened corn; his crops ruined. Threaded around and about the cross shape, a never-ending pentagram of green ivy and darkest berries. The farmer sighed with the rising sun, hearing the soft hiss of wind creep under the back door. She never touched iron.

    Diana slipped her naked arms around her husband.

    “All gone,” she said.

    1. That was absolutely gorgeous. There is so much here that I love, little pieces that pop out. Would love to see this expanded.

    2. Lily . . . they call the *hurrah* of your wind, Hekate.

      Description entwined as green ivy and pentangled dark berries? And a huntress assures a husband?

      Hmmmm, I nod with Muckie the Duckie to keep us lucky and let this one run wild, free . . . with the Old Ones, legendarily, ever more. Lovely. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. Thank you Amber.

      Kate, I run with Hecate in all her names and guises. She gazes and spirals on the south Saxon shores and dales that I call my home. I'm sure I saw you there...

  26. Sorry, sorry, sorry!! I know you've closed but I've been hammered all week and only just got a spare minute.

    The Package, Part 4.

    Driving to the train station I had time to think.

    I knew who’d been behind the earlier ambush. Frankie Jones was a bad man. I’d seen him crucify a man once. Literally, the whole shebang: nails through the hands and feet, even a crown of thorns. He was a bad man.

    Nearing the station the traffic got heavier. My call must have worked. I swung my Audi into the Hare and Hounds car park.

    I checked my gun again, a habit I had even though I knew it was loaded.

    “Conserve the package. She’s worth more than the gem stones.” be continued.


    1. How can it be one broken rule for one, and not for another? Like me David, you slipped it in - and there's something forgiving about tonight.

      I almost feel as though my hand is being guided to choose the words especially so The Package can continue to thrill us, because that's exactly what it's doing. Loved this episode - again.

    2. David ~ THIS epic'sode of The Package had strong, pounding pace. I tensed to your protagonist's voice and felt rat-a-tat-tat thinking forcing solutions to stay ahead of how bad bad could be.

      And yeah, natch I roared at The Hare and Hounds Car Park. Damn noirish shaky shadows mysterious milling thrill. ~ Absolutely*Kate

    3. You girls are too kind. I had an outline for it earlier in the week but due to work, etc, I didn't have the time to write it up. You can tell, with my use of "bad man" twice.

  27. All, the winner and new Prediction post is delayed until tonight (Friday evening UK time). Apologies.


  28. Thanks so much, AK.
    what flowers ... when I sent the first basket of flowers, in 2006, the florist asked what colours I wanted. I had to fluff and cover whilst I asked the duke (who was in tears) what his colours were. He said blue and yellow. Fortunately that happens to be spring colours, so we have been able to have them ever since. This last time I sent a tall glass vase with equally tall yellow flowers - the flower ladies can use the vase afterwards. This time I thought the duke would hold it together, I only had prickling eyes. But then, as we walked through the car park, he all but went to pieces - again. He is so much the villain of the time, alongside the Woodvilles, that no one cares to remember him. I do. I cannot send flowers to Antony Woodville's grave, until I have enough money and ability to disinter his bones from the pauper's grave and have him reburied properly. Then I will.
    Mad? of course.

  29. Adding something here I have been meaning to share for an age.
    Our local garden centre is selling zombie lawn ornaments, head, torso, grasping hands and all... I don't have a lawn, I have a courtyard. If I see anything coming up through the concrete, then I will know it is real, not a garden ornament...


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.