Friday, 16 March 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction

I have been completely bowled over by last week's Prediction challenge entries and have found it the most impossible task ever to choose a winner. Everyone - please know that the quality, and depth of your writing is outstanding, not to mention total bliss to read.

Whilst I make my very final decision, I'm just going to plug my new eBook CABARET OF DREAD, which is out NOW at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I won't labour the point, but I would be immensely grateful for any purchases, reviews, 'Likes' and tags, not to mention spreading the word. Thank you my Prediction friends - your support is immeasurable. [Read more...]

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

Every week many of you say, how does Lily choose a winner when the quality is so high? Well, it's always hard but this week - hell has erupted from the frozen lakes of my chambers and stumped me. However - it must be done. There will be just one winner, and no runner-up... because every single entry is a runner-up. Well done, one and all.

My winner is Sandra Davies with the second part of her harrowing series The Blacksmith's Wife. This tale is screaming to be told and I cannot even begin to anticipate what will happen next. Many congratulations Sandra - don't leave us dangling!

Words for 16 March 2012

Flipping those pages, shutting my eyes... plonk. Here we go:

  • Curdle
  • Cherub
  • Rip
Get your teeth into those!

Rules

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 22nd March 2012 to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday 23rd March. 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.

If you've been scared to enter the darkness up to now, then spread your wings - and dive.
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180 comments:

  1. Shocked expletive from me Lily!! Especially given the astonishingly high standard of each and every subsequent entry.
    But you've done me proud with next week's words, and I'll aim to do likewise, I promise.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations Sandra, a piece well deserving of recognition. I salute you.

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    2. Congratulations Sandra! So sorry I haven't been able to say so sooner. You go ahead and say all the shocked expletives you want.

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    3. Well done Sandra. Can't wait for your next tale.

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  2. Entitled Room of souls:
    As I opened the door, my senses were assaulted by the sights and smells of decay and neglect. The cracked and chipped plaster cherub on the wall, its face turned into a grotesque masque. The milk that had been left on the side to curdle made me wrinkle my nose in disgust, mixing with the smell of faeces and vomit that pervaded the room. The sofa caught my eye, not just for the stuffing pouring out of a rip in its cushions, but rather for the headless corpse that beckoned me in, “The dead should stay dead” I muttered.

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    1. Nicely atmospheric. A chilling room to walk into. Freaked out by the headless corpse - is it metaphorically beckoning, or are we in the realm of the post-mortal here?

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    2. The word 'plaster' covered the scene with an extra-horrific layer of white dust for me, and I assumed the corpse to have stiffened but curling fingers ...

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    3. The stuffing pouring out from the top of the cushions and in the next line the headless corpse did this for me. Nice work, Ronnie. Does the corpse walk. Is the main character a Constantine character about to exorcize the house or the couch of this headless corpse?

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    4. Not a pleasant room to walk into, but then I guess a headless corpse might not be too worried about the sights and smells... ;)

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    5. Ronnie, just realised I didn't comment on this lovely evocative piece of writing! Oh headless corpses fit well in the Feardom for sure!

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    6. Hello Ronnie,

      Something of a teaser this. I have the feeling our hero/heroine is familiar with the problem at hand. Intriguing for sure.

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    7. Headless corpses - my favourite. I think there is much more in this story, we certainly want to know more.

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    8. Ha ha, Ronnie - you've tickled AJ's fancy here. Decapitation's her middle-name :-)

      This is a lurid affair that hit the back of my throat like bile. What did the headless corpse say in its beckoning speech, I wonder?

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    9. A serious opening...tough. I do hope there is more.intriguing.

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    10. I love the metaphor of death in the decaying room... so much dark and morbid imagery is conjured in a handful of words.

      Very nicely done, Ronnie.

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  3. congratulations, Sandra!!! Worthy winner, I have to say and yes, the standards are getting ever higher! I need to really work at this week's words, if I can.
    Lily, I done bought your book this lunch time.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for buying the book Antonia! xx

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  4. Craven

    "It's too late. Please. Just - LISTEN!
    Of course it's not you, cherub, I've..."

    She rakes my face, she swears, cries. Hot spit flecks my face, snot bubbles out of her nose.
    Bitter shame rips through me.


    "I've got... a disease."

    She wavers, suspicion curdles to shock. Shoulders heave beneath my palms.

    "Angel. I'm already dead. I've accepted it."

    Her eyes are liquid, fierce, filled with splintered pain.

    "I don't want your sympathy."

    I should die! I've prepared for it.
    But panic rushes me, fear chokes my mind - I pull her close

    and tear into her throat. It tastes like LIFE.

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    Replies
    1. I love that "suspicion curdles to shock" but what a dirty trick to pull at the end!

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    2. Dirty trick how? Do you feel the story cheated or did you get wrong-footed or do you just feel bad for the girlfriend 'cause the vamp was too scared to go through with it?

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    3. Dion - Sincere apologies, I think I was confused as much as anything - re-reading it I am not sure who the "I" is in "- I pull her close
      and tear into her throat. It tastes like LIFE."
      It made more sense to me if the de-italicised voice spoke it, making it a double cross. But I confess I know absolutely nothing about vampires and this wouldn't be the first time I've got completely the wrong end of the stick. But no way was I saying the story cheated, honest.

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    4. No apologies required. If things are that unclear then the fault lies with the storyteller. I was just trying to gauge how I had failed to get across what was in my head.
      All dialogue is the vamp. Italicised lines are his thoughts / narration.
      The girlfriend / victims responses are alluded to but unrecorded in the narrative to maintain the sense of self and selfish fear which ultimately drives the betrayal of his relationship and moral decision to starve himself to death.

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    5. Dion, this is gorgeous, the language and the portrayal of the inner conflict work perfectly for me. Great development for a tiny fic and killer ending. =)

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    6. Her eyes are liquid, fierce, filled with splintered pain. I love that line Dion. Ah the nature of the beast. I like it.

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    7. There's some lovely descriptions here, and a well constructed twist that I didn't see coming.

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    8. Dion, your "Of course it's not you" line made me wait for the "It's me" classic dump but this delivered way, way more than my expectations.

      So absorbing, I fell into the dialogue, revelled in it actually. And those last four lines? Fang-glistening delight.

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    9. The disease won...You cannot control free will of man or vampire. Lovely words and well told.

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    10. Dion - You will always get me with a good vampyre tale... I love this one... so visceral... it leaves a delicious aftertaste for the senses. And that last line...

      "...and tear into her throat. It tastes like LIFE."

      (shivers with wicked delight!)

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  5. I intended to play it cool and post later, and I know I'll wish I had when I see what could have been bettered but ... I am also in danger of over-fiddling, so here it is:

    The blacksmith’s wife [part 3]
    The twist of his mouth should have curdled my blood but I knew he recalled the cherub-faced lad who had had me, had dined me and wined me and hot-wired my senses...
    ‘He was but a boy, while you...’
    ‘Am but a cuckold...’
    ‘...the man I would never deny,‘til my death.’
    ‘Which, if I fail in a lightness of touch, could be tonight.’
    The tip of my tongue caressed my top lip. Unwarranted huskiness. ‘Should you allow me to pleasure you first?’
    Teeth glinted, black laughter ripped from him, sardonic and knowing.
    ‘You think branding you won’t be enough?’

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    Replies
    1. no need to play it cool, Sandra, this is excellent!
      wonderful sense of time and place.

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    2. I just love the dangerous interplay between these two. Startled by the word 'hot-wired' as I had been assuming a very much historic setting. Somehow a sense of modernity renders this medieval torture/threat even more hideous.

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    3. Dion - I'm pleased you made that remark about 'hot-wired' - I had quite a debate with myself about the implication of modernity, but thought as she was a blacksmith's wife she'd be familiar with the sight of metal being heated in a forge, and was using the image as a metaphor. (That's my story, anyway)

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    4. Kudos for keeping this up week on week, and keeping the characters feeling consistent. Good job. =)

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    5. Another epic in the making, I can feel the sparks,I wont mention red hot poker though, Doh!

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    6. This just ripples with rich, hidden darkness, and it's very compelling - made so by these interesting characters and the intensity of the relationship.

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    7. Another twist, a seduction despite everything that has gone before. "...black laughter ripped from him, sardonic and knowing." is just gorgeous. There is more steam here than that rising from the hot coals!

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    8. A great dialogue. I think she will bewitch him. I can't wait to read more.

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    9. I love the subtle eroticism in this, Sandra... very well done!

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  6. “This yours?” Steve flung the cheese against the wall, “Clean it up.” He pointed at the cheese that begun to curdle. Julie in the corner, a breadknife held in her hands, said, “I don’t like it when you’re drunk.”

    “What the fuck has it got to do with you?” Steve gasped.

    Something cold slid in him, from behind, felt it move inside.

    He heard the rip. Julie dropped the knife.

    Steve turned to see his darling cherub, Suzy, a butcher’s knife in her eight year hands. He couldn’t ask why, there was something coppery forcing its way up his throat.

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    Replies
    1. now that, Craig, is just out and out nasty and I loved it!

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    2. The knives held ready by mother and daughter - what torment have they been living under and for how long for this to be their situation? I almost sense pride in the mother for Suzy doing what she could not. Shuddersome.
      The line about the coppery taste is truly blissful.

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    3. I fear for the sanity, and the future, of the eight-year-old, but she obviously had a better grasp of knives than her mother.

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    4. Nasty man, nasty end. Great final line too. Bleh =6

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    5. Hello Craig,

      A violent tale. Love that last line.

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    6. A fitting end to an odious man. So few words packed into so much drama.

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    7. I am a sucker for the little guy coming out on top. Way to go Suzy.

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    8. Oh what a shock, Craig. I had to read that twice to grasp who'd attacked who. Poor Suzy. I agree with Sandra on the girl's future. Disturbing and well-crafted.

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    9. I love the stark, violent imagery and the contrast... the cold something sliding in...... the [warm] coppery taste rising up..

      Vengeance in the hands of a child... gutsy!

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  7. most welcome. I have a ton of reading on the Kindle already, so am planning to read it on the computer at tea time, I sit here in front of the computer to munch my way through such exciting delicacies as corn thins and rice cakes ...something needs to enliven that banquet and your stories are just what I need!
    (Kindle is currently occupying me with the complete Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. I had forgotten how funny, wry and offbeat it truly is when you get into it. You tend to only remember the tag lines, but there is much, much more to it than that.)

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  8. The cherub had always been there.

    In contrast to the hideously deformed gargoyles that adorned the rest of the church that angelic being was ever there – watching, waiting.

    How the boy hated it.

    The short cut through the church yard after school had become a living nightmare for him, a raging internal battle of fear and self recrimination.

    The rusty hinges scream as he pushes open the gate and the familiar rip of tension pulls away at his stomach.

    Rational thoughts curdle in his mind.

    It is simple - fight or flight?

    Flight.

    The cherub smiles well there’s always tomorrow.

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    Replies
    1. that's a nice twist, Nick! Good one!

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    2. Brilliant evocation of childhood imagination. I remember building nightmarish fantasies and scaring myself silly with them.
      The smile WAS always there... wasn't it?

      Wasn't it?

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    3. How sensible is flight but how much we train boys not to make it - his instincts are sound.

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    4. Great atmosphere and tension building, and I really like the subtle ending.

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    5. I like it Nick, and read it feeling some discomfort too. Reminders of my own childhood monsters.

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    6. There is a Ray Bradbury like quality to this. Makes it familiar and frightening.

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    7. A classic cemetery frightener from you here Nick. I enjoyed the fear, always heightened by such marvellous imaginations of the young. Did the cherub really smile? That is the question. I bet it did.

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    8. The stuff of nightmares, Nick... nicely done!

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  9. Well done and congratulations Sandra.

    Afterbirth.

    Mama fretful, squats and strains, she bears down, fluids curdle, and Steam rises. We sit, silent, waiting.
    Mama knows best.

    Pale nervous faces peer out, sibilant whispers echo, charging putrid catacomb walls.

    Sparks drift from a guttering torch that illuminates the moment, head thrown back fangs bared, Mama rips out the mewling new-born into the dirt between her feet.

    By it’s ankle she holds it aloft, howling in triumph.

    “My cherub,” she croons, placated.

    ‘Click clack,’

    sound the bones, stomping feet churn dust. I raise the standard. Red circle white background. The name of our tribe emblazoned upon it.

    Underground.

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    1. Horribly vivid - I can smell the hot placental blood!!

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    2. I agree with Sandra, horribly vivid! No other words for it!!

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    3. Very well realised scene, full of life and rich with detail. Are these were-creatures, barbaric humans or something else? Feels like the start of something legendary. A bit Conan, maybe.

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    4. Shaun, this has so much vivid imagery. For 100 words, this is fantastic. Well done, buddy!

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    5. Now that's a stunning piece of writing! I think there's an echo in here... it is horribly vivid. And it moves from merely a very disturbing scene to something with real depth and story with the hefting of that banner.

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    6. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

      I am not sure what they are yet Dion. I think I may well expand this piece though.

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    7. This is what I call the 'Alien' factor. You manage to hold the tension and atmosphere, bring in the fear, all without actually revealing the 'monster' or whatever the creature is. This is what writing should be about - revelation through description.

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    8. Nice story. I am poised to take this clan's side should they face battle. Nice and scify...you get to develop your own planet perhaps. Excellent.

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    9. 'Click clack' - that's what gets me here Shaun. The sounds decorating this violent birth resonate, jangling and rattling. And the steam - gross. Loved it :)

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    10. Love the barbarism here and the all too vivid imagery... very nicely done, Shaun... this one really resonates.

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  10. I am not going for gore, but I am going for editorial horror. This is a small indication of the terrible writing I have been editing lately, I needed to get it out of my system and Predictioneers are the unfortunate recipients of my distress.

    Editorial woes

    Sighing, the editor attempted to rip out all dangling participles from the work. Bleeding, the manuscript sprawled on her desk, damaging the fine leather top. Reaching, she spilled coffee on the paper. Mingling with the blood, it created a ghastly mess, rather like the author’s mind, she thought. Rising, she went to fetch more coffee, only to find the milk had curdled. Returning, she paused in the doorway to survey the mess. Sitting, she wondered how an author with a cherub face could write such gore and mayhem and wreck it with the dangling participles which plagued the writing world.

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    Replies
    1. O damn - I don't have a CLUE what a 'dangling participle' is, having adopted something of a three monkeys pose when grammar was taught at school. But I can sympathise with the difficulties of trying to make sense of crap writing - hope this helped ease the pressure!

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    2. The entry is a showcase of dangling participles, beginning sentences with words ending in -ing, which often bear no relationship to reality. One book I turned down, some years ago, was riddled with them, including the classic line, 'Running into the hall, he skidded to a stop.' You cannot do both. The piece I wrote was not the worst, I just threw them all in. to show how it looks with all those dreadful words in it.
      Rewritten, it would be:
      The editor sighed as she attempted to rip out all the dangling participles from the work. The manuscript sprawled on her desk, the blood oozing and damaging the fine leather top. She reached for coffee and spilled it on the paper ... see the idea??
      Add to this the endless sentences which start 'As' 'With' 'When' which I take out and replace with The, usually. Mostly they get cut out completely, the sentences don't need them.
      The latest phase is unwanted words. Someone got into a van. Then the doors were opened.
      why then does the writer need to say 'the van's doors were opened' when clearly they are in the thing?? another favourite seems to be 'the room's windows', 'the room's door' why???????? oh, and site for sight throughout the book I am working on at the moment, every single time ... taught for taut is another one. Careless lazy writing. I understand this particular author is a Professor. Says it all really!

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    3. Well now I'm in a panic - no-one told me we had an editor on the site. (Nervously, he checked back over his past entries, praying he hadn't made complicatedly bad grammatical errors.)
      Illuminating and terrifying in equal measures ;-D

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    4. Antonia,this is indeed enlightening. A useful way to show not tell how to improve. Thank you.

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    5. Ah, love it. Those awful dangling participles drive me crazy, too!

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    6. Oh the exhaustion of this poor editor, Antonia. I really feel for her, but grinned in sympathy too - it must be said. Your other examples hit home as well. Think you needed to get all that out of your system :-)

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    7. Dangling participles and conjugating verbs... there is something faintly erotic in that phrase... or, is that just me? :)

      Here is a horrid example I came across recently -

      Stunned into silence at the grisly sight... a ghastly shriek rose from his throat...

      Ummm... if he was stunned into silence... ???

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  11. Ah!! I see, thank you for that, and perhaps that is why one of my most-hated, but hitherto not realised quite why, hurl-the-book-across-the-room phrases is "smiling happily, she climbed the stairs" Don't know WHY but it gets me every time.
    But those extra words ... don't where they come from but they DO creep in!!

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    Replies
    1. OMG! That phrase is horrible! One would assume that if she was smiling, she was happy... and as for the stairs... up, or down... climbing is what we do. Climbing seems an unnecessary word, yes.

      Perhaps, if the girl was so happy, she 'floated up the stairs'?

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  12. Big congrats to Sandra. Well done!!

    Right, I know it's Mother's Day so please forgive me for this one. It's just how it came to me.....

    Fallen Angel.

    Our relationship began to curdle from day one. In her eyes I couldn’t do anything right, but to others I was perfect.

    “Oh, he’s beautiful. A real cherub,” they would say.

    She would tell them they were wrong, that I was a fallen angel. That I was the Devil’s spawn and one day they, like her, would see the real truth.

    That day would never come for my mother. I would remove her eyes so that she never saw the real me – after which I would rip out her heart.

    I’d been chosen. I am the son of Satan.

    ~End~

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    1. Well they say a mother always knows don't they? I very much like the shape and rhythm of this.

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    2. Chilling. A self-fulfilling prophecy or a reality, the coldness of the narrative sends a real shiver up the spine.

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    3. If he'd been a son-of-a-gun he could have blown her head off. (grin) Nicely told, David. Subtle emphasis on "chosen" in all it's variations makes the last line sing.

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    4. oh nice one... we are on the same sort of wavelength this time, I just realised my second entry is also that devil/cherub. This one is good.

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    5. Parents should always be careful what they say of their children, as the biggest influencers in their lives, what they call their children is often what their children become... Of course, with a father like that, the end may have been inevitable...

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    6. Boys will be boys David, :-) Nicely done.

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    7. Oo er, watch out Damien...nicely balanced between the cherubic and the satanic...

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    8. Wicked little devil. I want to know who the father was - or perhaps the issue is that he wasn't around. Layers here David - layers. All ready and waiting to be explored...

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    9. Would he have turned out differently if mother had been loving? Imaginative and dark, this felt like an unveiling.

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    10. Wonderfully dark rhythm here, David, and that last lime is a heart stopper!

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  13. S.K. hastily checks for dangling bits of any kind, aware the Prediction dungeon is full of sharp things, ings,ings
    "Damn that echo...run!

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  14. Alfred M. Taitague Jr19 March 2012 at 04:05

    “Concerned Choices”

    Kristan, blood curdling, silently watched her cherub-faced child play his damn game.

    “Haven't you ripped enough from my life Lord?" She angrily thought as her son, oblivious, continued playing.

    Seeing his mother, the boy tried his father's "wasn’t me" look. A look that, normally worked well, but not today.

    "What did I say!” She demanded.

    "Mom, they only rode no shooting honest." He pleaded.

    "I don't care!" Kristan said, angrily pulling him towards the door.

    Hurt and confused Hero Nakamura Jr glanced at what fueled her ire: a carousel, a Marshall and the ever-grinning Joker.

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    1. Good evocation of the rift between adult and child, neither able to see from the others perspective, both convinced of their justifications. I don't think I understand the specifics of the situation, but I am pretty sleep deprived at the moment.

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    2. Alfred, this one seems to want to be longer, there's a lot of back story here, good one.

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    3. Hello Alfred, This one lost me a little. There is the straight forward answer, frustrated parent game addicted child. Maybe I am over tired and looking for deeper meanings. Hero Nakamura, A nod to American Sci- fi series Heroes? I noticed a couple of last weeks key words as well. Maybe if I read it backwards. :-)

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    4. Oops, I missed this somehow. I found it a little confusing too, good build up of tension between mother and child, but the last line loses me, I'm afraid. =s

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    5. Alfred, the contradiction between 'blood-curdling' and the mother's silence is really powerful. I really picked up on the tension in this family unit - having just had a row with my daughter! Nothing serious but horrible none-the-less.

      Hiro Nakamura from the Heroes series isn't familiar to me - I googled him and understand a little more now.

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    6. Wonderful tension here, Alfred.

      I get a real sense of the 'battle' between mother and child... very well done, with some great imagery in a handful of words.

      The reference at the end to Hiro brings to mind his 'mutant' abilities... that brought me up short.

      Good, tight writing... I like this one!

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  15. Angelic

    “I will scratch out your eyes and curdle your blood,” the cherub screeched from its gravestone perch, clenching a chubby, broken-nailed fist.

    In appearance it was like a podgy child about two years old but for the disdainful snarl of its lips, its bloodshot eyes, and its wings, with feathers fading from black to white at the tips as if soot-stained.

    Unimpressed, John Harley locked eyes with Anaeus.

    The cherub stretched its wings wide in threat, “I will gut you.”

    “Try it.”

    Harley pulled the trigger.

    Roaring buckshot ripped through Anaeus, shredding flesh and feather alike.

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    1. John Angelic - more, more, more, more, more! Fantastic imagery, I love it.

      That is all - because all is not enough.

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    2. Excellent dark horror, John! What Lily said... more... more... more...

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  16. Oh fantastic!! And the "chubby, broken-nailed fist" and the soot-stained feathers absolute perfection. Truly wonderful.

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  17. Always hilarious to see a crazy little guy declaring horrific vengeance. Great humour, nice style, fun imagery. I'd like to see more of Harley's world, taking out the myth-chief makers one by one.

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    1. that has some amazing imagery in it! Oh yes.

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    2. I'm glad you like Harley, Dion, he has appeared before...

      Zombiegasm
      and
      This Tall Tale
      and one of the first stories I ever published online, about ten years ago, which (and this is probably a good thing) isn't available any more...

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    3. Mythical creature v Shotgun No contest. Perfect imagery.

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  18. Courting Death

    Singing echoed through the darkened museum. A scarlet trail; like breadcrumbs.

    My heart is withered in my chest
    My soul curdled sour
    That’s the way I like it best
    For my true love to devour.

    Give me not a cherub fool
    To whisper saccharine sweet
    No, his face, a shadowed pool
    Alabaster gaunt; I worship at his feet.

    For none but him that never asks,
    But with a scythe to rip
    The love I willingly give.


    Near the dying guard Mademoiselle Marchand sits blood-soaked hands and ancient eyed, waiting; cursed. Nevermore to touch her lover, sensing him near she weeps.

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    1. Evocative dark verse, MuckieDuckie, and parenthesised by a poignant ghost story. Really great piece. =)

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    2. This is dark indeed, Full of haunting menace. Conjured some creepy imagery.

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    3. Muckie Duckie, I love the blend of prose and poetry here. It's a sweeping gothic trail between life and nearest-almost-death. I need to don velvet garb and a veil of darkest organza. Beautifully atmospheric, and exquisite writing.

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    4. Breathtaking melancholic horror, M.D.

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  19. And now I can get neither the singing nor the weeping out of my head. Vivid depiction of haunting.

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    1. absolutely, amazing images that will haunt as the haunting goes on in that story.

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    2. So Antonia, I have to ask - though I'll probably regret it - any dangling participles in mine?

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    3. You began with 'singing' MD, which is one, but in this instance you could get away with it! My problem is the overload of the pesky things!

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  20. I need to make up for that self indulgent editorial rant, so here goes...
    When you lie sleeping

    You are my cherub when you sleep. Your small head on its pillow tugs at my heart; rips my motherly instincts to shreds. When you sleep I can believe one day you will be the child I wanted, not the screaming colicky brat I deal with. They say I am depressed, that new mothers go through this. They don’t understand. By day you are a monster, fit to curdle the milk I have. When you lie sleeping you are one of God’s angels.
    Tonight I will take that pillow and..
    Just another cot death, right?

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    1. Oh, that ending makes me ill... an excellently rendered depiction of an awful condition.

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    2. Well ... I won't say 'been there, done that' for obvious reasons, but how close I came, and your cool rationale, is terrifying.

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    3. Wow Antonia, that began in turns both light and dark. But the ending was a wrecking ball falling into a playpen. I am shocked and impressed.

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    4. thank you for the compliments. I wrote that one straight off, not sure where it came from and think I don't really want to know.

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    5. Antonia, my skin shivered and my eyes welled at When you lie sleeping. So desperate, so very hard. So awfully-well observed.

      Delete
    6. What makes this all the more horrific, is that this happens in real life... we read about it in the papers... another SIDS victim... and we wonder...

      Tragic and heart-wrenching, Antonia... I had to stop... and let the tears have their way.

      Delete
  21. Dion, yes, I'm a full time editor. I run a small publishing company and often have to rewrite the most incredible sentences. One author has the right ideas, presses all the right buttons (erotica) but oh the writing...
    my two favourites of his are:
    he removed his hands and put them in his pockets
    and
    they were visiting the ancient temple that the bus driver found in the back of the bus.
    Don't ask, I just deleted the line...
    I also edit and write for anthologies at Static Movement. I have 13 anthologies in print and a further 10 in progress. I also edit for m o n e y, hush my mouth. I write because I am driven, I edit as I breathe these days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the giggle - when I was at school we were given a paragraph containing many such examples, which began with 'he dropped his eyes' and went on from there - always my favourite form of humour.

      Delete
  22. More dark delights this week - my corridors are heaving! Hope to add comments tomorrow evening. In the meantime...

    TRANSITION

    “Put them on.”

    “I don’t want to.”

    Azrael grunted, a dribble hung from his toad lips, glinting at me. Bile curdled in my gut as the spittle spattered his huge trembling belly and he rose to his feet. The room was too small to contain both his bulk and my skinny bones but he’d never let me out without doing what he wanted... not without ripping my throat out.

    “Turn around,” I said. I lifted the wings, staggering under their weight - and slotted them in the cavities at the bloated cherub’s spine.

    Walls collapsed.

    The Angel of Death took flight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome Lily, really mixes up the angelic vs. demonic form and, as Sandra says, very vividly. Love it. =)

      Delete
    2. ~gasp~

      Oh... this one takes my breath away... your glistening words drip these horrific images in my brain... love the last two lines especially...

      "Walls collapsed."
      "The Angel of Death took flight."

      I tell you... I hear any sound remotely like the flapping of wings... I am so out of here! Where's my night light!

      Brilliant, as always, Lily!

      Delete
    3. That is a very cool depiction Lily, I would love to read more.

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    4. another one to develop into a longer story, Lily? It has all the right ingredients, starting with gore.

      Delete
  23. Eeugh! A little too vivid this, Lily!

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  24. Perhaps I'm overcompensating for having missed a few weeks recently, or perhaps this week's words just sing to me, but I've a second for you, and maybe a third before week's end...


    Guardian

    Orlov hung over London in a web of tubes that pumped curdled fluids through his transmuted body.

    “Sp(ai)der mechs at Marble Arch,” the interface whispered in his mind.

    He saw scuttling machines clamber over the broken buildings and cracked tarmac of Oxford Street. He heard the New Baker Street Irregulars panicking.

    He remembered being human.

    “Launch cherub bombers.”

    London span into twenty Londons as his consciousness fragmented between the flying units. The Orlov/ Cherubs swept down from the clouds, unleashing a hailstorm of micro-explosives that ripped through the sp(ai)der units. The Irregulars cheered.

    “Thank you,” the interface whispered.

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    Replies
    1. This steam-punk teaser is mouth watering John.

      Delete
    2. fascinating. I can't do steam punk and admire those who do.

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    3. Powerful beyond words John. Guardian is an almighty vision of the future with the most telling line "He remembered being human." Stunning.

      Delete
  25. Luella knew that God had turned away from her. When the pastor reached her and gently touched her face she felt terribly sleepy. His meaty fingers then crushed her small nose. Pastor Friend put his hand over her cherubic mouth. He wanted no waiting for the end and so he began to rip her life away. With his last words her blood did curdle and slow to an end.

    "It is better this way. Don't you see...for a girl like you." Pastor Friend whispered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you've picked the perfect name for the friction and contrast it provides to his nature, Pastor Friend is some kinda creepy. Very disturbing.

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    2. Hello Marietta,

      Hoping to read more about this character, Pastor Friend. He sounds delightfully nasty.

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    3. a character to develop, for sure, Marietta!

      Delete
    4. "... for a girl like you." How chilling is that? Marietta - this is an horrific and disturbing vignette that most definitely needs developing into a full story. I agree, Pastor Friend is a name of contradictions - it commands trust, but the reality is the very opposite. Intriguing and well-crafted writing.

      Delete
    5. "Luella knew that God had turned away from her."

      That first line chills me to the core, Marietta. The girl has accepted her fate, that she somehow 'failed' God, and He has sent down his vengeance.

      The sadness is crushing...

      Delete
  26. Oh - that is so horrible! In every nasty detail.

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  27. Well done on wining last week, Sandra. My little effort this week:


    Majestic Hungry

    With cherub eyes bright like sunrise over the Ganges, she approached her first hour of life.

    Heat haze coiled with curious intensity, parting as the figure approached the line of trees. He stopped.

    Sounds rippled through the foliage; low, curdled moans of jungle beasts, made invisible by the close, clustering tree canopy. But they were there, the majestic hungry, ready to rip at the vulnerable.

    He looked down at the infant in his arms. There was no place for a girl in his society. Dishonour clouded him, that he could not produce a son.

    He tossed her aside.

    Forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Kick in the gut which transfers to the head and the heart. And 'Oh' again because we know it is not fiction.

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    2. The great imagery draws you in and then the reality of it hits you hard. I love the title too, AJ.

      Delete
    3. Oh,didn't see that coming. Whack upside the head.
      Nicely done.

      Delete
    4. horrific and sad at the same time. AJ, you did it again!

      Delete
    5. AJ - the final lines here combined with the title weighed heavy on my heart. You gave us that little life, the heat of it - the sweetness of it - all for it to be tossed aside. It was a hard piece to read - and I am sure this kind of practice must still go on - but it must also have been hard to write. Heart-breaking.

      Delete
    6. "...the majestic hungry, ready to rip at the vulnerable." Brutal and vicious, AJ... a keen grasp of true horror.

      This stabs at the heart of anyone with a reverence for the gift of life. Like Lily... this was very hard to read... made all the more so by the father's cold disregard. Fuck honour!

      Sorry... a lot of emotion in here. Very well done, AJ...

      Delete
  28. and thanks for the 'wining' too - but how did you know? :))

    ReplyDelete
  29. Suddenly cream-crackered. Back with more comments tomorrow evening folks.(Loving these fictional flames).

    Night night.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Uh - oh... I think I hear The Feardom's floorboards creaking from the weight of all these dark, delicious bits of horror.

    Perhaps if I set mine down very, very carefully... (low, creaking groan as the ancient oak planks settle under the added weight...)

    THE FEEDING
    By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

    ~*~

    She felt it rip through her senses… a shriek… barely human.

    Stumbling into the nursery… a scene from hell… she felt the blood curdle in her veins… sour vomit rose up in her throat.

    The cherub face… smeared with blood… tiny fingers dripping grey jelly.

    The father lay crumpled on the floor… where once had been an ear… a gaping hole.

    The toddler stared up at her mother’s face… ashen with fear.

    Then she crawled back onto the still body… keening voice begging…

    “Da... da… da…”

    The zombie child returned to its meal…

    Her unhuman mouth greedily slurping Da’s brains.

    ~*~

    (After Tina read this, she said that perhaps I ought to leave to her, reading the bedtime stories to our daughter or son. To which I replied with a not-quite-innocent batting-of-the-lashes... "What? You don't like my 'bedtime' stories?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, they don't really know what they're doing at that age... Well, I guess we know who's brains she got. ;D

      Delete
    2. They start those zombies young these days. Veronica Marie, you know how badly I cope with them there "Undeads" - but a toddler, now that freaks me beyond words. It didn't help that I read "The zombie child returned to its meat", not "meal".

      May your and Tina's babe be of the non-zombie variety xx

      Delete
    3. Thank you, John and Lily.

      Mum's looks and Da's brains, this one has John! :)

      I knew this one would give you a shudder, Lily. Sorry, but it was your words... they virtually screamed 'zombie' at me. And as I have learned... we must do what the words tell us. Who knows... maybe next time a nice little slice vampyre horror?

      Yes, no zombie babies for Tina and I... although, a vampyre tot wouldn't be a bad thing, would it? *wink*

      Delete
  31. 'Tiny fingers dripping grey jelly' was bad enough ... and then I got to the brains ... horrific.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. now that is just plain nasty and I do plain nasty. Loved it.

      Delete
    2. Don't you just love that, Sandra? Not sure where that came from... maybe from watching my friend Jenny's 13 month old dipping his tiny little digits in the applesauce?

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Antonia! Nasty works for me! Lol!!

      Delete
  32. A three course meal, as promised. And the final course is... death. ;)


    Retribution

    The plague first presented as a raised rash from spine to shoulders that itched irresistibly. The few survivors were called Cherubim for their angry, red wings of ripped, scarred skin.

    Ellen scratched her back. She flinched as a scab tore beneath her fingernails. She felt the fresh, wet blood bead.

    The only survivors were all carriers. As the death toll rose, Humanity’s compassion curdled; the Cherubim were vilified and locked away.

    Ellen waited for the blood to congeal, another feather to her wings. She dressed and strolled calmly into London’s Safezone, a serene angel of vengeance and death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. how many times do we say, this feels like part of a larger story? this definitely does, John!

      Delete
    2. Retribution John, is a fitting finale to your incredible trilogy. I do believe your Cherubim may well sprout flabby wings over time and this tale will take flight as a novel - for this is what it's crying to be. Sublime.

      Delete
    3. I'll make this unanimous, John... novel!

      Beautifully written... the raw dark imagery you evoke here is exquisite!

      Delete
  33. Good grief, this is such a richly deep and intriguing scenario, and that first sentence compelling.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I should probably apologise that don't really comment on other peoples stories - but really i just like all of them and can't really think of anything constructive to add other than "yay".

    so, "yay, everyone!".

    This week, all i got is this:

    Pinned to the Fridge Door

    “I do not fear the claws that rip, the jaws that tear.

    I do not fear the laughter that can curdle a Great Mans’ courage in a heartbeat.

    I do not fear the gaze the chills the blood to ice and dries the skin like old paper.

    I do not fear the Dark Places beyond where the rational mind can safely play.

    I do not fear.

    They have my child, my cherub, my life. And I will have it back.”

    I read her note, and wept awhile, before shouldering the things she had left ready for me, and followed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. like it, Matt, great images in this and I do like vivid images.

      Delete
    2. Matt, so much left unsaid. 'She' - I presume, is the mother? Yet her voice is ancient. There is a journey to be taken here - and I (think I) want to run along with it. I'd love to know how this came about.

      Delete
    3. Yay. ;)

      There is an almost prayer-like quality to her note, and I love the determination in the final line.

      Delete
  35. Question for the sensitives among you.
    You may recall the incident of the house which caught fire. For new Predictioneers, let me recap for a moment. An upmarket fairly expensive house at the top of a hill close to Ryde, where I live, caught fire and took the life of an elderly lady. The shell was pulled down, a new house was built in its place. The day the FOR SALE sign went up, the house caught fire and all but burned down. It has been rebuilt ...
    Sometimes when I pass certain places, I get a psychic shock (I am a medium) the scene of an accident one time gave me a terrible shock when I went by. I have not had any feelings passing this house, until today, when I definitely got a psychic shock from it. And the thought 'that place needs clearing.'
    What would you do about it??

    ReplyDelete
  36. Evening all

    Firstly, congrats Sandra, great winner amongst a stellar field last week.

    Secondly, late entry from me and apologies as not even read other stories yet, will try to over the weekend. Mind you, have an idea brewing for another entry this week which I will try and squeeze out with, eeeek, 35 minutes until the doors shut; better start writing! In the meantime first effort is here:

    A mother's love

    "Mama?"

    Sandra looked wearily at Lisa's cherubic face. She was unimaginably tired, craving sleep.

    "Ju-ju Mama," Lisa pleaded, tugging Sandra's sleeve.

    It was Sandra's fault; she should have weaned her from the breast earlier. She'd used vinegar to curdle the milk but that hadn't worked; now she was at a loss.

    "Ju-ju!" Lisa stamped her foot.

    "Fine," Sandra sighed, unbuttoning her blouse, releasing her breast.

    Lisa latched on with the enthusiasm of starvation, eagerly suckling Sandra's tit.

    "Lisa, that hurts"

    Lisa kept drinking, ripping the life from her mother. Sandra wouldn't stop her though; she couldn't deny her daughter anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil A mother's love hurts as much as the hurt of Lisa's suckling. Sandra's exhaustion matches her somewhat extreme dedication to her daughter. It'll end in tears. Very poignant.

      Delete
    2. That's pretty disturbing, Phil. That "ju-ju" is going to haunt my dreams tonight... =s

      Delete
  37. I wonder why you are being touched by these feelings now. Perhaps the house will be sold soon? Maybe time to prepare for a new future? If you feel responsible to help do so after you have consulted your own heart. Feel confident about why you were called upon and by whom.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Gosh, that slipped out quickly. Took a liberty with rip but hope you will all forgive me.

    Gone

    The damp seeped through his trousers where he knelt. It was a cold, November morning and his breath plumed like little wisps of spider's web floating before his face.

    He hated coming here. It made it all real. It gave substance to events which had curdled his life. At home he could close his eyes and pretend; but not here.

    He rested his hand on the cherub's stony head, ruffling its hair as he thought about his son. Today was his birthday. He should have been reading him his cards. Yet all he had to read were the letters RIP.

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    Replies
    1. There is such sorrow there, Phil, and heartache. A well-wrought piece, especially for such a quick turnaround.

      Delete
  39. The Prediction is closed now - no more entries please.

    I'll be back commenting in a mo - mini-family crisis.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Not long in from work and a busy week makes David a very angry boy!! Well done everyone. I'll get round to reading and commenting!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. And again Phil, you are about the business of emotional turmoil and pain with Gone. You always bring such sensitivity to your male characters; it's refreshing - in a dark, tragic way. My mouth has turned down with the sadness of this piece, for it is real.

    ReplyDelete

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.