Sunday, 27 May 2012

A SMILE, REFLECTING opens At The Bijou


My psychological thriller 'A Smile, Reflecting' (re)opens the amazing fictional stage show that is 'At The Bijou'.

Read the story at http://at-the-bijou.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/smile-reflecting-lily-childs.html

The Bijou's hostess, February Femme Fatale and  Pleasure Town Predictioneer Absolutely*Kate Pilarcik was also kind enough to interview me, and so it seems was the late Alfred Hitchcock.

Thank you Kate - it's been a blast!

EXCERPT FROM 'A SMILE, REFLECTING':

She’s seeing as though through a mask, its hugging surface woven of fine leather and peeking with thorns. Woe betide the kissing man who will surely die from her spikes.

Counting down the seconds with bites of her blackened nails she begins to worry her lovers won’t come. They must! She is tearing at the skin now, ripping sore shreds away. Saliva slips into the wounds, puffing the flesh.

At last their car pulls into the driveway. He gets out first, does a comedy run around to her side to open the door. She’s looking beautiful tonight – he’s probably telling her that as he lifts her hair and speaks softly into her ear, his hand slipping down that long, slender neck.

It’s strange to see them together. She is used to having each of them to herself.

*Is this wrong? Can I do this, can I share?*

The plan doesn’t seem as solid as it did yesterday, when she’d whispered the invitation.

“Don’t tell.” ...

_________________________


Friday, 18 May 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction - Thank you and goodnight

Damn it, but I can't see; I seem to be awash with emotion. As if the Olympic Torch starting its journey to the UK today and Donna Summer dancing over to the other side aren't enough - letting go of The Prediction has hit me even harder than I thought it would.

I'll have a few more words to say after I announce last week's winners...

Winners of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

Stunning, stunning entries. How could I possibly choose? But it's tradition, and so I declare the winner of the Feardom's final Prediction challenge with a spiralling, mythical tale of primal beauty is...

R.S. Bohn, and One Night. The extraordinary vision, so beautifully crafted drifts us in and out of the creation process, grasping and grateful for freedom. I loved it. Your writing never fails to stir me and this is a wonderful example of your delicate skill. Congratulations Rebecca.

I have two runners-up, because I could not choose between them, different though they are:

Aidan Fritz's Br├╝der - so clever, so inspired. As I said in my comments, Aidan never fails to educate me - pointing at historical or mythical events and characters I feel I should know. I genuinely suffer from a very short memory so no matter how passionate I am about a topic - I will forget. I did know about the Deutches W├Ârterbuch - once. Thank you for the reminder, for bringing Grimm and the 'players' together and for that last word. And please sell this as the next box-office smash.

asuqi's Smile and No Harm Will Be Done gathered together so many symptoms of society's expectations and failures in 100 words, and despite a daily urban horror event in itself asuqi's unique wordcraft lifted this piece to an ethereal level. "bites through his crust and impersonates a woman" will stay with me forever, as will those creaking Northern Lights - do they...?

Very well done Aidan and asuqi, and all the rest of you too.

Words for 18 May 2012...

...are up at The Prediction's new home at 9am UK time where the weekly challenge rises like a fiction Phoenix, courtesy of Phil Ambler - to whom I will be forever grateful.

A Last Word, or So

To all the friends that have come, gone, stayed awhile, and hung around for two years. Thank you - you've changed my life, and for once - I'm struck dumb.

I do hope you'll come back and play in my darkened hallways; the doors will always be open to you. Pull up a velvet cushion, take a sip of wine, tea or whatever you need and tell me your story, even if it is filled with silence - I will still hear your words.

ALL HAIL THE PREDICTIONEERS:

  • Absolutely*Kate
  • Shaun Adams
  • Chris Allinotte
  • Phil Ambler
  • Hilary Ashton
  • asuqi
  • Stu Ayris
  • David Barber
  • P Blacksaw
  • Rebecca Bohn
  • Col Bury
  • Steven Chapman
  • Lily Childs
  • Erin Cole
  • Colleen
  • Steve Cormier
  • Anthony Cowin
  • Sandra Davies
  • William Davoll
  • Craig Douglas
  • Jenny Dreadful
  • Elspeth
  • Matt Farr
  • Aidan Fritz
  • Ellie Garratt
  • Reginald Golding
  • Grogan
  • Sue Harding
  • Herbedaceous
  • Matt Hilton
  • SJI Holliday
  • Jack Holt
  • Helen Howell
  • Lee Hughes
  • AJ Humpage
  • Susan May James
  • Joleen
  • Kallandra
  • Kim (scratchypen)
  • Andie King
  • Pixie J. King
  • kittylefish
  • Reba Kovar
  • laplace
  • Laura
  • Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
  • Lissa101
  • Jodi MacArthur
  • MRMacrum
  • Henrietta Maddox
  • mimimanderly
  • Melenka
  • Marietta Miles
  • Marc Mimouni
  • Nick Mott
  • Sandie Owen
  • Bill Owens
  • Paul (Crimson Archer)
  • Phantasmagoric
  • Nina Powers
  • Ragemore
  • Ravenways
  • Sean Patrick Reardon
  • St Force (Jack)
  • Nick Roberts
  • Darren Sant
  • Rosalind Smith-Nazilli
  • Ronnie Soak
  • Michael Solender
  • Sulci Collective
  • Liam Sweeny
  • Alfred M Taitague Jr
  • Amber Taitague ( Muckie Duckie)
  • Nathaniel Tower
  • ttofee
  • Cindy Vaskova
  • Charlie Wade
  • Carol Wills
  • Dion Winton-Polak
  • Antonia Woodville
  • John Xero
  • Zaiure
  • Angel Zapata

Don't stop telling tales...


Saturday, 12 May 2012

STARING AT THE PINK - Cabaret of Dread stories revealed

Every Saturday I’m revealing the tale behind the tale of Cabaret of Dread Vol.1’s main stories, together with a short excerpt of each to whet your appetite.

STARING AT THE PINK


The final 'previously unpublished' story of the collection.

One death; two souls departed. How many versions of ourselves are housed in this thing we call a body? What happens if they are released before the corporeal shell has finished with them? Perhaps I should have called this "Giving Up The Ghost". Perhaps not.

I wrote Staring At The Pink for a Daily Telegraph competition but it got nowhere, neither did the other two magazines I sent it to want to publish it. Well, I like it - and that's why I've included it in Volume 1 of Cabaret of Dread so that it has somewhere to rest - amongst friends.

So – what’s Staring At The Pink about?

A young woman dealing with the agony of watching her grandmother die slowly in a hospital bed is shocked to see not one spirit depart, but a second, dark mirror image of her lovely Pink Grandma. Fighting off a spectral assault, the narrator escapes with her own soul still intact. But years later, as she is about to give birth to her own child the grandmothers return - and they're not alone.

Inspiration

Sadly, this story is inspired by a friend whose grandfather was seriously ill, but no matter how sick he became - he wouldn't give up. A medium, who didn't know anything about my friend, told her that part of him had already left and was waiting on the other side for the two parts to become one again.

It struck me that this was a dangerous situation that potentially happens a lot. What would happen if the two parts became permanently split - and which parts of one's personality would sit with which broken soul? The thought still chills me.

Excerpt

Her hand rests over my heart, forcing me to study the transparent fingers. I question everything; how can this possibly be? Yesterday she was here, solid and alive in a hospital bed. Today – she’s alive – solid and just about living in a hospital bed. But she’s changed. Last night, she died.

I saw it all. Moments after the green line ran straight and my grandmother began her journey towards the mythical light the doctors snatched her back; breaking the laws of death. I cried at first with fear and premeditated grief, and then again with a relief full of guilt for my selfishness. I didn’t want her to leave. I needed her. I wallowed in my own self-pity - until I saw what they’d done, the damage their interference had caused and I knew without understanding why or how, that from one perfect grandmother another - her dark side, her nemesis, was torn.

Do we spit out our demons as filth when we pass over, purifying ourselves on the way to an unknown place of rest? In the natural process does that shadow-self quickly dissipate and die? I don’t have the answer because I am not so spiritually minded to have considered it before now. But sitting here, staring at the pair of them – both revived, both breathing – I believe we should leave well alone, and that we are wrong to play God.

Pink Grandma rests beneath the sheets whispering laboured breaths into a clinical pillow. It’s the Pale Grandma that sits beside her who leans forward to stroke my chest.

“I’ll have it,” Pale Grandma says in a voice I struggle to recognise. Her bony claws grasp at my small breast, and I feel her ice in my soul. I do nothing, not out of fear but from teeth-gritting anger.

Pale Grandma has black eyes, not the wistful blue of Pink Grandma’s. They stare at me, those vaulted chasms, expecting me to give in. I return her gaze - defiant. I shake my head.

“No.”

She roars frustration back at me with foetid breath. And is gone.

Pink Grandma - Nana - stirs from her slumber, unaware of the nocturnal separation. She smiles without seeing, squeezes my hand without knowing I’ve clutched it back. I move to embrace her, lingering a while, careful not to damage her frail frame.  When at last she sighs I know it is the end and I hug her closer. Pink Nana dies, for the second time, in the safety of my arms.

***
We planned to call our daughter Rosa...

*************

Like the excerpt? The full tale is waiting for you in Cabaret of Dread! By visiting the book's 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon you can also read the opening tale DRESSING-UP BOX, a few pages of SMILING CYRUS and a handful of mini-tales.

Of course, the best way to read this - and the many other stories in Vol.1 of Cabaret of Dread, is to download it. If you do, I am ever thankful...

Buy/Download Cabaret of Dread from

Friday, 11 May 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction - end of one era - birth of a new

And so we come to a close, dear friends. This is the final Friday Prediction fiction and poetry challenge here at The Feardom.

I want to thank you all for your continuing support of each other's work and for dallying in and out of my corridors over the last two years.

I'll have more to say next Friday 18th May when I announce my final winner(s) before handing over to Phil Ambler. As you know, Phil has generously committed the time and effort to take on The Prediction Challenge - and as he is an immensely talented writer with an astute eye, not to mention a lovely, considerate man - I am in no doubt Phil will welcome us all in with open arms. I, for one, am looking forward to the first three words he'll be giving us next Friday. THANK YOU PHIL.

Winners of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

The piece of work indelibly engraved on my brain, snapping at my synapses is the bizarro-erotic horror that spilled from somewhere deep and dirty within Shaun Adams' mind. The winning story is his incredible tale Red Wigglers. Congratulations Shaun!

Two runners-up this week: AJ Humpage dragged us screaming into Hackett's world again, a dreadful, dreadful place that radiates with horrific beauty. Supinus. Gorgeous writing.

Helen Howell left us asking questions with a similar scenario but no-less chilling Taken. The subtleties in this gritty vignette touched me, unnerved me - and I like that.

Well done AJ and Helen!

Words for 11 May 2012

Here. The last words from my old tome before I wrap it up to send to Mr Ambler...

  • Impersonate
  • Elegant (all forms acceptable, including elegance, elegantly etc)
  • Shovel
Let's make it a good one.

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 17th May 2012 to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday 18th May. 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.

I can't wait to read what you dig up for our delight...
___________________________________

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

THE TROUBLE WITH MAGICK...

...is knowing which side you're on.

One of my demonlings had her say last night with this teeny tiny flash:

SCRY BABY

He has no eyes, the man staring down at me from the red, red walls. Yet his empty gaze burns my flesh. I pluck a petal from my skins – a gift. It drips with a watery honey, sweet and floral.

“Offer yourself to me.”

His is a voice from beyond. Its owner believes in magick, and it’s true he is adept at reaching our realms. I let him flounder; his words of power gain strength, drawing me towards his throbbing throat.

Quickly, I slip my nectar into his mouth. Magician or not, he will forever speak in tongues. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

LIVING IN A BOX - Cabaret of Dread stories revealed

Every Saturday I’m revealing the tale behind the tale of Cabaret of Dread Vol.1’s main stories, together with a short excerpt of each to whet your appetite. 

And as a special gift from me, this week I'm going to let you read the entire story LIVING IN A BOX for free!  If you like it, perhaps you'll buy Cabaret of Dread, or tell your horror-loving friends.

LIVING IN A BOX


Grace Pearce is afraid of The Black. She is scared of The Spindle Queen and unnerved by Dr. Pipe. They seem to come and go in Grace's one-room world, and sometimes they bring others to watch. Will anyone ever take her home?

Living In A Box was written for Chris Allinotte's first March Madness dark fiction showcase in 2011 over at The Leaky Pencil.

Why not linger a while at Chris's place and read through the MADNESS series, maybe you'll even download the Madness collections EIGHT DAYS OF MADNESS and NINE DAYS OF MADNESS from Smashwords. They're free too!


So – what’s Living In A Box about? 


The story is narrated by a young woman, Grace, from her cell in an asylum. Pumped with drugs she drifts in and out of consciousness, her perceptions and personalities change and overlap, confusing both Grace and the doctors. Even in the most extreme throes of paranoia and insanity, Grace knows something is not quite right. And when a man she has never met arrives to take her home, the terrifying truth gradually becomes clear.

Inspiration


A constant fascination with mental health, psychosis and treatments. I wanted to be an art therapist at one stage when I was studying psychology, though sadly this never came about. No one thing beside the showcase prompt inspired me to write Living In A Box, but I suspect this story has always been in my head waiting to be written in one form or another.

Excerpt


Quivering, vaporous forms. They are indistinct as my eyes open to the familiar pale green of the box. Walking, talking photographs, paintings even - that morph back and forth.

My mouth is dry – it’s always that way. Someone sticks a tube between my teeth and I suck in the salty, pale-orange liquid. It tastes of electricity and saccharine.

The figures are clearer now. I recognise them from yesterday and the day before that. One’s a man – an old man. The other is young; his daughter perhaps. She is so thin I call her the Spindle Queen. Inquisitive, her tight face bears more lines than the father, but she has scarlet lips; lips that pout, lips that squeeze when she is angry. I’d like to eat them but she draws back as I lunge, a fruitless effort.

God, she’s fast.”

They nod heads and play out a psst, psst, psst tittle-tattle game of whispers before turning back to face me. My head dips to one side and I carefully emulate the woman’s fake smile. Mine reaches my eyes where hers does not. With a little flare of the nostrils she backs away, fading though the door until it is an empty picture frame.

I would love to stand up. When did I last use my feet? There are straps at my wrists, at my ankles; around my calves, my thighs and up, up, up to my chest where, without warning my heart swells hot then cold – freezing cold; pulsing fast, fast, faster. I can’t bear the panic. I need to run away. The chair is bolted to the floor but still I try to rock my way out of it, going nowhere. Quickly, my body gathers momentum until with every spasm the leather cuts into my skin, spraying blood over the thin gown. It spreads.

The old man calls into the wall.

“Assistance!”

I’ve heard that word before. It makes everything go black.

From somewhere within my belly I feel the squeal. It mounts and grows, taking my soul with it to the ceiling as its pitch rises. From a great height I circle the seated echo of me and join in with the scream pouring from my other throat. We labour as twins to fill the room with unique harmony.

Assistance arrives through another door. It’s the Spindle Queen. She winces at my song. She calls me Banshee.

I can do that. I’ll visit her in her dreams later, steal her children.

My ethereal being flails at Assistance as the needle is rammed into my corporeal arm. Although she cannot see my wraith she swipes at it anyway, but no matter - I am already sliding back inside. I have just enough time to spit in her face. There is red in it. I have bitten off the end my tongue.

***

Black.

***

“She’s not who she says she is,” the old man tells a gaggle of bespectacled onlookers. He smiles benignly at me so I guess it’s time to show him my claws. Midnight blue. I stretch them out as far as I am able.

“Can you tell our guests your name?” He is bent towards me, not too close but near enough that I can smell pipe tobacco.

“Lompster. Snap, snap.”

The visitors scribble onto notepads and clipboards, muttering and frowning. Old Man Pipe speaks again without averting his gaze from my lovely claws.

“Miss Pearce believes she is a lobster, for today at least.”

One of the group stares at me longer than the others. I wiggle my antenna and hope he will fall into my trap. I’m hungry.

Sniggers and half-concealed smirks ripple through the rabble, and then I spot her; Pipey’s daughter. She’s telling them I claimed I was a doctor last week. That’s ridiculous. I’m only twelve years old. Look at them – they’re the deluded ones in their white coats, writing and gossiping as though they can see inside my head. It’s the reverse. It’s me that knows they’re all after Thermidor for dinner; wondering whether to cook me gently, turning the heat up until I fall asleep – or plunge me into a boiling vat.

I don’t like it. I start to rock. Here it comes...

***

Black...
*************

Like the excerpt? Read the whole tale for FREE at The Leaky Pencil. The full tale is also waiting for you in Cabaret of Dread By visiting the book's 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon you can read the opening tale DRESSING-UP BOX, a few pages of SMILING CYRUS and a handful of mini-tales.

Of course, the best way to read this - and the many other stories in Vol.1 of Cabaret of Dread, is to download it. If you do, I am ever thankful... 

Buy/Download Cabaret of Dread from
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com


Friday, 4 May 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction

Thank you to everyone that sent best wishes for my wedding anniversary - bubbly and dinner at a tiny French restaurant did the job!

In case you didn't realise (our) John Xero's 101 Fiction is now open to submissions. Please take a visit and support John in this excellent endeavour. I'm really looking forward to submitting a tiny tale or ten myself.

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

Well, it's been a long week of tears and gnashing of teeth for one reason or another so perhaps this has influenced my decision. Every entry was so-well written, and I really enjoyed the diverse themes - especially with Tartan dancing in for the kill. But the entry that had me grinning with visceral joy, and is my winner is Under A Killing Moon by Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw. Zombies freak the hell out of me, and Veronica Marie captures the essence of whatever it is that terrifies me every time. Back at ya, VM - my turn to sleep with the light on! And congratulations.

Runner-up is Nick Roberts with the multi-layered Grief. Such an emotional journey - I haven't been able to get it out of my mind yet I confess I still don't quite understand it - and I really like that. Beautiful and tragic. Well done Nick.

Words for 04 May 2012

And so we hit the penultimate Friday Prediction Challenge at The Feardom. Don't forget - it's a minibus over to Phil Ambler's place from 18th May for a Prediction rebirth party. But in the meantime, what do we have here...

  • Psycho... (use it on its own or as a prefix. Freedom!)
  • Belt
  • Purgatory

Ha! Made for us. Let rip - I intend to.

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 10th May 2012 to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday 11th May. 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.

So strap up your imagination until it's ready to burst. I'm hungry...
___________________________________
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.