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...
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230 comments:

  1. I am determined to play this last one, Lily! Congratulations to Shaun and AJ, as always, superb writing and heart stopping ideas - I do want to see more Hackett, hint hint hint and more of Shaun's visually gory writing too.

    This week has been b a d in terms of migraine and pressures and I didn't get to conjure or play with the words. This final one, well, it has to be done, and I will! Very sad this is ending, very pleased Phil is taking it on.

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    1. Antonia I am so sorry to hear you've not been well. I hope the flashing lights have calmed and you are feeling better.

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  2. Thank you Lily, I have recovered a little from the surprise this gave me this morning. Congratulations to AJ Humpage and Helen Howell. So, the last Prediction at Lily's place dawns.I am looking forward reading all the entries this week.

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  3. Congratulations to Shaun, Helen and AJ. Some cracking stories and I'm not surprised to see them on the winner's rostrum this week.

    And Lily, such kind words, thank you. I hope I can be a hospitable host over the coming months. One thing I know I will be is a regular visitor to The Feardom to catch up on all thing Lily Childs related!!!

    I will save my appreciation for you, our dark hostess, until the doors shut here and the winners are announced. In the meantime, I've gone with a bit of everyday life horror, a trap which I feel that too many people could relate to:

    What if?

    Bean juice dribbled down his chubby chin, dripping through greying stubble onto his gravy stained vest. Ignoring it, he shovelled in another spoonful as cigarette smoke drifted up from the ashtray by his plate. He flicked through his tabloid between mouthfuls, sucking his teeth whenever some titbit interested him.

    Rita stared at him from across the kitchen. He had been so elegant in his youth, a proper gentleman; that was thirty years ago. Now they just existed in an impersonation of marriage, shackled together by convenience.

    Tears of regret hung behind her eyes as she thought to herself "What if….".

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    1. Domestically disgusting - and horribly believable.

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    2. yes. Absolutely. A good many people can relate to that. My now deceased mother-in-law, for one. Intense and vivid insight.

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    3. "...an impersonation of marriage, shackled together by convenience..."

      How many households has this very scene played out in?

      Incredible insight and commentary, Phil, on the human condition.

      Bravo!

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    4. Oh a real touch of reality in this one loved this line too: "impersonation of marriage, shackled together by convenience."

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    5. A barb of a story that goes in and twists deep. A Killer line "impersonation of marriage, shackled together by convenience."

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    6. Familiarity breeds contempt. Certainly true in this situation Phil. I am making notes here. My wife had a funny look in her eye this morning. :-)

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    7. Phil, at first I thought you were describing a baby in What if? and I was truly a-feared, for littl'uns touch my wobbly nerves like no other. But then here was a man that had become a sham of his former self and I wobbled in pity anyway for his poor wife. A common tragedy, beautifully told.

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    8. Believable and sad. And then spiced up with some horror in the end =) Well done!

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    9. Well done Mr. Phil. I must admit that I find reality more frightening than fiction. The imagery made it feel gray. See you at the new prediction. Looking forward to the trip. Thank you for tending to the inmates.

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    10. Oh, nice one, Phil, distressing for its absolute, disturbing truth.

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    11. The fear we all face if we're lucky enough to live so long - is it too late to make things better?

      Stark, mundane, true.

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  4. Shaun's high-potential nightmare story well deserved to win, and AJ and Helen worthy runners up. Sad that this is the last in this so-welcoming venue, but I fully intend to trek to Phil's place in time for next week. Here's part twelve.

    The blacksmith’s wife [part 12]

    Elegant he’d never been, impersonating Thor, brute-muscled from daily shovelling of coal to stoke the fire, as he ever had stoked mine. The river was in flood as was our passion; as he thrust, the staining soot dissolved and I was physically cleansed but far from purified since, like Sif, I knew I could be made unfaithful, come what may.

    As he divined.

    While yet entwined he grasped my hair, thumb heavy on my throat: ‘I cannot force you, but be sure I’ll have you suffer.’

    Sated smile: ‘Like this?’
    Whereupon, despite his traitorous, betraying prick, he pushed me under.

    (Sif, I discovered was Thor's wife - NOT some cleaning product)

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    1. I think this duo are destined to suffer an eternity of tormenting each other! The ultimate love hate relationship. Love the opening paragraph to this.

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    2. An eternity of torment and deceit seems their destiny... reminds me a bit of Bele and Lokai... here both need each other to survive, yet both would see the other dead... now this is Purgatory!

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    3. They were made to torment each other, and enjoy it!

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    4. I loved this so much I'm going back to read the others again.

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    5. Thank you all for your comments ... the series can be read in its entirety (with some illustration) at < href http://sandra-linesofcommunication.blogspot.co.uk/p/friday-predictions.html" >

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    6. Apologies - haven't yet mastered the technology to add a link :(

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    7. This is compelling, powerful work Sandra, beautifully written.

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    8. Sandra, I love how you bring myth into this ongoing story of passion; love and hate, two sides of a tarnished coin, polished for our delectation. It's been such a pleasure reading this series, and I feel privileged that it was the Prediction that inspired you to create a masterpiece.

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    9. Lily - the Prediction didn't only inspire but, wih the weekly input of words, gave it momentum. And me a whole lots of fun, so thank you indeed. I just have to hope Phil's book doesn't contain any nasty twentieth century words ...

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    10. This just keeps getting darker and more passionate - you go, girl =)

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    11. I am so glad that you have the stories collected. Lovely work; intelligent and erotic. I feel a little smarter after reading your stories.

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    12. How you make these pieces work both episodically and as a whole and contain the words every week amazes me, Sandra. Think I might have said that before, but it's true. Quite excellent this week. =)

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    13. I absolutely love these pieces. Very powerful and stirring (in more than one way.) As i've missed a few f these I have bookmarked your link for later perusal.

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  5. Congratulations Shaun, AJ and Helen! Well done to all!

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  6. End-Times

    I impersonate this once elegant body, disconsolate amidst the teeming phalanx of humanity.

    The rubbery disinfectant stink inside my mask is sickening. Around me the shuffling bug eyed faces of my fellow refugees close in.

    I watch the heavy skies through circular plates and try to ignore the suppurating agony of my tenderised feet, endlessly pounding the asphalt.

    My ears have grown used to the mesmeric cadence of countless close packed people.

    I pass a work detail. A slack-eyed youth leans on his shovel beside another shrivelled corpse, lying in the ditch on the road to hell.

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    1. This, obviously, is in greyscale, screeching and wailing and a horrible smell - very well-evoked this, Shaun.

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    2. a vivid and rather all too possible scenario, this. Very well portrayed.

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    3. A shocking vision of an apocalyptic future here Shaun. The horror lies in the acceptance of the characters of the death and destruction surrounding them. Great use of language too!

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    4. "...the suppurating agony of my tenderised feet, endlessly pounding the asphalt..."... dark and apocalyptic.

      This reminded me a little of Bachman's The Long Walk.

      Very well done, Shaun!

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    5. A chilling visual you created here.

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    6. Incredibly, grimly evocative. End-of-times or just end-of-the-road, either way, excellent.

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    7. A very powerful piece, that rocked me to the core. Brought to mind the feelings of the people that built the road of bones.

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    8. Thank you all for your comments.

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    9. Shaun, this is a terrifying, desolate vision - an unending hell, brilliantly described. I feel nauseous and exhausted with the horror of it. A superb write.

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    10. Yay! Dystopian vibes -- am a sucker for those! Also, I learned new words, thanks =)

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    11. Striking work. Touches on the faceless, inhuman future and the sense of foreboding that hurdles over many big cities.

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    12. Desolate and apocalyptic are definitely the words. I can't decide whether it is the literal road to Hell or not, and I don't think that matters for the piece, powerful regardless. Great writing.

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    13. Good use of spacing too. The structure of the piece (short observations in regular steps) in counterpoint to the vivid - almost wild - language used, brings to life that blend of theme - the numbness of familiarity with the mind-shrieking horrors all around.

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  7. Well done Shaun, AJ and Helen. The work is always excellent, week in week out.

    Apologies for my lack of participation the past few weeks. Work, family, holiday, courses and my own writing have used up most of my time. A full length version of THE PACKAGE will appear somewhere soon.

    Will pop back with an effort for this weeks "Final Feardom Challenge!"

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  8. That was quick...

    The Graveyard Shift

    “Why don’t you try to impersonate someone who’s got balls for once.”

    “What? I don’t like graveyards, is all.”

    “Then you’re in the wrong line of work.”

    “I dig graves for dead people to go into – not come out of. And I do that during the day, remember?”

    “Whatever. Where’re we going?”

    “Just over there: the elegant and posh looking headstone.”

    “Wow! Oh, you can smell the wealth coming up through the soil. We’ll be rich when we get...”

    The shovel hit the back of his head with such force that his skull split in two.

    “Wrong. I’ll be rich.”

    ~End~

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    1. 'Succinct' is what comes to mind with this piece, with all the power of a blow to the head. Yes indeed.

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    2. good one, didn't predict that ending!

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    3. Rather liked this one with your usual great play with dialogue masking the ending that delivers a real blow (literally). :0)

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    4. Love the staccato delivery... I actually jumped a bit in my chair when that shovel struck..did not see that coming!

      Nice one, David!

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    5. Trust no one when treasure is involved! Nice twist.

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    6. I do believe the gent has, after all, some balls. Nicely done!

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    7. Ironically I was walking round a graveyard in Winwick near Warrington, last Tuesday and suddenly I thought of you. Spooky huh!

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    8. I've missed your input here David. I love the short sharp shock of this.

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    9. A classic David Barber dialogue. You are so adept at creating situations and describing scenarios through conversation alone. I've said it before, have you considered script-writing? Really enjoyed this and was caught out by the ending too.

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    10. Great classic horror-character and I do enjoy what you do with dialogue, David!

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    11. Ha. Very amusing and satisfying ending. I too love your dialogue. Real classic feel to this.

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    12. Great use of dialogue to convey the story, as Lily says, something you excel at, David.

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    13. Brutal and stone cold. Can well imagine this in performance. I've missed the last month or so - is this part of a longer tale?

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  9. Helen, I didn't deliberately miss you out, congratulations! Apologies... the head has been very bad this past week.
    I was celebrating earlier today, I had a headache.
    Note the word, headache, not a migraine. That is such a once in a lifetime happening I had a job to accept it. It's now become a migraine, of course...

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    1. Antonia I never thought you did ^_^ thank you for the congrats.

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  10. Brüder

    The players:

    Wilhelm: grim, on his sickbed

    Pukje: that merry wanderer of the night

    Hob: little god of the household

    The scene:

    Pukje stands on Hob's shoulders to clamber through the window. He magicks a poisoned apple and looms over Wilhelm.

    Hob struggles in the window. "No elegance."

    "His shoveled lies impersonate us. Twist us. Kill us."

    "Truth. We tried to stop the presses."

    "Failure does not absolve revenge."

    "He poses no threat."

    "You lie! His Hausmärchen slew Titania."

    Wilhelm's eyes crack open. "What's done is done."

    Pukje offers the apple. "My apologies."

    "Frucht, how appropriate." Deutches Wörterbuch's last word.

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    1. I am definitely locking AND barring the windows tonight, Aidan!

      The dialogue here is simply brilliant!

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    2. I'm with Veronic, my windows will stay locked too!

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    3. Spikey bile-green dialogue played out against a black background. Neat.

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    4. Vivid and sharply detailed, despite the abundance of dialogue. In my mind, I clearly saw -- as a densely watercolored children's book illustration ;) -- the entire scene. Fabulous.

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    5. A story in dialogue only is tough to do and you did it, in style!

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    6. What a Grimm fairytale we have here :0) Beautiful use of language to blur fantasy and reality. Delightful!

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    7. Aidan quite literally a killer last line "Frucht, how appropriate." Deutches Wörterbuch's last word.

      Loved it

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    8. Aidan, style is the appropriate word here, in abundance.

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    9. Fairy tale and literary history in one; Aidan - I thank you. "Wilhelm: grim, on his sickbed" made me grin; ah but you're a clever man. I love the folkloric spirits whispering revenge at the window - what a sublime idea for a novel, all presented in your inimitable style.

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    10. Vilken bisarr saga! Jag har ingen aning om vad jag skulle kalla genren, men det är galet kul! Snälla, fortsätt utforska detta =)

      (What a bizarre fairytale! I wouldn´t know how to label this genre, but it´s crazy fun! Keep exploring it, please =))

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    11. The stuff of childhood nightmares. Akin to Rumplestilskin. Very creepy. Trolls and more

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    12. Love this Aidan, especially as a counterpart to 'Gremlins in the Machine'. Excellent.

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    13. Wonderful stuff!
      great to read something so utterly different, yet still twisted and grim. Thanks for tipping the wink on Wilhelm by the way, Lily. Suddenly it clicked and the re-read impressed me all the more.

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  11. This one's for you, Lily. Words can't express enough how much everything you've done means to me. I've learnt so much from you... your support and encouragement and unflagging enthusiasm... okay, I'm gonna stop before I start bawling.

    Back to the task at hand, yes?


    INTO THE NIGHT
    By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

    ~~**~~

    “It won’t do… it simply will not do! Elizabeth, married off to that pompous ass? The woman is a hack!”

    Slamming the book shut.

    First impersonate… then consummate.

    Mirror’s fancy… elegant lace and brocaded silk draped over naked body… soon it shall be my words that are read by all!

    Into the night.

    “Good evening, Miss Austen.” I step under the porch lamp. Polite interest on her face turns to puzzlement.

    “Why… you look just like…” Darkness befalls fair Jane.

    Under a conspiratorial moon… the shovel my silent partner… organ-less torso to the worms.

    Home.

    Quill and paper await me.


    ~finis~

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    1. Oh look out Jane Austen!

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    2. Such a clever idea and so beautifully rendered - I especially liked "First impersonate… then consummate" but the whole so very well-balanced.

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    3. "organ-less torso" -- How fantastic! And says so much about what happened in so little. Bravo.

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    4. impressively simple and yet saying oh so much.

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    5. I hope my story endings never offend you so much as our shovel wielding friend Vernoica! Both silmultaneously dark and fun; this is a great tale with a knowing nod to the literary world. Very good.

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    6. You got under my skin with that one. Love the line "Polite interest on her face turns to puzzlement."

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    7. Again, simply impressive. Everyone is on top form this week.

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    8. Veronica, I bow in thanks at your offering. This is a dark and delicious delight and a gorgeous dalliance of words. Such a concept, and such exquisite telling. I would love to read a full story that uses this idea.

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    9. Oh, very clever! Well done!

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    10. What a great idea for a story. There is a lovely lilt to your words.

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    11. Really clever and well-written, Veronica, with shades of Misery. Great tone to the piece, too. =)

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    12. Beautifully played. It brought a grin to my face straight off. Fabulous.

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  12. Lily, I've been itinerant lately, but have enjoyed the camaraderie of the Friday Predictions. You've been a wonderful hostess and more importantly, the way you carefully read and respond to everyone has been a treasure. However, that shouldn't come at the cost of your writing and I'm going to be looking forward to the wonderful things I'm sure you'll be bringing forward soon. Take care!

    Phil: the bean juice perfectly sets up this scene; how easy it is for the bonds of love to wither into shackles of convenience. Some gorgeous turns of phrase you have here.

    Sandra: the opening paragraph drips with gorgeous sexual tones and frosted with a touch of violence. You render these characters well.

    Shaun: apocalypse, or just global warning. I like how this leaves that open concentrating on the horrible emotional emptiness of the people left working on this road to hell.

    David: a nice exchange; beautiful two-timing dialogue and the deposit of one soul and the removal of another skeleton.

    Veronica: nice full-blown story you've squeezed in here; intriguing concept leaves me feeling like I'm looking in a hall of mirrors. I wonder who will rewrite Elizabeth's ending next.

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    1. Thank you Aidan for your kind and lovely words. It has been an absolute pleasure and I have learned so much from your unique view of myth and legend, your journeys through history and the languages you have brought to us on the Prediction challenge. Inspiring.

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  13. Thank you Lily for giving me the pleasure of taking part in your Friday Prediction Challenge, and to finish a runner up is wonderful, as I have never won anything for writing before, so I am thrilled to be a runner up. My congratulations to AJ and also Shaun Adams for winning the last Prediction.

    No doubt I shall wander over to Phil's place to play again. ^_^

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  14. Congrats Shaun and Helen.

    In Mommy’s Skin

    She loved dressing up, impersonating Mommy. Loved wearing her clothes and oversized shoes. In 11-year-old Angelica’s mind, she looked elegant, beautiful.

    She’d always admired Mommy’s clothes, the vibrant colours and luscious feel of the different fabrics next to her skin. Much better than her own boring clothes. She’d do anything to have Mommy's.

    She looked through the bedroom window at Mommy in the garden. Light started to fade behind the tall poplars guarding the house.

    Mommy twitched on the grass. Next to the bloodied shovel.

    Angelica had all the clothes she’d ever wanted.

    Finally, Mommy stopped moving.

    And Angelica smiled.

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    1. "Angelica" is quite the name choice for the little murderess. Let's hope she doesn't trip while wearing Mommy's oversized heels and fall down the stairs and break her angelic little neck. :)

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    2. I walked around all morning thinking, I can't compete with AJ ... not after this stunning entry ... !!!

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    3. Angelica - green and hard yes? and looks like it ought to be sweeter than it is - perfect choice of name for a thoroughly steeped-in-evil child

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    4. Ah, consumerism in one so young. Hate to see her in the sales when she is older! Great tale and didn't have a clue things were going to work out that way!

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    5. This echoed of something My daughter said to me the other day. Chilling.

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    6. AJ, that was just disturbing, made me shiver.Like nails on a blackboard.

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    7. What a wicked child, AJ. All kids look up to their parents (well, most do) but Angelica is a psychopath in the making; how very chilling. The line "Mommy twitched on the grass" made me shiver. Loved it!

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    8. I hate scary kids! Scary kids and clowns are the worst! Well done =)

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    9. I believe I have met a child like this dear girl.what a world, what a world

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    10. Expected her to be wearing Mommy by the end... I keep picturing that final smile... it ain't pretty. =/

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    11. I've been watching Rugrats with my daughter recently. I can't help it, but I have a Very specific image of Angelica in my mind. This delights me more than I can say :-D

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  15. A final glass of champagne at the Prediction's ballroom...


    One Night

    Young moon fell to the green shore and immediately impersonated a shell. Beneath the waves, glistening like pearl, her elegant shape drew a traveler.

    Pulled from the cold sea, water ran in rivulets along her curving spine. Warm fingers traced ancient bone, delving inside to feel the smoothness, while drops fell upon the blue-veined wrist. Moon sighed.

    When the traveler peered inside, she was captured within the spiral, her spirit a lonesome helix in the shell.

    Moon fell to her new knees and shoveled sand with trembling hands, burying the shell. Until the tides' reveal, she would be free.

    *

    PS I know that, technically, impersonating is used incorrectly. Those that feel sufficiently outraged may give me as many spankings as I deserve. ;)

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    1. vivid imagery, why not bend a few rules as you go?

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    2. Cool, blue, non-outrageous imagery,

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    3. Such a poetic piece with what feels like a whole mythos crafted behind it. Beautiful.

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    4. Fantastic images Rebecca (I'm referring to your piece, rather than your PS(Although :D )) I just love the poetry of the piece. I love the line "water ran in rivulets along her curving spine" it made me envisage rebirth.

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    5. Rebecca this is absolutely exquisite; I'm reeling in the telling and agree with Phil that it is an entire, new Mythos that feels American or Caribbean. The beauty that consistently swells and spirals throughout your writing never fails to leave me breathless, and One Night is one of the best I've read. It's left a spangle of joy in my heart.

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    6. There´s such a great rhythm in this piece. For example, the first sentence is delightful, it´s like a free interpretation of alliteration – I love! Second paragraph; beautiful and so poetic! I just adore the fluency, it´s all a pleasure to read =)

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    7. First read of the day for me, R.S. Thank you for making it special with your beautiful words.

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    8. It's gorgeous, Becky, and your perpetration of impersonation is completely forgiveable, which is a shame, cos, well... ;)

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    9. Truly magnificent work, here. There's a real sense of folk myth and an exquisite use of imagery. My favourite part is the spirit of the traveller getting trapped in the shell. Beautifully sketched.

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  16. Last ride on the roller coaster. What a wonder. Can't wait to meet up with everyone, Lily as well please, at Phil's place. Will be back to comment later. Must sleep argh. Here is my attempt:

    Xavier

    In a sticky jungle shack Xavier de la Cruz hollowly impersonates ancient tribes. His naked, stained figure arches against a black altar. Bones and melting candles outline darkly elegant pots. Inside, remains of the weak and poor simmer. Xavier fathered this religion, an abomination of others before. Yet, his demons remain dissatisfied.

    At last a fine tribute, fair haired, broad shouldered; the young man huddles. Xavier’s agitated followers surround their found token, clutching knives and shovels, ropes and spikes. “My demons are sleeping deep and need to be aroused,” he said. “For the devils to hear…this offering must go screaming.”

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    1. Oh, the horror, the horror. ;)

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    2. Yes, chilling is what came to my mind too, despite the steamy jungle heat. I especially liked the 'darkly elegant pots'

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    3. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness sprang to mind as I read this and you've captured a similar oppressive madness deep within the jungle. Dark horror at its best.

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    4. The hole piece has a dark vibe of mysterious cultures. It's brilliant how the first line evokes the heat and discomfort that carries through the piece. Good Job

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    5. Marietta, a terrifying vision. I wholeheartedly agree (again) with Phil about Heart of Darkness. You captured the horror with perfect detail. I was drawn in myself to this self-proclaimed demi-god's hot, steaming world; Xavier is no saviour, though no doubt he believes he is. Excellent.

      And thank you for riding the Prediction roller coaster; yes, I'll be hanging out at Phil's place as often as possible (or until I get chucked out).

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    6. Dark and strong! I like the erotic undertones ;)

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    7. Yikes! This filled my head with nightmarish visions.

      this offering must go screaming. That last bit really got to me. Well written horror Marietta.

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    8. Dense with ideas and flavours, Marietta (although maybe best not to think too hard about some of the flavours)... Thick with horror. Good stuff.

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    9. That shuddering absence of humanity it what grabs me. Whatever Xavier is now, it is not human - though it wears the body of one. Grubby, exotic and terrifying.

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  17. Plans

    Cowboy workmen have a bad reputation but I know how to use them. They’re used to dealing with gullible old biddies who accept their assurances. I can impersonate an fuddled old biddy.
    I let them work on the garden, lay a patio, put an elegant archway down the path, they did a fair job, considering their limited intelligence.
    They left a shovel by the grave they dug which I said was a compost pit. They asked no questions.
    I paid them cash, far more than they asked for, buying their silence.
    I can now bury my husband after dark.

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    1. In a way, a compost pit. :) Lovely emerging evil.

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    2. Oh damn, I probably should NOT have laughed out loud iin delight, but this IS delightful, trips along so innocent and then WHAM!!

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    3. My wife has been pottering down the garden today, (looks down garden concerned) I shall sleep with one eye open and a foot on the floor this evening. Loved it.

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    4. You can get a man in for anything nowadays, even 'waste' disposal. Amusing story which put a smile on my face.

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    5. I chuckled at this, Antonia - an old biddy in my own right, perhaps. I thought she was going to knock the builders off so it caught me out that her husband was destined for the pit. Great fun.

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    6. Antonia, such cool headed planning is darkly amusing and makes me so glad I can't read the thoughts of other people.

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    7. Madam Antonia, thick with sinister intentions and then so sharply funny. Yeahhhhh. It is always a good game when the red queen plays.

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    8. He probably nagged her to make sure she didn't get ripped off. And so some secret delight was attained in over-paying them too... ;)

      I can here the neighbours now... "But she was such a nice old lady, made the most delightful cupcakes..." ;)

      Great story, Antonia. =)

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    9. A gleefully evil little vignette. I, too, was suckered into thinking the builders were for the chop. I hope she manages to pin the blame on them if the body ever does come to light...

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  18. A rare second entry from me this week to take us into a more fantastical direction than my earlier one, or is there just a hint of truth to it......

    Propaganda

    We had listened for millennia as He shovelled his propaganda down our celestial throats. He always argued with an elegance that matched his exalted position but we saw through his lies.

    Lucifer led us into battle, the greatest skirmish that the universe has ever witnessed, a sea of Seraphim attacking each other in wave after wave of righteous violence.

    At the end of the hostilities we stood there as He was cast down into the abyss and we stood to worship our new leader, the conquering Almighty, Lucifer's immaculate impersonation. After all, who told you that God won that day?

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    1. To the victor the Spoils, and the right to mix history up their way. Love the concept

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    2. Phil, Propaganda is my kind of revelation. Who told the tale, who wrote the tale, who dictated and spouted and bullied the tale until the world believed it to be truth? Brilliant writing, violent thinking. I love it.

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    3. I love religion questioning stories and this one is gorgeous. It is also a fabulous surprise...a celestial costume party and our nightmare is passing out the drinks.

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    4. Ah, well told Phil. Reminds me of a classic from obscure early eighties Black Metal Gods, Venom and their classic "At War with Satan"

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    5. Ha ha! Have wondered such things myself... =)

      Very well told, Phil.

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    6. I'm nodding my head with a wry smile as I type this. Stylish and neat. Could see this drawn as a 'Future Shock' in 2000 AD. Nice one.

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  19. I'm wondering if you are now hiding under the table, hands over head, awaiting thunderbolts ... or Bohemian Rhapsody?
    Very nice indeed Phil

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  21. I will always be endebted to you Lily, for convincing me to break from the shadows. Kook owes you one as well, as this is the place he took his first faltering steps, although it seems like Orson Wells he lived his life in reverse.

    Every end must have a start.

    “This needs to end like it started, all ultra-violent like” she said wiping Kooks blood from her lips. Elegant was not a word Kook used to describe his mother; she would only impersonate elegance around the vicar.

    He’d been digging for an hour the shovel had blistered his palm. The bite on his neck throbbed mercilessly. He was parched. “Mum! Can I have drink?”. She tipped the last of the water into the hole. Sobbing he stepped out of the hole.
    Mother didn’t see it coming, just like Dad. Now the hole was greater than the parts. Kook was emergent.

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    1. Lots going on in this piece. Patricide and matricide plus the mother drinking from Kook; dark, dark stuff. Love the title too!

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    2. Must confess I borrowed the title from an Editors song, it summed up how Kook's story lived in reverse. Also how the closure of Lily's prediction leads us on to yours. So all over to your's next week Phil, you do have a cork screw don't you? :D

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    3. I especially liked "all ultra-violent like" and the mysterious circularity of this tale

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    4. William, Kook has been a welcome deviant in the Prediction's passageways. Here we see his history, blood on his hands from an early age, mother's life stolen, father's too. Long may he disturb and terrify us - as long he remains fictionalised - "emergent" is scary - really scary.

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    5. It is an odd twist when you feel sorry for the tough guy. Great job. Kook is a great character.

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    6. Hello William, Now the hole was greater than the parts :-) As a latecomer to the Prediction, I am not familiar with Kook, but I want to read more now.

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    7. Strange and twitchy, this, William. Great last couple of lines.

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    8. Agreed. Therre's an edginess to the writing that puts us off balance from the start. So many things could be going on, from vampirism to child abuse. None of it's pleasant though, and I dread to think what kook might get up to now he's free...

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  22. Lily, darling, let me make a confession: horror is not my thing. Really. I´m easily scared. I can´t watch horror movies and I can´t even sleep alone, my husband forbids me to read or watch anything scary because he knows how it affects me. But this place, your place, has been an exception. This has been good, so good for me and I can´t thank you enough! I know I´ve been silent sometimes but that doesn´t mean I´ve been indifferent, au contraire, sometimes when I don´t have access to my words the good words of others are so much more important to me =) So thank you, all of you!

    And with that, I give you my final two:


    Smile and No Harm Will Be Done


    She´s intoxicated, her elegant neck resting on a pile of trash. It doesn´t seem too wrong.

    Supermodels, or dolls, scattered around the room, reading comic strips; very concentrated.

    He shovels garbage. Then dirt. Reaches bedrock and can´t continue. Pours wine and tries to act normal, whispers sadly: ”I´ll love you no matter what, ´s true!”

    She laughs and spreads her skinny legs like she believes it could make a difference.

    Her skin´s vanilla comfort and eternal stardust and he can´t say no. She bites through his crust and impersonates a woman. He never imagined the end to be like this.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    There is Nothing Beyond You


    He saves her last love letter for a cold December night.

    He doesn´t have enough to make a proper fire so he sits close, wills himself to relax and read.

    ”… I´ll be gone and you, my love, have to go on.”

    The northern lights creak above him, elegant and terrifying, and he thinks he´s tried hard enough.

    ”Remember when you made me impersonate the Summer goddess; I gave up my voice, picked the seven flowers and dreamt only of you!”

    Tears are ice on his cheeks. He´s brought a shovel and dug his own grave. He has no regrets.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I´ll be back to comment, but blogger doesn´t love me so I might have to do it all in one post =)

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    1. Asuqi I love both of your pieces, you have such breadth of talent. Horror scares us because we have active imaginations, the same ones that help us write. keep doing what your doing.

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    2. Asuqi, I too was only dragged into horror by this wicked, but oh-so-addictive site ... perhaps we'll be safer over at Phil's ... where I hope to read more of your intricate and delicately woven tales, the imagery in the second is especially vivid.

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    3. There is Nothing Beyond You... Remember when you made me impersonate the Summer goddess... *sobs*

      Sexy horror is the type I like, but tragedy and love together make me swoon. Your writing is pure poetry. Your soul is a Swedish seabird with haiku wings.

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    4. asuqi, you see the beauty in darkness and interpret it so lyrically. I feel blessed that you write for The Prediction because your words are unique, and they touch my soul. Horror is irrelevant.

      Smile and No Harm Will Be Done is such a multi-layered offering; tragedy in a trembling world. I read it three times and it was a different tale with new characters each time, every one thought-provoking and sad.

      There is Nothing Beyond You broke my heart and I was struck by how the mourning partner had done all he could but had no more energy to live without his lover. "The northern lights creak above him, elegant and terrifying" is so, so beautiful - you make me want to lie beneath them too, just once...

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    5. I feel humble reading your work asuqi. It has real majesty and is a joy to read .

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    6. Shaun hit the nail with his head...majesty. These were lovely on different emotional levels. Thank you or sharing.

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    7. Oh, oh, Asuqi, I do so love your words. ^_^

      All of them, but two phrases in particular...

      "Her skin´s vanilla comfort and eternal stardust..."
      and
      "The northern lights creak above him, elegant and terrifying"

      You have such a wonderful, wonderful way with words. =)

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  23. Asuqi - the first tale made me jump at the end as the victim was anything but whereas this second piece brought a tear to my eye. Such variation of emotion between the two yet both powerful.

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  24. Rebecca: a wonderful world where the moon and mayhap every star is a soul waiting to trap one of us. Great images.

    AJ: nice foreshadowing with the title and it still wallops a punch; Angelica's going to be a handful.

    Marietta: aroused and screaming is quite the way to go. The details here make this scene vivid and sharp.

    Antonia: I like how this zigs; I kept expecting her to thump the ole cowboys and I like it even better that she's already committed the crime and turning them into unknowing accomplices.

    Phil: propaganda, he who gets the last word wins. Fun play here.

    William: strong motives here, I like how unthinking she is pouring water into kook's lips like a loving mom; it makes this family's other "activities" shine in contrast.

    Asuqi: smiles are beguiling, the twist here is great and vanilla skin evokes sights and scents providing a nice ending; and beyond chilling. I like the atmosphere here and the romanticism that leads him to believe nothing is worth anything after the end. Tacka för dela din ord.

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  25. I really had to be here for the final 'prediction' from you Lily!
    I'm pleased to hear the baton has been passed on and the challenge is in safe hands - well done, Phil, for stepping up to the plate!

    So many entries this week - there isn't time to comment on them all (really - it would be like one of those ridiculous Oscar 'acceptance' speeches!) suffice to say they are of the high calibre that we've come to expect under the guidance, tutelage and encouragement of our Madame Predictioner, Lily!

    Without further ado - here's my parting shot, a fitting end, I hope. It has some ring of truth, based on characters/situations from my own family.


    IN HARNESS

    Old Tom rested his weight on the shovel, pausing to take in the elegant proportions of the surrounding headstones as he drew on the pipe.

    The first sweet puffs eased the dull pain in his chest.
    Not a bad place to end your days, he thought. Then the pain escalated, ripping down into his arm. No time to cry out; no breath, no echoes on silent sepulchres.

    The tobacco’s soft fragrance seemed fitting incense to his passing. The pipe fell from his lips into the freshly dug grave followed by his own slumped body, impersonating its intended incumbent.

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    Replies
    1. Sue, there was something peaceful about this and I had images of a sunsetting slowly in the background as Tom slumped into the grave. Nice.

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    2. Sue, I have really enjoyed your flash fiction and poetry and am so pleased you came on over to the final Feardom Prediction challenge with In Harness. That it reflects scenarios from your own family is touching and I hope it wasn't too painful to write. It's a beautiful tragedy that plays out here; Old Tom dying in the place he knew so well. I'm glad he went quickly, and like Phil, feel the sun twinkled through the trees to dapple his body. Quite lovely.

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    3. The tobacco reference made this especially pungent, smells more evocative than anything else much of the time.

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    4. There ( for me) is a certain grim humour to this that appeals. I very much appreciate the idea of digging ones own grave.

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    5. Eeeehh. This is why I don't smoke and never involve myself with icky old hard work. Ha. This was great. Sad in a way and yet perfect.

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    6. There's a solemn darkness to this, and an understated beauty, Sue. Touching, too.

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  26. This week I’ve managed to come up with two flashes (?) the first one fell out onto the page almost immediately, the second was in my head but took a little longer to get out. As a newcomer to the Friday Flash I’d like to thank Lily for giving me the opportunity to contribute in a small way and I’m sad that this is the last one but I’m also excited to see where Phil will take us in the coming weeks. I have found joining in with my short stories has been inspiring, motivating and has provided me with the required kick up the bum I needed to get things done.

    What the Butler Did

    The elegant absurdity of the situation was not lost on Lord Peter Mayburry as the shovel bit into the darkened earth in the perfectly maintained hibiscus border.

    For the hundredth time that night he cursed the buffoon of a butler who had driven him into this impossible, maddening situation.

    Really, people should learn their place in this world mused the Lord as he dropped the body into the hastily dug hole; servants really should not impersonate the master.

    That will jolly well teach him a lesson thought Mayburry as he patted the earth down on the butler’s final resting place.



    The Visitor

    The old man can be seen most evenings in my garden. Many nights I take solace in the comfortable routine of my garden spectre. His shambling gait has become almost elegant in its ethereal nightly routine. Down the garden path he journeys and at some predetermined point known only to him he digs, the ghostly shovel biting deep into the ground. I determine sometimes to do my own excavation but do I have the right to impersonate the old man’s ghostly night work and what would I find? And would knowing destroy by nightly visitor? I settle for solace and ignorance.

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    1. Nick - What the butler did rather amuse me, what ho! The Visitor, on the other hand, was incredibly poignant and I think you chose the perfect ending for the piece. Great stuff all round.

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    2. Butlers rarely get caught - he couldn't have been a very good one! but 'The Visitor' was superb - tightly written and packing an elegant punch all of its own, and asked deep questions - very nice indeed.

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    3. Nick, I'm so pleased the Prediction challenge has inspired you and I look forward to rubbing shoulders with you over at Phil's.

      I am very intrigued as to what the butler was doing when he got caught impersonating Mayburry, but rather think I probably don't want to know. Got his comeuppance though. Interestingly, I am friends with a butler to a Lord - and no, I'm not telling ;-)

      The Visitor was a truly touching piece. I'm grateful to the narrator for choosing solace and ignorance - it was the right decision, not one I'm sure I would have the grace to make.

      Both pieces are great showcases of your writing.

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    4. Nick, both pieces are so incredibly clever! I'm very impressed with what you've done with your hundred words. While I laughed at the poor butler's end, The Visitor was truly haunting, especially the narrator's question, "What would I find?" Sometimes not knowing is the better choice.

      So well done here!

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    5. Ha! I like the flip on the butler tale, Nick. =)

      And Visitor is an intriguing little thing, what does the ghost dig for? Is he trying to show the narrator something, or trying to get at something he was denied in life... or something else. I like not knowing, it makes the story much bigger than the word limit. =)

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    6. Nick, those are perfectly lovely little tales.

      The second in particular I found disturbing. I would have had to know if anything was buried in that spot.

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  27. Happy National Flash Fiction Day all!! More details here: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/

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  28. thank you for the good words, Lily.
    Today has been *migraine with sickness.* I live with them, the doc is at a loss 'they should be winding down at your age' - like tell me something I don't know... I want referral to a specialist, she seems reluctant to authorise it. Can't afford to go private.

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  29. End of an era. I couldn't see it go without giving you one more story, so here it is...

    Indignation

    The breeze played with Jean’s hair as she toiled in the allotment. She swept her sleeve across her brow and sucked cool air through her teeth, enjoying the sharpness against her gums. Her bantams chuckled gently. She leaned on the handle for respite and winced at the scrape of iron on bone. The fox had been prowling again, but she had him now. Her nostrils wrinkled, drawing up that distinctive tang. Old Spice. Cars hummed by. Impersonating her husband! She still had some marbles left! With a gardeners care she repositioned the shovel beneath his elegant chin, before stamping down.


    To everyone who has taken part in this competition, entertained us and taken the time to comment on our stories I would just like to say a great big blanket thank you. Lily and this network of people has resparked my interest in and love of writing, for which I shall always be grateful.
    Good luck to you all in your endeavours. I hope to see you on the other side - or failing that on Phil's blog.

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    1. Ouch! And thank you for the opportunity to spend some enjoyable minutes thinking about what "Her bantams chuckled gently" could be a euphemism for.

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    2. Dion, I'm so glad you paid a final visit especially with this heartfelt take of chikkies and foxes and husbands, oh my! I felt the breeze in her gardens particularly with "sucked cool air through her teeth". And a truly killer last line. Brilliant.

      Thank you for your kind words and your support. I'll definitely see you on the other side ;-)

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    3. I think I'm wincing along with her at the thought of iron on bone, Dion, and then again at the final line. Youch!

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    4. Oh Dion, I loved this and such a shocking ending.
      My favourite line though...Her bantams chuckled gently.

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  30. Goddammit! This happens every time! At first I can comment to the stories by using ”reply”, but then it just stops working! Why? WHY? Bleh!

    Anyhow:

    Antonia: I actually approve of the way your protagonist goes about her business (my bad!) It just seems like such a very practical way of handling things =)

    Phil: Absolutely! It´s all about who gets to write history! Great take!

    William: Oh, this is deliciously dark! Some nice archetypical references too!

    Sue: That doesn´t seem like such a bad way to go =) Nicely done!

    Nick: When I read ”the butler” I had this creepy feeling that maybe there´s an even deeper madness to this? Who is really digging the grave? Maybe it´s the butler gone really mad, truly believing he´s the lord? Muahahaaaa!

    In ”The Visitor” I see the beginning of a strange friendship. Well done!

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  31. asuqi, Blogger does seem to be playing up. Just took me 20 minutes to comment on Dion's entry (ooh-er!) About to post my final piece too - wish me luck!

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  32. My Dressing Up Box demon has a new assignment...

    LUSH

    I offer an empty shell, thin with sickness, fat with desire.

    The impersonation begins from the inside out. Scrawny skin laps at my limbs until it plumps up pink. Her vicious tongue fills my mouth like a shovel-headed snake but when my eyes grow wide and blue I take on her celebrated elegance, sprouting a copy-cat face her public won’t question.

    Only I know how she tastes; it is metal, it is poison. It is killing her and she’s made a deal.

    Here I am, a perfect match. And the price? Her fame. And it’s mine for the taking.

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    1. I love that first line. Maybe too much anime lends a vivid image to the muscles and organs and flesh swelling and shifting into place in my mind. A shapeshifter with a twist of shadow. Awesome. =)

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    2. Actually, I've clicked the reply box without a word in my head to say ... this is beyond comment, right from the first line ... breathtakingly, awesomely good in so many ways.
      We shall have to ratchet up our efforts over at Phil's if you are going to be challenging there.

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    3. Lily, such a ballsy yet sublime piece to grace us with. I love the vivid descriptions of the flesh plumping up almost like a balloon being inflated. But what is fame being traded for? Is our narrator taking on a cancerous, that taste of poison, to bath in the spotlight whilst 'she' lives on in anonymity? I am intrigued. Multilayered and wonderful!!!

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    4. Thanks all. Phil, the starlet has so much self-belief she thinks the world will be worse off without her so she sells her bodily soul to my demon to represent her ever more. Silly little thing. What demon doesn't want the glory for themselves?

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    5. Beautifully disturbing as always Lily.

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  33. Struggled a bit, plenty of ideas for two words, but then the third felt shoe-horned in. There was no way I could miss the last hoorah at Lily's house though, so I offer two little morsels to the dark altar...


    Manners

    Sharr watched with disgust as Braak shovelled hunks of meat into his mouth, bones and all. There were splintering cracks as he crunched down.

    Braak noticed her watching and grinned; a gobbet of flesh fell onto the stone table and he quickly shoved it back into his mouth.

    Sharr made a face. “So inelegant, this is why humans look down on us.”

    “Hey, impersonate them and their uptight manners all you like, they ain’t ever inviting a troll to the palace.”

    “Well they definitely won’t now, will they?”

    “Heh,” Braak chuckled as he picked his teeth with the crown.


    And...


    Gravedigger

    Immortality had become the bane of Samuel’s life. No disease, no old age, no natural death, only unnatural interruption.

    What work for a gravedigger when nobody dies?

    Sam had a gift. There were so many impersonators, imposters, who thought any hole would do, so few who understood the nature of the abyss. There was a hole left when a person died, and a hole to be made, and the two were not entirely unrelated.

    He took up his shovel, it was a fine tool, and it would serve him twofold now. Not an elegant solution, but needs must.


    ****
    Thanks for the good times, the awesome times, Lily, everyone. See you over at Phil's.

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    1. A gravedigger in a time of immortality ... elegant idea for sure, unlike the manners of the trolls ...
      Nice, the pair of them.

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    2. John, Braak crackled and shucked whilst I ate my dinner this evening, and I nearly, nearly mind - couldn't finish. Them there trolls and their 'manners' won't be at the Jubilee parties, methinks.

      Gravedigger is so sad, I feel for Sam terribly. "a hole left when a person died, and a hole to be made" echoes my beliefs exactly. Tragic, and lovely.

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  34. SueH: the image of the pipe and the startling approach of death provide an intriguing subject for Old Tom's last trip. He seems to have prepared for it.

    Nick: butler, has a great voice that leaves me smiling at his vicious actions; visitor leaves many mysteries, but sometimes the best action is not knowing.

    Dion: this captures a sense that Jean has suffered through a lot. Particularly, liked Impersonating her husband! She still had some marbles left!

    Lily: Lush! beautiful sensualness with vivid images that has an overtone of selling one's soul to the devil. I want to see more of this world.

    John: manners, some humans are just as disgusting as trolls (I'm thinking of Ortolan Bunting and surströmming). These two are fun and would be welcome at my table as long as I don't have to eat what they do. gravedigger, I like the concept of the two holes and always find the idea of jobs that become irrelevant interesting as times change.

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  35. Wouldn't miss the party here for the world! Something bit different from me this time. I partly blame T.Mann's "Death in Venice" . Cheers all.

    Prediction

    Beware. Worms will craw and eat the flesh.

    Decay!

    This and nothing more to follow when the shovel, one most ancient tool mors mortis, is put in rest under a chanting pray.

    Wait! No such parade entrapped in the blackness of a dozen veils the Artist wants! Down below the dirt he’s dead, and yet for foolish reasons impersonates an elegant buffoon! Insane.

    Pity is what this joker in the crumbling theatre of life deserved. He got a rope instead.

    Now he stands before me, glaring at my tarot cards. Confusion.

    I wonder must I tell him what I saw…or…

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  36. John, Cindy - I will return very shortly with comments on your marvellous delights but for the moment...

    EVERYONE - please raise your glasses as we count down to the final Feardom Prediction Challenge.

    Three

    Two

    One

    Pop. Plink. Fizz....


    Thank you one and all. You are wonderful writers, wonderful people and I thank you from the bottom of my weeping heart for your support, and more importantly the beautiful words you bring.

    CHEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

    And so the doors creak shut, like asuqi's Northern Lights. A great bloom of love to you all xxx

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    1. Hello? Who turned the lights out? I'm still in here you know...anybody?

      Gulp!

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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.