Friday, 3 February 2012

Lily's Friday Prediction

As we teeter on the edge of "will it snow, or won't it?" all I can think about it is locking myself into a cosy sitting-room in front of a roaring fire and writing, writing, writing. Alas - this isn't going to happen!

And so life goes on.

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

We owe John Xero huge applause for taking the time to comment on the truly varied entries over the last two weeks. I offer my personal thanks to him for holding the fort while I wasn't quite myself (make of that what you will) - I'm on the mend now - but thank you John!

Over to our guest judge...

"Wow... this is not easy. And you do this every week? How? ;)

There were some really creepy characters, chilling moments, shudder-worthy descriptions. But my winner has to be the piece that had them all...

Some great descriptions, with little touches like the Tchaikovsky and her mind pirouetting on into the future that really round it out. A horror in itself and for its reflection of the real world. Brilliant.

My runner-up was a close contender for the top spot too, and much gnashing of teeth there was in deciding.

Revolution by Phil Ambler

For a depth of description you rarely see in under a hundred words, for capturing a scene and a moment so wholly. Impressive writing."

And there we have it. Congratulations Dion and Phil!

Words for 03 February 2012

Here we go...
  • Mangle
  • Penalty
  • Dice
What can you do with these naughty little'uns?


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 9th February 2012 to enter.

The winner will be announced on Friday 10th February. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Get those frozen fingers walking. Your pages are blank and begging for your words. And so am I...


The Last Picture Show by Dorothy Davies - February Femmes Fatales

Regular Predictioneers (contributors to my weekly Friday fiction challenge) will better know Dorothy Davies as Antonia Woodville - horror writer extraordinaire and editor of a growing collection of anthologies for Static Movement and Red Skies Press.

Dorothy has supported The Feardom, my writing and that of many others for a long time. It's a privilege to offer not one, not two but six marvellous pieces of her flash fiction in February Femmes Fatales 2012.

Please enjoy this first nostalgic tale from our Dorothy. I am wearing sparkling red shoes in her name - all ready to click together and take me home.


It mattered not that the curtains looked the worse for wear, the hem hanging down a little, the runners showing where the weight of the curtains had dragged holes over the years. The fact remained they were temporarily hiding the reason the building had an existence – the huge silver screen. Fly speckled, marked here and there, it mattered not. The anticipation from the audience in the auditorium was palpable, a hush of unspoken words, a withholding of the rustle of popcorn and other comestibles, that indescribable smell and atmosphere accumulated over many years: bodies clothes, food, sighs, tears, cries, held breath, screams and laughter.

This was the last picture show. At the end of tonight’s performance the doors would close for the last time. In future, films would be shown in the new multi screen complex across town, bright, glittering place with chrome and fine flooring, with carpet and seats that tilted and did not move when you leaned back. Move as in their moorings had come adrift from the floor. It added something to the ambience of this old, much loved building.

I crept in quietly, almost on tiptoe, not wanting to disturb anyone’s breathless anticipation of the curtains gliding open and the screen being revealed in all its tarnished glory. I found empty seats, which I didn’t expect, and sat three in from the side aisle. It was not the best of positions but it would do. There was room for two others if they chose to come and share the rest of the row with me. On my other side someone grunted and shifted, but did not look round.

The music blared, the numbers began rolling, white on black and the pre-feature programme began. I allowed myself to submerge all thoughts in the magical moment, the losing of self in the actions on the screen. Someone crept in as quietly as I did and sat down next to me. We nodded to one another in the darkness, nothing said, eyes swiftly turning back to the screen. A sigh seemed to come from my new companion, one I echoed. Contentment. Filmgoers of the world unite!

All too soon the interval came and music blared out of ancient speakers. There was chatter and laughter, a sense of heightened emotion, anticipation, eagerness, a mixture of so much unclassified, indescribable. My companion, an elderly man I had seen many times before, nodded in time to the nonsensical piece of rhythm which ended and began again, same record. A few people laughed. It ended, it began again. This time whistles and shouts had erupted, there was stamping of feet and yells of laughter. By the time it began again, when it was obvious to all that the impending closure had left the cinema with just one record, the entire audience was in uproar, laughter shaking ancient dust from ancient carvings and light fittings. I smiled; the sense of the absurd was beyond belief and unbelievably funny. My companion was laughing so hard I feared for his heart.

It took a while for the audience to settle down after the nonsense with the record, but the main feature began and the theatre became silent. Clint Eastwood strutted his stuff across the screen many times larger than he actually is –or was – shooting all and sundry, fighting his way out of this battle and that. It was almost a shock when the film finally ended. The credits rolled and we were on our feet, some ready to slide out, others prepared to stand and show respect as the National Anthem was played.

It was then I smelled smoke.

It was then I realized three things, as I did at this point every Halloween. First, the theatre had caught fire, second, judging by the frantic screams and yells of trapped people, the fire doors would not open and third, recalling the local newspapers I had seen afterwards, not one of us survived.

Where we were is a block of flats, ugly, functional, utilitarian and dull. We died because some idiot, anticipating the closing of the cinema, locked the doors. This I knew, this I could accept, if only…

…We were not summoned back from our graves every Halloween.

I just wish that the dead could be allowed to sleep in peace.

_________ The End _________

Dorothy Davies
The first part of this story actually happened, but not on the Isle of Wight where I live. Here there was a very old cinema and someone who used to entertain the waiting audience with a glove puppet around the side of the curtain…

Bio: Dorothy Davies, editor, writer and medium lives on the Isle of Wight, where she writes strange stories and edits strange anthologies and has a wonderful time doing both.
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.