Friday, 11 March 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Can't concentrate on reality today. There's writing to be done and I can't stop thinking about it. Just picked out this week's three words and I'm flying already.

Congratulations to Rebecca Bohn for winning last week's Prediction challenge with the nostalgic Bears in Summer. Becky will have her judge's hat on this week (should that be wig?) to choose the winner from all the stunning entries you'll be throwing her way. :)

Well done too, to runners-up Jenny Dreadful with her untitled Vamp fest, and William Davoll for a haunting tale in After The Plague.

With no more ado, here are this week's three words:

  • Lock
  • Resemble
  • Garland


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 all week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 17th March to enter.

Winner will be announced next Thursday or Friday. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Running off to scribble now. I'm addicted. I can control it... can't I?


  1. I want to apologise for not commenting on last week's entries before Lily announced the winner. Unfortunately, I suffered both a computer virus and migraine this week. Thankfully, my laptop is now cured and I am feeling a lot better. I hope to be well enough to take part this week and will make sure I comment on all your stunning entries.

  2. No Place Like Home

    Watching her sleep, I think how she resembles Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. I reach out to brush a stray lock of hair from her face, but my hand passes through her.

    Right. I should have expected that.

    I sigh and look at my rapidly cooling body lying next to her. She will cry and rage when she wakes and sees it. I will not hear her. My metaphysical ruby slippers have been clicked.

    I am going home.

  3. Great job, Mimi! I'll have to scrub Judy Garland off my list of possibilities now!

  4. David: Why do you think I was rabidly rushing to post!

  5. Ha!! I'm just too lazy for that, Mimi!

  6. Mimi -- Quite nice. Yes. Clever. Kind of thing I'd wish I'd written! And you always manage to give us the story in 100 words. I sometimes can barely manage a glimpse of something. Good work, Mimi.

  7. Wow, Mimi! An entire gorgeous, ethereal, thought-provoking story in a few paragraphs. Love it!!!

  8. Mimi, love it!I hadn't even thought of Judy Garland, so ... you slipped in there very quickly before I could ...
    Ellie, as I said in my posting on last week's Challenge, I hadn't commented as I had a three day migraine, are they catching, I wonder???? Sympathies and condolences on the filthy horrid things, I look on mine as a sort of monster waiting to grab me, and too often does.

  9. Mimi I love the dreamy quality to your piece.

    Ellie Must admit I've not commented for a few weeks now, and I felt really bad about it too, but unfortunately my workload has been ridiculous of late, I've been lucky to get my entry posted some weeks. We have such a great community that Lily hosts here I'm sure they all forgive us. Now to develop last weeks piece into a longer form or to have a go at this weeks challenge or possibly both.

  10. Hi, Lissa! Fancy seeing you here. *g* Now, I'm impatiently waiting for your piece. Post it, and I won't have to tell anyone about how, one time in high school, we---

    William, Ellie, and Antonia: I don't care if you guys comment. I love your stories.

  11. Centennial

    Garlands festoon the gazebo in the center of the park. Every year, they celebrate the founding of the little town. The high school marching band dressed in smart uniforms plays ever more modern tunes as time rolls on while the town stays mostly the same. They even resemble their forebearers, though most would not realize it.

    I wait, peering through a crack. I remember how it once was, and they have forgotten. I could not have asked for more.

    The mayor holds up a key. The crowd cheers.

    A hundred years have passed. It is time to open the lock.

  12. Popping in with my naughty quickie. I'll be back...


    Unlock my tightened legs; I’ve a garland of feathers waiting for you.

    That’s what he thinks.

    You’re paying good money tonight, sugar. You been on a killing spree – just for me?

    He lays it all out on the bed; someone’s head, a few frazzled cocks and other uninteresting parts. I’m not hungry.

    Don’t see no gold here, Clarence. Can’t raise your children on body parts.

    He slips a rolex from his wrist. In the back room I melt it down – pump the dicks stiff with rigormortis juice and wind a loving spiral around the rods.

    They resemble art. Succulent. Valuable.

  13. Ellie, please don't apologise. It seems we writers (ooh - did I really say that?) suffer horrible stress which manifests itself in many forms. Be well; that's the most important thing. Antonia too.

    Mimi - can't believe I never thought of the Queen of Camp! I LOVE JG in WoO and have always coveted those shoes. This is so sad - such a reversal of expectations. A really clever write in so few words.

    Lissa101 - who are you - slinking in? Are you a lovely writer too; why not join us?? The door is open (at least, for the moment.)

    William, again - please don't feel bad. We all have times where commitments are just too overwhelming for words, other than those we can write for ourselves. It's great to have you on The Feardom - in whatever capacity.

    Melenka, I am intrigued by what comes over as a very American/Canadian ghost story. Everything, even a hundred years old is so new. As an Englishwoman I love how you evoke this (and I have American ancestors from at least the 1790s). What I really want to know is, what is the Mayor about to release?

  14. Melenka--Suspenseful, evocative, and what we're supposed to do (or so I'm told): leave them wanting more. Dying to know (heh) what's about to be unlocked.

    Lily--Naughty? Yes, but dreadfully horrific. I just love this last part: They resemble art. Succulent. Valuable. At first I thought vampires, but I think you may have your very own monster here. (and perhaps, it seems, so does Melenka)

    Also, Lily, the sentiment that "even a hundred years old is so new" -- it's so different over here. I had a friend in Germany who could drink in a pub that was over four hundred years old, and it astounded me. Us bebes over here have quite the different sense of age.

  15. Kazuhiro's Dragons

    Kazuhiro shivered, his threadbare kimono admitting the steely embrace of Mount Fuji's winds, as he opened the pagoda's gold-painted box where he placed the dragon's garland to wake the creatures beneath the sea who would bring the wealth his name deserved, but when the blossoms settled, Fuji shuddered, a quake refusing to cease until Kazuhiro stumbled from the pagoda.

    The change, resembling the quake, raced through him. His dragon's eyes watched wyrms slip their locks, water cascading to roll in waves ten shaku tall and unleash belching flames as houses slipped moorings to skate across fields.

    What had Kazuhiro unleashed?

  16. Mimi: great use of oz as a metaphor underlying this piece and pulling it together as a whole.

    Melenka: you secret the nice dark tidbits well in this piece that hides below the happy surface; boy are they in for a surprise.

    Lily: I've a garland of feathers reminded me very strongly of the traditional song "Cuckoo's Nest", and it brought out the perfect complement to your far naughtier tale.

  17. Mimi: Lovely work, I do enjoy that brisk, matter-of-fact tone; highlights the poignancy without leaving a trace of mawkishness. Well done! Leaves me hungry for more words.

    Melenka: Foreboding. Yet I am curious - the narrator leaves me vacillating between that subtle menace and watchful hostility.

    Lily: 'frazzled cocks' was a phrase that struck me oddly. Probably because when I think frazzled, I think maybe burnt by electricity. Which gets my mind running in all different corners; penises like smoking bratwursts, etc. But goddamn. That last little line. I agree with R.S. Bohn.
    Smoking. Especially with that feathery little phrase in the beginning.

  18. Mimi - great skit. Feels so solid so quickly it's a surprise when he(?) isn't. Nicely themed and good punchline.

    Melenka - oh so tantalising! I feel like something dramatic is about to happen, it could be so many things waiting behind that lock...

    Lily - so much packed into the space there, so visceral too. I can feel a couple of characters there desperately trying to be bigger than a hundred words.

    Aidan - very poignant, having seen some of the pictures coming out of Japan. Man's greed is so often his undoing...

  19. Thanks for the observations everyone. My character is simply a woman - with highly demonic tastes. :) Yes - I do need to expand on this to explain how cocks become frazzled, who Clarence really is - and what kind of 'children' they are.

    Aidan, I love the vibrant imagery as well as the rolling delivery of Kazuhiro's Dragons; it's almost breathless. Your account of magic and human greed as a cause of natural disaster is frightening, however mythical this piece. Very timely, and so beautifully-written. Oh, and I used to dance to Cuckoo's Nest with Hunters Moon Morris back in the olden days when I was vaguely fit. Very saucy. ;)

  20. Damn ... just lost the posting I did!
    Wonderful imagery here again, I think the overwhelming sense from these stories, week after week, is the imagery, so much conjured by so few words. A time when less really is more.
    This week has been flat out busy with submissions to my (15) anthologies, good stuff, outstanding stuff, always an excitement when a new story arrives. If anyone is interested, I can be found on Static Movement's site. There are new anthologies listed all the time, including poetry. I'm trying to write something for one which deals with Frozen Fear, got the opening line last night, just as I was going off to sleep...
    If anyone remembers Mythago Wood and the wonderful writing of Robert Holdstock, just a note to say he dropped by to see me this week. He and I go back a long way, my first published book was dedicated to him, and it was an emotional and delightful time. One of the major benefits of being a medium...

  21. Aidan--I've been wondering where, on the blogosphere, I would run into something quake/tsunami-related, and if I did, would I cringe? Could I write something myself? I shied away from the thought. But you've been daring and, in doing so, not only made me *not* cringe, but swept me up (heh--sorry). I really love this, and to think: it might never have come into your mind if not for what happened in Japan. That's a weird thought, eh? Really gorgeous.

    Antonia--Week after week, I agree, it's the imagery. And the atmosphere conjured by so many pieces. Perhaps I'm a bit different than others, as it's generally imagery and atmosphere that I love above story. I know, I know! But there it is. And this community is great for bringing that.

  22. I have just accepted a story for my Summer Thrills anthology which has no real storyline but oh, the descriptions and how he says so much without saying anything, if that makes sense. The first piece he sent in was 'empty', I asked him to add a bit and this evocative essay came back. Had to have it. Imagery and atmosphere, without it there can be no real sense of connection to what the writer is trying to say.
    I'm re-reading The Dark Tower series at the moment, now there is imagery beyond the norm if ever there was!
    Right, I will be alone this afternoon, no humans anyway, so I am going to tackle these words, which are driving me mad!!!!! Lily, what HAVE you started here????

  23. OK, here goes ... courtesy of Bela Lugosi -
    The Vampire’s Quest

    I seek the lock which will let me into paradise, that place where blood is not needed to quench a desire, where humans are not walking larders for such as me. This fabled lock has an intricately carved garland around it, resembling – body parts for want of a better description. Long have I searched, many are the locks I have seen, none will open the door to this sanctuary. Does it exist? Others like me say it does but oh, the longing may create a fantasy world of sanctuary, for do we not tire of the endless quest for sustenance?

  24. They decided to turn up this week.......

    The Two Blokes.

    “Whoa! You look rough. You resemble the scarecrow in that film with the Garland woman in.”


    “What? I don’t recall a straw man in Cabaret. You’re thinking of Liza Manelli, Judy Garland’s daughter. It was The Wizard of Oz.”

    “Oh yeah.”

    “Well, what’s wrong?”

    “Oh, I had a few too many last night. I couldn’t get my key to work in the lock so I slept in the garden shed.”

    “It’s not like it’s the first time.”

    “It is! I don’t have a garden shed.”

    “You daft cock!”


    “It wasn’t your house.”


    “Two more beers please, mate.”


    You can read more about The Two Blokes here.....

  25. The Road to Kigali

    Their semen glimmered like a garland of bloody pearls around her fleshy purse. Heart stilled by the fear they’d forced on her, she stared up at the sky, eyes locked, as though wresting the stars from the darkness.

    Moments earlier, she’d sucked in her last breath.

    Wide open wounds glistened as a dark shroud began to spread from a body that resembled a slaughtered pig.

    Their saliva had already dried against her skin, leaving a sullied sheen.

    The Hutus walked away into the evening; machete blades moist with coital residue, dragging the remains of the baby she would have had.

  26. Guts, No Glory

    Blackwood turned the knob, then stopped. "You eat breakfast today?" he asked.

    "Why?" replied Milton. Then it hit him and he shook his head, "Never mind. I got it."

    "You all right, Al? You don't seem yourself."

    "Fine," said Milton. "Just sick of these weird ones."

    His partner nodded, and opened the door. The lock was busted, bent and torn nearly free of the wood.

    Three steps into the place, they saw the vic.

    It was hard not to. Mr. Jones' insides were strewn from every fixture like garland. The rest of him resembled hamburger.

    "Yeah." Blackwood grimaced. "Me too."

  27. mimi - Love the analogy. Terribly sad though.

    Melenka - that is an AWESOME cliffhanger - please continue this - if only in a future 100 - just the next 100. Please?

    Lily - laughed at "frazzled cocks" and rigor mortis juice. Delightfully demonic.

    Aidan - nailed it. as Rebecca mentioned, you managed to show the immense danger and disaster in a Japanese setting without it seeming "ill-timed." Great imagery.

    Antonia - the vampire's lament. Lovely words, and I can TOTALLY see old Bela reciting them. This is right up there with "I never"

    David- lol after reading yours, just after Lily's, I went back to see if "cock" was in the words! The two blokes are in fine form today. Excellent as always.

    AJ - devastating. Your stories do more for my world awareness than a thousand PSA's.

  28. AJ, conscience nudging alert, again, love the way you encapsulate so much 'political' thinking into so few words and bring the whole horrific scenario alive.
    David, so pleased the Two Blokes are back!
    Chris, perfect horror scenario.
    What a way to start a Sunday morning ...
    Bela is a constant in my life, I am SOOO pleased to say. He's given me some wonderful vampire stories. I never did vampires before he came, with his deep throated laugh that never fails to make me smile and his very twisted sense of humour. One story I have from him (yet to place it), Keeping The Ghosts Away, is just crazy.

  29. Antonia--I adore vampires, and this gothic moment seemed cinematic and suspenseful. One must wonder what, exactly, will happen after that lock is unlocked.

    David--Any time you write dialogue-only, I find myself cracking up. It might be what you're best at, because I never need anything else to put me in the scene and imagine what they look like. And clever and funny to boot.

    AJ--Divine pathos. You've made such horror into something so gorgeous, and the image of the Hutus walking away in that last part is seared into my mind.

    Chris--As it turns out, I'm eating my breakfast right now. :-) Should've known better than to check the Prediction entries whilst eating. Anyway! That's some, er, visceral image there. "Weird ones." Yeah. Why can't people just kill each other and be done with it? Someone's got to clean that up, you know!

    Okay, who's next?

  30. Entombed

    He turns the death garland over in his gnarled hands.

    A wreath of bones, and things resembling bones; fragments of animal, man and machine. Lives, deconstructed.

    Death, reconstructed.

    Debris, become the key to beyond.

    He has been bound for millennia; buried with these penumbral things from the flickering, cave-fire dawn of fear, with the scritching, scratching of fraying claws and jaws with too-big teeth.

    Then the Earth split and pieces of the modern world fell in. Now he yearns for the outside.

    He turns his key. The lock cracks.

    He walks free... and demons ride his shadow.

  31. Apologies for lack of comments last week, but both writing commitments AND the 9 to 5 job took over my life on a massive scale.

    Mimi – This is lovely, sad, empathic; someone unable to properly say goodbye. Quite moving and understated.

    Melenka – Loads of mystery in this piece; the trepidation of the entity beyond the lock entices us, and we want to know more.

    Lily – Evocative descriptions “garland of feathers” and “loving spiral around the rods” make this darkly alluring and makes us ask more questions about who or what the ‘children’ are...

    Aiden – Wonderfully written, there is beauty in every word, perfectly styled.

    Antonia – The language lends itself to the mournful tone; it’s easy to imagine a draped shadow uttering these doleful words.

    David – Love these two, they do make me smile. And dare I say it, quite true to life...

    Chris – Noir and horror all in one; I could imagine this passage from a very dark crime ridden full length story. Loved it.

  32. Antonia - can't help but feel for the predator. Feeding on the same thing for century after century. Nicely done.

    David - made me laugh. =) just the right level of irreverence and reminiscence between two old mates.

    AJ - oh wow... so brutal. And so well written.

    Chris - gruesome, that outline's gonna take a lot of chalk... Great title, too.

  33. John--This got me to the edge of my seat! This is only a beginning, you realize, and I'm sure I won't be the only one who wants more. Who is this... thing? Man? Creature? Neither? The garland was well-described and the entire scene was written in language I loved. Well done.

    Also, your comment to Chris, "that's gonna take a lot of chalk," cracked me up.

  34. Warble

    He pushes a key into the bird’s mouth. Unlock the song, he says. Predictably, the bird chokes, or is crushed in his fist. It’s hard to tell. He glues the feathers—and more, bits of beak and whole wings—to the wire across the kitchen. I steam my face over a pot, trying to ignore the garland of dead birds overhead.

    “You resemble her, you know,” he says. My pores continue to open, and I ignore him too. “Can you sing like her?”

    He croons against the back of my neck. Against my will, I sing along. My voice breaks against the metal as he pushes his key into me, again and again.

    * * *

    I figured since I can't win, I can go a few over the limit. :-) But O how I love the torture of compressing words...

  35. Antonia, I uttered that so feminine and delicate word 'Phwoarrrrr' when I read The Vampire's Quest! I adore the imagery and gothic intent. Wonderful writing. And good timing - I finally received my copy of Their Dark Masters today. Vampires rule!

    David, yay! The two blokes are back! This is great; I'm a big Cabaret and Wizard of Oz fan and I love how you've got your two guys bantering about them. Well done for the plug to their web page!

    By total contrast in style - and isn't it wonderful we have such a blend each week at The Prediction - Ally, stunning, stunning writing. There are so many beautiful descriptions here, dancing with poetry through the horror. You evoke an absolute turmoil of emotions yet I was totally gripped.

    Chris, hell, Milton and Blackwood get through more than their fair share of murder, don't they. I love these characters and the pacey delivery that always accompanies them. Are they novel-bound? Superb noir - as always.

    John, wow, this is gorgeous. So utterly dark with a plethora of death-tools; riding through time with desire. "He turns his key. The lock cracks." I love that - and you got penumbral in there too! An excellent read.

    Rebecca, you blend the bizarre with the mundane so cleverly. What an intriguing concept - unlocking the bird's song with a key. I want to paint a picture of this whole piece. Brilliant.

  36. I think this is too light-hearted for this site, but here goes anyway:
    Early one morning
    After her parents died – an accident freakish enough to resemble a suicide bid, but she’d pooh-poohed that as far too out of character – he’d been solicitous and decided that marriage would help her overcome her grief. He said he’d found an idyllic place for a honeymoon but as soon as they walked into Lock-keeper’s Cottage she was assailed by an ethereal, faintly–heard tune, the barely remembered words to which included ‘Gay is the garland you bind on my brow.’ Only as they walked along the canal did she remember its ending: ‘How could you use a poor maiden so?’

  37. Sandra, on the contrary. Early One Morning has an underlying menace to it. I'm wondering what hand he played in his fiancée's parent's 'accident'. There is always something inherently eerie about a faintly-heard nursery rhyme or in this case, traditional folk song. This really gives me the creeps; is truly evocative in so few words and such well-crafted writing. The song will be with me all day.

  38. Sandra--I agree with Lily. There are such dark undercurrents here, and without telling us much or giving us a specific bit of information to go on, you've painted the husband as a potential psychopath. Solicitious, was he? I have my doubts as to the lengths of his solicitous behavior. This is very subtle and extremely well written.

  39. Mimi - Such a poignant scene, more so because of the last line. Really well done.

    Lily - This is so delightfully wicked, yet with a cynical, tired voice - at least until the very end. That sudden delight gave me the shivers.

    Aidan - Such a powerful, mythic explanation for the forces behind unhindered destruction. I think we are all Kazuhiro.

    Antonia - So nice to see vampires longing for something else besides blood. Interesting that there could be something beyond immortality.

    David - That made me laugh, which I sorely needed today. I will have to check out more of their adventures!

    AJ - That was horrific, moreso because the monsters are real. A research paper on Rwandan genocide written 20 years ago still haunts me, and this brings it back.

    Chris - I want to turn the page and read about how those two track down the killer. I'm glad someone used innards as garlands, as that image has been waiting to be claimed.

    John - I love every word, sparse and yet so incredibly evocative. I could feel the world shudder at his awakening.

    Rebecca - What a gorgeously described scenario. This one gave me goosebumps.

    Sandra - Not so light-hearted at all! I fear her betrothed has nefarious plans for her and wonder if the spirits of her dead parents aren't trying to warn her away.

  40. Rebecca - I really felt the bite of the word count, agonised over every word, sure I could lose none... This was a difficult one to get down.

    Warble's great, regardless of word count, so many layers of meaning.

    Sandra - This is really good, subtle and insidious with plenty of flavour.(although I think pooh-poohed may be too frivolous a phrase to use in conjunction with the death of parents)

    And Lily, penumbral was something of a late entry, since your previous post had me thinking along those lines, but it just fitted perfectly. =)

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. I'm in the process of reading these bang-up entries. In the meantime, here's mine:


    Jack was screaming. “I’m fed up with all these fuckin’ wreaths and flowery shit everywhere in the house.”

    “I think a happy home should resemble a garden.” Vicki was defensive. She nervously draped fresh garland around the fireplace mantle.

    Jack was slumped on his recliner. “I got an idea,” he slurred. He set down his beer can and lifted a glass bowl of potpourri. “Let’s reunite these with nature.” He tossed it out the window.

    “You bastard.” Vicki stormed off. She’d had enough.

    Jack returned to his chair, satisfied.

    In the bedroom, Vicki grabbed the key for the gun lock.

  43. Jenny--Ah, how I love the smashing of cliches. They make such a pretty sound. And "Cilia on my skin rise." Mine, too. :) Excellent development of idea, fascinating piece. (god I sound technical but mostly I can't express myself except through fiction)

    Angel--Hello! Bringing the home-grown horror, aren't you? Can I just say how much I love a woman who gardens, keeps a nice house AND knows where the gun safe is? AND don't take any shit from men slumped in recliners who slur and shout? Well done, sir!

  44. You guys keep raising the bar with these flash pieces. This week is killer.

    Anything resembling a bath would have stymied me.

    A trained human can lock in on the scent of a hundred year’s worth of unwashed body. Always.

    We have become more sensitized to smell as our hygienic standards have risen, and ropey garlands of dry, sour skin wreath my nose. I grip the kukri. Freshly sharpened to be festooned with a bright holiday spray of blood. Exciting, right? Cilia on my skin rise.

    I pretend-mumble in my sleep. My hand tenses. A wrinkled, spotted head leans in. Dirty fangs.

    Ewie. Ancient. And pre-dental care.

    God, I wish they were all like the movies.
    Fit. Seductive. Looking under 90.

  45. O, R.S. Bohn. I had to delete and repost the piece you commented on. (Made changes. Kind of like that piece of furniture you keep moving around in a room because it's never quite right. UGH.)
    Thank you much for the kind words. I am throughly kicking this piece out the door to fend on its own now.

  46. Mimi,
    Brilliant job of weaving Oz into a haunting, beautiful tale. It’s very poetic.

    You made a tranquil setting so effectively scary. What the hell is the mayor gonna release into the world?

    I’m still unable to let go of me cock for fear I may find it missing. Jesus!

    Yes, fearless prose. The language was as fluid as waves. It’s a tight fantasy grounded in a more horrific reality.

    I dig it. I like how it reads Stokeresque, almost like a diary entry. Definitely can be extended into a longer piece.

    I don’t think I’ve read any of your Two Bloke tales before. Gotta stop by your pad and read some more. I love the voices and how focused they are on returning to the finer things in life…beer.

    This is some brutal shit. You paint a grim picture with pretty words. This one is gonna live with me for awhile.

    Nothing like intestinal art to raise the scrambled eggs and sausage patty back into the mouth. Vivid.

    This is language à la Lovecraft, juicy and raw. The opening line hooked into my flesh, and the last line stank of hell. In other words, loved it.

  47. Jenny, I routinely post stuff here and then immediately think, "Crap. I should've written it like that." Something about hitting "post" makes your brain suddenly work better, LOL.

  48. Angel - Really nicely done, using the space to set up the characters then telling the rest of the story in a single line.

    Jenny - I don't think I've ever seen a title work so well as a punchline! Love the choppy writing style and the irreverence too.

  49. Okay =)

    Here´s a silly/strange thing: when I started using this week´s words, four other words also wanted in. Like, it´s an association thing, beside the obvious similarities, they have similar colours... Don´t ask... My additional words: lost, realise, comfort, fade. Not that it´s important, but I wrote two pieces so I thought I´d explain my repetitive self =)

    Paradise Lost

    Lost in a desert of dreams, she clings to anything resembling reality.

    Tonight it´s a friend. Tormented, distorted, but still, it´s him. She reaches for him and her hands turn into birds.

    ”Mano como palomas,” she thinks, as they dance around his face. There´s iron in the middle of it, a lock, she realises.

    Yes, where did they go -- all the words that they had? Freedom. Love. Solidarity.

    She can´t undo it, with her useless feather hands, but she sings him a garland, for hope and comfort.

    When he fades away it has morphed into a crown of thorns.


    I Can Bring Nothing

    I drink jasmine tea surrounded by a garland of memories. They resemble a landscape; swallow eggshells, dried daisies and bones from the animals I loved. That photo, so strange, from my great grandfather´s funeral. Who takes a photo like that? I lost the key to the silver box many years ago, but now I break the lock. Inside are my secret drawings, that tiny rubber ball my granny gave me and things I can´t bear to touch.

    I realise it´s all made of mostly organic material, that´s comforting.

    My face, mirrored in the tea, cracks and fades.

  50. it's Thursday (already) and a great heap of wonderful offerings here I have not commented on. I subscribe by email, so I read them as they arrive/are posted, I don't miss any. Jenny Dreadful (wonderful name, love it!) made the point we are raising the bar every week and I think everyone is, I am finding it very hard to keep up the standard, which is good! Sometimes we need that challenge to maintain our own standards, I know I do, when I am writing outside - writing for myself, not taking dictation. Thank you to all for the good words on our piece. Bela is not sure there is a longer story there but says he will mull it over and if there is, he will write it with me. Last night I wrote a 2000 word story with the Earl (for a change) on the battle of Towton (550 years this Palm Sunday) with horror overtones. I am not entirely sure he added horror overtones, I know he was at that time deeply psychic and what he describes in the story he may well have actually seen, which is even more of a thought for a horror story.

    You're all such good writers, the work is an ongoing pleasure to read, don't any of you stop writing for this weekly challenge, whatever you do!

  51. I'm going to apologise now for my lack of commenting this week. I promise that will be put right from next week.

    I have read the stories and as usual they are awesome. Keep it up!

  52. Clever’s huffs strode through frigid air as mini-clouds resembling a garland path. Out. Up. Out. Up. The dollar store variety “lock” crumpled and his grin of anticipation widened. Within a half hour, the only evidence would be the listless lock.
    Slipping past manicured maples, he approached the eastward door, confident in what he would encounter.
    On the second landing within three minutes, Clever creaked open the mahogany door. As he knew she would be, brushing her long, raven hair in the dressing room to the left.
    Clever strode soundlessly, behind her without her knowing what was surrendering her pale windpipe.

  53. Angel--Completely pilfering everything RSBohn said. 'Ditto' to the word.

    Jenny--Weaving through your words was a pleasure. I almost got gilted of course from 'we' to 'risen,' just due to the alluring images and seductive sound of the words surrounding. Love the creativity and boldness!

  54. Not quite doing justice to the words but...

    After the plague Part II

    As dark vapours encircled us; they began to resemble their human forms. In life Pastor Jacob had held his beliefs like a garland of spite. His form arched over the children, his vapour was the darkest, as was his intent.

    Grandmother commanded the lock of hair to break free of the hawthorn, its strands being taken up and scattered by the whirlwind that they had created. The cascade of golden threads being sourced from an innocent caused the evil to disband, we were safe for now, but must find shelter to regroup, next time we might not be so fortunate.

  55. Angel, go Vicki! What a scumbag that Jack is. You've made us hate him through his dialogue and your short, sharp descriptions. Nice and tight.

    Back for more in an hour...

  56. Antonia: like the longing captured here

    David: great dialogue, liked ending twist

    AJ: disturbing and beautiful; you capture the tragedy of this well. I saw Lynn Nottage's play Ruined set in DRC with similar themes.

    Chris: well crafted opening, glad I don't eat hamburger.

    John: awesome atmosphere in this piece; I love the play on lives/death constructed.

    Rebecca: beautiful characters that bring out the voyeur in me… don't want to be them but want to gawk.

    Sandra: tragic, there is a strong undercurrent of threat; hope she can escape from the boy.

    Angel: great characters, like the closure of her "reuniting" him with nature.

    Jenny: great fresh take on vampires like where you went with this

    Asuqi: lovely writing as always; I particularly liked I can Bring Nothing's image (bones, eggshells, fade, crack) that sing of emptiness.

    Lissa: Intriguing writing, I'm curious whether Clever only things himself so or whether he'll get away with the crime.

    William: nice follow-up with last week; nice quick setting of problem and resolution with foreboding in the ending

  57. Jenny, "...ropey garlands of dry, sour skin..."; I love this. Plus, I've always thought of sparkling white fangs; the idea of pre-dental care never occurred to me! Great wit and crying out to be a movie.

    asuqi, double is good. Extra word prompts are good. Such gorgeous imagery and sense of longing in Paradise Lost. Hands as dancing birds is exquisite, as is their garland song.
    I Can Bring Nothing suggests (to me - purely personal) a wistful summer afternoon sat in a Victorian conservatory, fat cushions in faded willow-pattern blue. Lovely last line - I see that crack completely.

    Greetings Lissa, what an interesting voice to this piece. I love how Clever's huffs have a life of their own and how you bring us into his deviant mind. A very intriguing read.

    William, this takes your plague series onto a new level. An ethereal battle - good and evil in both realms. Powerful stuff - and very eerie. Great writing.

  58. Stop!! No more entries please. The Feardom has closed the Prediction.

    Results coming very soon from the inimitable R.S.Bohn.

  59. John - loved the self-confident mythos you're working with here. You own this world, and you've given us the barest peek.

    Rebecca - that image - oh, that image of trying to "open" a bird with a key. Wow. And the wife keeps on at the dishes all the while. Haunting.

    Sandra - I agree with the above - the use of the song, and the "quiet" that you bring to the end sets up a delicious, malicious tension.

    Angel - Don't insult that woman's pot pourri. Especially if you're a drunken lout. That's two strikes right there, but throwing the flowers out? Well. Love the language in this. Well done.

  60. Almost done...

    Jenny- love this fresh vamp tale- the humor makes it awesome

    asuqi - 1 your imagery is perfection. "my hands turn into birds" - gorgeous. 2 - "objects I can't bear to touch" says it all. wonderful.

    Lissa - there's a not-quite-human feel to Mr. Assassin Clever. Great tone and flow.


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.