Friday, 18 March 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Woop, woop - Rebecca Bohn sure gave us a thorough seeing-to with her wonderful judging for last week's Prediction. Bet she hasn't taken those boots off yet. Thank you, Rebecca for such a great job.

Many congratulations to A.J. Humpage for winning with the stunning The Road to Kigali. Ally's style of writing is an inspiration, as is she - a mentor and guide with 20 years in the writing game - do take a look at her All Write - Fiction Advice blog.

Well done to Aidan as runner-up with the dignified Kazuhiro's Dragons and to everyone who entered last week. A truly outstanding collection.

Back to today. My fingers are lingering over the old book - what will it reveal?

  • Fox
  • Middle
  • Surrender


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 24th 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.

Come play with my pages - you have a blank canvas.


  1. modern magic, perfect murder.

    Your mouth a sad doorway hanging ajar, your heart a dark room. It was the kindest magic, turning you into a house.

    Humans will surrender you up to a large, bright mall. The thought crushes beams, and the groans issued haunt the wrecking crew. Old murder, they whisper, not realizing new death.

    Foxes flee their burrows, crows stand watch at dawn. The inspector had felt you shift beneath his feet with unease in the middle of the door. What a dump, he sighed. An eye cracked with sorrow. He jumped at the creasing glass of a window.

  2. The Other Option

    While ensconced in the fox hole, fighting for our very lives, the battle lines shifted, and suddenly we were in the middle of THEIR territory. I looked at my men, and they looked back at me, defeat in their eyes. The only option was surrender.

    With a white flag waving in one hand, I approached the enemy.

    A live grenade was up my sleeve. My boyhood love of prestidigitation had finally come in handy.

  3. I'm back from my short hiatus with Gravity Part II:

    Gravity (Part II)

    As Helward listened to the alien creatures’ sharp intakes of breath and the grinding of their razor-sharp teeth, it never occurred to him they might allow him to live. But he did begin to wonder if he could out-fox them and play dead.

    As he fell backwards onto the planet’s surface and began writhing in faked agony, his fists clenched, a hundred voices stopped his improvised death. “Man of middle-Earth. Carry our message to all your people.”

    Helward looked up and saw paper float downward and rest beside him. It read, “Leave Earth if you want to live. No surrender.”

    The End

    Read part one here.

  4. Hello all!

    After a few weeks of not writing much online I thought I'd pop back here and get back into the swing of things. I've attempted a tanka with Lily's fine words. (Similar to a haiku but with two additional lines.)

    a fox forages
    in the middle of a bin
    feral eyes look up
    a battle of wills, he flees
    I surrender to hunger.

  5. Jenny - I love the first line and the image of 'your mouth a sad doorway...' Well done, a good piece.

    Mimi - Ouch! You did a bit of sleight of hand here yourself, I didn't see that one coming. Hah! Surrender indeed.

    Ellie - Great imagery and tension from the first paragraph. I've got to go read part one!


  6. whoo, what a good start! Jenny, love that opening line and the whole piece gelled beautifully.
    Mimi, wonderful last line! Wrapped it all up so well.
    Ellie, I can't 'do' poetry of any kind, and admire those who can. This is very good.

  7. Her Grace

    Hungry for sport, red-coats sweep the English countryside thinking themselves above the law. Perceived tradition feeds their savage arrogance.

    A bounty of nature – coat, lurid russet against iron earth and verdant meadows heeds the call. Legs trembling at the approaching gallop she drowns in fear, swallowing the horror of snorting, unwilling horses and the knowledge that her babes are at risk.

    Excuses for humans and unthinking hounds thunder through thickets. Lady Fox leads them aside, straight down the middle – surrender and sacrifice the only way....


    Cliffs, white – exposed. Red-coats lie broken. Lady Fox snickers, licks her cubs in the sunlight.

  8. Whoops - misremembered limit as 150 - now much honed.

    Traditional for May 1st

    Rise before dawn, middle of meadow, wash face in dew.
    Surrender all common sense: next man met so stunned by one’s beauty he insists on marriage.

    Yeah, right.

    And such a gullible, desperate, idiot that she almost failed to see the beautiful dog fox just twenty yards ahead.

    Abrupt gasping halt, thinking “Christ – if that’d been a man, my luck really would have been in!”

    But no: one arm (hers) wrenched up behind, another waving an extremely sharp knife before her eyes, a rasping voice in her ear commanding “Stand still my beauty – he’s stuffed – and it’s your turn next.”

  9. Clown Hearse

    Green, red, and orange-tufted pallbearers, their faces painted with tears, lift the coffins. More pallbearers remove a second, a third, a tenth coffin.

    Picketers from Westborough Church hold placards, "God Hates You" and "Pray for More Dead Clowns". A loudspeaker shouts, "Freaks."

    A fox-faced man pierces the police protection and they yell for him to surrender, but they must focus on the mob. The man presses a gun to the middle of a pallbearer's head. Trigger clicks. Brains splatter.

    The hearse's door opens, more clowns emerging, to bury their comrade.

    The man fires. Again and again. The clowns keep coming.

  10. Jenny: I love this personification of a house, particularly the way it jumps in with your mouth a sad doorway haning ajar.

    Mimi: I like how magic comes to save the day. Just a little different than it does in fantasy tales.

    Ellie: you hit the turning point/twist from his faked death to their seeing through it nicely. This is an intriguing tale.

    Susan: I'm floored how you've captured a full story in 23 words. Nicely crafted.

    Lily: I really like this piece with it's slow-build of tension and fear and then it all washes away when she outfoxes the hunters.

    Sandra: intriguing story, that draws me in. I want to know what's next and I'm hoping she can escape.

  11. Tamability, or: The Wild Dreams of Itself

    Foxes with white patches and drooping ears pace in wire boxes, licking at fingers, simpering like common dogs. The black fox in the field sees their genetic surrender; how does Man never fail to destroy what’s best about a thing? He sits beneath a tree and thinks. If he lets them out, they won’t be free. They’re forever tampered with now. They’ll look at quail and ignorantly squeak; they’ll look up at whiskerless, flat faces and expect a treat.

    They’re caught in the middle, trapped by design.

    Black fox heard once of a forest untouched by man. He trots off.


    Hi! Not my strongest, so maybe another is in order. In the meantime, I'm sure you've all heard of the long, on-going experiments by Russian researchers to prove that by breeding for a single genetic trait in silver foxes --friendliness towards humans -- that the animal itself would undergo vast physical changes, thus explaining how wolves became dogs. While it's of great interest to us, I think it may not appear to be so wonderful to those still-wild creatures observing from afar.

    Thanks for reading, everyone.

  12. Transition

    New moon leaves the middle night dark. Soft grass and bramble take turns against my ankles. Useless in the woods, my eyes adjust in starlit meadow where the fox waits, panting, and I imagine the low light comes from him. I lower myself, crawl on my belly, slow and steady lest he flee or become unreal.

    His breath tickles my ear like a sigh, and warmth pools in my nethers. He stretches out beside me, ginger hair framing a sharp, pale face. He pulls me to him, knowing I have come to surrender.

    I am so tired of being human.

  13. Cast Out

    When they arrived, the deal was surrender or annihilation. The natives didn't back down; even outnumbered and primitive, they raised arms against the usurpers. The decision was made.

    The shadow over the land lifted. The primates rejoiced, voices lifted in joyous song, reminding her of home. Bittersweet memories.

    In the middle of the field she lie naked and invisible to ignorant eyes. A lone fox sat beside her, gaze intent in silent communication. The two outcasts she shielded as the beam envelops the landscape, dissolving all lives but theirs.

    Darkness descends. Two solitary beings take shelter.

    // My first time here. It was a fun challenge I hope to repeat.

  14. Jenny - You gave us a haunting house, and I keep coming back to experience it again. Stunning.

    Mimi - I felt their fear and desperation, so when you turned it around, it was both funny and a punch in the gut. Beautiful twist.

    Ellie - The most frightening thing about that scenario is my cynical belief that certain people would know, and the rest of us would be left to fend for ourselves. And I don't think the invaders would much care.

    Susan - I love your poem. It's so tight, and yet evocative.

    Lily - Cheering for the fox is a long habit of mine, but rarely do I get the satisfaction of knowing the critter won. I love the rich imagery of splattered hunters.

    Sandra - The tongue-in-cheek optimism at the beginning left me utterly unprepared for the end, which made it absolutely, perfectly dreadful.

    Aidan - I am unsure which part of this horrifies me the most. It's as though you reached into my nightmares and stirred.

    Rebecca - Food for thought, there. I've often wondered why we want to take the wild out of everything, as if that would improve it. I hope the black fox finds sanctuary.

  15. OK, catching up, you guys work SO fast it is hard to stay on top of the comments!
    Lily, cheering on the fox, good one! Time they turned the tables ...
    Sandra, another one crying out to be a longer tale, where does it go next, why and how and ... superb.
    Aidan, 'nothing scarier than a clown' and this startling piece proves it.
    Melenka, that one had me feeling the grass and the night ...
    Ragemore, do come back again soon! that was great, a wonderful read.
    Still no inspiration ... but perhaps later, after I have written out a piece of angst from Earl Rivers.
    Rebecca, great writing combined with deep thoughts, what more could we ask?

  16. mimi - A piece of war and magic, which always requires a bit of trickery, and it left me with tones of WW1. Led me on a history reading stint, you bad thing, right in the middle of my writing comments.

    Ellie - I adore SF. The faked throes of death are hilarious. Aliens taking over Earth allowing the option to flee? Unusually generous, I thought - which makes this reader suspect and curious both.

    Susan - Thanks for the share, I've never tried tanka (ignorant me). This piece reduces the human to animalism in a just a few lines.

    Antonia Woodville - Thank you. Perhaps we should all try some tanka?! I admit, it's not my strength either.

    Lily - You lurid thing. Good how the animalistic is pitted against the "human."
    Ex: The 'unwilling horses' are used to hunt, it shows creatures of the natural world being pitted against each other, but there is a payoff. Ironical little twist at the end.

    Sandra - What a nasty little surprise for that character. I hope she knows kung-fu and carries a heavy book of feminist proverbs to whack him with.

    R.S. Bohn - It's ok. I still believe you piss excellence.
    And I'm mighty curious about this silver fox thing. I mean, with millions of domesticated/food-bred animals being abused/abandoned, do we really need to insert a 'be extra friendly' gene into wild animals?

    Melenka - I can feel the exhaustion from "I am so tired of being human." It could be me projecting. I like it anyway.

    AidanF - A little 'real world' events tripping into flash, eh? Strong maniacal streak, which can be hard to pull off coherently - but you did it. Good stuff.

    Ragamore - Ah, no hope for humanity. But kudos to the primitive and outnumbered for the backbone.

  17. One more time, Gentlemen

    Foxy Loxy came off stage, sweating. Amped up. Cheri caught her arm.

    "Great set, Fox."

    "Thanks, sweetie. How's the room?"

    "Full of chickens with money."

    Fox laughed. "Take no prisoners, huh?"

    Cheri nodded, smiling. "No surrender."

    In the middle of the room, sat a massive, gorgeous man in an earth coloured suit. He looked sad. And rich.

    Foxy sat down. "Hi sexy. What's wrong?"

    The big man looked up. "The sky is falling."

    "Well then," she said, pouting. Flirting. Working. "We'll have to be quick."

    She stroked his shoulder. "What's your name, beautiful?"


    [lmao - captcha was "guistuf"]

  18. Jenny - First past the gate - and first rate story. I love the idea of a person turned into a house as revenge. So damned cool.

    Mimi - My immediate reaction was "Hell YEAH!" You set up a great tone, and then nailed a very cool ending.

    Ellie I'm getting to really like your sci-fi, as I read more of it. This has the feel of a larger, fully fleshed out world. Does it exist yet? Please?

    SMJ I'm amazed by how much you got into so few words. The end is so powerful, too. Well done.

    Lily Captivating imagery as well. I'd have guessed that someone so reverent of the Earth's spirit would make sure the little fox got her own back. And with style too!

    Sandra Gah - there was a razor hidden in this one. Didn't see it coming at all. Chilling.

    AidanTotally wicked bizarro tale here. Love the detail about the Westborough trolls, and the dark, dark humour with the never-ending clowns.

    R.S. How sad this is. How truthful, and how sad. Dogs are one thing - that was a thousands of years, somewhat natural process, what you're talking about is just f*cking unnecessary and evil.

    Melenka I want to know more.This is so intriguing, and the wistful ending just makes me want to know what's next.

    Ragemore Really liked this. Had to read twice to get the full story, but such a great take on the sci-fi invasion angle.

  19. Sacrifice

    His heartbeat unfolded like a flower. It grew loud in his ears, louder than the blasts that shredded the ground, louder than the voices in the middle of a blood raked beach. The sounds of desperate men floundering against barbed wire and bullets soaked his ragged senses.

    Purple scars stretched across a blackened sky.

    Fox in the hole. Hiding in tangled arms and legs and sand smeared entrails, stooped to the knees in a pool of a dozen soldier’s sacrificial blood. There could be no surrender, no glory in death.

    Something trickled down his face. Couldn’t stop it. He wept.

  20. Darla's Wicked Game

    She was a fox and no mistake! Darla was fooling around with her powers again. Quite why she turned Grammy into a fox I’ll never know, and Grammy certainly won’t. Bewildered, she strayed into the middle of the road and got hit by a truck.

    The thing about hand magic is that it doesn’t last long. So the driver looked down expecting to see a fox, but there’s Grammy dead in the road, his heart screamed it’s surrender, and he dies on the spot.

    Darla laughed long and hard at what she’d done, no wonder the dark side seduced her.

  21. Suicide

    He walked, not seeing the burgeoning life of spring. All that was lost on him, consumed by his misery. His wish was to get far away from people, not wanting their sympathy or to see them carry on their lives when his was over. But they did not know that.
    In the middle of the wood was the tree he sought, one strong enough to take his weight.
    He surrendered to death’s eager grasp, seeing at the very end the mask of a fox which then sauntered away to carry on its life, indifferent to the ending of his.

  22. OK, with my entry safely done, one that took me by surprise, I needs must catch up with yet more comments on yet more good reading!! Oh the pleasure, the pleasure ...
    Chris: wonderful dialogue!
    AJ, startling as always - imagery quite outstanding here.
    William, one to make you smile, but in a 'that's dreadful but good!' way!

  23. Jenny D--Gorgeous concept, and well-realized! I started to quote a line I liked, added another, then another… Oh, hell, it’s all wonderful!

    Mimi--I love the twist, and the story as a whole, but it’s that last line that sets this above “really good” into stellar territory. And it’s really too bad, honestly, because I bet he was a character I would’ve liked to know more.

    Ellie--Fascinating. Like others, I wonder at the true intent of the aliens, which leads to wondering what I would do. Well told, and you dragged me right in. Want the next part now!

    Susan--I, too, did not know what tanka was, and I’m so glad you’ve showed us. This was an unexpected, if sad, gem.

    Lily--When I read “surrender and sacrifice the only way....” I thought one thing (which you surely intended for us to think) and then had a whoop of joy at the true ending. I admire Lady Fox very much.

    Sandra--Well! That certainly went in a direction I didn’t see coming! Pity, as I really kinda liked her. Here’s hoping that there’s a part two and she survives.

    Aidan--I bow before your maniacal, completely insane genius. Again. Fuck. And Asuqi is ready for me to direct the lettuce patch story (she’s Gabor), but now I might have to put her in a clown costume. Why, oh why, are my friends far away when I want to direct short films? Anyway. Fine work.

    Melenka--This is sexy and wistful, and I read it a few times, wishing, wishing I was her. (seriously)

    Ragemore--Welcome! And what a fine first outing here. Incredibly vivid and I love SF and spec fic, and this just really brought those elements home.

    Chris--This was just seven kinds of stuff I adore. I mean, when I got to “Atlas,” I just about swooned. Would love to see more of this.

    AJ--Once again, you hit close to home, pulling the emotion out of real events. War is hell, and you portray it so well.

    William--I must be crazy, because I laughed, too. This Darla is a character you should keep your eye on; I wouldn’t be surprised if she turns up again (and here’s hoping she does!).

    Antonia--You’ve zeroed in on two universal truths that we’re all uncomfortably aware of: that in our deepest misery, we don’t see the glory in the world around us, and that our deaths pass with less concern from others than we wish, for we are simply not that important in the great scheme of things to a fox, a tree, a cloud.

  24. Jenny WOah! You've hit the nail right on my spook bone. Seriously a really brilliant idea I wish I'd thought of it
    Mimi A magic trick that went with a bang, loved it.
    Ellie I love Sci-fi, you should turn these into something bigger.
    Susan Brilliant full on piece, I keep going back to read it.
    Lily Revenge of the vixen.
    Sandra What a twist, caught me unawares.
    Aidan Something you did their hooked into my subliminals, shiver.
    Rebecca You have a great piece here, you should take this further, I love it and what it could become.
    Melenka A really sensual piece, there's got to be a follow up. Please!
    Ragemore I Loved the line "A lone fox sat beside her, gaze intent in silent communication." it intensified your piece
    Chris I loved the parody, this has got legs.
    AJ I'm struck dumb and in awe. Your piece hit me in the same way (and places) that wilfred owen did. Stunned!
    Antonia This struck such a chord with me. So often we get caught up in the knocks and bumps that life gives us we miss the wonder and beauty that's around us.

  25. Lily Missed my proper comment. I loved how the vixen is smarter than toffs.

  26. Thanks for the comments, people! Appreciated. Sometimes I think coming here is the only time I get to write as 'me.' Yesterday's close on 3000 word story was written by Earl River. It starts with his triumphant ride to London with the young Edward V and ends in Pontefract with his execution. It was absolutely nothing to do with me, apart from my fingers and my computer. So the accolades for the story (accepted)are all his too... I keep telling the guys, sometimes I like to remember I'm a writer too...

  27. fingers!!! should be Earl Rivers. He won't let me rest until we get his title right. Truthfully, though, if we are talking titles, it is Antony Wydeville, Lord Scales of Newcelles and the Isle of Wight, 2nd Earl Rivers. Right, now he's content...

  28. I have neglected my duties - oh the garish tawdriness of real life. Sparkling financials and glitzy housework. Yeah, right. Boring as hell - let's get back to your own gorgeous creativity:

    Jenny, one of the best opening lines I've read on The Prediction. This piece absolutely flooded my senses with sadness - and regret. I wondered if the lintel would fall on the inspector's head, crushing him as he crushed the soul of the house. Extraordinary.

    Mimi, a chilling inevitability of war, cleverly twisted so that the loss will take all. Impressive use of 'prestidigitation' - if I'd given that as a challenge word, I'd have been lynched!

    Ellie, dammit, this is so exciting. I never saw that coming after part 1. Gravity really has the makings of a blockbuster - who would play Helward?

    Hey Susan, good to 'see' you again. A powerful Tanka that says everything in so few words, and with perfect construction. I'm intrigued to know what the creature is that goes hungry.

    Sandra, love this! I particularly enjoyed the passing attraction to the dog fox. How many people have, or admit to having fleeting thoughts like that? Therein lies the writer's craft.

    Oh, and to non-UK writers, 'they' want to abolish or move our traditional May Day public holiday. It cannot happen...

    Aidan, absolute pure and freakish nightmare. In its own right Clown Hearse is a spectacular, relentless attack on our fear-house; brilliantly penned. But I researched - and found out the true horror relating to this 'church' and its bigotry. You are so, so clever Aidan to double-side this tale. Applause.

    Rebecca, absolutely right to expose this abuse. My heart trembled in sadness and anger as I read Tamability; I never fail to feel disgust at what others decide to do 'for our interest'. Presenting this from a fellow-fox view point makes this really powerful.

    Melenka, I am truly entranced by Transition. The love affair and the shape-shift are so tender, so pregnant with respect. Your words are absolutely beautiful.

    Ragemore, welcome to The Feardom. Cast Out is a fascinating vignette, fuelled by both fear and companionship. You have created such warmth between the two exiles - whether they go their own ways or take a new path together, that moment of mutual respect will stay with both. An evocative write.

    Chris, I read, then re-read this - finding new meaning each time. Then 'oh!'. He really was Atlas. This works on so many levels; great writing. I love it.

    AJ, humanity? Jeez, what man does to another is terrifying. Ally, you bruise our senses with your colours then rip through our souls with your vivid depiction of barbarity. Outstanding.

    William, Darla is indeed a wicked, wicked woman. There's danger in the hands of someone as evil as this. No sense of regret - only intrigue at what else she can achieve. Frightening.

    Antonia, such well-wrought tragedy. His despair floods through your words as he walks. One feels the peeking of the indifferent fox was the final confirmation (to him) of the worthlessness of his life. Heart-heart-rendingly sad.

  29. Deep water, again, language-wise, but if I don´t do it now and then I start getting bored with myself =)

    Winter Hunt

    I wait with dinner. For one hour, then two.

    I go outside, worried now, and see it; a fox. Standing absolutely still in the middle of the birches. We wait, trying to catch each other´s scent.

    It moves. Silver towards me in the bleak evening light. Then runs away.

    At my feet: an old ball-cartridge. And inside it, a message from you. You lie wounded in the forest.

    You didn´t come to dinner, but at least you came home.

    Me, I surrender to the fact that there are things I can´t understand. And I leave meat under the winter birches.


    Slitted eyes and wagging tail, ah, fox-man come dancing in! I bring drinks but such men don´t pay.

    Them skinny gals waltz by later, his eyes light up then. Soon he´s in the middle of all that blond laughter. They´re money, they are. Drinks, drinks, drinks, but never food.

    They put strawberries in his mouth and he plays his part so well, smooth this one. ´Course they still leave him behind, all begging eyes and hard mouth.

    Him and me, we surrender as always to this game of the rich.

    I bring him food. Fox-man can´t live off attention only.

  30. Winter Hunt is superb, Asuqi, so much said and unsaid in this incredible piece of writing.
    Obtainable sets up visions that are disturbing and intriguing at the same time. How do you DO that???

  31. Asuqi--"Winter Hunt" is, for me, a perfect little tale. The nighttime imagery of the birches, the ball-cartridge, the small plays with language. Then "Obtainable" makes me sigh, maybe in regret, I don't know. I recognize the sadly familiar in this story.

  32. Wow, people! What an absolutely stellar line-up! Here cometh comments:

    Jenny – how I love to stray along the strange paths of your brain, this is becoming addictive!

    Mimi – ah, clever! Such a cunning little soldier.

    Ellie – this is a great story! I really like the way you used the word fox.

    Susan – very well crafted, this! Love how you´ve worked with letters and syllables.

    Lily – great imagery here, with the colours. And what a lovely ending, I love the image of her snickering!

    Sandra – intriguing! And what a turn at the end, I didn´t see that one coming!

    Aidan – what a vivid and absolutely horrible scene you´ve created here. Well written!

    Becky – oh, but I like it! Sure it´s a political comment and while I´m sure no one minds those, this is still a piece of art. I love ”trapped by design” and the last two lines are wonderful!

    Melenka – beautiful! Great title and this: ”lest he flee or become unreal” is wonderful. Also, what a last line!

    Ragemore – welcome!You´ve brought us a fascinating story, filled with great imagery! Do come back =)

    Chris – woot! Absolutely fucking great! Atlas! Yes! Loved it!

    AJ – oh, what a scene you´ve depicted! So much sorrow in this strong piece!

    William – twisted and evil and absolutely adorable =)

    Antonia – such a wistful story. I love that you chose the phrase ”mask of a fox”, to me it speaks of intriguing layers of truth/reality.

  33. Hope you don't mind a second one:


    Hurtle down the corridor. Salvation to the left of me, surrender to the right. I fear the middle most; it’s where the ghosts won’t roam.

    In this never-ending house the speed at which I run is still not fast enough. The hall demands more haste. It wants the wily fox, the darting lizard’s tongue.

    I linger in bewilderment.

    Where is the light, Eliza?

    Why are my hands free of yours when you took such time to bind us tight at the wrists, sticky at the slit – poison reeling through our veins?

    Did you go first?

    Did you go at all?

  34. It's been said already, but such a strong week!

    Jenny - dark and eerie, a great modernisation of the haunted house.

    Mimi - heavy and light at the same time, nice touch.

    Ellie - couldn't help but chuckle at the Aliens watching him flailing around, not falling for it for a second. =D

    Susan - impressive you managed to fit the words into so few extra words so smoothly, wonderful piece.

    Lily - very satisfying punchline to the first. And your second piece has a feverish desperation that works well.

    Sandra - This twists very convincingly from the light to the dark. Poor girl.

    Aidan - you've outdone yourself, that is awesome. "faces painted with tears" is a sublime line. Black humour at its very best.

    Rebecca - the musings of the wild. Great ending line, he may be a while looking for that one...

    Melenka - softly, softly. There's a lovely gentle wistfulness about this.

    Ragemore - I really like the kind of observed detachment of the classic invasion, nicely done, and well-ended.

    Chris - lol, nicely done, a very modern Chicken Licken...

    AJ - excellent first line, and a last line that really brings it home.

    William - Not someone to get on the wrong side of!

    Antonia - This is bleak, and captures the impenetrable grey of depression very well.

    Asuqi - I always love the way you use language, the way you tell real stories with such abstractions.

  35. My Wet Infection.

    A silver ripple escaped from the stream and crawled along the mossy bank. It snapped through brambles exploding berries like broken hearts. A fox chased by dogs tangled amongst the thorns in surrender. The wave flowed by without grief.

    It pushed my sin along the middle of bubbling tarmac, dropping like tears in the cat’s eyes. My verdict diluted into reservoirs and rattled pipes under homes.

    I watched her blood continue thinning, skin flaking and organs decaying. Soon children will drink my crime. She’ll swirl in babies bottles. Every pair of lips will taste my confession.

    She’s my wet infection.

  36. Jenny- I love the idea of turning somebody into a house. Very clever use of dual details brought this story into sharp focus rather than it feeling ambiguous.

    Mimi- A story of boy soldiers and fear in the trenches is always difficult to read. You took us from the harsh realities of that war into a brilliantly turned resolution that made this stand above and give a sense of hope.

    Ellie- Great sci-fi battles brought to reality with the use of a single person as the representative of humanity. Chilling ending.

    Susan- A battle of desperation between nature’s usual scavenger and one forced into that life in a few lines. How? I don’t know but you did it.

  37. Lily--Your second piece has such a sense of urgency and growing fear. I felt like I was right in that corridor in some kind of house of horrors -- or maybe a mental institution?

    Anthony--Sensory detail abounds, but even above the horror you've described (baby bottles, gasp!), the pervading feeling of sadness. Loss.

  38. Mona Lisa

    He devoured a masterpiece: me, a fox of epic goldenness, faithful to my understanding of lipstick, mascara, and that body piercings make men of a certain age dry hump their hands while staring at my navel. I let him destroy what he would, bottom up. They confuse desire with surrender; I know which one they want, and he sucks my middle finger before I stab him with promises of fireworks and pink skin aching for a handprint. In the end, he’s taken it all, he thinks. He slinks away while I feign sleep to help him. I grow icicle wings.


    The words this week confound me. I think it's "fox." Also, my magnetic poetry board came in handy for this. Aren't they lovely?

  39. Lily,‘Her Grace’- I actually whooped at that. The anger I used to feel watching pictures of those savages would hang with me for days. Thankfully we became enlightened enough to stop the majority of it. But how I wish it would have ended with this graceful revenge.

    Sandra- What a shocker came from an early promise of humour and romance. Great turn and a powerfully quick ending.

    Aidan- Ha brilliantly comically perverse. Where did that idea come from? No I’M replacing that question mark with one of these..! I had a picture of the gun splattering the pallbearer’s brains with a little ‘BANG!’ flag hanging from the barrel.

    Rebecca- This piece saddened me. It only proves no matter what horrors we dream up to amuse ourselves with in fiction, reality is always one step ahead of us. Very haunting story that I’m sure will remain with me and others long after reading.

  40. Melenka- Transitions and metamorphosis is always ripe in the mythologies though I’ve never heard of one with foxes. Great idea that I’m sure has more legs than 100 words.

    Ragemore- Great first entry. Loneliness in annihilation and a sadness of watching everything disappear in the silent communication. A bleak tale that had thinning strands of hope inside nature.

    Chris- At first I was thinking of hen houses, then Chicken Little’s fabled sky falling in jumped out at me. But all along, or intertwined, was the relief needed to lift that weight from the shoulders of Atlas. Layered and thick with meaning. Quite cheeky too.

    AJ- A beautifully painted scene of dread. The details unfolded like a complex envelope of terror and darkened beauty before our eyes, before laying us flat amongst the dead and the dirt. Chillingly real and stunningly told.

  41. Lily – forever stuck in a feverish nightmare. Haunting and beautiful!

    Anthony – relentless poetry? I think yes. Perfect title. This: ”Soon children will drink my crime. She’ll swirl in babies bottles. Every pair of lips will taste my confession.” Great!

    Becky – Love it, love it, love it! Wonderfully absurd! ”I grow icicle wings!” Wow! Great imagery! (I love magnetic poetry boards, they´re brain-tickling stuff. Like being drunk without having to actually drink)

  42. Rebecca: Tamability, those silver foxes are everywhere; I think I now know what domestication gets you. I like the fresh fox viewpoint. Mona Lisa, some great images in this piece (my favorite icicle wings). I don't think I have words for the dark horror this brings out

    Melenka: nice counterpoint to Tamability. Did you intentionally play on Kitsune, your piece strongly reminds me of that mythos.

    Ragemore: I love the SF aspects of this piece and the full story you squeezed into your hundred words. The final paragraph has a nice punch.

    Chris: gorgeous line, full of chickens with money. Playfully clever, I like the sky is falling with chickens and then you play one more level with Atlas.

    AJ: Sacrifice's hook heartbeat unfolded like a flower took my breath away. Loved the imagery here and I want more.

    William: brilliant, I totally got sucked into Darla's twisted games; her light heartedness and the callousness she shows when they die.

    Antonia: a sad tale, but it is so easy to believe the lies that hide the burgeoning of life. You capture this viewpoint well.

    Asuqi: Hunt, the winter birches catches the sadness of this tale; Obtainable, lovely images in this one and a sense of unrequited desire gives it a sad tinge.

    Lily: Lure, did you go at all nice tweak on the ending bringing doubt into the story. Enjoyed the pacing which made me think of running with short pauses for gasps.

    Anthony: images dripping with the horror of the story, really liked the exploding berries. The line drinking of the crime ups the horror for me.

    Anthony, I hadn't thought of the 'BANG' flag, but now I can't get that image out of my head. Love it.

  43. Madame Fox

    Madame Fox cries tears of black.

    She is the heartbreak that is the last thing two ex-lovers share. She is the dead rose, caught in the middle.

    She could surrender to this and be torn apart – a conjoined heart still beating as it is ripped asunder, geysering lifeblood in faltering plumes – or she can change, shift and escape: grow fleet, grow feral.

    They call her name, making bets on who she will come to, but she is wild now, and besides, they are calling her old name, her human name.

    Her tears turn white.

  44. Anthony - that is just... bleurgh... I need to go disinfect my eyes, then never drink anything straight from the tap again, ever.

    Rebecca - a barrage of sexuality, and a great close.

  45. Lily, more 'enchanting' imagery which you do so well.
    Anthony, what CAN I say? too nasty for words.
    Rebecca, oh good one ! (again)
    John, what a wonderful last line to an evocative piece of writing.
    You guys are too good for me.

  46. Crossing

    “Railroad car, grandpa, railroad car!”

    Sally Fox, graduate of Ms. Wilmer’s first grade Vernon Elementary class learned to love ash-spewing trains: desire is never preset.

    Preset as a chugging engine tracked to the high-plains - trees, shrubs, streams and observance all pass as 70MPH dreams surrendering to horizons.

    A graduate, Sally’s determined against surrender. Flower prints sway perfectly as the tiny pale legs of her frame push energetically, bursting from grandpa’s grasp.

    Standing on the track’s middle with pomp she stares wildly - squealing breaks barrel down and the screaming steam overtakes her.

  47. Jenny Dreadful - 'Your mouth a sad doorway hanging ajar'. What an opener! Stunning piece.

    Mimi - One should always have another option. Loved it.

    Susan - Welcome back. You told a whole story in poetry; I've got to admire that!

    Lily - Powerful imagery and great twist at the end. Brilliant as always.

    Sandra - I did not see that ending coming! But will she escape?

    Aidan - Oh, my. That made me come out in goosebumps. Loved the twisted nature of the piece.

    Rebecca - a piece that makes us think about some of the damage human beings do. Stunning imagery as well.

    Melenka - I have to say just one word, wow. This deserves to made into something much longer.

    Ragemore - I love sci-fi and really enjoyed your piece. I want to read more of yours.

    Chris - I adore stories told through dialogue and yours just sang to me. Stunning.

    AJ - This reminded me of Wilfred Owen whose poetry I will never forget. Powerful and emotional sutff.

    William - How wicked are you? I adored your piece and it will certainly stay with me for quite a while.

    Antonia - Such a sad piece but yet so true. In our despair we fail to see the beauty around us. Beautiful piece of writing.

    asuqi - I loved them both. Winter Hunt was perfectly written and I could see the fox as if it were almost at my backdoor. Obtainable but not really obtainable - a clever tale

    Lily - I could feel the fear rising with every word. You should make this one into a longer piece!

    Anthony - She’ll swirl in babies bottles. Oh, my. This was one twisted and horrific piece, and I loved it.

    Rebecca - Shivers. Down. My. Spine. I adore your fiction.

    John - Such powerful imagery and a great piece of writing. I loved that she did not surrender and that placing bets was irrelevant in the end.

    Steve - Oh, my. Not the ending I was expecting. You smacked it to her at the end. A clever piece of writing!

  48. To answer a couple of questions:

    Chris - Gravity Part I and a slightly longer version of Gravity II have been accepted for Pill Hill Press's Daily Flash 2012, but I am working on a part III and a longer story.

    Lily - I'm thinking Sam Rockwell.

  49. John-- I love this, but this line: She is the heartbreak that is the last thing two ex-lovers share. absolutely slayed me. Isn't that the truth, the last thing... And that's what we're supposed to be doing, I think: telling the truth (via our lies).

    Steve-- WOW. Unexpected, hard-hitting, a "did you see that?" and read-again-immediately read.

  50. I cannot help myself. The thing behind the door from last week wanted out.

    Crashing the Party

    No one does the foxtrot, much less waltzes. They thrash about, oblivious to their partners. I pass through the middle of the square unnoticed. Bathed and outfitted (as a man this time), I search for sustenance.

    On the edge – of the group, of a ledge, all the same to her – the ripe young woman with falsely dark hair surrenders hope of belonging.

    I tender the sort of smile she never expected from someone wearing this skin.

    She tells me she is Grace, and so she will be while we play.

    Corruption is oft times more satisfying a meal than death.

  51. What an amazing week this has turned out to be!

    Ragemore - I couldn't help but think of the invaders as resetting the program to see what would develop next, and the secret savior messing about with their experiment.

    Chris - I adore this vignette. It's so jaded and yet with a sheen of hope to it. And poor, tired, Atlas. The least he deserves is a little pleasure for all his hard work.

    AJ - Such amazing detail in so few words. We all know it, but we forget until reminded. You do so powerfully.

    William - Darla is a piece of work! I love the use of "hand magic" and the driver dropping, too. Wickedly entertaining.

    Antonia - This is such a sad piece, and spot-on with the detachment and sense of hopelessness.

    asuqi - Winter Hunt was poignant, beautiful, and amazingly visual. I love this line: You didn´t come to dinner, but at least you came home.

    Obtainable has such great voice! I want to go to that bar and watch the fox-man work.

    Lily - Lure is a nightmare piece, no doubt. I want the before and after, even though I'm afraid to go there.

    Anthony - Your piece is soaked with sensual detail and dreadful destruction. This could be a poem and it would be just as strong and strange.

    Rebecca - I think I know this woman, or more than one of her, and the portrait you paint is brilliant.

    John - Great imagery and emotion. I love that her choice made their gamble moot.

    Steve - Therein lies every parent's nightmare, though it takes different shape depending on the dangers of home. The whole piece feels like a moving train.

  52. AJ - Simple, heavy brilliance as always. You twisted my expectations of the "sacrifice". Great Job.

    William - Wicked. Wicked Darla. I want to know how Grandma liked being a fox... for that one minute.

    Antonia - At the very least, he had a witness to what he must have felt was his ultimate moment. Strong writing. Sad end.

    asuqi - #1 - beautiful words in this tragedy, the ambiguity makes it mysterious. #2 - I like the strangely tender end to this tale of entitlement.

    Lily - Gorgeous writing, and a brick wall of an ending. I'm breathless.

    Anthony - Such awesome word choices. So evocative. My skin was writhing.

    Rebecca - I'm going to be dreaming of "icicle wings". These words have flavour.

    John - the story of heartbreak by the purest heart of them all. Excellent writing.

    Steve - Holy shit. The train hit me. This story was deadly good.

    Melenka - love the dance of darkness woven in among the literal dancing.

  53. I have to have some cheap fun:

    Tech Support

    In the middle of my apology, Hotmail ran cold.

    I tried again; and Chrome lost its lustre.

    On my next attempt, Firefox ran off with my words.

    The Explorer wouldn't let me Yahoo.

    Facebook got all up in my grill.

    And my tweets were stilled
    As Firefox came back for dessert.

    I surrendered, and threw my laptop out the window.

    How was I to know you were coming over to make up?


    When you get out of the hospital...text me, 'kay?

  54. William- Sinister tricks that made me smile though I knew I shouldn’t really. The two-fer on Darla’s deaths was a nifty bonus. I love this kind of darkness and death without reason. Just for the kicks, as the kids sometimes say.

    Antnonia- I wasn’t sure if the fox at the end represented the loss of the beauty he had failed to see or the cruel indifference of nature. Either way, or both, it struck hard. To show the last moment with a sight that makes him question his actions is breath taking.

    Asqui- Two tales of hunger of different sorts. I saw the calling out to lost needs in both and the need to satisfy that emptiness. ‘Winter Hunt’ was my favourite. It was lyrical and sparse yet somehow said so much of the turmoil that rages inside.

    John- The last line was striking- ‘Her tears turn white’, could have been a flag of surrender in her sadness, but the bookending of the shifting monochrome of tears showed us a different tale. The transition made us aware that not everything is black and white. The grey areas are where we choose out position. Clever stuff.

    Steve- Each line seemed to tell its own tale, an unfolding of years without letting obsession fall. The last line blended the cold screams of life into the piercing sparks on hot steel with ease. This was like a mini movie.

  55. Wow, so many stories this week.

    Jenny- I like the symbolism in this piece, a great opening line that grabs from the outset.

    Mimi- there is something cold and calculating about this story which makes it all the more effective

    Ellie- I like the divisive nature in this; humanity versus alien, and I’m looking forward to part 3.

    Susan- here you’ve eloquently captured a standoff between animal and man through expression alone, which comes through so strongly.

    Lily - ‘Her Grace’- I really like the way you turn it on its head.‘Lady Fox snickers – licks her cubs in the sunlight’ is so symbolic of the sheer satisfaction of a job well done. ‘Lure’ has a sense of intensity and almost urges me along, leaving me hanging in anticipation.

    Sandra- The pace of this is remarkable, almost whooshing me to the conclusion. Well written.

    Aidan – This is quite creepy, even though I love clowns, but you still manage to inject the hatred and prejudice that undermines humanity, to staggering effect.

    Rebecca- ‘Tamability’ – Very haunting, helped by the lovely sentence rhythms and near poetic stride. ‘Mona Lisa’ is bursting with lush narrative; the imagery you conjure is amazing.

    Melenka – ‘Transition’ is a very visual piece and there is enough here to arouse the senses with some lovely description. ‘Crashing the Party’ is oh so dark and ‘corruption is oft times more satisfying a meal than death’ is a corker of a line.

    Ragemore – Bleakness and inevitability nicely captured and a fascinating take on characters too.

    Chris – ‘One More Time…’ I liked the line ‘the sky is falling’. I saw in that line a profound sorrow…or maybe that’s just me. ‘Tech Support’ is quite brilliant, loved the play on words.

    William – Wow, Darla is evil personified. Stuff of nightmares, that it is just a game to her. But this is pure black humour coasting through this.

    Antonia – This is an amazing piece, sad and poignant and carefully crafted, and a fantastic line to end.

    Asuqi – ‘Winter Hunt’ The descriptive quality of the language in this story is adorable. ‘Obtainable’ is full with nuance, loved ‘slitted eyes and wagging tail’ to describe the male.

    Tony – Firstly, I just love the title, but this story achieves descriptive fluidity in both the literal terms, a perfectly pitched dark underscore to the narrative. An amazing piece.

    John - I like the way you open and close with the change of colour; the symbolic nature of the story summed up in two very astute sentences and enclosing a particularly sad story.

    Steve – Such a strong piece delivers a smack to the senses, love the build up to the crescendo.

  56. Steve, what a lovely precise piece of writing! Shock horror ending perfectly expressed -no pun intended!
    John, loved it
    Melenka, yes, it had to come out again, didn't it? and another superb last line!
    Chris, loved the poem ...
    not sure if anyone else is finding this but I feel my writing has got better from taking part in these regular challenges, where the word count matters and you have to pare the piece down to fit. Tighter writing is often better writing.
    So, thanks, Lily, for the enjoyment and the challenge!

  57. John – such a strong piece! I like the relentlessness about her change. Powerful imagery.

    Steve – I like this a lot. There´s a wildness to your writing that´s very appealing. Fresh!

    Melenka – dark and delicious! Loved the last line and this: “I tender the sort of smile she never expected from someone wearing this skin.” Great!

    Chris – LOL! Brilliant and clever!

  58. Yes, Antonia, I agree! My writing improves and also, I´m having so much fun =)

    Lovely comments -- thanks people!

    60 comments -- heee! Good luck, Lily darling ;)

  59. I apologise for not commenting on these - apart from the gob-smacked awe with which I read them I cannot fathom how on earth to do it - this little box gives me claustrophobia and whizzing back and forth makes me seasick. Any advice will be truly gratefully received.
    And YOUR comments on my piece are heart-warming, thank you.

  60. Steve - I like the structured feel, there's a great sense of pistons and mechanism that belies the human tragedy at the end. Good stuff.

    Melenka - I'm always impressed when people manage to serialise these and fit the three words in, like William did last week. Great final line, too.

    Chris - Funny, and very rapid fire comedy too. =)

  61. John: I love the black/white dichotomy and the hope that white brings. Great images!

    Steve: my first thought was she was keeping grandpa from the train, but as I read the understanding and _horror_ dawns.

    Melenka: Crashing, I love the way you capture club-dance. Lovely voice "so she will be". I'm intrigued by this character, unfortunately I think it could corrupt me too.

    Chris: Tech, cute play on words; like the way you capture the different modern day equivalents and the clever way they play on his frustrations.

  62. Chris - It may be "cheap," but it's wicked fun.

    Sandra - I write my comments in a separate window, so I don't have to scroll up and down. Then, when I'm done, I cut and paste them. I find that makes it easier to keep track and ensures sure I don't miss anyone's stories.

  63. Asuqi, Winter Hunt is a careful glimpse into a delicate relationship, the fox as harbinger. Sad and beautiful.
    Fox-man thinks himself a sexy beast in Obtainable; the (presumably) non-skinny, non-blond wants him for her own reasons. Intriguing.

    Anthony, marvellously strange and poetic with the most exquisite title - and last line. I feel every form of wetness here, healing and harming.

    Rebecca, when I first read this the narrator was a man. I think LaFayette was flurrying in my periphery. I love this; it's lush and luscious, filthy and matter-of-fact with a killer last line.

    John, Madame Fox is such an extraordinary character. Torn, split, shared - the duality of folklore and mysticism. This is a beautifully visceral and heart-rending read.

    Steve, welcome in. Fabulous pace here; I am chugging with the breathlessness - but am I right to be afraid at what Grandpa is doing to her? Intriguing.

    Melenka, wow, this is delicious. I love the reference to thrashing about - suggesting obvliousness. Gorgous sense of shifting by will here; I don't want to flog my own writing but this reminds me of my Dressing Up Box demon.

    Chris, welcome to my world! Have you been hovering this week? Ha ha, very tongue in cheek but I reckon this would win you money in one of the popular magazines.

    Sandra, I know what you mean! The Prediction challenge has grown so much (I'm glad to say) that it's difficult to keep up. But I for one am so grateful to those who submit pieces let alone comment - so come as you are, as the great man said.

    On that note, the Prediction is now closed for this week. Back in a while with results - though how, I really don't know!


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.