Friday, 16 December 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

Love it or loathe it, Predictioneers are about to get a Christmas gift - that of TIME itself!

It's a double-edged sword, this time thing - I'm figuring that most of us will be in a semi-frantic state in the lead-up to Yule and beyond - so writing will take a back seat. But then afterwards - we'll have relaxing, extra time when writing will be tickling and teasing us, desperate to pour out. So... I'm giving you TWO WEEKS to enter the penultimate Friday Prediction Challenge of 2011.

Winner of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

The Institution overwhelmed us this week, I feel. And so it should - it provoked some incredible visions and brilliantly-crafted entries.

My winner, with that dangerous sicko Harker is AJ Humpage's cold and terrifying Viewing Room. The cruelty this creature is capable of absolutely petrifies me - but I can't leave it alone. Congratulations AJ!

Two runners-up; aesthetic and twisted, Stu Ayris's untitled entry is a vicious and clever attack on our conscience whilst David Barber's The Game is terrifying in the murderer's normalcy. Well done both!

Words for 16 December 2011

Here you go then - two weeks to write whatever you want (though please - have some respect - keep it dark and disturbing):

  • Apron
  • Lash
  • Grail
Little but pokey!


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 two whole weeks until 9pm UK time on Thursday 29th December to enter.

Winner will be announced on Friday 30th December. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Release the Christmas spirit - mine's a Vodka and Russchian please - and imbibe on inspiration...


  1. the first thing I do on a Friday morning is log on to see who the winners are - for the runners up are just as much winners, for sure! Congratulations, AJ, another stunning piece and Stu and well, it had to be David's amazing entry, didn't it??
    Merry Christmas to all Predictioneers, have fun, enjoy the season but be busy twisting things in your head - it is not by chance that Static Movement managed TWO anthologies on the theme of Christmas Fear, with killer snowmen and all...
    Me, I plan on returning to history, if I can, which in some ways is even darker than the entries I read here! More treachery, double dealing and murder than you can imagine, and I am only talking about the Wars of the Roses at this moment ... (I'm starting a series for kids called Wars of the Roses In Bite Sized Chunks... that's in addition to Christmas All Wrapped Up, explaining how we got to the scenario we have today. One kid I know thinks the Twelve Days of Christmas are the days leading up to, not following, Christmas Day, for a start. No prizes for guessing what gave me the idea for the kids' book!!!

    Most of all, though I wish you all A HEALTHY NEW YEAR. Prosperity would be nice, health is better. Stay well, stay strong, stay writing. Enjoy.

  2. right, having greeted you all, this is for Lily, huge thanks for all the work of hosting and posting this extraordinary challenge which I for one have realised has honed and toned my horror writing this year. Lily, thank you. And thank you too for the invitation to take part in the next FFF.
    May your Christmas be merry and bright and all your following days dark dark with wonderful mysterious horror writing. Love to you from me.

  3. Blimey! Runner-up on my second try!! Thank you! I guess I will persevere after all!!

  4. Congrats AJ, Stu, and David!



    "Strange how three hiking expeditions ended with blood rites in the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. What have they in common?"

    "An unhealthy obsession with the Grail."

    The court laughs at my joke. No one likes these slant-eyed tourists.

    "Damn you, judge. Call this court to order. He mocks justice. He leads these innocents into the mountains. They're his rites. His rites."

    "No blood on his hands. Rest your case."

    Outside, I bask in flashbulbs capturing Manresa's favorite son. An SMS from my next expedition. Not my fault they overreact when freed from the lashes of their mother's apron strings.

  5. Congrats to Aj Stu and David - Well done Stu you have achieved more than I ^_^

    @ Aidan, oooh creepy!

  6. A Taste of Blood:

    He held the Grail high, twisting it back and forth, taking pleasure in his trophy.
    “It’s mine now,” he whispered.
    The Knight struggled to loosen his ties, but Gormont had lashed him securely to the table.
    “You won’t escape,” said Gormont as he walked over to him and withdrew from his rubber apron pocket a large bladed knife. “Now let’s see how well this cup can collect blood.”

    He slid the knife across the Knight’s throat, knowing that he would savour each and every drop of his blood….

  7. Thanks peeps. Congrats Stu and David.

    Two weeks is good, it gives me time to fit in loads of writing bits and bobs and I'm lucky I have a lengthy break from the 9 - 5 job!

  8. Stu, of course you'll persevere!
    Aidan, enough material there for a story... go write it.
    Helen, nice one, capturing the time and the mood perfectly.
    Mine is below ... and if there is an unhealthy leaning toward cannibalism in my work, blame it on my forthcoming anthology, Long Pig, which I will be editing for Static Movement (along with the other 18 or so I am currently working on...)

  9. Never Ending Source

    The apron rolled on, steel plates clanging as the tightly lashed bodies were conveyed to the huge containers waiting at the end.
    ‘We found it,’ the owner smiled at his reflection, not a smile anyone could take for anything resembling amusement or pleasure. It was pure malice.
    ‘It had to be there, the holy grail of moneymaking. All it needed was a little thought … and a few willing men to do the work.
    ‘I do wonder if anyone ever puzzles over the disappearance of runaways, homeless, destitute people as they sit in a burger bar and eat a quarter pounder…

  10. @Antonia puts a whole new meaning to the meat industry! Scary thought!

  11. Congrats AJ, Stu and David - quality pieces.

    I had a similar entry in mind to Antonia this week so have taken a different tact as not sure I can match that piece!


    Escaping the ‘island’ had been my personal grail.

    Mitchell, Blake and I were the sole survivors. Without food or shelter on that sandbank our survival looked futile.

    I was the one to take drastic action. To escape we needed to make a boat with what we had with us. I had a knife, my clothes, Mitchell and Blake.

    I slit their throats whilst they slept then skinned them. I lashed their bones together with sinews and tendons, using their skin for my canoe’s hull and apron.

    Now I wish I had thought ahead as the sharks circle my bloody vessel.

  12. Aidan - Teasing. Naive tourists led to their deaths but just who is doing the killing? I have ravenous beasts roaming through my mind.

    Helen - Grim. An unholy end to a holy quest for that poor knight. How many others has Gormont drained?

    Antonia - Chilling. Touches of Soylent Green here made all the more unsettling with the complicity of the unnamed 'willing men'. Well told.

  13. I won't post my entry yet as I'm still jiggling words, but I'm cooking up a dark little sonnet for y'all.
    In the meantime I just wanted to pop by to congratulate AJ, Stu and David. Sterling work there.
    Nasty set of words this week, but so far I'm liking what you've all done with them.
    Aidan, you conjure a sinister notion of what can happen in foreign climes, the first time freed from the 'apron strings.' I'm not letting my girl out there!
    Helen, I love your vignette - I can imagine Chris Lee and Vincent price doing this in lurid technicolour.
    Antonia, the simplicity with which you frame your your piece is almost as chilling as the notion itself. A horrible logical business decision.
    Phil, you are a sick little puppy. But then we knew that. The speed at which his decision is apparently made is almost comic, yet hints at a protracted degeneration. His ending is just and gruesomly satisfying.

  14. Salvation.

    The mushroom has a blushing frill,
    My love observes through glitt'ring eye,
    In preperation, utmost skill
    Lest all too soon thy spirit fly.

    Rilled apron round a withered form,
    A tear stained cheek, an errant lash,
    I Hunger, sob, resolve, suborn,
    She swallows, smiling unabashed.

    The poison pulses through her veins,
    'Pon slake of Thirst our end's begun,
    Release us both from Torment's chains,
    Let Sinner's work at last be done.

    From deathless life to breathless sleep,
    She is my Grail, I drink full deep.

  15. Ho. Ho. Ho. Loving your gorgeousness everyone. Feel free to enter more than once! I'm popping mine in now and will be back with my thoughts as soon as.


    He sips from a Burroughs’ grail; dips his lips into essence of poppy, peyote and a bitter jimson gall. Now he screams in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n, his voice deep, deeper, treacle thick and cloying.

    Here’s the nadir from which he must climb. Daubed in oils he straddles the canvas to shake and writhe, his artist’s apron riding between his legs, chafing leather against skin. He licks at copper violet, sucking it in to join violent antinomy that burns and blisters his tongue. He spits as he lashes with fingers and brush.

    He paints.

    And he paints.

    A masterpiece in flesh.

  16. Despair hung like an apron over his heart, shielding him from care and compassion. He trudged through the cover of the night cowering with each lash of the wind and fighting to stay upright when his feet gave way in the mud.

    Finally he reached the Master's house and fell to his knees on the stoop; weakly he knocked and crawled inside when the door was opened to him.

    With trembling fingers he drew the grail from a shabby knapsack and it skittered across the marble floor; the Master snatched it up and inspected it closely before walking hurriedly away.

  17. I apologise in advance for this one...

    The perils of washing up

    It started with aprons. She’d made him wash up so he wore it. He liked the feel around his chest, the way the string could be tightened, the way it flapped against his thighs.
    She went out Tuesday nights to bingo. He raided her wardrobe. The green dress looked the best, fitted like a second skin. He tried make-up, lipstick even a false eye lash.
    The next week was planned. The Holy Grail: underwear. The basque fit perfectly, the stockings sheer. He admired himself in the mirror, not hearing the door.
    He turned, saw her staring. “Sorry Gran,” he said.

  18. Dion - had to read that twice to fully appreciate it and wow, is that powerful. Superb sir.

    Lily - a deliciously dark piece where the artist is literally dying for his art. Exquisite.

    Andie - that poor wretch. How many unbearable feats did he have to go through for his master to disdainfully take the prize?

    Charlie - no need to apologise! Had a smile on my face from the start to the end and that last line. Loved it.

    Lily - on a separate note I wanted to mirror Antonia's thanks for your hosting of this wonderful community and the time you take with the judging. Without your Friday Prediction site I would still be fumbling around in the literaty void whereas now have three flash pieces across two anthologies (two of which graced these pages originally). So thank you hugely and a merry Christmas :-)

  19. Apron Strings

    She clung to her mother’s apron strings while counting off growth spurts toward her belly. She’d reach her grail by Christmas.

    “Go play. I’m busy with the turkey.”

    As she bent to place the bird in the oven the child untied the thread at the back and wrenched her up. She lashed out as her face smashed against the hot stove.

    She awoke to see her intestines stretching across the floor toward her daughter, her own guts cut out. Somewhere in the middle their entrails were tied together.

    “You should never have cut me away mummy. I’m your baby forever.”

  20. Aidan -Tourists Board nightmare. I wonder what lurks waiting for gullible travellers. Very unnerving in the spaces left for us to fill and the nonchalance of his attitude.

    Helen - Very chilling. A great horror tradition of bound sacrifice. Love the title too.

    Antonia - Bit of Texas Chainsaw in here. I always find these stories where humans are unwittingly fed other humans to be disturbing. This was no different. The two shameful greeds of modern society, the grasp for money and eternal empty bellies of the fast food world. Great stuff.

  21. Congratulations AJ, Stu and David really enjoyable pieces. Happy Christmas to you and yours.

    Mums Perfick Chrissstamas

    Mum was a perfectionist never a lash out of place. The perfect Christmas was her grail, but Dad always put a dampener on that desire.

    Warming smells of spiced pork greeted us, as she ushered us in to dine “Your dad won’t be pissed this year” she slurred, with a crimson stain on her otherwise, crisp white apron.

    Dad was centre table, apple in mouth and roasted like a suckling pig. “Appy Chrissstamas” She chorused swigging from a huge glass of meaty red “…it ad better be a good un” she menaced sharpening her carving knife… “…Now who wants Stuffing?”

  22. I would also like to add my thanks to the Chorus. Lily you have created a wonderful community here that nurtures those that join and encourages those that lurk in the shadows to take a chance. I've had a lot fun each week and have learned a lot. I know how much effort you put in to run the prediction and for this I am truly thankful.

    Happy Christmas and I'm sure you'll imbibe a Jolly Glass of Merlot or two. You deserve it.

  23. Anthony - now that is dark! Incredible concept chillingly told.

    William - remind me not to venture round to yours for Christmas dinner. Now to go and give my wife a hand and make sure everything is perfick lest I be served a slice of this darkly delicious pie.

  24. Phil sinister and cold. I thought it was a great turn to use the fellow stranded as a raft then you twist again to show us the sharks. No one comes out alive. I like that.

  25. catching up with comments, despite Christmas preparations, people have been busy...
    Phil, cold and cold as dark stuff has to be. Good one.
    Dion, very nice indeed. Cleverly framed.
    Lily, another one which holds more than it actually says in words, if you know what I mean.
    Charlie, I 'do' TV stuff at work, so I can say this is good, on the basis of the books I've edited in this genre already.
    Anthony, darkness indeed, evil thoughts there!
    William, I loved this! What an image!!!

  26. Oh, I've missed you ... sick twisted minds. I hope you have all enjoyed ripping apart coprses, tearing off legs and pushing stuff into empty body cavities; and may your pleasures continue into the new year.

    My meagre offering to the seasonal celebration:

    A new beginning

    The stitches on the assemblage of fresh parts oozed. There wasn’t time to wait for slow, natural healing. Work must continue. Pursuit of the grail.
    Blood drops ran like tears down the doctor’s disposable, green plastic apron as she fumbled with the electric cables in the open chest cavity. Electrodes to the brain protruded through fresh holes drilled at the temple.
    Satisfied all was in place, she switched on the power. the corpse twitched and fizzled. Smoke and the aroma of burning flesh filled the room. Then nothing … except the flicker of an eyelash.

  27. meagre??? that's stunning, Kim! good to see you back among us dark gore covered people again ...
    time we showered, I think ... got the blood off and the normality showing for a few hours. What think you?

  28. At last - some of that elusive time!

    Antonia, Phil and William - thank you so much for your kind words. It is hard work, I can't deny - but that adds to the pleasure. Our little community of Predictioneers is an ephemeral yet solid one and the generous support you give one another never fails to touch me. I look forward to seeing what the old encyclopaedic tome will deliver by way of words during 2012. And GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR WRITING!! I wish you all every success xx

    Oh, and please see my latest blog post about Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers being open to submissions again - I'd love to see you there. There's also a (shameless plug) link to my latest horror story - Licking It Up

    OK. Down to business (rubs hands with glee).

    Aidan, I visited Montserrat as a teenager for a wedding ceremony and was blown away by the Black Madonna and the swing of the heavy censers distributing frankincense over the congregation. Predator is a disturbing tale of arrogance versus innocence; that the guilty is released to the dubious heroism of celebrity - even worse. Chilling.

    Helen, I was locked in a medieval cave with Gormont and the Knight until you mentioned the rubber apron and threw us into the possibility of this scenario taking place at any time in the last 500 or so years. Considering the modern dialogue, could it even be tomorrow? Tasty.

    Antonia, oh Jeez - I wasn't expecting that! Pure mwah, ha, ha terrifying horror. A great build-up with a shocking revelation. Brilliant.

    Phil, I love the premise of this piece. Not for the first time have you written something that I visualise in comic strip form. This has a perfect 1950s feel to it and the final twist is ingenious.

    Dion, such blissful, tragic poetry; I genuinely held my hand to heart as I read this. "From deathless life to breathless sleep" is a divine dedication of love. Have your poems been published properly? Have you looked at Dark River Press?

    Andie, welcome to The Feardom! A distinctly gothic tone to this macabre tale of Master and servant. My 8-year-old was playing The Wedding March in the wrong key on her new keyboard as I read this, lending a perfect sinister aural backdrop. An intriguing vignette that makes me want to know what happens next.

    Charlie, absolutely no apology required. I adore the teasing pace that had me grinning from ear to ear, and the 'reveal' was an absolute, laugh-out-loud cracker. Great fun.

    Anthony, Oh yes!!!! This is my type of bizarro horror. Highly visceral and visual with an unpredicatable weirdness. My goodness but that bloody scene by the stove is clear in my mind - loved it to death.

    William, such a feast of festive frivolity with Dad as the death and soul of the party. Mum's language and dialogue is marvelously bonkers and I can just imagine the look on the rest of the family's faces. Yum.

    Kim, we've missed you too! A lovely Frankensteinian scenario here; Mary would have been proud. The question is - whose eyelash flickered? And is the grail now in sight? Very nicely stitched together ;)

  29. Warsmith

    Sweat, soot, grime and beating, beating insistence. Oppressive heat and deep orange rage, bright in a room of darkness. A sparking, clanging heart.

    You. Will. Live.

    A thick apron armours against the flicker of fire demons as he wields his hammer of heavy iron: a brutal, simple weapon of purpose. Corded muscle lashes out, beating metal into obedience, into life. Swords and bucklers, daggers, shields, breastplates, helms and gauntlets.

    You. Will. Protect.

    You. Will. Harm.

    The grail is lost. We men, we breaths of thought in cold metal, are all lost without it.

    Find. The. Grail.

    Find. Victory.

  30. Aidan - suggestive and dark on many levels. Some people just aren't ready to leave the nest...

    Helen - A knight and yet a rubber apron? Colour me intrigued, I like the possibilities here. =)

    Antonia - Ah, mystery meat... ;) Better for the planet than slashing and burning whole hectares of rain forest too... ;)

    Phil - Love the line where he's listing his assets. And the image you leave us with is outstanding (and just a bit gross).

    Dion - absolutely gorgeous. Structure, suggestion and detail. Bravo.

    Lily - Now that is one hell of a suicide note... and a tale that paints a lingering image in my mind, too.

    Andie - the grail's the thing, eh? Sod the servant.

    Charlie - Great slice of dark humour, and pitch perfect punchline. XD

    Anthony - Ah, that is, well, just sick and horrible and disgusting and quite, quite, brilliant.

    Oops, gotta get to work. Will be back to comment on the rest later! =) Hope everybody had a great Christmas. =)

  31. Back again! =)

    William - When suburbia snaps. Seasonal and creepy, that's gonna be one tense family meal...

    Kim - Very evocative piece, and great ending. =)

    Have a great new year, folks. =)

  32. Dion- A very sensual and visceral poetry here. I like (hopefully not misunderstood) double meaning and think it works remarkably well.

    Lily- I really liked the way you made us feel the drug working with the slowing of time and the treacle sounds. This is a very bad trip. A bad trip that at least offers a legacy of art!

    Andie- A fast and forward motion drags us quickly into this tale. You then slow it down with crawling and despair before the excitement rushes back with the master’s footsteps. I like that ebb and flow contrast and it certainly would make for a great opening to a longer piece for sure.

    Charlie- Ha very cheeky and lots of fun this one. I love the fact it was his gran and not his wife at the end. That was a shock and made my skin crumple like the creases in the old woman’s stockings he was wearing.

  33. Helen: finally a villain who manages to securely capture his hero before gloating. I wonder what the blood holds in store for him.

    Antonia: elegant with an aftertaste of Sweeney Todd. I like where you took this.

    Phil: nice turnabout in the end. Quick-thinking, but evidently hasn't spent enough time in ocean waters.

    Dion: strong images with well-chosen rhymes. A pleasure to read.

    I'm in between juggling several things today. More later. Lily, thanks for all the work you do in keeping this going week after week!

  34. Kim - Frankenstein meets ER! I am intrigued that we can't wait for natural healing to take place; already alive but what are we hurrying the victim/body into?!?!? This could turn into a full length novel.

    John - a master craftsman at work forging the steel that will secure the Grail to save the kingdom. Love the line 'breaths of thought in cold metal' and how you evoke the images of the sweat inducing forge.

  35. Quick query - please can someone let me know what you need to do to make a word show in bold and also for italics. Imagine it is simple but I cannot suss it out!

    Thanks and I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to the 2012.

  36. John, ouch - my teeth were grinding as a I read Warsmith. Brilliantly descriptive; it engages every sense and blasts them away. This has got to be expanded into a screenplay - please!

    Phil, I've emailed you with the answer to your question!

  37. I'm bringing up the rear and just scraping in. It's been a very hectic two weeks. Life changing, to be honest. But I made it with few minutes to spare...

    Finnion’s Whispers

    Her fleshy apron looked doughy in the dull light, slowly retreating to a deathly grey. She slowly dribbled onto the floor.

    Thick ruddy smears traced a path across the floor towards the darkened corner where he huddled, comforted by the cooling umbra and satiated by food in his belly.

    He had lashed out at her, taken what they had asked for, the voices; a grail of sorts.
    After a while, his wife stopped breathing.

    Finnion wiped his bloody mouth.

    The knife at his feet glinted in the light slicing through the drawn curtains. Next to his dead, half eaten baby.

  38. AJ, - I've got to ask - life changing? - are we allowed to know more? I hope it's all good news :-)

    Finnion's Whispers is absolutely terrifying. An insane vision of death; a depraved hunger marvellously and exquisitely penned.

    Hokey pokey. It's all over - the Predictioneers have left the building and no more entries can be accepted. Back tomorrow to announce the winner and the final words of 2011. Ciao.

  39. Very life changing, Lily. All I can say at this stage is that it's good news. Will let you know more next week.

  40. Ooh - how exciting! Can't wait to hear more.

  41. Lily: truly an artist putting himself into the painting; you've elegantly captured his madness.

    Andie: I like how the despair he feels is accompanied by the way the master treats him as nothing better than a tool.

    Charlie: a rather stomach twisting turn at the end. I like how logically this builds from simple things to more perverse.

    Anthony: warped! The childs voice and the wanting to grow taller has a nice opening chill and then the ending punches in the gut.

    William: something tells me the new year is going to bring lots of changes. I like how you've captured her drunkenness without explicitly stating it.

    Kim: I like this frankenstein you've created for us, you do a great job of envisioning the gruesome beginnings.

    John: this hints at a medieval robot; there's a huge iceberg of a world here and I like how you've rigged it to peek out.

    AJ: I read this as him consuming the unborn baby (unless you count his actions as cesearan birth); truly a terror.

  42. @philambler that was some skeleton of a boat - the last line about the sharks was chilling - I hear jaws music!
    @Dion - love it!

    @Lily a work of art, at he height of madness the artist creates!

    @Wow John I could feel the heat of the fire as he banged that armour into shape.

    @Charlie the antics of a transvestite eh!

    @Andie, poor fellow, after all that the prize is snatched away...

    @Kim oh very frankensteinish, with a modern twist, electricity instead of lightening, I like it!

    I hope I've caught up with comments, apologies if I've missed anyone - my email wasn't informing me of new post - strange eh. ^__^


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.