Saturday, 21 December 2013

Holiday Horrors!

We had but two authors send entries for the contest, but what entries they were!  You can read all of them below.  To both Sandra and Dorothy Davies I extend my deepest thanks.  Their work is, as always, brilliant.

I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I did.


Dorothy Davies

I HATE holidays, Christmas most of all. Too much to buy/do/send/cook … with the time ever ticking away.

Alto – no, also, damn fingers! Like me, fit to throw histrionics at any moment. Try again.

This year will be different. I have vowed it so and it will be so.

I am going for something different for the Christmas meal, one that will take them all by surprise and end me an ongoing problem at the same time

He knows it not yet but he will be the main course. Long pig.

With sauce.

For dessert, soufflé of blood.

What else?


Sandra Davies

Merk arrived as they were leaving, the distinctive nose of his car blocking the end of the drive.   Had David been driving he’d’ve backed down but Viv was made of sterner stuff.  The alto voices singing love to all men clearly didn’t apply to her...

That ticking on the CD was annoying though, he’d suggest the radio soon.

‘Arrogant sod,’ Viv muttered, changing up to third, having turned right instead of left since the lane was too narrow for them to pass, ‘bet Lucille is having histrionics now, thinking I don’t like her or something!’

Involuntarily, David grinned.  ‘You don’t.’

‘Merk darling, you’ve just missed David...’

‘Saw them, Viv driving.  David drinking, I suppose?’

‘Oh, no, I don’t think so...’

‘Heaven forfend he should do anything wrong!’

‘Well, I’m not rationing anyone: help yourself!’

Under cover of pouring a drink he checked the pigeonhole.  The envelope, David’s distinctive scrawl, didn’t look as fat as last year.  Bit of a setback if he’s given her a cheque and not his usual wad of twenties.  Merk tilted his head at Lucille who, primed, said, ‘Mother, I’d love to see the dress you’ve bought for Christmas Day’ and steered her from the room.

Dutifully daughter-in-law, Lucille scattered flattery like autumn leaves.

Merk’s mother had already cottoned on.  ‘You still at it?’

Tilted-chin defiant, ‘What?’

Impervious. Accusing.  ‘Merk, shackled to your greedy little fingers, has been drained beyond emasculation.   Do you really need his brother too?’

‘David?’  Fake innocent, a lie intended to alarm, hopefully precipitating heart attack.

Against septuagenarian experience, it failed.  ‘Larry.  He and Sonia will be here for Christmas lunch, as well as David.’

‘And?’

‘And then we’ll see which woman has the biggest balls.  My money, for what it’s worth...’ (watching Lucille’s mercenary eyes light up) ‘is on Viv.’

Candle-light reflected off the over-varnished portraits of several dingy ancestors whose cold-eyed disapproval was, today, perfectly justified.

‘She choked – on your pea soup!’

‘On the chilli-flavoured croutons you insisted on adding...’

‘She’d just swigged half a glass of Merlot...’

Mother’s head now lay in the multi-coloured puddle whose eruption had preceded her demise.  Three sons, plus wives dabbed ineffectually;  no-one attempted resuscitation.

‘We need to call the police... ’

‘We need to find the will.’

‘You’re a mercenary bastard, Merk...’

Defensive, ‘Can’t tell me you’re sorry.’

‘... shouldn’t be hard to find, though.  She changed it just two days ago.

All eyes swung to David.  Larry spoke first as question and exclamation erupted from the other three.

Viv checked for signs of life.

‘Changed it?  From what?’

‘How do you know that?’

‘What’s she done with the house?’

‘Is it ... fair?’

‘How much – do you know? – was she worth?’

‘Christ, you lot!  Listen to yourself, she’d not even cold...’

Viv was on the phone.

‘... I just drove her there.  Helped her up the steps.   Waited.  Drove her home.  She didn’t say.’

Viv was heard saying ‘The evidence points to plain unvarnished murder, sir.  You’d best send DS Pettinger.’

'Tis the Season

For all manner of delights and a hearty dose of frights, as well! What a fantastic group of stories you gave me last week.  I admire the way everyone rises to the challenge in such myriad ways I hardly notice the given words. That makes my task challenging, as well.

The winner this week is AJ Humpage with the all too realistic Hush, Baby. Such a terrible story made all the worse by how easily it could (and does) take place.

Honorable Mention goes to Sandra Davies for the fantastic phrasing and dark anticipation in
Dish of the Day?  I am totally hooked.

The Tome has forgiven me for putting a ribbon on its spine (which it summarily shredded in a fit of pique) and gives us these words to ponder:

Prong
Distend
Obstinate

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Because this coming week contains a holiday or two, I'm going to extend the deadline to January 2.

Go forth, be merry, and take out any holiday frustrations with irritating relatives or rude shoppers on your poor characters. I eagerly await your tales!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Best Laid Plans

Alas, my desire to get to winners and words early was a bust. That's what happens when one has a day job. Also what happens when it snows quite a bit and someone runs you off the road into a ditch. I have managed to make it home, only a little worse for wear.

Judging the entries from last week has been really difficult.  There were so many good stories. I am truly grateful to all of you for coming here each week (or as you're able) to share your stories and give feedback to your fellow writers. This was a robust week, and I appreciate your enthusiasm.

Edging out the competition this week is Zaiure, with Twice-Born. The world building in so few words is impressive, and the whole thing was both beautiful and disconcerting.

A most honorable mention goes to John Xero for his latest installment of (rise). I want so much for this to be a full-length book some day, so I can find out what happens to Olivia and George, et al without waiting.

The Tome has offered up these words for our perusal and delight.

Erupt
Varnish
Cold

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. You have one week. I can't wait to see what tales you tell!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Cold Winds Blow


There's a wicked storm making its way across the U.S., and while I'm out of the worst of it, the cold is bitter indeed. All the better for staying inside, drinking hot beverages (with or without a bit of liquor, I won't be saying), and snuggling up with a nice bit of darkish fiction.

While there were only four entries last week, they were each of them a delight to read. The one that cut through my fluffy down blanket to near-freeze the blood was AJ Humpage's A Sign of Things to Come.  That was a fine and nasty piece of (I hope) fiction.

I know it's a bit of a rush with the holidays and weather being unpredictable, but do feel free to invite your friends over to The Prediction to share their words with us.  I would so love to see our community grow, whether from old friends returning or new ones being made.

And now that I've done my little push, here are the words I hope might tempt you:

Flatter
Cotton
Shackle

So innocuous, and yet I see great potential for mischief in them.

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Change Up

Greetings, Predictioneers!

This is Rebecca, stepping in for Colleen for the foreseeable future. Family business requires her attention for now, so she's asked me to take over hosting duties. Luckily, I already have posting rights, so the transition should be smooth indeed. Naturally, none of my stories will be considered for judging, though I do hope to continue to play in this delightful sandbox.

As Colleen has often noted, choosing a winner is hard!

For sheer horror, I have to give the win to Sandra Davies for Disconnection. I found it both sickening and oddly amusing. 

Runner up goes to AJ Humpage for Just Another Day. The ability to present us with real-world horror and make us truly see it is a gift.

And now for fresh words. The tome has made itself at home and given up these choice morsels to whet your creative appetites:

Pigeon
Cover
Setback

The usual rules apply: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. All variants and use of the words as stems are fine.

The gates are open, and you're more than welcome to bring friends over to play!