Friday, 7 July 2017

Niddering and insordescent

Two words for nastiness picked from Philip Howard’s ‘Lost Words’, in contrast to Irish crime writer Adrian McKinty, who gave me the beautiful perse.  I pass it to you as small and insufficient thanks for your comments on my pieces, and on each others’ - so very important a part of this place.

This week’s entries took me to many nasty places, down alleyways I’m incapable of imagining, never mind writing  for which I thank you, and from which I hope to learn. From a shortlist of four, and by a doubtless bloodstained whisker, John’s ‘Canine Intervention; emerged the winner.

Words for next week:  hare premonition whist

Entries by midnight Thursday 13th July, words and winners  posted on Friday 14th

Usual rules: 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. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

86 comments:

  1. Well done, John. Magnificent win among a virtual jewel of tales last week. Have to say, it was probably my favourite too.

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    1. great news, John, you just seem to get better by the week!

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    2. I concur. Other folks said what I was thinking as well, but I really liked this story!

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  2. As Luck Would Have It

    He voiced the proposition during a game of whist, which he hated but only because he always lost. He despised losing. Everyone thought it was a joke. I knew better. Harebrained ideas were his forte and I invariably went along. It was easier than arguing.

    Later, after our guests had departed, he broached the subject again. I had a premonition about this one, not necessarily to my detriment. I have learned to trust my instincts.

    Six chambers. One bullet. Spin the cylinder.

    He handed me the revolver.

    "You first."

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    1. That was simply brilliant.

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    2. Yes. I have to echo what John said. My first thought was 'look no further for the winner'. I don't doubt others will come up with equally strong pieces but for now I feel outclassed.

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    3. How I identify with the male antagonist in this. A very, very good story and worthy of such commentary.

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    4. shiver. Oh, the games we play!

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    5. its not always best to go last :)

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    6. clever chilling story, loved it.

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  3. John an excellent story and exceedingly worthy selection.

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  4. I may as well be the first to toss my words into the ring, especially after such a profoundly supported story.

    Wishful Writing

    A premonition? I was visiting a dear friend in England; she informed me that two others will be joining us for dinner and whist. She explained the game and it’s similarity to bridge. We’re all friends, meeting for the first time, who share a love of writing, in our souls.
    The curious part, their deals always had the Heart Queen as the trump card. My hands, well, I did have the one-eyed royals and suicide King. The rest were better suited as a hares form.
    I received commentary after each hand. It’s easier to hear it about my stories.

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    1. This sounds like an interesting gathering, indeed!

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    2. I've played bridge with folk who always hold an inquest - so tedious! This well set up, even though I've not a clue what is meant by 'a hares form'

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    3. Hares bear their young in a shallow depression or nest of grass, called a form.

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    4. Ah ... don't think I knew that. Thank you.

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    5. excellent. I had no idea either

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    6. I've never understood whist but it didn't spoil a good little tale.

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    7. This was a nicely composed little vignette with some very interesting observations. I know nothing about the game of whist, but I don't think knowledge was necessary in this situation. Thank you for the "hare's form" information. It's always lovely to find out something new.

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  5. Hounds and harings [Threshold 170]

    We all three went out to the stable. Cathra’s puppies – Patience, Pontoon, Whist and Rummy – subdued by her absence or some premonition of Law Man’s intent. Patience, the only bitch, whimpered fit to break my heart; I silently implored Raven to stop this massacre.

    A sudden rise in exhortation from the front of the house – I’d forgot the Evangelicals – they now banging at the door.
    Raven, peremptory, ‘Law Man, my property’s under threat. Best see to that before I find my gun –’

    Law Man, reading murder in my eyes, decided discretion the better part of valour and hared after.

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    1. A beautifully written short, I easily heard Patience and her whimpering. A most worthy competitor.

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    2. So much said in this little story.

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    3. another class instalment, 170? is there much more to come? Hope so.

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    4. So well written, as always. Love the idea of naming the puppies after card games. Been ages since I'd heard anyone refer to "Pontoon." Used to play it all the time with my Dad.

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  6. Cripplegate Junction/Part 104-Bored Silly

    On the Sanitarium lawn, the two sisters abandoned their chess match. The Red Queen was missing. Again!

    They weren't keen on card games like Whist or Happy Families and lacked sufficient players anyway. Same applied to Ludo.

    "I'm bored," said the younger in white chiffon.

    "Let's plan a Lewis Carroll party," said the other in red georgette. "Find a Mad Hatter and March Hare. We already have our own Alice and Cheshire Cat...of sorts."

    "Don't have a good feeling about that."

    "Your irrational premonitions!"

    "And where would we hide our Dormouse?"

    A momentary silence. Then, in unison.

    "Violet's tea urn!"

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. You are definitely on a roll this week Patricia! This is delightful on so very many levels.

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    2. Another well done story to be very proud of. Delightful is an apt description.

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    3. no no no... not violets tea urn!

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    4. clever, wrapping it all up like Alice.

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  7. Well at least I see what's at the top of the ladder and can fantasize about it.๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜‚

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  8. Change of focus [243]

    Tear-stained himself, from shock, Aleks accused, ‘Crying’s for babies –‘
    Yanno hugged him. ‘Whist, lad! Grown-ups cry. From relief. And gratitude –‘
    ‘What were you grateful for?’
    ‘Being alive. But for your mother’s premonition I’d’ve been –
    ‘No, Yanno –‘ Valdeta’s harebell eyes gave warning.
    Mildly, over Aleks’ head, ‘No? If he wasn’t too young to discover Bekim’s perfidy, he’s old enough to know how close to death we came.’
    ‘So he’ll be all the more eager to leave –‘
    ‘As you should be! Why won’t you?’
    ‘Because you‘ve not said you want me for your wife!’
    Ah.
    No. He hadn’t.

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    1. bump ba-bum-bum... or maybe a wa-wa-waaaaah noise ~_^

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    2. here you go again, killer last lines...

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    3. Harebell eyes, I easily pictured them. Yes, a stickler of a last line.

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    4. Killer last line indeed. But that's no surprise given the source. I agree with Jeffrey regarding the "harebell eyes." What a totally innovative use of the prompt word. Since I wasn't sure what the flower looked like, I did a bit of research. Informational Item #2 learned this week!

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  9. Kursaal (Episode Seventy Eight) -- "'Not On My Watch'"

    Even sans greasepaint, Crow's hooded eyes, harelip and elongated skull ensured a visage sufficiently bizarre for any outlandish clown. Regardless, Algernon and Dante adored their master. His training methods, while strict, were never cruel.

    "Whist!" he commanded on midnight walks, particularly near a certain cottage. The resolute pups responded with silence and stealth beyond their years.

    During such outings, as if by premonition, Lulu (female litter mate and runt adopted by Libby Pepperdyne) would materialize to stand vigil beneath the bedroom window of her young mistress.

    Her ominous growls sent Algernon and Dante into a state of unaccustomed trembling.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. What an interesting scene!

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    2. And again! - this is so vivid, and so subtly threatening to merit several reads. And that final sentence ...

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    3. maybe not that unaccustomed :)

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    4. it seems to be a week of vivid images already, lots to visualise here.
      None of this class writing is helping me do a stand alone this week... three have been abandoned already...

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    5. Does Crow worry about about Lulu? Loved the setting and descriptions, sans greasepaint was very good.

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  10. Self-fulfilling word count: 100
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    None would have believed a game of whist could bring about a premonition, but amongst taking tricks and playing trumps (hearts in this case), I experienced a disturbing vision. Blood flooded the drawing room, soaking the carpeting and covering the baseboards. When my partner dealt, red splashed her hare stole. The hems of our opponents’ gowns darkened with unrecognized gore.
    Iron assailed my nose and coated my palate until breathing grew difficult. Bright flashes and a high-pitched ringing threatened to disable me. I pushed against a blinding madness. I felt them fight my knife, but my vision would find fulfillment.

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    1. What a deliciously described vision. I especially enjoyed 'Iron assailed my nose and coated my palate until breathing grew difficult.'

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    2. that last statement was pretty damn awesome :)

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    3. that's good,like really good.The imagery is superb.

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    4. Visions that come true. Flowing descriptions that bring the vision to life. Well done.

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    5. Indeed! So vivid and frightening.

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    6. This had a gothic feel to me. I could see it taking place in a mansion...maybe like something of out "Clue." In fact, the whole thing (in my opinion) was very reminiscent of Poe's works. I don't think it's a known fact that blood has an actual distinctive scent. I have a friend who passes out at even so much of a whiff of the smell when nobody else was even aware. The first time it happened, we had no idea what was going on.

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  11. Snap!

    Premonition?
    More expectation it’d all go tits up
    It’s happened before.

    Happened that I’ve fell in love
    met enquiring eyes
    let them ignite
    and assumed
    a single night
    a mutual flare of pheromones
    exchange of body fluids
    (saliva, the inevitable)
    might lead to fulfilment
    family
    kids
    only to realise
    in the morrow’s damp-sheet dawn
    I’ve kissed the hare’s foot
    more than a day too late.

    Never again.
    This last one thought
    she play her cards right
    she could do the same
    but whist-trained brain
    failed to appreciate
    the skill with which
    a poker-player
    lied until the final card is laid.

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    1. felt like giving an "amen" here

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    2. ha! this is a cynical look at life, like it a lot!

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    3. Man, sometimes the unfortunate nature of interaction is lost on me until I see it laid out like this. Reading something like this always gives me hope in a weird way. Like if I remember there are things to be improved upon, that a situation isn't stationary, that's the first step!

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    4. So poetic in substance and thought. And yet another inspired use of "hare." I read this three or four times so I could fully appreciate the message. A single reading is simply not enough.

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    5. An enjoyable poem and not sure just how cynical it is vs. regrettable of ones actions.
      The more than a day late was the best line.

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    6. Oh, dear, this rings a bit too true, doesn't it?

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  12. Post race blues


    The two players faced each other, openly glaring.

    “I prefer jackrabbit,” the hare said testily, looking at his cards.

    “Rabbit, bunny, rodent, you’re all the same.”

    “Were not rodents, we’re Lagomorpha now. Christ, you win one race and you think you’re King Shit.”

    “I’m having a premonition,” the tortoise said with his claw to his forehead.

    The hare yawned and rolled his beady eyes. “I hope your predictions are superior to your whist skills.”

    The hare’s narcolepsy kicked in and the tortoise ambled around the table and looked at his opponent’s cards, switching them as he saw fit.

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    1. I had trouble deciding what to call the tortoise's front appendage. Claw, foot, hand, paw, hoof... what is it?

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    2. Good question, John. I think I'd say foot ...

      And I love the idea of a hare with narcolepsy and a tortoise who cheats at cards.

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    3. I just love this. You were looking over Aesop's shoulder when he was working on an alternative way to go, right? I knew there had to be a way to work this fable in there somewhere, but never could come up with anything that suited. Glad I didn't pursue it now. It would have fallen woefully short.

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    4. Not so much a retelling but a reunion. I think Aesop would approve.
      Well, now we know about breading like rabbits, they're unlucky at cards. Nicely written story.

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    5. Delightful! Good to know the two kept in touch after the fateful race!

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  13. love this! Very clever. I think I would go with claw, they do have quite long claws and that suits the image well.

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  14. (untitled)
    Look at you, stiff as a moon-gazing hare. Your fault, you should have known that whistling in a graveyard is Not Good and that superstitions are based on facts, more often than not. You had no premonition of misfortune, if you had, you would not have walked in as you did, the jaunty tune insulting the air and the ears of the willing and unwilling residents. It was almost worth being offended to see the look on your face when the reception committee moved into your pathway.
    The moon-gazing hare can go to his sleep if he wishes. You won’t.

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    1. I love your respect for souls no longer on this plane. I like the perspective that our activities in a graveyard might be disrupting to the residents.

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    2. Oh, this is masterly! And 'jaunty tune' perfect in its throwing into contrast the rest of it, fore-telling or underlining the doom.

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    3. Scott: I'm a medium, I work with those no longer on this plane. They often come up with the story ideas... thanks for the kind words.

      Sandra, I've been desperately casting around for a stand alone this week, it took an age before I realised whist could go into whistling... idiotic me. Too hot, I think. Blame it on the sun...

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    4. Ha! I never even thought of that, or saw it, even after reading yours - was just carried away with the rest of it

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    5. This was absolutely brimming with what I can only term as "mood." A perfectly set scene and I loved the "hare in the moon" reference (or a "moon-gazing hare"). It never occurred to me to extend "whist" to "whistling." Guess that's the type of thinking that separates the wheat from the chaff. Beautiful job...and you threw us all off the scent by stating you couldn't do a stand-alone this week!

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    6. Excellent setting with minimal description yet maximum effect. Lucky hare.

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    7. "Superstitions are based on facts..." How true!

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  15. Mabel Inherits the Treasure Map

    “I had a premonition of your demise!” Mabel eked. “We’d better hare outta here.”

    “Whist!” I hushed her. The final, fruitless interrogation of Lucky Burkhalter was visible from behind the upstairs newel post. I judged us safe and my cowardly co-conspirator a false prophet. “Do you want to get pinched? If Lucky isn’t, the gold is ours!”

    “Where’s Angry Pete? Gone! I saw him drinking your blood, Randolph! Honest!”

    With exuberant irony, the men on the floor broke Lucky’s middle finger like an ill-prepared crab leg. Mable slunk into darkness. Pete stomped his boot into my back.

    I never listen.

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    1. The 'ill-prepared crab leg' especially vivid in this nasty scene.

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    2. oh good one! Nice last line, I'm a sucker for killer last lines.

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    3. Ouch...that middle finger reference certainly made me cringe. Great choice of names for the characters, each so unique and easily identifiable within a very restrictive word limit. And, yet another killer last line. This week is overflowing with them!

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    4. A nice story with some chilling descriptions, yet my confusion as to who's in the scene. That's on me.

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  16. The Mad Italian 13.
    Every voice that raises itself above the noise of the crowd is a spirit whistling in the darkness, with premonitions of disaster. Without those voices many a law would not be passed, many a tragedy would remain unresolved, many a mystery denied its moment of brilliance. I see great minds, some caught in damaged bodies, trying to educate the world but they might as well be those hares mesmerised by the moon. The day will come, though, when great minds are finally accepted to be right – the problem is that for some it may come too late.

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    1. I find myself at something of a loss for words when it comes to commenting on the musings of the "Mad Italian." I hate to be repetitive and yet, week after week, I find myself marvelling at the insight and the impeccable choice of words.

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    2. Such well-expressed insight that the prompt words disappear - this by far my favourite of this series.

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    3. Listening to voices is an overlooked trait for great writing, be it others talking to us or our own little voices, helping to guide us. I agree, so far, this is the best of this series.

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  17. thank you. It didn't come easy, Leonardo left long pauses while he sought the right words, it's the 100 word limit which does that, I do believe.
    He visits my publisher/friend regularly, as does Michel Nostradamos. He's busy writing quatrains at the moment and getting freaked out at the prophecies. I just get Leonardo's musings. I think I got the better deal this time.

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  18. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #85
    Standing Into Danger


    After my formal scolding in front of the council-for haring about the world with no regard for my poor mother’s nerves-she took me away for “a game of whist.” Of course we had no fourth, or third for that matter. My mother just needed an excuse to get us out of the council room. She’d had a premonition about the unannounced war. I hope she’s wrong, but she never is.

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    1. Lovelyb! - no other word for it, and your title, as ever, perfectly fitting - not enough praise is given for them, sometimes more difficult than the piece itself.

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  19. Loved two things, a formal scolding and the no fourth or third for that matter.
    A very nice episode.

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