Friday, 18 December 2015

‘Tis the season ...

... and, the way the days fall, the reason for a fortnight’s deadline to be allowed for these prompts.

Eight superb entries again this week, and I tried a bit of logic. Best use of each prompt word: Kai’s “high-pitched scream”, Bill’s “smudge on the sole of Caprezi's Italian loafers” and Patricia’s “Sheila reasoned”.  But ... but ... I loved Zaiure’s well-worded imagery and thought Antonia’s episode of Infinity one of her very best. Finally, however, the kick of finding a typewriter charmed me so much that Rosie’s Princess Pirate nudges, by the width of an inky ribbon, into first place.
Thank you all, and to all of you, Merry Christmas, or your particular equivalent, and here’s hoping for as rich a 2016 here as we’ve had in past years.

Words for the coming fortnight are: vindicate, paint, crow

Entries by midnight Thursday December 31st, new words and winners posted on Friday January 1st

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. Serialized 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 best pleases you and, if you like, remind your friends that we are open to new and returning writers.

61 comments:

  1. Change of focus [158]

    There were, of course, farewell parties. Attempts to paint regret over glee at perceived promotion opportunities. Those who failed to crow at what might be termed Vanessa Quintain’s comeuppance, Pettinger dubbed dishonest; those who wept, he labelled fools.
    His own expectation of succeeding his oft-misleading mentor was miniscule. Just as well.
    New Year’s Eve, Pettinger, in reluctant attendance at the Chief Super’s party, seeking a loo, for peace as much as a piss, found him in flagrante with DI Becky Upminster. Her subsequent appointment vindicated Pettinger’s trust in the corruption of the system.
    Even more so when she suspended him.

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    1. Loved your use of 'crow' and the mood immediately set by the first sentence. I always learn so much from your phrasing. :)

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    2. another superb instalment! Amused by the last name Upminster, used to live near there, the tube trains I took to get home from the City terminated there... some associations never leave you. Alfred Bester#'s book (I think it was The Demolished Man) used the last name Dagenham, an association I found it hard to cope with! Must be the time of year, going all nostalgic for those long lost times.

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    3. The politics of office, perfectly captured. I've been to a few of these over the years, and refused to have one for my departure. I particularly loved "Paint regret over glee at perceived promotion opportunities." really sums it up.

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    4. Had to chuckle at Pettinger's suspension. He really should have seen that coming! So entertaining and so well put together. What a delight these episodes are.

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  2. From ravishing through hidden portals [Threshold 94]


    Too soon to crow, and anyway such birds not mine to summon.
    I had but minutes before Ice-Blue’s door-stop men might dare to investigate a cry far short of sexual gratification. (Please God, they’d think it vindication).
    I left by a door pattern-painted to blend with the wallpaper. The dressing-room I knew, from earlier explorations, connected with another chamber, from whence it was possible to gain a secret stair down to the garden.
    The near-ghost in the shadows at the bottom I knew to be Burk’s father.
    Against all odds, he recognised me.
    Misunderstood my part in his son’s death.

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    1. Another exquisitely worded piece, and the uncertainty we're left with by the final sentence has my nerves in a twist! :) Loved the description of the bed chamber.

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    2. try again, Blogger put the response in the wrong place, and would throw everyone.
      Another cliff hanger and an extra week to wait to find out...

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    3. Something of a melancholy air to this installment. I always heave a hefty sigh when I realize that the 100 weekly word limit has been reached and it will be several days before I can reindulge -- is that even a word?

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  3. Congrats Rosie! And happy holidays everyone, and hope 2016 will be awesome. :)

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    1. I agree, happy holidays for all and a wonderful new year.

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  4. Blood for Blood [2]

    Thrusting aside the tent flap, Luke stepped cautiously into Morgan’s tent. She had an inconvenient habit of testing him, but today her Maolarian blades were stowed, and she was standing casually beside her desk, with her damn crow on her wrist. Luke trusted her to the Seven Hells and back, but the bird could rot.

    Stroking the crow’s painted wing, Morgan said something in the guttural language only the two of them understood, and adjusted the maps on her desk.

    She eyed him. “Quindar will seek vindication.”

    “Blood for blood,” Luke agreed.

    “The Queen is still in hand?”

    Luke grimaced.

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    1. Wonderfully scene-setting opening paragraph. Wonderful entire episode. Did I say before, your writing puts me in mind of Jane Gaskell, my one and only favourite fantasy writer? And I'm so glad this is continuing.

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    2. definitely looking for more on this one, it has a way to go yet and a lot of pathways to follow. Excellent depictions here, very vivid.

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    3. Dynamic language that thrusts you straight into the story, I love to build up to the cliff hangar, can't wait for the next instalment. I will (now) go back and read the prior episode.

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    4. The fantasy elements of this tale keep growing stronger. I love the image of the crow with its painted wing and the fact that Luke and Morgan share a language understood only by the pair of them. "Blood for blood"...now how intriguing is that?

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  5. Many congratulations to Rosie for a well-deserved win. Seasons Greetings to those who frequent this form and thanks to all of you for some amazing tales over the past year. I look forward to more of the same in the upcoming months and may have a new serialization in the works to begin the New Year in addition to my Cripplegate Junction scribblings and stand-alone submissions. Take care and stay safe.

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    1. Ooh, good, Patricia - that's something to definitely look forward to.

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    2. Looking forward to your new serial :) and excited for another year of good stories!

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  6. Congrats to Rosie and happy holidays to all.
    It's been an interesting year and I'm glad I found the lot of you. It's been a pleasure writing with you and for you, reading your stories and getting to know you, post by post. Here is to the next year and all the words that are still unwritten. ;)

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    1. Hear, hear indeed Kai - and I'm glad you found here as well. So good to think of the treat of continuing to read more.

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  7. Rosie, many congratulations on a superb piece of writing.
    Patricia, definitely looking forward to more Cripplegate and anything else that comes from you!
    For all Challenge participants, SEASONS GREETINGS and let's make 2016 even better than this last one.
    The Captain says he will be giving me his next instalment ere long.

    Meantime, I cannot begin to tell you how much of history Henry's fourth Queen is busy destroying at the moment... absolutely fantastic chunk of my Kiss and Tell book being constructed right now!!!!!!!

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    1. Sounds fascinating. :) Huzzah for 2016!

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    2. I'm now back from an excellent Christmas with offspring, triangulating the country with, happily, no travel problems.

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  8. Infinity 127.
    So we were going to sail the Infinity into this smart harbor. I got the crew to paint what needed painting, got someone up in the crow’s nest to keep a watch on who else was a’sailing into the harbor and First Mate said I was paranoid. Then we saw the Harbor police a’checking all vessels so I was vindicated. And he was sour faced all day. Don’t know what they was searching for but Infinity sailed away to find another harbor where there were no nosy people. I got too much loot on board to risk a visit.

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    1. I always enjoy your writing Antonia, as you paint vivid scenes with many layers, in such few words. Love the back story of the first mate, which added depth.

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    2. I just bet our Captain has "too much loot" on hand to "risk a visit." Superb in character rendition, as always. I wonder what charms or otherwise the next harbor might hold.

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    3. Never can be too paranoid when transporting cargo. ;) Looking forward to what the next harbor will bring for sure.

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    4. Am far from certain the next harbour will be trouble-free. Superb use of the prompts, especially 'crow's nest'.

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  9. Happy Christmas and Joyous New year to you all. It's good to be back after a long absence. I wrote very little during 2015, so I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with the prediction.
    I've written a little poem this week.

    The Camouflaged Heart

    I paint my heart in vibrant colours so folks will never know,
    the mood I’m in underneath is blacker than a crow.

    The Joy within has long left town, and there’s nothing here that matters,
    time to pack away the old life, because it’s fragile and often shatters.

    Moving quietly through the streets to somewhere I’m unknown.
    I’ll try to build a better me, less fragile, made of stone.

    No longer weakened by memories of a life of love and laughter,
    but then the tears come, and I crumble to the vindication of self perceived disaster.

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    1. I have often considered taking a stab at a poetic rendition of the prompt words but nothing has ever flowed smoothly enough. I'm glad now that I didn't waste too much time on the project since it would certainly pale in comparison to what you've submitted here. This is the first poem I've come across in this forum and I do hope you will delight us with more of the same. How refreshing it is to have a different genre to enjoy.

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    2. Very beautifully written! I love a good poetic piece, and you excelled at bringing this story to life. And in such a charming, rhythmic way.

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    3. this is lovely, a very different way of using the prompts. More like this please!

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    4. That's what you call a re-entrance William - welcome back, indeed. Prose or poetry, I hope you'll deliver more of this quality. I especially love the opening two lines.

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  10. No Fool Like An Old Fool

    There would be no vindication. His slumbers were blissful fantasies, painted with brushes of desire and obsession. Willingly, he had allowed her to transport him to the lofty palace and not even for freedom would he trade those precious visions. All knowledge of the ancient arts he had taught her, but even that brought no regret, despite her cruel deception, dark as crow's plumage.

    Nevermore would mighty Merlin wield his magic. He would remain an eternal captive to the callous faerie huntress, a besotted old man, foolish in his dotage, unable to break the bonds forged from his romantic illusion.

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    1. Hi Patricia. I'm loving this. "His slumbers were blissful fantasies, painted with brushes of desire and obsession." is such a brilliant turn of phrase, I can't wait to read more of your work.

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    2. So much beautiful phrasing, and I loved your take on Merlin. Well done! Loved "his slumbers were blissful fantasies, painted with brushes of desire" as well as "her cruel deception, dark as a crow's plumage". Superb writing this week!

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    3. so that's where all the magic went... excellent piece, Patricia, truly excellent.

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    4. So good. Deep and bitter and desperately sad.

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  11. The Immortal 22

    Painted nails dug into my hand, clamped over her mouth. My mind searched for vindication. I was doing what had to be done. Wasn’t I? A crow cawed from above.

    My brow furrowed. Since when did I care so much about a person who wasn’t me? The pressure of my hand over her mouth slackened. She seemed to calm down, no longer struggling.

    “What do you do for Him?” The words slipped from me without quite having grasped their meaning.

    Sandie pulled my hand from her mouth. “I spread peace, pulling mankind from Death’s embrace and guiding them to God.”

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    1. This was quite lovely in its reveal. Do I notice something of a weakening worming its way into our protagonist's consciousness? I don't know that Death would be too happy with those circumstances. Yet another magnificent installment. I don't know how you people manage to keep such suspense going!

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    2. Loved how you continued this story! And I really like how you phrased the line 'the words slipped from me without quite having grasped their meaning'.

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    3. oh I liked this! Clever wording, lots of undertones running here, wanting to see where this goes.

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    4. Zaiure has picked the line that adds further depth to this already-intriguing serial - waiting now for Death's reaction.

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  12. This is my new serialization for 2016. Like "Cripplegate Junction," as new episodes of "Kursaal" are submitted, there will be a link provided to a site for those who wish to play catch-up, but that is for later. I do hope this proves to be enjoyable and so, without further ado......

    ----------------------------------------------

    Kursaal (Episode One) -- "Maximillian Corviday"

    Black duster billowing with every purposeful stride, Maximillian Corviday surveyed his magnificent creation. From the freshly-painted Arcade to the beckoning lights of the twinkling Midway, this would be his vindicating triumph, silencing forever those irritating gainsayers.

    Many of his performers and staff had yet to arrive, some having to travel great distances; however, the Grand Opening was imminent and soon, crowds would flock like a murder of crows. He was fond of that phrase. It was personally poetic in nature and would certainly prove to be so very appropriate in execution.


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    1. Woohoo! New serial! :) I love how you set up this piece, from all your fantastic names (Kursaal, Maximillian Corviday!) to the description of the Arcade, and finally the hook at the end... simply cannot wait to see where this goes. :)

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    2. oh a Kursaal, been years since I went to Southend and Neverland and Kursaal, instant flash of memories!
      This is good, this is intriguing, wanting to know so much more. Going to be a job to wait weeks round for the next instalment!

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    3. What splendid scene-setting! And as far as serials are concerned, we can't have too many of them, keeping us all hooked and entertained.

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  13. Cripplegate Junction/Part 26-Marmalade's Mission

    Marmalade heeded the chimes of the station clock. It was a sad reminder of the evening years before when his littermates vanished.

    The painted sign had read "Free Kittens," but Marmalade didn't know that, aware only that one-by-one his tiny siblings were spirited away at the hand of the Canteen's waitress. He recalled crows and ravens chittering hungrily from atop the Signal Box and later, Violet protesting she would be "vindicated."

    All Marmalade knew was that the culprit had gone unpunished. Before the expiration of his ninth life, he would most certainly find a way to rectify that.


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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. Oooo love the focus on Marmalade! I do hope he receives his vindication. :)

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    2. A new and unexpected source of retribution! Go for it Marmalade.

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  14. Thank you for the congratulations and a happy new year from Rosebud and me. We finally have snow here!

    The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #5
    Winter Weather Warning


    Snow! The best weather for vindictive attacks on your enemies. This particular enemy is too good at spotting Natasha, so this week’s pin money will be in paint. A slate grey should do nicely. She’ll have to be unnamed. She won’t like that. She never does.
    ---
    “Hello, Henry”
    My friendly lookout has returned with good news-the ships are stuck in the lake effect snow band. Henry is a polite crow. Natasha keeps a little bed for him by the sail locker in return for his service.

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    1. intriguing, this is developing fast into all sorts of nasties and oddities. Keep it going, Rosie!

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    2. There's something kaleidoscopic in this piece - so many possibilities.

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    3. A polite crow by the name of Henry. That is totally delightful. I find your mode of writing to be rather unique and I sometimes have to give it a double read to fully grasp the undertones. Love it!

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  15. It's been raining for days. You'd think the city'd get clean, but once it dries up the paint will still be streaked, dirt will be even thicker.

    I'm not one to crow but I do feel vindicated when it comes to Bobby. Kate's been sitting at his bedside every day, reading the paper to him since he can't hold it himself. Of course I warned him that any girl tough enough to stand up to Caprezi is gonna be more than a match for him. He didn't listen. But then again it's so cute when she spoon-feeds him his jello.

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    1. What an insidiously nasty ending. Can't wait for the next development.

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    2. I absolutely adore this serialization. I'd pick out some of my favourite moments from this installment, but then I'd probably only end up quoting the entire piece. Definitely looking forward to what will come.

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  16. whoo, so much underlying nastiness here it isn't true! Good one, Bill!

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