Friday, 23 December 2016

Present perfect, future more challenging!

‘Present’ being the birthday gift from my husband – the Shorter OED – praises for which he had heard me extolling ever since July; you can be sure 2017 promises more interesting words.

Not that I’m complaining about the lack of interest this week, or even this year! And once again I have a triplet of winners in Kai for Hopeless, which made me laugh, Antonia for Reminiscences of  a serial killer, which made me squirm and William for the optimism of his A Fresh Beginning.

I thank you all for your participation in Prediction and wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2017

Words for next week:  beast exacerbate form
and, for those who’d otherwise suffer withdrawal symptoms in the second week:
lode, obliterate, pass

Entries by midnight Thursday 5th January, new words posted on Friday 6th

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.

127 comments:

  1. Congratulations Kai and Antonia,. Also thank you to all fellow writers for sharing your inspiration week after week. Here's to a happy Christmas and a healthy and creative new year.

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  2. Congrats, Kai and William and thanks to Sandra for my mention. I sat here (in the shop) brooding on the words for ages, then it just came.
    The new ones look as intriguing... shall be pondering them this weekend, whilst aughter continues to batter my ears about her broken relationship, it's called 'not letting go' and is a serious headache.

    But, 2017 is a 1 year, a beginning year, should be good for us all. Have a wonderful festive time, everyone, see you next year!

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  3. Congratulations to Kai, Antonia and William. I will return to read all last week''s gems shortly. Wishing everyone seasons greetings and stay safe. I want to see all of you here at the beginning of 2017.

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  4. Map for the future? [Threshold 144]

    I’d long-known Cathra to be an intelligent beast but not that she was capable of ranking her allegiances. With a single, echoing bark, a sinuous twist, she leapt at Raven’s grandmother – the two of them a match in size – and brought her down. The hollow crack of age-thinned skull on marble tiles, exacerbated by the high-arched ceiling, was followed by our mingled shouts of horror and order to desist as Cathra made to seize the woman’s scrawny throat.

    Then all was still as together we watched a crimson trickle first become a river then, more slowly, form a fast-darkening lake

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. going to be some time before I can beat that last line...

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    2. Jeffrey Yorio (for some reason I have to do it this way on my phone)

      Interesting an intelligent beast over monster. Some nice language and I'd say a definate game over player #1. Well writen installment.

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    3. One of the most image intensive of a normally image intensive serialization. The picture of Raven's grandmother and Cathra being a match in size is so visual. The crafting of the conclusion is an enviable piece of writing.

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    4. A strong, descriptive piece with beautiful phrasing, especially that final line!

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  5. Congrats to Kai, Antonia and William for their beautiful submissions. It's nice for me to see not only the cream rise to the top but where the top is. I've got two of prompts to consider.

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  6. You all seem to be having fun with your serialized 100 word stories, so I decided to see if I can learn by doing., so I'm attempting to continue with Uxbex.

    UXBEX #2


    Uxbex, entered the hexadecimal sequence of ancient Velusian letters. He then removed his head mask, so the scanner could verify his eye.
    A female voice said, “My dearest mate, what are the five rings?”
    “Voice in form of Tourmaline, my ears do hear, rings of five exist not do they. Glass walls were of three, one for home, and another for mind and the last for heart.”
    “Uxbex, what mask will you wear when you leave?”
    “Uxbex wear Death Mask of Sylzanthi, and exacerbate beasts known as Tyroc and Zubroc from existence, then join in bed of mating.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. like the way you're building this other world, Jeffrey, I've never been good at SF.

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    2. Jeffrey here.
      Thanks Antonia but and I think you may have mentioned this to me. A well written story should be able to be dropped into any genre with few changes. To me the same applies to a world. The genre is a veneer that replacing should have little impact on the story.

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    3. Having this year, for the first time in my life, bought, read and thoroughly enjoyed a trilogy of werewolf-based novels I agree with you, Jeffrey; it was certainly the quality of the writing that hooked me.
      And glad to see you embarking upon a serial, introducing me to yet another world.

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    4. This is so very different from anything else offered here. I applaud the creativity and how you are managing to paint a most vivid characterization of Uxbex. This would not be out of place in the genre of high fantasy.

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    5. Definitely a fascinating world, glad you're continuing it! Love the password phrases.

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  7. Congatulations William and Antonia. It's a pleasure being part of the group again and I can't wait to read more of the stories everyone creates week after week. Enjoy the holidays and see you all next year. Merry Christmas!

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  8. I hope that all had a safe and enjoyable Christmas holiday. Here is a poem submission for this week.


    The Challenge of the Beast

    The challenge of writing, the here and now,
    Hearkens back to the call, for heroes all
    The beast is invisible, a rampaging destroyer.
    Stompper on dreams, ruiner of hopes

    Black is the inky heart, written over white page.
    The challenge is exacerbated by desires, some of envy, others of merit.
    Monstrous challenges, face nightly brothers of the quill
    Forms from times of Roman or that of couriers new

    Fortuna favors talent; others are just scribes?
    The Gifted become great, like bard or laureate.
    Does this make them more or us less?
    That depends on how you look at beast’s contest.

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    Replies
    1. I really enjoyed this. It had a nice flow and the first lines had a certain darkness to them that spoke to me. ;)

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    2. nice one, some deep thoughts in there.

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    3. Like the others have already commented, there is a sense of deep thoughts to this, but it definitely rolled nicely off the tongue.

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    4. Something we can all relate to. Really loved the imagery conjured by the phrase 'nightly brothers of the quill'.

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  9. An Unforeseen Side Effect

    Eyes intently focused on the spoon, Portia did not notice the prickling on her skin. It was a telling sign of the immanent approach of form displacement, also known as teleportation.
    Unbeknownst to her, Dante's task was exacerbating the process of her yet uncontrollable ability. Before she knew what was happening, she was gone. All that remained was the spoon and Dante, once again lounging in his chair.
    He wasn't much surprised, nor did he care. Portia would return on her own, unless she happened to teleport herself in some ravenous beast's cave and perished.
    That would be most unfortunate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeffrey here;

      Very mysterious and I like Dante's lazzie fair attitude.

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    2. Dante and Portia's relationship promises endless fascination - such well-drawn characters.

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    3. Dante's devil-may-care attitude is rather "oh well," but he is so very charismatic that it can easily be forgiven. A simple flaw in an otherwise endearing character. Loved the continued reference to the spoon.

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    4. Loved Dante's attitude and the imagery of him lounging without much care, despite Portia's disappearance. I can imagine Portia's surprise if she did indeed transport herself somewhere dangerous.

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  10. Having been AWOL for over a week, I intend to return and post a summary of my comments for last week's entries here (despite the fact that winners have already been chosen). Hope there are no objections. And...am I also correct in that we would post here two week's worth of entries? I ask because I fear the seasonal holidays have befuddled my brain, which is always on the brink of bufuddlement as the best of times!

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    Replies
    1. Just returned Patricia, and yes, post replies to both set of prompts here, treating the 5th as the deadline for either.

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  11. Week 1 - stand alone
    Marital discord

    Why is an argument always exacerbated by emotions to a greater level than it should? What beast hides inside us, what form does it take, why is it there?
    Surely there is such a thing, why else would a simple discussion deteriorate that fast – check time…in all ten minutes from first cross word to lifeless body.
    But then… thinking it through, it had been building long before this particular argument. He’d been hinting at leaving long enough and each time I talked him into staying.
    Now he’ll have to, or at least, stay in the grave I choose.
    I hope.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, such a clever, speedy swing from domestic to deadpan! Well done Antonia.

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    2. How ingenious the thought that one argument is just a continuation of previous arguments, regardless of subject. Now, the conclusion of an argument...well, no more arguments here.

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    3. Wonderfully done. The tale itself moved like a well-oiled machine with not a solitary hiccup along the way. I had to go back and check for the prompt words, so seamless were they incorporated.

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    4. Loved the suggestion, with the final line, that dead may not be gone. A dark, thoughtful piece with roots in possible reality.

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  12. Patricia, I'm splitting the words, doing the first three this week, then the second three next week, so it makes it easier on the brain. Stand alone is done, Captain next, if I can persuade daughter to leave me alone for longer than ten minutes...

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    Replies
    1. I'm aiming to do similar, but might over-run this week.

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  13. OK, the Captain's visited...
    Infinity 179.

    The thing below decks is the Beast, different from the Creature, but in my mind, tis a monster for all that it has a name. Does it form a shape? Would I recognize it? Damned if I be going to try. Who would want to exacerbate the nature of a thing unseen, unknown, but ever present and ever threatening, unless they were not of right mind.
    I still be concerned about these meals, they taste too good to be from the supplies on board, for the meat be mouldy and the biscuits weevil ridden and yet – we eat angel food.

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    Replies
    1. Antonia, the theme that came to me, well spoke to me about this was:

      A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet. or would it? Nicely done segment.

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    2. And still, the delights that emerge from the galley remain something of a mystery. I'm beginning to seriously wonder from where those ingredients might be originating.

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    3. Yes, I'm a bit concerned about those meals too - trust the Captain keeps his wits about him.
      [re-posted, having removed typos]

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  14. I do like befuddlement, Patricia...
    my daughter invented a word this week. We found out, through a chance remark of hers and a bit of googling by me, that one of our rescue cats is in fact an expensive Burmese and the advice is, keep them indoors, because they are likely to be kidnapped.
    Daughter said: I always knew he was in danger, he's so handsome he had to be at risk of thievability...

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  15. Change of focus [215]

    Cherriman in a cell to which he had the key. Aleks (deemed unlikely to exacerbate her condition) reunited with Valdeta and daughter, Yanno Petzincek, on his way to Teodor, was intercepted by a woman.
    ‘Teodor Petzincek has no right to rule! Khakbethia is desperate for stability, my sons’ inheritance better equips them to form a government –’
    Bemused, struggling with the passionate speed of her delivery, ‘You are?’
    ‘Daughter of Pietro Scheraskade. Widow of your eldest brother. Raptor made him a beast, but his sons are good and united in caring for their country. You must persuade Teodor to abdicate.’

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    Replies
    1. Seems we are getting involved in something of a possible political intrigue. You always manage to keep these installments fresh and innovative. What an enviable talent!

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    2. Machiavellian at it's best or is that worst?

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  16. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #57
    Not Fireproof


    We’re back in the blue forest and stuck in a tree again. Natasha might actually injure me this time. She hates getting stuck in trees.
    Oh, look, the forest beasts are back. That just exacerbates the situation. All I want to do is get Natasha out of this tree and return her sails to their proper form. Time to go punch out some fire-spitting forest newt creature things.

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    Replies
    1. Beguiling, this. Yes indeed. And gives me so much pleasure to read. Thank you, Rosie.

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    2. Openly chuckled at much of this installment...but then such is so often the case when it comes to Rosebud and, more particularly, the ever-changing moods of Natasha. This is such a refreshing serialization.

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    3. LOL, a pirate princess stuck in a tree, again. That's delicious.

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  17. I don't believe I'll be able to get to any of this until the coming weekend. I believe I'll be within the deadline for both weeks though, correct? I will also post my summary of last week's pieces at the same time. I look forward to going back and reading.

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    Replies
    1. Correct, Patricia, yes. The idea was to allow time for those that were busy, but provide sustenance for the writing addicts! Look forward to reading yours, as ever.

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  18. Comments On Last Week's Entries:
    Hope nobody minds me being so late and I know the winners have already been chosen, but I couldn't possibly miss any of these incredible writings and simply had to rectify that.

    Change of focus [214]
    Love the idea of a "salt spoon" and such an unusual use of the prompt word. Was not expecting that scream from Cherriman. This is such classic writing.

    Hell hath no fury [Threshold 144]
    The words here are so expertly woven that one tends to not even look to see if all the prompt words are included. Totally seamless in execution. I think my favourite image is that of Raven's "evident erection." Most definitely snicker-worthy!

    UXBEX
    As Sandra put it, "otherworldly and mysterious." Like Antonia, I feel the abbreviated dialogue fit the scenario perfectly. This is a most interesting tale and I do hope we see more.

    TIME
    I'm virtually useless when it comes to actually analyzing poetry, but this was an intriguing submission to say the least. I know nothing about poetry styles, but this seemed to go together very nicely. Just loved: "Life is measured by time, wisdom is measured by life..." It's a memorable quote.

    Hopeless
    Lovely writing. Whimsical with a light-hearted feel. I like that Portia is feeling a little inadequate. Makes her very relatable. Adore the idea of a spoon being randomly teleported to who knows where.

    Reminiscences of a serial killer
    Now if that wasn't a "killer" last line, then I don't know what is! Very cold-blooded feel and an almost distanced regard for the victim. Don't want to dwell too much on eyes being removed with a spoon though. (Shudder!!!)

    Infinity 178
    The Captain seems to grow ever uneasy about this new cook. Can't say I'm surprised. Like William, the image of needing a long spoon to sup with the Devil is remarkable. This was a clever installment.

    A Fresh Beginning
    What an incredibly beautiful message, William. You have such a talent for the rhyming word, but this was particularly poignant.

    Their Last Chance
    Couldn't stifle the chuckles at this. Such a wonderfully humorous submission. Still chuckling at the thought of a "miracle spoon."

    The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #56
    A Taxi-Yurt Picnic Lunch

    Short and sweet and perfectly composed as always. I must admit my affection for Rosebud grows with each installment.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for these, Patricia - much appreciated.
      And my grandmother had a salt spoon - little more than a quarter of an inch in size and perfect for feeding dolls with.

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    2. Jeffrey here while at work.

      Thanks for your comments Patricia. I just might be learning from you all based on how my UXBEX story is be received.
      That you found one of my lines quotable is as flattering as it will be forever remembered.

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  19. One Of These Nights

    She never leaves until she thinks I'm asleep. True to form, I fake it well. No point in exacerbating a potentially explosive situation.

    She has gone to meet one of her many modern day cowboys. Drifters passing through astride chrome steeds of black and silver, who will provide for a short time the passion and excitement that I am apparently sadly lacking.

    One of these nights, regardless of the consequences, I'll unleash the beast stifled within and force her to confront the deception, betrayal and infidelity.

    That's what I'll do one of these nights.

    But not this one.

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    Replies
    1. This is superb. Sly and knowing and leaving me at least uncertain whether this is self-deception or self-control o the part of the narrator. And such vivid, tight-writ descriptions.

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    2. A very nicely written story. I'll add self deprecating thought as he's appears to be a low self-esteem and/or passive-aggressive personality.

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    3. love it - I want to be a serial killer - tomorrow- that kind of attitude. Highly amusing in some ways, sad in others but typical of many when they procrastinate, all their actions confined to their minds...

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  20. Immobility [Threshold 146]

    Reaching the edge of the tile beneath her damaged skull, the lake of blood narrowed, became a man-made lode such as separated fenland. The metallic stench of blood (and other death-released secretions) obliterated the wood-smoke musk I’d stole from Raven for my bath and bothered Cathra who, tail tucked, slunk towards him, whimpering for forgiveness.

    Slowly, our frozen horror passed, yet I feared to look at him, feared to read his reaction to the death of his grandmother. Feared to speak for not knowing what to say.

    Then, voice harsh as the bird he was named for, ‘It is ended.’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two very good lines; "...frozen horror passed..."(Loved the reference to melting away, like a frozen heart) and "..voice harsh as the bird he was named for." Haunting and peaceful at the same time.

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    2. What a deliciously descriptive line is: "voice harsh as the bird he was named for." Again, the imagery you give us is top notch, Sandra. Talk about painting pictures with words!

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  21. And a stand alone:

    Possession

    Picking at scabs, fingernail to prise up the barely adherent edge; a slow tweak and lift-off from the new (and newly-equipped with nerves) shiny, chipolata-pink skin, was nor only some beastly form of torture but also exacerbated any damage so when it eventually healed the scar tissue would be obvious; more knotted and ridged.
    Which was why I did it.
    Although it was how we’d met, I’d always known, soon as we were wed, no wife of mine was going to be allowed to enter herself into a beauty competition to be gawped at by other men.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me a double entandre on possession here, ownership as well as occupation.I'll add sadistic as it seems he did this to his wife, a rather chilling thought.

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    2. The ultimate road to controlling another. Had to shudder at the "picking at scabs" image. Lovely little stand-alone horror story whose message rings only too current.

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    3. oh such horrors being hidden here behind these 100 words. So smoothly done, as that level of control is done...

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  22. Cripplegate Junction/Part 76-A Match Made In Cripplegate

    From the Cuttings formed through excavation, Cripplegate Junction's King of the Beasts (a/k/a Marmalade) patrolled his domain. It was a daily exercise during which, time failed to function.

    No smoke from the train's chimney. No chugging of the engine. All personages as posed mannequins for duration of the surveillance, with one notable exception. The Station Master.

    Careful to do nothing that might exacerbate an often temperamental mood, Marmalade followed the Station Master along the platform, offering satisfactory purrs when everything was as it should be and hissing when things were obviously out of sorts.

    It was a mutually agreeable partnership.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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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    Replies
    1. More power to Marmalade!! And I fear (trust) he'll make the maximum use of it. Lovely smooth use of prompts.

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    2. An enjoyable and light installment. It was easily and brought a chuckle as I envisioned this while reading it. I almost pitty the Station Master.

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    3. Marmalade is a hero, no doubt of it...

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  23. Kursaal (Episode Fifty One) -- "The Amorous Affairs Of Arbuthnot Jester/Part Three"

    Aware that overwhelming obsession only served to exacerbate her failing relationship with Arbuthnot Jester, Hilda Jane Picket was nonetheless unable (and unwilling) to squelch the infatuation.

    Arby had been beastly of late, but the unexpected delivery of flowers and chocolates courtesy of her diminutive lover elevated the spinster's blood pressure and rekindled hope. She inhaled deeply of the lilies while munching on almond nougat.

    In the perfumed boudoir of Primrose Lee, it was with much enthusiasm (not to mention prowess) that Arbuthnot expressed appreciation at the elixirologist's supreme form of disentangling assistance.

    "Kill her with kindness."

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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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    Replies
    1. Oh, very nasty and underhand. And I'm very much looking forward to more entanglings and tortured endings.

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    2. Paul Simon had a song, "50 Ways to leave your Lover" murder wasn't one of them. Unfortunately, I'll have that song in my mind for a while. Very nicely done.

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    3. don't you just hate those earworms, songs that won't go? Another intriguing instalment. Liked it a lot.

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  24. Here is a second week offering.

    UXBEX 3

    UXBEX 3
    Tyroc and Zubroc were the last for him to obliterate. The lode on his heart was as always; heavy, for death is finality, except in the memory of the living. However, he knew it would pass.
    “Uxbex, are you okay,” asked Proconsul Garibaldi.
    “Uxbex is as fine as medicine on station allows him to be.”
    “I’ve wondered why you always wear masks.”
    “So fit in with those that Uxbex is claimed as friend by, I do. You wear masks, so use masks does Uxbex.”
    “Really, we do?”
    “Yes, but masks worn by humans have no weight, so they not know.”

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    Replies
    1. This is scary in its alien viewpoint, well depicted by the syntax used by Uxbex.
      Not sure, however, that 'lode' is used correctly, unless it's a US spelling of 'load'?

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    2. Uxbex is an intriguing character. I'm not quite sure what to make of him...her...it...? And that is what I love the most here. Not being exactly sure where fancy is going to go.

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    3. I think I can see where Jeffrey's going with this, a lode, a lodestone, we're drawn to it. This is an interesting serial.

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  25. Change of focus [216]

    At different points in history, different qualities are counted virtues. The willingness to kill, to torture or by other means obliterate one’s enemies – a lode deemed valuable as gold – was one the Scheraskade and the Petzincek families possessed in spades.
    With the passing of half-centuries – and of laws – such attitudes became reasons to condemn, but memories older than John Pettinger’s were slow to change. Aware of this, and that Elinka’s sons were the product of a union between two once-warring families, Pettinger could not deny them better suited to rule than Teodor.
    And did not want the job for Aleks.

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    Replies
    1. Pettinger is a pragmatic and Aleks might well be needed to take over 'his' job for Elinka's sons. A very nice installment. I've read several of the older installments and greatly enjoyed the development you've done.

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    2. a solid instalment for the future - building so much in a few lines which can be developed into bigger lines... if you see what I mean.

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    3. This installment definitely lays the groundwork for some interesting times ahead. Pettinger's parental concerns are becoming ever more apparent. He is obviously quite taken with his boy.

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  26. Checkpoint Charlie

    The pass was counterfeit; a badly-executed fake and I wondered why no greater effort had been made to obliterate the underlying words if it was to convince even a barely literate adolescent on his first day of employment. But no, a probationer would frowningly demonstrate suspicion as he tried to interpret this palimpsest of marks. Would examine it with the avidity of a prospector seeking the lode which would make his fortune.
    My several years’ experience enabled me to dismiss it immediately.
    Only when the knife slid silently between my ribs did I realise there were other things than verisimilitude.

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    Replies
    1. I enjoy learning new words, it's means I'm still young. verisimilitude and palimpsest. Illusion and misdirection, excellent tools or an assassin. A well done perspective and from the victims POV.

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    2. oh wow, what a nasty piece that is! All surety and then - the blade. Scary thought.

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    3. Delightfully underhand and evil. I had to go look up "verisimilitude." Love it when that happens. What a magnificent word!

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  27. Sandra, what I did with lodes definition was: Don’t confuse lode with load. They sound exactly the same, but while load means a big pile of something, lode means that something’s original source.:: I was driving for the source of his feelings with it's use

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    Replies
    1. That's fine = it's a bit of a tricky word!

      Delete
  28. Grave Secrets

    Of course, at the very least, I anticipate discomfort. But that too shall pass.

    If last minute revelations are expected, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. I'm guessing the hope is that I will finally reveal the whereabouts of their little darlings, or what's left of them anyway.

    When hell freezes over! And I will probably be in a prime location to witness such a phenomenon should it ever happen.

    Sorry to be a killjoy -- pun intended -- but that mother lode of information is obliterated with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia, once again you have me reeling from the wickedness of your creations - hugely impressed, as ever.

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    2. An excellent for of grave revenge, the unknown, not having closure.

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    3. like this - a lot, saying so much in the limited word count. Again.

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  29. A poetic submission for the second week.

    Royal Flush

    Larry sat languishingly, letting go a lode,

    Olfactory orders on the subject of meals previously and internally obliterated.

    Pass potently by, causing painful tears, profusely popularized and pronounced.

    Throne of thorns, thinker’s seat, porcelain tub and vomit tank?

    Laughter o’ plenty, loudly roared, like elevators humor of levity.

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    Replies
    1. Ode to a constipated crap, if I'm not mistaken!! That's a first.

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    2. Clever indeed. Not to mention a most unusual submission. Well done!

      Delete
  30. Cripplegate Junction/Part 77-Tunnel Vision

    Clive Bailey didn't know how much time had passed since the Station Master's ultimatum. Minutes? Hours? Days? Should he go back to the Canteen or forward into the Garden?

    Agonizing over the decision, he realized the walls of the alleyway were glimmering like the rich lodes of a diamond mine. But it was merely visual distortion heralding an impending migraine.

    Soon, peripheral perception would be obliterated, vision would be telescopic and excruciating pain would begin.

    "I believe this is yours, old boy," said the Station Master offering, just out of reach, the enameled pillbox containing Clive's previously confiscated medication.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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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    Replies
    1. Aaah - what pleasure when nastiness comes to the surface and shows itself, however politely. And I loved the likening of a migraine to a diamond lode. One of my favourite episodes this, I think.

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    2. this migraineur knows only too well that visual distortion and oh, how I would like some of that confiscated medication! Great instalment.

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  31. Jeffrey here;

    A very subtle offering that, to me, aludes to gifts but if to beware or accepting, I'm not sure.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congrats Kai, Antonia and William! Got caught up over the holidays so just now getting back to writing. Missed you all! Wrote something for this week's words and will come back tomorrow to read everyone's entries and comment. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Rotten Fruit [3]

    “Well, you know what happened last time he passed through,” Jaen said. She crossed her legs again, as though attempting, unsuccessfully, to keep both feet from making lengthy contact with Callon’s floor.

    Callon watched her movements with a wicked, knowing smile, and drained another beer. “He only pruned the royal tree of a few rotten apples.”

    “He obliterated the whole damn forest.”

    Callon snorted. “Like Lennox was unhappy about her rivals disappearing. Sirius essentially gave her a gold-stuffed lode.”

    “Yes, but apparently her abrupt rise to power drew the interest of the Keldoor Brothers.”

    Callon choked. “Well shit.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such an entertaining cast of players, as ever, Zaiure. Thank you.

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    2. standing back in awe of the easy rhythm of the dialogue and the pictures it creates.

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    3. Beautiful allusion of trimming rotten apples to destroying a forest, one of scale, not one of reason. Nicely done.

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    4. Thoroughly entertaining, as always. The dialogue is impeccable as is the delivery. So easy to get lost in this type of tale.

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  34. my standalone for this week:
    Unlodeing
    My lode is hevy and I must pass it on before it obli-obee-oblitrates me. My lode is my sins, too big for me to leave anywhere for some prisn person prisner to find and destroy. Would they destroy them if I askt them to?
    They sed if I ask I get. They sed if I nok its ansered. Why do I worry so much then?
    Toda I want to go. Toda I want to walk out and see for me what I can do with my lode.
    Find someone and lode it on them. It will kill them. I care?

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    1. Oh! This a little gem to start the year with, Antonia - something Dickensian about it?

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    2. I thought you slipped, then I noticed that it's all about illusion and misdirection, we focus on the words and forget about the meaning; like in life, we sometimes focus on what seems important but isn't.

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    3. no, no slipping, Jeffrey, just an outright battle with Word because it changed all the mis-spellings to correct spellings even though they were intentional. This is a sort of spin off from the idea of my story It's A Long Way To Sometime, when I had a mutant walk out of the enclosure/prison/home (you never do find out which because he doesn't know) and cause havoc. (It's been published 2-3 times already). It's a serious challenge, thinking yourself into the mind of someone deeply disturbed or not fully human. For THE best example of this, read Born Of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson. It's the story I can't forget and have held dear for years and years. My homage to that story emerges from time to time, like now.

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    4. An enviable piece. This is the crowning gem in a most amazing week of stories. I reread it several times, each one providing yet another slant on the premise. I will have to search out your Richard Matheson recommendation if what you have given us is a prime example.

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    5. Richard Matheson wrote I Am Legend and if you're looking for pure, pure horror, read his son's work, Richard Christian Matheson. That guy can be pure evil!
      Born of Man and woman turned me from SF to horror many years ago. Never regretted the change of direction, horror suits me better. Not sure where this came from but it seemed to work.

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  35. Infinity 180.
    Tis my wish that the Beast be obliterated, to pass from my life and my ship. Tis like a lodestone ever drawing me close but never letting me touch. Between this need to visit and the food coming from the galley into my cabin, food I cannot ignore for it is good, I am torn apart with longing to do right and at times, just to do. In the face of adversity we are told to attack. I can find nothing to attack. The cook is well liked, naturally. What crew would I have if I rid Infinity of him?

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    1. But a less good start for the Captain, poor man. His ratio of happiness to worry alarmingly low I fear. I do like the 'torn about with longing' - so vivid.

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    2. The best decision, is it for for me or for us or for them? I'm intrigued to learn what he will chose but it's understood that such goes with being a captain. Nice!

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    3. Our poor Captain appears caught in the spiral of a dilemma. I fear the solution will be far from easy and possibly even dangerous. This just gets better all the time!

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  36. Kursaal (Episode Fifty Two) -- "The Pendulum"

    The Pendulum had no operator, starting of its own accord the moment all benches were occupied. Fashioned after a viking warship, the hull of the open-seated gondola was virtually obliterated by barnacle-shaped lodestones.

    The gondola's momentum and height gradually increased until level with the Cosmic Clock, at which time, the pearly gates of the Clock's topmost tower opened and cherubs emerged to circle the lofty spire.

    Maximillian Corviday often wondered about a possible connection between the timepiece and the magnetic pull of the passing swing, both said to be the brainchild of the same inventor, identity lost to time.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. This sounds like a ride to be most definitely avoided, thought-provoking or no!

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  37. The ship moved when it had a full crew, so due to weight or their combined thoughts, like I feel Maximilian is focusing on.

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  38. Simply a Beastly Evening

    "They say music soothes the savage beast. Maybe put a record on?"

    It's the savage breast, but if I said that she'd slap me for being fresh. No need to exacercbate an already-difficult situation - and if I used that word, she'd smack me with her purse.

    "I think he'll be okay in a few minutes. In his condition, you know, in this form, he's a little bit excitable. Just make sure the ropes are tight."

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    1. As always, that last line is an absolute killer. This little tale, recounted far below the word limited, is splendiferous.

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    2. Loved this but which word would have earned a smack from a purse?

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    3. I figured that 'exacerbate' would probably sound a little suspicious, at least to this particular someone ;)

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    4. So much created in so short a space - as ever I am awed by your skill.

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  39. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #58
    Look, A Shiny!


    Fire-spitting forest newt creature things obliterated, I dismantled the tree and freed Natasha. Since the fire-spit didn’t touch her Natasha only bopped my head with a handy spar. We were on our way to my favorite mountain pass and I got distracted by a shiny sapphire lode. What can I say, royal blue’s my favorite color.

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    1. Rosebud's adventures are always such a breath of fresh air. I adore the whimsy that always shines through. I don't know if there are any more entries to come this week but if not, I think this submission leaves us with a brilliant final image.

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    2. I'd would hope that being bopped on the head with a spar, was as funny as I imagined it, just like seeing a tree disassembled, would be.

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    3. The last-minute arrival of this fulfils Patricia's expectations of a brilliant finish to this double bill of challenges. Unsettling insofar as it is alien, but so seemingly innocent too.

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