Friday, 11 August 2017

Threading truth with fiction

My stand-alone tale last week began with ‘spearmint’ jogging my memory of a lolly and the silver three-penny bit I used to buy it. From this sprang a boring story which I refused to allow the light of day. Then I remembered Elsie. Was it she who assured me that in the woods across the road dwelt a man who ate children? That was back in the day  when, as five -year-old a two mile walk to school, unsupervised, was normal.

I thank you for all the nice things you said about it, and in many ways it would have been easiest to nominate myself, with such a very strong week of entries. I am, however, going to break a different rule, by nominating jk’s ‘Ellis; for somewhat selfish reasons. One, it is exactly the sort of story which appeals to me and two because she’s currently in a Dundee hospital awaiting an operation to fix a fractured ankle. (I’m hoping that will give her time to write the next episode)

Words for next week:  cower feature maggot

Entries by midnight Thursday 17th August, words and winners  posted on Friday 18th

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.

98 comments:

  1. Very nicely done, jk. Good luck with your upcoming surgery.

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    1. Thank you Patricia :) op went well and I just need to convince the physio I can use crutches well enough to go home ;)

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    2. Jk an excellent story last werk and here's to a speedy recovery. My dad is a retired Podiatrist, so I know a little about fractured ankles.

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    3. They're very annoying, is what I know!

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  2. Lure

    Oliver was proud of his new rod and reel featuring the most modern spincast technology. The other boys at the local fishing hangout, C.J. in particular, were understandably envious.

    The wimpy Oliver usually cowered in the face of intimidation but this time, threatened with surrender of his prized possession "or else," decided to take a stand. It was a valiant effort.

    C.J. caught many fish with his latest acquisition.

    For now, live bait was in plentiful supply courtesy of Oliver's maggoty corpse.


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    1. Who knew fishing could spark the passionext for murder? Nice vignette of boys relationships

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    2. Patricia, an excellent story to start the week, very good use of the prompts.

      Forgive me that I deleted some posts, just cleaning up some yard signs.

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    3. Not the ending I was expecting - a well-hooked tale ...

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    4. I wish it had been C.J.'s maggoty corpse, but oh how chilling this is. Good one.

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  3. congratulations to JK, and every good wish for the surgery and the convalescence.

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  4. Midnight Service

    You humans know nothing! We’re all that’s left of the people from the moon. Condemned to live on this maggot infested dirtball, you so appropriately call Earth.

    We don’t cower at the moon. Her silver body calls us to prayer; we cry for her almost lifeless orb, we once called home. She grants us our original features, for three days.

    Despite all the stories, books and movies, that were meant to warn you, you didn’t get it. Why would you? How could you?

    This is your home, you’re safe.

    Did you hear that bell?

    It’s dinner time.

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    1. I think this is one of your best yet. It's clever and understated and a little sinister twist too

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    2. "maggot infested dirtball, you so appropriately call Earth" - a superb line followed by a foreboding ending.

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    3. Quirky and kind of sarcastic moon men. A really enjoyable story.

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    4. like this, so far this week it's a true feast of horror stories.

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    5. Very nicely done, Jeffrey. That last line is as good a killer as any featured here.

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  5. Cripplegate Junction/Part 109 - Nookery Nursery

    Marmalade often visited the Nookery now the nest had appeared. He enjoyed prowling around the cowering chicks. However, he wasn't so delighted by their feeding habits.

    Eagerness with which wriggling worms and squirming maggots were accepted into demanding beaks remained a mystery, as did the Rook's devotion to duty. The cat regarded the entire process unrefined.

    Regardless, he tolerated the fledglings. Plumage sleek, black and glossy like the Rook (for the most part) but featuring yellow breast feathers, a likely indication of their other parentage.

    In retrospect, Marmalade relished the memory of Violet's pet Canary.

    Such a dainty little bird.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    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. Marmalade's thought-processes a delight.

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    2. Loved how the cat thought the chickens and their processes to be unrefined. That really added to the entertainment value of this piece. As did the rest, mind you.

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    3. I do wonder how daintily Marmalade's canary meal was... my cats always left multiple pieces of bird lying around!

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    4. I can almost hear my cats' thought processes here, especially musing on past feasts!

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  6. An excellent addition to Marmalades history.

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  7. After death, we went to the museum.

    The gallery featured numerous pieces. A wastebasket crafted from human skulls. A pair of Hitler’s underwear. A motorized maggot, big enough to walk inside, detailed enough to force a group of school children from the fifth ring to retreat and cower and vomit.

    The door we came through no longer existed.

    The only exit was an empty elevator shaft, regulated by a skeleton in a bow tie. He had no flesh, so he seemed to be smiling. I hoped for direction, he offered none.

    “Kids?”

    Nothing. I grabbed one and tossed him in.

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    1. My goodness this is horribly unsettling, playing havoc with the imagination, ad opens with a punch.

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    2. That first line was great. It kind if says it all right there. And then comes the rest, checking in, but not checking out. Really good. A motorized maggot, my lord.

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    3. I'm definitely wondering what's down the elevator shaft...

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    4. whoo, a whole series of creepy horror images crammed into so few words!

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    5. What a magnificent take on the prompts. Great hook and stupendous last line. My goodness, there have been some shining gems this week.

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  8. Very good opening line and ending line. Very nice story, Scott.

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  9. Gaining knowledge

    As a child I thought a brain was made of white blancmange and the bumpy bits did a sort of maggoty wriggle when it was thinking.

    As a grown man. you cowering in the corner, your features an unappealing melt of pleading and foreboding (knowing I could never forgive) I found out it was much runnier than that.

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    1. A lot of brain matter in this, making it all the more chilling. So short but so powerful.

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    2. sometimes less is more, it is here.

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    3. A gray matter salad, wonder what dressing goes with that. You provided just enought to allow our imagination to expand on.

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    4. This was so nasty and so succinct. I agree with Antonia...less is more and this is one hell of an example.

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  10. Ellis 002

    I rubbed my cheek and glanced in the mirror. Not a pretty sight, mascara featured heavily, just not where it was supposed to be. Worse was the churn of maggots chomping through my cognitive brain, I had only the vaguest impressions of last night remaining.

    “Ellie,” called my boss, Jasper. “Come on!” as I hobbled to my apartment door.

    * * *

    “Ellie!” Jasper shook my shoulders, I must have crumpled to the laminate floor as I opened the door. I cowered at the sharpness in his voice.
    “Ellie, this isn’t like you, what’s the matter?”

    Dizziness, and the world blinked off again.

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    1. Loved that 'world blinked off again'.

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    2. Congrats on last week, JK. And now the chilling/thrilling series starts. And I'm finally in on the ground floor.

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    3. yes, it is 'the world blinked off again' which caps a lovely impression of disorientation and inherent panic.

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    4. Oh my, does she get amnesia when she does something naughty? A very good and mysterious continuation.

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    5. Eager to learn more about Ellie and to emphasize what has been said already, the "world blinked off again" passage is absolutely stunning. So looking forward to more.

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  11. Ragamuffin

    The newly acquired waif cowered, naked and trembling as the headmistress applied delousing foam from an aerosol can.

    “We can’t have Lord Covington encounter maggots now can we, Luv?” The stout woman pulled a foam soaked comb through the waif’s dirty hair. “We’ll get them all, one by one if we have to.”

    Slowly, step by step, the transformation evolved; a ragged child now a ravishing beauty. She choked as the headmistress dusted with hairspray.

    “My oh my, a feature fit for a king.”

    The waif shuddered, dead eyes forward, longing for her crack addicted mother.

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    1. Oh - so sly but unflinchingly truthful. A well set-up, flesh-creeping scenario.

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    2. A sinister headmistress and situation, a perfect opening glimpse

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    3. such a small glimpse but saying so much more than can be expressed here. Superb storytelling.

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    4. The dicotomy you create about the time period is very good. 18th century until the last line, but mybe not. Very good story.

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    5. An almost "Oliver Twist" beginning with an absolutely current ending. It led us along very nicely into a horrifying conclusion. Great stuff!

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  12. The Corpse Maggot

    A maggot wriggles within the putrid bullet wound on the bloated corpse. The solitary survivor. She'd watched her siblings cower as the crow came down to pluck them in his beak.
    She gorges on rancid flesh. Her slow metamorphosis features fidgety legs and busy wings. Skyward she flits, dodging the beak of the swooping crow.
    Time passes.
    The buzzing blue fly returns to the corpse. In amnesia of the risk posed by crows she lays her eggs within the festering well of the putrid bullet wound.
    Soon her offspring gorge on rancid flesh. The crow circles slowly down.

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    1. Maggots, the cleansers of the earth. But never before have I encountered on as an MC in a story. And the antagonistic crow, really well done.

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    2. I agree with John completely, this is so different, so clever.

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    3. A circle of life, Disney would never make into a movie. Very unique and out if the bix writing.

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    4. 'In amnesia of the risk posed' adds a philosophical note to this gorge-rising and original tale.

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    5. I really like the cyclical shape of the story

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    6. This is about as original as one can get. What an imaginative tale and what great perspective. Adore the title!

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  13. Kursaal (Episode Eighty Three) - "Exaptation"

    Ambrose Oxenford faced potential closure of his Horrorhouse. Lately, the attraction had become malodorous. Lethal even. The maggot population had quadrupled and patrons emerged gasping for air, demanding a refund.

    To make matters worse, there were recent sightings of extraneous and frightful apparitions roaming the catacombs, one of whom cowered in the shadows and bemoaned the loss of her sketch pad and 2B pencils.

    The situation was dire.

    Ambrose commissioned Georgie-Boy Endicott (the Kursaals' jack-of-all-trades) and Barnabus Dobbs (maintenance man extraordinaire) to investigate and resolved to have another word with Management about featuring his establishment as a dumping ground.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    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.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    NOTE: Ambrose Oxenford (and his "Horrorhouse"), Georgie-Boy Endicott and Barnabus Dobbs have all featured in previous installments of "The Kursaal."

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    1. these extremely unsavoury bit highly entertaining characters spill from your storytelling with such ease I am envious!

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    2. The names of the characters create their image. Nicely worded with restraint, like slowing the horses down. Liked the prompt use.

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    3. Such Dickensian names! And I love the detail of the missing sketch pad.

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    4. Maggots and apparitions are likely hard to get rid of. Good luck to Georgie-Boy and company. And speaking of Georgie-Boy, did you take Boy George and flip him around?

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    5. Good thought, John, but sadly no. He's named for a Romany cousin of mine. Sometimes also known simply as "Boysie."

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  14. Bad Apples

    A summons to the royal chamber always created apprehension. This time, the orchardist was more than nervous. He cowered in the majestic presence.

    It was rumoured that the corset-maker had been strangulated with his own laces and the coiffurist forced to fall upon a rattail comb. He feared he would fare no better.

    The sovereign's eyes narrowed, features severe, as he failed to produce the desired item. This was not going well.

    Just his luck those pesky maggots had decimated his entire crop of Cox's Orange Pippins.


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    1. very funny, very well worked out, needed that tonight! Thanks, Patricia.

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    2. An Alice in Wonderland feel, oozing from this vignette. Enjoyable and catchy.

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    3. Once again, the picture you paint is clear and colourful; one to long ponder over.

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    4. Faling on a rattail comb an entertaining visual!

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    5. Patricia, you are quite the wordsmith. Very enjoyable tale.

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  15. Leonardo's not visited yet, this is my stand alone for the week.

    Fishing bait

    Look, I’m sorry, all right? The lid was tight on the box, when I put them under the sink. Yes, I know, better than in the fridge, though. You always said be careful what you put in the fridge. Oh come on, you look like you’re cowering away from me listing to one side like that, sit up, you old fool! I’m gonna miss the main feature at the cinema if I don’t get these flies out of here – help me shoo them out of the window…
    Damn, they’re coming from you. I forgot you were dead.

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    1. The movie theater scene from American Werewolf in London sprang into my mind. A very nice story, Antonia.

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    2. Ugh! Horrible kick of that final line, instant averting of eyes. And aversion.

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    3. do you know, I've never seen the American Werewolf in London film? This came from a memory of my daughter's ex stacking maggots under the sink ready for a fishing trip, the lid came off... the rest was easy after that picture emerged from the dark recesses!

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    4. A visual gem here. Very cool concept, if not a little on the gruesome side. I once accidently left some bait in a plastic container for over a year. When I opened it there were the ugliest big blue flies I ever saw, perfectly preserved.

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    5. Beautifully visual and, must admit, brought an unbidden chuckle. I think it was the "old fool" reference that sent me along the humorous path. Second outstanding "stand alone" in as many weeks. And you tried to "fool" us into thinking you found it difficult!

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  16. Kandar 19: Revenge is a Vulture

    “Lazar, a thief or assassin came into my house. I’ll not cower where my wife and children…”
    Galiel drew his sword and sprinted to the 4th floor. His features relaxed when he saw the extra guards and his wife.
    “You said you were going to your temple.”
    ”And you believed me, like an intruder would’ve.”
    “Lazar, tell Colonel Zarvek, to rally the city guard and The Nights of the Tower. I want every thief either hosting maggots or in jail within three days. The leaders I want alive, I want to know who broke into my house!”

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    1. "hosting maggots" is a great threat!

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    2. some good lines here, you have more control over the story now, I think.

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    3. I agree with Antonia. You now appear to have the strings of this tale firmly between thumb and forefinger. Can't believe we're at Episode 19 already.

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    4. Yes - that 'hosting maggots' is superb.

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  17. Kandar 20: Family Affair

    Uxator was reading. Genealogy is so boring! Cousin’s twice removed? Does that really matter? “What’s this?” Our Lord Commander was found in the maggoty ruins of Kal-Zathra. Lord Marshal Kalvan Salevon found three toddlers, two humans and one with half-breed features. They were to be sent to the Tri-Flame orphanage. The Lord Marshall’s wife commented that the humans looked like brothers.
    “We should raise the human orphans, dear.” Marshall Kalvan consented.
    The half-breed went to the orphanage. That’s the orphanage where I cowered for six painful years. It’s time to visit the old homestead and see what records they have.

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    1. this instalment leads us into murky waters. It's as well written as the 19th instalment.

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    2. It is extremely rare to see two episodes of the same serialization appear in one week, but this was expertly put together. I hope we find out more of this orphanage. Sounds like a fascinating establishment.

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    3. Thankyou for your comments on my series. When it started it was Messenger in the Night, so this was more like #23 & #24.
      If you go back a few weeks, there was a story about three ...orphans... found in the ruins of Kal-Zothra.
      Again, thankyou all for your continuing with me on this story.

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  18. Change of focus [248]

    Pettinger’s face expressed exhausted incomprehension. ‘So, this dealer – a robot you say?’
    Brickwood brought up the details on his phone. ‘Not the dealer Morgan; the film called Morgan. Bioengineered prodigy.’
    Pettinger peered, ‘Seen her, freezing on a North Sea ferry!‘
    ‘She features quite a bit –‘
    ‘But this Morgan’s threatened by?’
    ‘Jason Agnew’s lot and the Mayhews –‘
    ‘Bollocking hell, don’t tell me Maggoty Mayhew’s still alive?’
    ‘Aye, and her boys still cower at a glance from her, for all they’re twice her size.’
    ‘So what’s the problem?’
    ‘He’s taken over the school run. Selling to the yummy mummies.’

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    1. now that is a nasty twist to the story.

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    2. Yummy mummies is or could be a double entendres. I'm not familiar with the movie Morgan but a robot could be bioengineered. A good mysterious story.

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    3. And once again, I am in awe of these installment that consist chiefly of dialogue and yet move the tale along at a brisk clip while losing nothing in the way of content. "Yummy mummies" indeed. That's got me wondering...

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  19. A calling in of favours? [Threshold 175]

    ‘Last time we met I called you scraggy bitch. You cowering beneath my brother –‘
    Not the other twin but the shudder-making loathsome Toad. ‘You also told him I’d the clap. He dropped me like I was maggot-ridden and I escaped. I was grateful –‘
    I had been, despite losing the opportunity to be simultaneously bedded by the identically-featured younger brothers.
    Without watching what he did, this Twin used the knife to bounce a parallel line of blood upon his forearm, then two at right-angles: crimson grid for a game of noughts and crosses.
    Holding hard my eyes, ‘How grateful?’

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    1. each time I read these instalments I wonder if they can get any tighter written or any nastier. Answer is, yes they can.

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    2. Creepy when they play a game of tick tack tattoo.

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    3. Indeed, the underlying nastiness here is palpable. Some great insults and/or revelations as well. "Scraggy bitch," for example and "You also told him I'd the clap." Obviously, this twin is into self-harm...and maybe other varieties as well.

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  20. The Mad Italian 18.
    It is a constant feature of your lives that you live with fear and in the knowledge you are lied to by maggots whose job it is to keep you safe. They do no such thing, they cower behind fine-sounding words; they act strong but are as weak as their manifesto, if they even have one. There is little you can do for no group of people would be strong enough to wrest government from them and take on the mantle. The sad thing is, were they able to do it, within a short time they would become maggots too.

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    1. These are the types of observations that make one think and reflect. He may have not been among us physically for many a long year, but the Mad Italian definitely has his finger on the pulse.

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    2. A marvelous observation by the Mad Italian, one that Lord Acton would agree with.
      Nice how you merged the prompt words in.

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  21. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #90
    Lunchtime Tales


    The maggot-seller cowered behind the buffet. The Assassins tangoed. This was not his crowd. Natasha and I were to be the featured entertainment, but Georgiana had asked me a favor. We were in Snow Park. Georgiana and the others needed us out of the way to lure the bird smugglers into the open. Someone decided to bring the maggot-seller along. Do birds even eat maggots? The Assassins Guild emerged victorious, disguised as guards, of course. Georgiana assured me the birds are safe.

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    1. Tangoing Assassins a delightful vision!

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  22. Assassins vs. smugglers an excellent idea. A maggot-seller invited to a buffet. I like that job enough to use it in a story.
    A very good and enjoyable story, Rosie.

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