As you may or may not have noticed, it is no longer February. But never fear! GUCW’s favourite monthly challenge is not all over and done with just yet.
As we get to compiling our anthology we are still in need of flash fiction stories for many of our daily prompts. So if any of you still have some work in the pipeline you have until mid-April to submit your stories for the anthology.
As well of stories we would love submissions of your artwork to accompany any pieces or simply artwork to decorate the anthology. You can use the prompts on the flash fiction page for inspiration but there will be a general “kitsch” feel to the anthology (-think cheesy 90’s pop).
Submit your work to: email@example.com
They say that full fathom five a goddess lies, in a shark-bit sepulchre worn by waves.
They say that she hangs in chains there, locked away in the deepest of dungeons.
They say she waits, for something.
And they are right.
The crown prince was thrown, amulet of office and all, over the cliff and down
To find his own way back from the storm-tossed sea. He did not find his way back,
In the end, but his way forward.
He was dragged down to the darkest depths, where the sun does not deign to light,
Anyone’s way, but leaves that duty to the things better suited to it.
The Amulet his father gave him, to be passed on to his queen when he was a man grown,
Was stolen away from him to lie amongst pearls, another sunken treasure.
When he found air and light again he was amid candles and stained glass, and the
Soft clanking of thin chains.
His amulet lay on the stone before him, and when he snatched it up he found himself
Staring into eyes like bubbles of jet, over rough coral lips and a jagged shark’s teeth grin.
There she knelt, chained in her own temple. The Nameless Queen, cast from heaven,
Her name never to be spoken, not after her little war so shook the earth.
“What do you seek?” she said, in a voice like clacking shells. “What sad pilgrim makes
visitation here? There are no gods this deep save those pulled apart by crabs.”
“I seek my birthright,” he said, clutching his amulet so hard his hand bled. “My kingdom.”
“What would you give for it?”
“Anything.” He grasped the necklace. Responding to his unspoken resolve, the chain slid open.
“Then give me your hand. Slip it through my chains, and be bound here with me. Give me
The life taken, the soul stolen. Give me the love, fill the void that binds me here.And so bind the
The amulet wound over her chains, dangling around her neck. “What will I call you, my lady?”
“A man might call his lady love, he might call her his sweetest dove, but I…I was called…I was called
harpy and I was called whore, I was called to by sailors who yearned for the shore…I was called
by the hermits who prayed themselves mine, but now you shall call me, I shall be…Undine.”
The temple shook. The windows broke, and water poured in in torrents.
“What would you have of me, my lord husband?”
“A riot, first. A rebellion. A war. A conquest.” said the prince, as water lapped at his ankles.
From the moment the curtains parted, I had the numb sense of foreboding in my gut. Act 1 began as one might expect of a John Monroe play- a haphazard cast, dressed in abysmal outfits (likely hand-stitched by Monroe’s famously blind wife). The set, in places, had its own colonies of mould, grown in the damp of backstage – the graveyard home of Monroe’s constantly re-used sets. But I did not attend for the set, of course. I came to see the latest (and last?) venture of Troy Laurent, once famed actor of ‘Destination Unknown’ and ‘The Poor Man of Peru’. His acting in the first act could have easily put an insomniac to sleep while his most believable performance in Act II came as a large rat, quite unexpectedly, joined the cast. This did of course lead to Mr Laurent’s hasty departure and an impromptu interlude.
Where once his stage presence would leave one full of awe, Mr Laurent’s most recent endeavour leaves one feeling truly awful. The only possible praise is that he only needed prompted thrice.
In summary, Mr Laurent’s dismal performance has fully cemented his place amongst the fallen stars of celestial Hollywood.
By Richard Thompson
(Prompts: curtain, light, ‘Have you seen a fallen star?’)
The first pluck made the chord resound. With obscured faces the hooded initiates began their low humming. All in congregation stood there as the words were repeated.
“Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas.”
The backdrop of the altar, where the harpist sat, was a woven tapestry. It told the story of the local saint, the man who had saved them all in a time of great tragedy. When the village had been plagued by the Vanity Curse Disease he had plucked a single flower and proved to the world that the female form was not unique in its beauty. Ever since then the village had been desolate, girls had been trained silent, woman were never seen and the men were always righteous.
“VANITAS VANITATUM, OMNIA VANITAS.”
Behind the veil that separated the genders Philomena mentally reached out to her husband. Tears slipped down her face as she was reminded of the day she had dared to wear a single baby’s breath in her hair. The monk’s chanted, the harpist struck and she was reminded of the emptiness she had felt that day. As she was hit, and pummelled and reminded that vanity was a sin that only woman suffered.
By Ailsa Williamson
(Prompts: flowers, desolate, ‘Of it’s own beauty is the mind diseased’ – Byron)
Then – fair-sized tubs of it too – thought the further I went, the further I wouldn’t. They were selling paints in Poundland back with more freedom even than I have now living with you and what colour to paint still thinks that if I walk far enough, had to wear glasses, to stop the headaches. Years between being twelve and seventeen. The worst appears as a trap. Having a whole day freedom is relative. Once you have too much camp and drink and they were happy with years; the best years. I had friends that a drunken haze. This was back when I sleepless nights and suicidal thoughts. I try to can see every colour. You can see fragments wait for me. It isn’t the same as I’m writing this from the little nook under I came home. He brandished my phone and at old photographs. See, there’s me with the I don’t feel wild. I am unemployed, of joyful. I snap the glowstick between my teeth, from the rave I’ve just been at. I the willow tree by the river. I’ve had something like that blasting out the window; the I’m glad I haven’t moved away. There was give off when your mood fits the dream. Would do what I wanted them to. I cool night air to rush on my face I wanted my mum to paint my room a time when all I wanted was to to go on holiday, whether to have people me. They took me into their tents and a dark abyss where all you can see a good thing, it’s like staring down into be calm and write things down. I look black. I said I’d do it if she when I was in my dad’s car, coming washing the car for that old lady down That was before the optician told me I You can see the person you will marry; My vision still goes fuzzy when I take told them we were going hiking and would protest or object. I told him I didn’t as an adult. I always thought that growing floppy blonde fringe and the earnest blue eyes. Only happy when I’m walking along out into like it’s Christmas again – getting that warm, need a phone. I was part of the the village lights on the journey home that course. A year at college only taught me back from the town with a boot-full of who will kiss you with more passion than we did things I wouldn’t do now. Funny, and I could save up my lunch money crawl down to the river, and release the its 500 missed calls. I wasn’t going to it be love, goals, or suicide? Will there neon fluid into the sparkling stream. If I up meant doing exactly what you want to how it was fun at the time. The glad that most of it is lost in what I didn’t want to do. Sometimes I car with the radio on, maybe U2 or hurts that I can’t see the glint of do. Deciding what to eat for dinner, where would get away. Dad shouted at me everytime life is a spiral towards one goal. Will like the raves, because they make you forget, week will be the exact same; that’s not kills me. I remember sitting in my dad’s of it, everything that once seemed free now satisfying feeling that some call love. But then the road. If you stare into blackness, you piercing it so the liquid oozes out. I at the bottom are the fiery hells of I see the tall spire rise up against shopping. It’s coming back broke and lonely. I and circulate the stench of my dad’s cigarette. I’m looking at the twinkling lights and feeling the walls. When I was seven years old, without her knowing, and said I earned it wilderness. He told me I was wild. Well, the horizon and I remember what lies in someone you’ve married; all just because they are the clouds. There’s a part of me that am poisoned with sorrow, than nature shall be you can see the parallel universe where your get out. I suppose it was those five this den since I was seven years old, it always leaves me unsatisfied, somehow. I am I’ll still get away. It’s the sight of be a future at all? The thing is, and there’s always the happy drugs available. Strangers of your future and the brilliant sheen they with nothing to do, knowing that the next window which I’ve opened because I like the rivers, or the mountain peeks piercing the cloud. Them off and look into the distance. I have a glowstick in my bag, remnant memories now to me are torture. I am paint, mostly imaginary animals or familiar landscapes, but.
(- Maria Sledmere; Cut-up via Lazarus Text Mixing Machine; Weekly prompt: glowsticks).
I am very sad to say that we are coming to the end of the semester soon and with that, the end of my time as Creative Writing Society president! I’ve really enjoyed the role and have met some cool people along the way. Anyway, we have two weeks left and the second of those weeks (Week 11 in the academic calendar) is our AGM. This is a chance for you to give feedback on how things are done in the workshops and to give any ideas for next year. We will also have a book swap so start thinking about what you want to bring!
Most importantly though, we will be electing our three board members for next year (Secretary, Vice President and President). The rules are that you can run for any two roles, but can only take on one of course! Anyone that wants to run, please can you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook me. Since we’ve already got a few people thinking about it, I think it would be helpful to voters if you wrote a wee manifesto (no more than say 300 words) about why you’d be good for the role, your experience with creative writing society and so on. The only rule about who can apply, according to our Constitution (accessible via the ‘Schedule, Links and Resources’ page), is that you have to have been a member for at least a year. This means that if you are just finishing up first year you can apply, but only if you started at the beginning and have been a regular attendee ;) if you want to know more about what each member does before applying, feel free to ask, though it’s pretty straightforward all in all and we generally work in a team! Creative Writing Society will be four years old soon and I think it’s important that I leave it in safe hands!
Nina is working on getting us a better venue for the next two sessions so fingers crossed we won’t be in the tropic heat of the Reading Room again, but stay tuned for more info on that.
Also, another important thing is our annual survey. It takes no more than five minutes as it’s only 10 mostly multiple choice questions. Basically it’s to gather feedback about what works and what doesn’t, and ideas about things you want to see next year. Greatly appreciate your time taking it and don’t worry it’s all anonymous :)
Link to the survey HERE: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HDZ368
Hope to see you all next week for CRIME FICTION.
Don’t forget this week’s prompt’s CLOVER, and send me anything you come up with via the ‘Prompts’ page :)
The librarian drifted through the piles of books like a spectre.
As he shuffled through the maze of scrolls, tomes and lost pages, he paused occasionally, lifting a glass lantern to illuminate a spine or to navigate the paper-strewn floor. He passed the only window: a small slit in the carved stone exterior of the tower, through which the merest whisper of moonlight was visible, glistening blue on the mountains, shimmering in the mist. He paused.
Trapped! I’m trapped in a cage, frozen in ice, gathering dust… When they find me I will be no more than that – bonedust, and cobwebs. These wormy books will outlive me… This is the fate of a coward. Solitude. Oblivion. No one will remember me… Who remembers the librarian? Who spares a thought for an old man in a tomb of books…?
And I suppose I’ll go mad… Perhaps I have already gone mad – driven mad by my own company!
How will I ever know? There is no one here to tell me that the voices I hear aren’t real..
So at the sci fi and fantasy meeting last week we were trying to come up with a ‘novum’ that would be the central point of our story. Louise came up with these curious and imaginative ones, which would you prefer?