100-Word Challenge

In our latest workshop we gave our writers a 100-word excerpt and task them with finishing the scene in just 100 words themselves.

Here is the excerpt they were given:

Silvo groaned and opened his eyes slowly. The three monstrous dragons were amassing from every side, their huge shadows enveloping him. The blow he had been dealt had not only knocked him out long enough for the dastardly warlock to summon the dragons but had also severed our brave knight from his trusty sword. Warm droplets of blood trickled down Silvo’s forehead. The dragon to his right was red and winged, the dragon to his left was green and horned. The dragon behind him cast the largest shadow of all and its warm breath was encroaching upon Silvo’s neck. Suddenly….

 

 And here is what they came up with:


 

SUPER DRAGON HAZE

The vapes were charged and ready. Silvio preferred old-fashioned cigars, the fat phallic stumps of carbon; but he was being hospitable to his candy-crush dragons, whose penchant for vapes could be traced back to the saturated valleys of their infancy. Silvio matched flavours with the colours of each dragon: pastoral apples for the green one, cherry-cola haze for the red one. Together they smoked, each warm breath mingling delightfully in the air. Logos for corporate sports brands flashed like religious symbols in the darkness and suddenly the lights of the mall flicked on, drowning among dead muzak.

/ DJ Misty

[word count: 100]

 


 

PEE-EW!

Silvo turned around and shouted at the dragon behind him.

“Woah man, you need some tic-tacs or something ‘cause your breath stinks!”

The dragon, looking dejected sat back on his haunches and huffed a mighty puff. “You think so?” he asked glumly “I’ve been trying to eat healthier you know?”

The other two dragons had come put their wings around the largest’s shoulders.

“It’s okay dude,” said Silvo. “Here, try this.” Silvo ripped off a branch of a nearby mint bush and gave it to the dragon who ate it and instantly perked up.

He smiled toothily, “Wow, cheers man.”

 

/Tricky Dicky

[word count: 100]


 

LET’S GET IT ON

…the green dragon transformed into a bottle of champagne, the red one into a rose, and the large shadow cast behind Silvo fell as a blanket at his feet. From a cloud of smoke appeared an Adonis-like man with long flowing locks. His rippling bare chest was exposed and Silvo suddenly felt the strength of his ‘sword’ return to him.

“My name is Fabio and you are my hidden desire,” breathed the sexy sexy man.

Silvo tossed his armor aside and Fabio popped the champagne and then they lay down on the black silk blanket and had hot passionate sex.

 

/MC Bubble

[word count: 100]

Advertisements

Flash Fiction February Submissions

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: gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com

Find the prompts here: Flash Fiction February 2k17

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!



**Days/ Prompts that haven’t been written on yet:**

22/02/17

Non-binary, pride,

101009617

 

24/02/17

Inconceivable, Iridescent,

“You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

 

27/02/17

Negligible,  Damask,  

“This world that we’re a-livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat; You git a thorn with every rose, but ain’t the roses sweet!”- Frank Lebby Stanton

Liminal Preparations

FullSizeRender 51.jpg

There are cracks where the light breaks down and all the darkness left is nougat for shadow. I devour all I have; which is just this small room, a cabin that sways all night and day. When the sad hours come I fold into a question mark, hoping for nothing but sleep. The sea will rock me to sleep. This is less being than breathing.

As the hours pass, the honey crystallises in the jar on the window. I am always in water and yet the memories are hard and congealed. A lump of obsidian brought back from disaster. Black glass, hardened felsic lava. It’s smooth and slick enough to lick, a sliver of very dark chocolate. Bittersweet howl of the elements.

Sunshine feeds me nothing. The moonlight on the decking is lovely. My skin is like frosting, covered in crystals, white and shining. Gulls come in from the west on the thrust of the wind and we hear in our sleep their shouting. I live in the thin space, the evening whisky, the wafer of salty obsidian. I dream of a firth where the seaweed clogs the gorge of the sea and all is a dark, gelatinous, bottle green. You could float and not drown and the world would have you like that, microbial.

These hexagons dripping with golden honey, these desolate soundscapes of gun-coloured grey. If I close my eyes, close my eyes…If I am adrift like this for long, the mariner I’m sure will come for me. He knows these waves, these tides, like I know my childhood streets. He is still in his own way alive; still fighting for that acrid day, the old promise of solid concrete. Until then, I must blow this skin into glass, glow molten for a dawn that may not arrive.

/Maria Sledmere

Kernel

Kernel 

You would have given anything to trade these white walls for the impossible depths of the forest. Sometimes, when time refused its submission to the laws of physics, you applied your third eye to the blankness, trying to conjure the trees and the passages of mosses and curious flowers. The child who found comfort in the smells of peat and fern, the pollen of trees.

“Water?” The voice at the door. Sometimes, reflections shifted along the metal grate and you mistook them for rats. There was a reason for the nibble marks at the corner of your bed sheet.

Back in the summer of your most significant year, you spent all your days in the forest. She taught you it all: how to use moss to squeeze out drinking water, how to make garlands from branches of ivy, how to select edible mushrooms, to pick special berries which made you sick for days in a wild coma. Nobody cared where either of you were. The first time with the berries you had tangled yourselves in a fall of leaves and lay there for what felt like a week. The changes from dawn to dusk, twilight to midnight, startled your heightened senses. Dark lashes upon gold would gorge your eyeballs. She found you endlessly hilarious in a way nobody has since. Her limbs around you like tree roots, securing. She was three years older; she knew everything. She would talk about the early days when the country was ravished by conflicts. It was a fairy tale, a terrible fiction cloaked in the dust of her accent, its gravel, its distance. Impossible to predict that such a thing could happen again.

“Water?” The door banged open, a bowl was set down. A shadow turned and left.

Sometimes in dreams you’re under a waterfall. The deepest grove in the forest. The sun from above refracts and sparkles in the downward surge, which you see from beneath as a converging spiral of quartz-bright light. When you wake the white of the walls is blinding. The water tastes metallic. The bruise round your eyes never heals; its permanence is the nightshade power of poisoned safflower, a strong red tint that blurs your vision. He comes in the morning to beat it again, beating the sight out of you. You focus on the white, on the waterfall, the shimmering distance of the forest.

Your ribs have been cracked. Your spine twisted like a thread of rope pulled tight in a coil, each knot clicking out of place, screech after scratch. The searing quality of this pain you have channelled back into the white. The edges shiver. Your skull has been cracked against the cistern. He holds your hair in a fist, calls it torture. You have no answers. You are only white.

There is a hollow inside you. A child inside you. She is cold and quivers in the bowers of pines, her skin scored raw by the coarsest hide. She listens for the girl who would tell her the secrets. She has not been broken; she lives in the hollow like the seed of an oak tree, her breathing remembering a dream of eternity.

One thing he cannot crack.

She taught her how to tie a necklace from dark elastications of pitch and sap. The little acorn pendant hidden in the crest of her neck, a bead between two chest bones. How she relished those chest bones, the unbroken curves, the bead of the acorn, impeccably shelled. The child inside her, cold, quivering, alone?

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompt: acorn)

Flash Fiction: Now You’re Gone

 

14458330683_bc5720a107_z
~ * Source * ~

[This piece was inspired by two workshop prompts: BREAKDOWN and SHARP]

Now You’re Gone

It starts like this: thrum after thrum, the slick build of a Eurodance tempo that seems to shower serotonin on my brain. I always found it heart-breaking, that cute wee detail: I’ve been waiting here by the phone…

It was our favourite song! We shared it with a fondness reserved for the act of splitting an ecstasy tablet; pirouetting our way across the continent, spilling our limbs over a thousand discos in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin. They were even playing this tune in Prague! Being a cultural city doesn’t preclude a penchant for crappy Swedish ~trance lite~ and holy shit did we milk it. The whole summer, Jenny on my shoulders, fist pumping to that tune. So fucking beautiful. Cut me open and I’ll bleed Jagerbombs.

Last stop: Magaluf. End of the trail. Our livers ached and sleep kept dragging us back into absence. On the train, I dreamt of a dark forest where I could drink from a lake of Lucozade. Electrolytes restoring my sanity. I woke up to Jenny pulling on my arm, trying to steal my mp3 player so she could drown out the chants from a carriage of rowdy Geordies.

I’m coming up again in a strip club where girls in wigs are sliding their oiled-up bodies round poles. All those sensuous serpents. Everywhere you look: another girl, a different coloured wig. Jenny finds it hilarious, throws fivers at them as if our precious euro funds were just Monopoly money.

“Show us your vagina!” she shrieks in broken Spanish.

Just when I reach the high point, the DJ cracks out ‘Now You’re Gone’. Jenny is scrabbling for my shoulders but I push her away; this high is entirely mine. I’m deeper in the crowd now and the bass pounds through me like I’m in the belly of a whale.

That’s when it strikes me. That A minor. I never noticed it before, but now it’s an irretrievable spasm of sadness. Cuts me wide open. I’m spilling my guts up, hurling on the dancefloor. Pot noodles shoot from my throat like I’ve been harbouring a nest of worms. Everyone’s shouting and parting, backing away from me. I’m literally owning the dancefloor, triumphant in my puddle of vomit. Now you’re gone……the way that A minor hits you! Belting it out! All this time I thought there was a sharp in there; by god I was wrong!

My brain was wrong. In that moment, seriously wrong.

Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
I realised———-

What is air? Breathing, breathing, a word that means breathing! Are we hitting the breakdown yet, the transcendent solo where he really wrecks those decks? I gasp and a girl shoves me back, the sick still dripping from my teeth. I’m back in that forest. Jenny, help me?

I’m Basshunter. I’ve literally become Basshunter. The sexy Swedish motherfucker, wow. Look how clean and smooth my face is. The stars shout back how cool I am. The dance poles are now trees, taller than lampposts. They’re everywhere. Yep, a fucking forest. What do I do? I’m a Basshunter. What does one do as Basshunter? I guess I should… hunt bass.

Bass is everywhere. Bass is the timbre of the trees breathing, the earth turning, plates shifting. Bass is the sound of bees laughing at wasps dying in saccharine cesspits of jam. Bass is a fish an old man once held up with a knife stuck clean through it. Saltwater, tongue-bitten tears. My mother spitting in her whisky. Jenny with the stereo cranked up in the car. Bass is an instrument banging against my chest. Bass is anchoring the melody, drumming a gong of oil from my heart. Bass is where we end, we start. Jenny? Jenny…?

I end up in the base. They call it a base, but I know it’s a cell. They have taken me; they have based me. Debased me. Everything pounds and it’s so trashy, ecstatic; one day someone will make a PowerPoint out of my misery. Jenny, come back to me? Just one little text? I’ll go crazy…what’s the next line? Now you’re away, without your face…?

[ [ [ Eat it up man, it’s just the bass ] ] ]

/ M. Sledmere (dj misty)

Notes from Workshop 7: Poetry Corner

To ease us into POVEMBER we covered various forms of poetry this week. Here are some of the notes and creations from one of our groups (Maria, James, Heather). If anyone else has stuff to share that they came up with, please email it to gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com — we look forward to reading it! x

img_0071
We brainstormed around a colour theme before individually writing haiku. 
img_0072
W
img_0074
‘Ode to Donald’ featuring a corn candy windmill (Trump hates windmills, and corn candy is obviously quintessentially American). 
img_0073
Some scrappy first draft ‘free verse’ – Maria

Curse of Knowing

The seconds keep ticking away, my life moving past so quickly- and it’s so easy to see when you have a fucking hourglass tattooed on your arm, and the sand moves every second, showing me exactly how long I have left.

It’s a curse, and a punishment, and I hate it. I wish I could carve it off my skin. And I have tried, believe me. It does not work, just hurts like a bitch and then heals as if nothing had happened.

Sometimes the weight of all these seconds left is too much. Sometimes the thought of living for this long is a terrible burden, as I watch the sand trickle through, knowing I have nothing and no-one to occupy my seconds. And sometimes it feels frantic, like too little time is left to me, and how can I fulfil any dreams with such a tiny amount of time?

But I don’t have any dreams left, really. It’s funny how an awareness of the magnitude of the universe and your exact place in it can trivialise your dreams, make you realise how worthless everything is. It’s a wonder how anyone fights this fear, this crippling realisation, how anyone even gets out of bed.

Then again, no-one really knows. Everyone else is oblivious, content to live their tiny meaningless existences. Their eyes are closed to the realities, to their insignificant lives. And they can survive.

But my eyes were opened. I was made aware. And it’s difficult to forget that when you have fucking tattoo of your seconds ticking away.

 

By Maura Kenny

(prompt: picture of hourglass tattoo)

Beacon of Hope

There was a single flower growing. Its petals were a muted, dusty rose pink, fading to an almost white at the edges. The centre was yellow, bright and vibrant, like an egg yolk, almost. It had forced its way out of this dull, dusty, barren ground, fought weeds and scraggly grass and emerged, triumphant and beautiful, poking out amongst the stones and rubbles. A fighter.

Like us all, I thought, looking around at the group of us, huddled around a weak fire, shivering, chewing hungrily on the few slices of dried meat that were the only food we had left. We’d survived so much. We could survive more. And if this flower could survive in this desolate wasteland, then so could we.

We moved on soon, not staying in any one place for too long, and we left the ruins with the flower outside, but I kept thinking about it. How it could grow, so pretty, in such a sad place. The thought of it kept me going through the horrors we saw. The flower became a symbol of hope for me. If flowers could grow here, eventually other things could.

But as one by one, the members of our group died or left us, and we all became more and more desperate, and food and water became more and more scarce, I began to doubt myself. What if I hadn’t seen the flower? What if I’d been hungry and woozy from lack of sleep and imagined it? Deluded myself into thinking I’d seen some beacon of hope?

I found myself obsessed with this thought. I had to get back to the place I’d seen it. I had to know. My group- my friends- all tried to dissuade me. I was being ridiculous, they said. A foolish risk, a silly errand. But I left them, I said goodbye and I left the group and I followed our path back.

It took days, much longer than it had taken us as a group, ad soon I had no food and despite my careful rationing, no water. But eventually I made it, made it back to the stretch of wasteland we’d camped on, with the ruined houses and the torn up road and the place where the flower had been…

I practically sprinted over, dropping my empty bag and my empty canteen and running towards the place, my heart alight with hope and expectation…

But then I shuddered to a halt, my stomach lurching. The flower was there, alright. But it was dead. I knelt beside it, sharp stones digging into my knees. Its once perfect petals were browned and curling, and it was lying on the ground instead of pointing up towards the sun.

I looked at it, dead and pathetic, and I thought about my desperate hope and I realised that I had no food or water and I couldn’t survive out here for long and I’d been stupid and I’d chased a foolish dream and if the flower was a metaphor for all of this, then I was not appreciating the irony.

I was going to die just like the flower did, like everything did, in this hellhole. And with that thought my control broke, and I couldn’t hold back the tears, and I wept for everything I couldn’t have and everything I’d never get back.

 

By Maura Kenny

(prompts: flower, desolate)

If you can’t connect…

At the end of today’s volleyball practice, Mira was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness.

It was a feeling she detested, a feeling that left a bad taste in her mouth, a feeling that made her feel like someone was shaking their head in disapproval over her shoulder.

The squeak of volleyball shoes against the polish gym floors had always reminded Mira of good friends and good fun, but today, as her new teammates jogged to the exit of the gym, she just felt alienated by the sound. It was too loud, sharp against her ears as she made her way towards the exit as well, involuntarily replaying the speech their coach gave them before declaring the end of today’s practice.

“Connecting is essential. Connecting in volleyball is the key to good defence and the start of an offensive play. If you can’t connect—”

You can’t win.

Mira hated how she remembered, with the utmost clarity, that the coach’s eyes had passed over Kori and her as she finished the speech. Mira didn’t like to think the coach had directed the entire speech towards the two of them, after all, the other freshers were getting used to playing with their seniors as well. It wasn’t like Mira and Kori were obviously clashing. It wasn’t like their clash was so bad it could affect their team dynamics. Nope. Not one bit.

No, Mira wasn’t worried at all.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Kori walk towards their captain. When they began talking, Mira instantly averted her gaze, zipping up her bag with more care and interest than usual.

How should she even approach this? How should she begin solving this problem? Could she approach a person like she would do a mathematical equation? Move the pieces around, add, subtract values to cancel out unnecessary numbers until you were left with the simplest form? Or was that over-complicated? Should she just approach this like any other problem on the volleyball court? That in the face of a high, cold 3-person block wall, the key was to stay calm, stay smart, and hit the ball with her classic determined optimism.

Her captain put a hand on Mira’s shoulder as she left the gym for the locker room as well, the same smile of encouragement given after Mira and Kori argued on the court for the first time. Mira blinked, and smiled as best as she could back. The captain glanced towards Kori’s figure before she left, leaving Mira with a new sense of determination.

Mira cleared her throat. She waited for a reaction from Kori, who perhaps didn’t end up hearing it, because the the other girl just proceeded with picking up stray balls from around the court, then putting them into the square volleyabll cart.

Mira shuffled her feet, feeling awkward. Picking up a stray ball near her, she cleared her throat louder once more. “Kori!” she called, grabbing Kori’s attention, who snapped towards with an eyebrow raised. Mira served the ball she was holding over to Kori, who caught it with ease.

“Thanks,” she said coldly. She turned away quickly, tossing the ball into the cart behind her.

Mira breathed through her nose, trying not to let that get to her. From her observation of the way Kori interacted with the other girls, it seemed like that Kori was naturally cold to everyone she met. It just seemed like part of her personality. “You’re staying behind?” Mira asked, clasping her hands behind her back.

Kori, in the middle of bending down to get another ball, paused before straightening up to face Mira. “Yeah, I want to work on my serve,” she explained, spinning the ball in her hand.

“Oh.” Mira was hoping they could walk to the subway station together, talk, get to know each other better, bond or something. She supposed she wasn’t going to get another shot like this though, which was probably what drove her to blurt out, “Mind if I join you?”

Kori seemed to be just as surprise as Mira, and there was an awkward, one second long pause where they just stared at each across the volleyball court.

Mira couldn’t blame Kori for hesitating though. Since the two of them didn’t get on particularly well on-court, their interactions off-court was close to zero. Kori was probably surprised that Mira would actively seek out time together.

“Um, go ahead,” Kori finally said with a shrug. Mira was expecting her to turn away again, but her eyes widened when Kori continued to speak. “Do you—“ she glanced to a side, breaking eye contact “want to receive or work on your serve as well?”

Mira let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding, feeling like something heavy was starting to lift off her chest. “I’ll receive first!” she exclaimed, shrugging off the jacket she had put on only moments ago. “Though I might have to ask you for some tips on jump serves.” She grinned. “I’m still having trouble perfecting mine.”

Kori nodded. “Sure.” She slapped the volleyball down to the floor a couple of times as Mira jogged over to the other side of the net.

“You ready?” Kori asked and Mira lowered herself to the basic volleyball stance.

She slapped her thighs twice. “Kori, nice serve!” she called as a response and watched Kori crack the first smile in all of their interactions.

With enough effort and practice, Mira knew they could connect in time.

 

By:  Eugenia Lo

(prompts: connect)

 

Penny Dreadful: The Visitor

Gazing into the mirror, Meg powdered her face. ‘Not too pale, my love,’ she remembered the Madam had told her. ‘You have beautiful skin.’

Her foot tapped-tapped with nerves: awaiting her first client, her first victim. Setting the powder brush down, she glanced at the reflection of the vial nestled between two goblets. The routine was simple: poison. Seduce. And if the poison takes too long, slit his throat.

A nightmare had kept her up most of the night. She felt the spray of warm blood on her body. A knock at the door distracted her from remembering the taste.

‘Come in’. She calls out lightly. She walks to the foot of the bed and shifts the gown off of her shoulders.

‘Hello Miss. I’m Master Thomas. It’s very lovely meeting you.’

Oh no he’s so innocent, but he’s caught in her web all the same. She beckons him to her, gently removing his outer wear.

‘Good evening Master Thomas. You may call me whatever you like’. She positions them by the side of the bed. ‘Here, take a deep drink to calm your nerves. It’ll be better’. She smiles prettily as she lounges on the bed. Thomas smiled at her, politely declining the drink.

‘No thank you,’ he spoke softly. ‘I want to be fresh for this.’ Meg smirked; she would have to do this the hard way.

‘Whatever you please,’ she breathed sweetly. Lying upon the bed and rolling down her stockings. Thomas looked decidedly nervous. ‘Just relax,’ she smiled, letting the sheer lace stockings flutter through the air towards him. Thomas lay his coat upon the bed. Finally, thought Meg. Pausing, he took a breath and thrust his hand in to the pocket of his coat. When he drew back up, he glared at Meg with venom in his eyes. In his outstretched hand, he held a gun.

She laughed a blood-curdling cackle of a laugh that from such young angelic lips was made even more hellish and uncanny. ‘Foolish, foolish boy’. She grinned, her serpentine teeth glinting in the candlelight.

‘I cannot die. You cannot harm me. I shall have you, devour you, consume you, and you shall wish that you had never drank my poison. Now, I shall not spare you even a moment’s pain’. Nonetheless, the young man did not falter, and held the barrel to her tainted flesh.

‘I know about you,’ he stuttered, flushed with nerves and anticipation. His grip on his gun clenched and unclenched- obviously an amateur who has done nothing of this sort before. ‘You can’t scare me, I just want to talk-‘

‘Oh, is that why you decided to point a gun to my face?’ She said, reaching underneath the bed for the knife. She hadn’t had to use this in a while, and a pity too. She had looked forward to an easy night.

‘Don’t- stop moving!’

He fired the gun and she flew backwards, crashing into the mirror and crumbling to the floor. He moved slowly towards her, the gun still pointed at her.

‘I’m sorry’, he said, his voice shaking. ‘I didn’t want to do that’. In a flash, she flung herself up and thrust her knife into his chest. He fell to the ground, his blood seeping into the carpet. His veins ran cold as he saw the bullet wound in her eye completely healed of its own accord.

‘What are you?’ he said. She closed her eyelids and opened them to reveal yellow snake-like eyes. Opening her mouth, she revealed row upon row of sharp inhuman fangs. Her skin by her mouth parted into a Glasgow smile, and a metallic screech pierced his eardrums.

 

By  James Reynolds (& friends)