Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An explosive encounter

Kim Hypswell

It was unusually cold. I continued to work at my computer. The phone rang, ‘Do you want me to pick you up?’ Odd. Why? He never usually did. I had my own car. “look outside” I turned towards the window. It was completely white. Snow? No. Ash! Volcanic ash!

Copyright, 2006, Kim Hypswell

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mysterious Encounters

I don't really like posting from work because (eh I should be working? No, that's not it) the formatting gets all messed up. But necessity calls. I'm off to Blighty in two days time and Nooy (THANK YOU) has just invited a whole bunch of other people to join in! So, if you guys can wait, the next challenge will be set sometime between the 3rd and 7th January. I'll try and post everything that comes between now and Thursday morning, but (sob sob) I'm going to have to set a closing date. The Fifty word challenge will officially end on the 3rd January at 12 midnight (my time).

Atyllah the Hen

“Why are you felling the forest?” she asked, her stomach dropping within her.“Has to be done,” the man said, shrugging.Around her the air was dense with the shriek of chainsaws. Someone has to stop it, she thought.She moved into the path of the falling tree and waited.

Copyright, 2006, Atyllah

The Challenge Meister herself (or the one who set the challenge in the first place)

“You!” he gasped, as she shook off the snow and placed a small, well-clad foot firmly in the door before he could shut it again.“You know why I’m here”, she replied. “We can get it over with quickly, or else we can take our time”.

His heart sank.

Copyright, 2006, Fanny Powers


Up and down the winding path she knew it’s bumps and corners. The trebles and emotion leading her into another world so craftily created that she lost touch with the here and now. Lost until the record player broke and Tchaikovsky and his Valse became part of history again.

Copyright, 2006, Nooy

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Book thing

Marie was tagged with this and offered it up for every one to have a go.
Book/s that changed my life

Ooks now that’s difficult. To a certain extent every book’s perspective slightly changes your life and opens you up to the world, but OK if I have to go for life changing experiences: The Lonely Planet Mexico guide. I still flick through it’s worn pages and the cover falls off in my hand even though it’s been sellotaped back on many times and I guess I never looked back since the day I bought it.

2. Book you’ve read more than once

Well, like Marie I think I’ve read Wuthering Heights more than once and Jane Eyre (because I had read Wide Sargasso Sea, so then I went back to the inspiration). As a teenager I re-read S.E. Hinton and Catcher in the Rye, I think that was all to do with discovering independence and craving it, so I looked up to these relatively free (if somewhat fucked up) teenagers. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (it was just so funny that you had to go back and catch up on the footnotes). E.M. Forster, recently I was reading all his books so I re-read Passage to India. And my comics, I re-read those all the time.

3. Book you’d want on a desert island

Love in the Time of Cholera, Midnight’s Children and Where the Wild Things Are.

4. Book that made you laugh

The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, Julian Barnes, Nick Hornby and a silly scene in Manolita Gafottas (but I think that sticks in my head because I was reading it in Spanish and I actually understood it).

5. Book that made you cry

My last day in Bali, I spent glued to my sun lounger desperately flicking through the last pages of The Time Traveller’s Wife. I knew it couldn’t end well, so I was glad for the sunglasses and the sarong which I used to discreetly wipe my tears away. The curious incident of the Dog in the Night also had me bawling my eyes out through the last few pages. Setting Free the Bears, more so the second time (oh that’s another book I’ve re-read) because I knew what had happened.

6. Book that you wish you had written

Skellig by David Almond, every time I read it I think, bloody hell this is brilliant.

7. Book that you wish you had been never written

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Grr... just don’t get me started on this one.

8. Book you are reading at the moment

The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (and Skellig for the umpteenth time).

9. Books you’ve been meaning to read

Skint’s books, Minx’s book, Debi Alper’s books

10. Book you read in one sitting

The Cement Garden

11. Book you didn’t quite “get”

Ehm, not that I’ve ever gone back and given this a try again, but Portrait of an Artist as Young Man. It wasn’t so much didn’t get, as just didn’t have the energy to read it.

12. Three authors whose books you will always buy or read, no questions asked

Julian Barnes, David Almond, Marquez ... I could go on...

13. Forget the book and just watch the movie

I think I’m quite a visual person, so I don’t usually say this. You know the characters never look the way I see them or there is always something just not quite right, but ... I read the Black Dahlia a few years back (I think he wrote LA Confidential) and I just kept thinking to myself, I don’t have the patience to read this, I want to know what is going on now, if only there was a movie... Well, now there is, et voila.

Oh and don't forget to let us know if you're having a go. I love reading other people's lists of books.

Some Grizzly Encounters

These ones came in while I was sleeping peacefully on this side of the pond...


It was a day so unlike any day previous. Enough was enough. The cold steel rattled against my teeth. The taste of gun oil and fear flooded my senses. For an instance I thought about backing out, but I couldn’t face quitting on myself not even one more time. BAMM!

copyright, 2006, rockdog


“Quality of life!” she hissed through broken teeth as the power saw growled. “A better life!” she snarled as she chopped through the dead leg, muscle, flesh, gristle and bone, flying against the garage wall.

He’d hit her.

Take that!

copyright, 2006, Roberta

And then this one came in later, but it seemed appropriate here. Read on...


The handcuffs were tight on her wrists.

She stifled back a surprised moan in her throat,

“Please let me go, I’ll be good.”

“You have been a bad girl Suzie.”

He sliced her throat with the knife as she choked through the blood pouring from the gash, “Against the rules.”

copyright, 2006, Nothingman

Friday, December 15, 2006

Late Encounters

And they are still coming. Tonight I need to thank Jefferson Davis and Susan Abraham for linking to this challenge. I'm really enjoying these stories and I'm beginning to wonder how to go forward. I've got a little idea growing in my head, I'll keep you posted.

Jefferson Davis

I hear you calling, as I’m free falling down the tunnel of love. Down I go, with all of your lies foretold. Every blot depicts where other men tied the knot. I may be blind, but don’t think that I won’t have the presence of mind to leave you behind.

copyright, 2006, Jefferson Davis


Late again; the rain danced in frenzied rhythm on the cowering cobblestones. Manicured fingers rapped an agitated tempo on the polished tabletop. A check of her lips, red, throbbing scornful pout. Running towards the cafe dark coat over head. Screeching brakes, a thud of flesh hitting metal.
Late again; forever.

Copyright, 2006, Brian

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Many more encounters

Beau Blue's via Books Inq.

Silly server switches set wrong
kept me from posting my song
a French pain in the ass
this site seems too crass,
its sole purpose to keep Google strong.

Reviewing the Bookstore Massacre

And when I asked where they kept
The Cummings and Pounds?
She pointed lemon lips at me
And spurted primly, "Paper bound
Poets are on the backside of humor.
Aisle thirty-three B!"
And that's what I found.

Copyright, 2006, Beau Blue

DBA Lehane (a dab hand at this me thinks, he posts a 500 word story every day)

The fortune tellers face went white with terror. I begged her to tell me what it was. What was so terrible about my future? She refused to explain and asked me to leave. Instead I strangled her slowly to death. You’d think they could predict I was a serial killer!

Copyright, 2006, DBA Lehane

Susan Abraham

He was dangerous. I was scared and locked him in a box. He escaped as I lay in bed, while high on cake and wine. In his hand was the box, where he said the ocean waited for my soggy end. And so I died while partying on my bed.

Copyright, 2006, Susan Abraham

Minx (of course, thanks for the post)

If I thought about her too much I was in danger of embarassing myself in public. Her wanton curves and loose morals drove me to distraction - I lost more than sleep. She was a secret best kept between the covers but editing would surely put me out of my misery.

Copyright, 2006, Inner Minx

And Jude

She said something that always stayed with me. ‘Each word is precious- like time. Each second brings you closer to the moment when death cuts short your breath, closing the book that your footprints wrote. Your words end mid sentence, mid flow- so make sure your words, your life count.’

Copyright, 2006, Jude

And lastly thanks to Frank Wilson, Skint and Minx for helping me share the challenge. I'm loving these, keep them coming.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006



Afterwards when she wondered how she had ended up alone in the remnants of his life, she put it down to this. It was raining. The lights were red. She hit the brakes. The bike slid. She slid along the slick surface, her head coming to rest by his boots.

Copyright, 2006, Verilion


Jake’s girlfriend challenged him to write fifty words about his love for her. If she liked the result, she would marry him. He did love her, but didn’t want to get married, so he wrote about how she had a great personality and was kind to animals. She dumped him.

Copyright, 2006, Skint Writer

… Atyllah is yours a story or a comment? I’ll post it if you want.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The fifty word challenge.

Write a story in fifty words she said. Fifty words, I said. Blimey, can I do that? Fuelled by some wine, fags and chocolate I thought about the encounter I was to write about and by gum I did it. Then thought: but could YOU, would YOU do it too?

Friday, December 08, 2006

What about next Monday?

It wasn’t always a Monday, but it was definitely the last two Mondays and for arguments sake shall we say it was the Monday before that too.

During my autumn of disconnection I started writing this story. It just sort of poured out of me one day. When I’m like that I don’t stop it, even when I know that somewhere along the line it’s not quite right. When I was finished I was pretty exhausted but I really liked the beginning and from there on in I liked the plot but not the way I had written it. So, the next day I sat down and rewrote it. It got longer and some of the characters changed their names and became a little more real to me and then I got stuck. Somewhere in that second draft I had deviated from the first draft and I no longer knew how I was going to get to the end – which had been the beginning in the first draft. I scribbled away in the journal. I started working on a poem that had run through the second draft and wondered whether to ditch the story altogether and just produce the poem. I laboured some more over the poem and then it just sort of sat there mulching like a piece of compost, turning into something else.

Then Monday came around again and I sat in front of the computer and wrote something else. This something else was scary and different. My characters were changing again and becoming other people, but that story was still in there somewhere, hiding underneath these characters. I added version three to the mulch of version one and two and left them to warm and mix together.

The next Monday I sat down again and yet another version poured out. I started at half past four and at eleven after many cigarettes, a few glasses of wine and the odd bit of cheese when my stomach had reminded me that it needed filling, the last full stop was added. Now I had four versions and I still wasn’t a hundred percent happy. Each version was a development of the last with a little bit added, a little bit cropped, but where was I going with this.

This Monday, version five came out. Same deal, fuelled by cigarettes and alcohol I knocked out another six thousand words and still there were things that were missing from earlier drafts, but something new had grown, someone new was developed.

On Tuesday I came home and realised something. I sat in front of the computer and summarised each version and this is what I realised. Each time I’ve knocked something out it’s been gradually getting longer. Anne had suggested earlier this year that one of the stories I had written should be lengthened and I had tried and got horrendously lost. So, I had gone back to the safety of 5,000 words, but this one was slipping out of those confines. Each of the five versions adds something to the story, tells me something new about the characters and I suddenly realised this was a bigger story. If each bit of the story is to be given its full justice then 5,000 words just won’t cut it. So I have these five bits of paper with notes scribbled on them, bits I like highlighted, characters who will stay and questions, questions, questions.

So, we’ll see what happens next Monday.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Plea

In France people say that if you clink glasses and don’t look the other person in the eye you’ll suffer seven years of bad sex. Personally that’s one little old wives tale, urban myth, superstition, whatever that I am not willing to mess with. But what I really want to know is what did I do to piss off the Electricity and all things Electronic Gremlin? I’m a fan, I don’t live in a mud hut and shun him, so what did I do?

You see when I think about it he’s had it in for me in lots of ways for a while now. Just before I moved all the eco-friendly bulbs blew. Half my hallway was dimly lit, finding my shoes in the coat cupboard was a little expedition and my clothes were dried in gloom. Then when I moved here I was got two shocks. One of them becomes more frightening every time I think about it: standing on the metal sink in bare feet. Then one night the toaster popped and all my electricity cut out. I got on a chair and stared at the fuse box that resolutely said ON and wondered what to do. I flicked it on and off, nothing. I called Colleen, she was indisposed due to quite a few pints of something or the other and all I could hear on my end of the bad connection was ‘Press the button’. What fucking button? I’d flicked the switch. I was hungry and in obscurity. I rang the neighbour’s doorbell and explained in a flash that I was in the dark. He came round and pressed the biggest green button you have ever seen. I warmed my toast up again and the electricity blew again.

Then my phone got cut off, I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, but that’s it now OK. One Saturday morning I woke up thinking it was really late and I turned on the hall light and it exploded. Did I fix that light wrong? I wondered as I tootled off to the loo and then forgot about it. At ten am when I tried the light again I remembered it had blown. So I turned on the bedroom light to see better and that didn’t come on either. The whole fuse had blown.

One night there was a Europe wide power cut. I don’t actually accept responsibility for that. I just sat here in candle light reminiscing about the winter of discontent when Mum would cook in candlelight and brag every single time about how glad she was that her cooker was gas, while bro and I set up his plane on a wire up along the length of the corridor and watched the luminous yellow thing take yet another perfect landing. The giant Chinese weeble was always a willing onlooker and would rock from side to side as the plane landed. And I wonder now why someone made me a huge CHINESE weeble?

Anyway, there were several more toaster electricity blowing episodes. It seems having the stereo, two heaters, the oven and the toaster on is a no no.

And then just when I thought all this was over, Thursday night happened. I watched Incroyable Talent. There is no unbelievable talent on that programme, I was just sucked in by the troupe of muscly gymnasts, the muscly gymnasts who were also ALL firemen; Parisian firemen. I discovered that I live down the road from one of the BIGGEST fire stations in Paris one early morning when I got the wrong night bus home and wandered in the general direction of home. OK I’m digressing. So, it was bedtime, I set my alarm on the phone and shoved it in my back pocket and went to brush my teeth. I did that and then I pulled my pants down and heard a mysterious clatter. I stood up, turned round (hard when your pants are round your ankles) and watched my phone skid round the edge of the bowl and just as I reached in SPLASH, my phone sank to the bottom.

I swear my initial thought was: Shit how am I going to wake up tomorrow? I have NO clocks in my flat. After solving that problem (computer speakers on the adjacent pillow connected to the i-pod which was tested several times) I turned to the problem of the water logged phone. It was wet, and it wasn’t working and I was kind of expecting a phone call.

I tried drying it. I dried it all night, I dried it all morning, and then when I got home from work I dried it again. It only works erratically when it’s been heated up, but you’ve got to admit that’s impractical and I was kind of expecting a phone call.

So I decided that considering that even if my phone did regain all its former functions that still included a 5 key that doesn’t work very well and can you imagine sending text messages without j, k or l? Try it, it’s not easy. So I went and bought a new one. It’s pretty cool. I have finally entered the camera phone age and it slides up to reveal the keys, so that when I play my favourite sport of phone tossing the keys won’t get buggered up. It’s also got a fairly rubbery outside again useful for the above reason. But of course now I need to learn how to use it. The phone call I was expecting came, I slid up the phone and pressed answer at the same time. I cut him off.

Please Gremlin, I don’t know what I did, but I’m sorry now and surely I’ve paid enough. Could you please pick on someone else now? Although maybe not that German electricity company that caused the Europe wide power cut, because my heating is electric and it’s colder now.


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