The Prediction - one time only

Many moons ago I had the honour of hosting The Prediction, a weekly flash fiction challenge which was the brainchild of horror author extraordinaire Lily Childs who hosted it for years before I became involved. Lily would post up three words and ask guests to write a 100 word story with those three words somewhere within the prose. After I hosted it, Colleen Johnson picked up the mantle alongside Rebecca Kovar and, in turn, it passed to Sandra Davies who runs it to this day.

I enjoyed running The Prediction but I found I didn't have the time to commit to it in the long run. What I saw in my time of hosting was some fabulous talent. I also saw authors using it to get out of a rut in their own writing. The slumps we all go through from time to time. This evening, a good friend of mine posted about being in one of those slumps. Therefore, for one time only, I am running a Prediction round on this site.

The rules are simple: I give you three words. Take those three words and include them somewhere in a story of no more than 100 words (less is fine). The genre should be horror. Post your story in the comments section of this post. Deadline is midnight Saturday 29 February (UK time). I will choose a winner on Sunday 1 March. The prize: my adoration of your words.

Your three words are:
- Debate
- Quiver
- Weevil

Variants of the words are allowed. For example, debates, debated, debating, debater, debatably.

Update: Ross Warren of Dark Minds Press has very generously offered prizes for this. The top three entries get a copy of Imposter Syndrome. The overall winner also gets a couple of titles from Dark Minds Press' novella series. Many thanks, Ross!

Good luck. I await your stories with anticipation and dread. And if you enjoy this, then go visit Sandra's site https://predictionfiction.blogspot.com/ and play on a weekly basis.

Comments

  1. Post-act tristesse

    Arms, hands still quivering as muscle strain receded and the eternal debate kicked in with the inevitable question: bury now or keep watch as blowflies, maggots, weevils came and went?

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    Replies
    1. A short yet enjoyable and macabre decision to make.

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    2. Tristesse, a new word for me, and one of the eternal joys of the prediction. Enjoyed this very much.

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    3. I sense a sadness to our protagonist contrasting with the need for practicality. Short and intriguing with many questions arising.

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    4. Ooh, creepy. A silent watcher, certainly has done it many times. I get a sense of satisfaction or relief rather than sadness like Phil said, but that's maybe just my twisted little mind doing tricks on me. Enjoyed this one, Sandra!

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  2. Chitinous Throes

    Do it. Sprinkle the weevils over your tongue, tickle their flour-laden breeches and allow them to scramble – sticky, around your mouth.

    I like to suck in breath while they suffer. A fast, oral hoolie they can’t fight. It draws the beasts into fleshy gaps between my remaining teeth, where they drop plump, quivering eggs onto yesterday’s rotten blueberry seeds, then die.

    Colleagues avert their collective gaze as we debate strategies for banal projects. Hands deftly shield noses against the stench of my breath. I break the tedium and spit my tiny guests onto the meeting-room table for all to enjoy.

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    Replies
    1. Delicious as always Lily, I think I recall that meeting ;)

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    2. Most likely a food I'd not taste but the reading was very savory.

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    3. This is so lush and unsettling.

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    4. Ah, I have been in meetings which would have benefitted from this without a doubt. plump, quivering eggs is an image which will stay in my mind for a long while!

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    5. "It draws the beasts into fleshy gaps between my remaining teeth" - the imagery this line sets in my mind! Wow. This entire piece is so provocative and honestly, I think it belongs in an extreme metal band's music video or something.

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  3. "I'm a weevil," he said, eager for debate. "If people can determine their gender, I can determine my species."

    "That’s nonsense," I replied, examining him. "Where's your carapace? And you have only two legs."

    He got down on all fours. "I've as close to six as I have to two."

    I sighed, realising that arguing was pointless. Before leaving him quivering on the floor, I added, "You need help. Call me if you want to talk."

    "I don't need advice from you. A fucking magpie."

    I stretched my wings and took to the sky. There's no reasoning with some people.

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    Replies
    1. A most unique twist on cogito ergo sum, a good read.

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    2. Ah, the wry Fry wit in excellent form. Nice piece, sir.

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    3. Aah, the twist! I was just thinking, this guy needs a therapist, when the ending came. Now I need a therapist. Well done!

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  4. Cutting Costs



    The Finance Minister began the debate; eyes narrowed, a mealybug of a man, sucking on the sap of a desiccated budget.
    With an expensive parker pen, he scribbled through each line of potential expenditure.
    He was half done, when Bennett cleated his throat.
    “Well?” Reynolds demanded.
    Bennett quivered in fear, lifted his water glass, gulping down the last of his drink.
    “You don’t think it’s excessive, sir?”
    Reynolds grinned, showing rotten spinach-coated teeth, one grubby fingernail grasping the squirming weevil that tried to escape.
    “The poor, son, deserve it. They Won’t notice these buggers in the flour. Gotta cut costs somewhere.”

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    Replies
    1. Those bean counters, can't live with them and can't live without. Pity the poor but not the story.

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    2. Takes me juddering back to the 1970's when mother used to sieve out the wievels from the flour.

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    3. Most disturbing is how this could be set in any time and feel current to it.

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    4. Cutting flour with weevils, learning from the drug dealers or is it the other way around? Hopefully not a prophetic tale of social hierarchy here on this unique Prediction.

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    5. This does hit close to reality and it makes you want to punch someone in the face with a bag of flour. And we all know there's a whole lot of grinning, rotten spinach-coated cretins around.

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  5. Progress

    Weevils took Northfield Sunday last, a tornado of doom. Soldiers come by to truck us all out to the Concrete world. Most sent the kids and younger women, no debate, no choice. We couldn’t stand to watch them quiver no more.

    We took banned chemicals, fertilizer, homemade ethanol, and rancid dung and filled the biggest trenches you ever saw. The history of my people is about to blow sky high, and it won’t be enough.

    Should have considered the cost before we took that latest batch of GMO seeds, I guess, but hey, the weeds sure stayed down.

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    Replies
    1. Loved the phrase, rancid dung and the story is pretty good as well.

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    2. Lots of people going post-apocalyptic and all doing it with style. The threat inherent in that line '...and it won't be enough.' A Walking Dead with weevils; I'd sure watch the hell out of that!

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    3. That' be one very pungent war. Also a tornado of weevils is possibly worse than a sharknado. I'm just sayin'!

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  6. “There’s no time to debate this!” I cried, reaching over my shoulder to pull another arrow from the quiver.
    “But what good will it do? You’ll not even hurt that thing, never mind kill it!”
    Jesus, of all the people to survive the bombs I had to run into McCarthy…
    “It’s the best we’ve got. Now get out the way!”
    The thing crashed out of the woods. They always said that cockroaches would survive a nuclear holocaust; no one mentioned the weevils.
    Or how big they’d get.

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    Replies
    1. I understand the mentality, fight to the end and you expressed it rather well.

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    2. My nightmare is prebooked for this evening, and is now assured, excellently written.

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    3. This has a fantastic 1950s horror movie feel to it.

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    4. Love that last line. Stories within stories here. Well played, sir.

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    5. Oh no. This is probably one of the biggest fears for anybody out there. A ginormous insect going all click-clack. The noise it would make, scuttling up and down buildings...
      I'm terrified now. Well done, Anthony!

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  8. WOOLEY SWAMP

    Darion and Amanda were occupied in the back seat of his car, the top lowered to see the Moon filed Halloween sky. The haunting legend of Wooley Swamp hadn't entered the debate, only the new ring on Amanda's finger, the only thing adorning her quivering body.
    It approached the vehicle seeing those which provided food for another year. He reached out and a weevil looking thing dropped on each head. A hand attached to each cranium; the probes bored through the bone to the food. Their screams only adding to his pleasure and ecstasy, as he ate.

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    Replies
    1. Naked in an open top car in October was not the only chilling thing about this Tale.

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    2. A dark disturbing tale! Remind me not to head to Wooley Swamp any time soon for fear of what I might find, or what might find me!

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    3. Aw, Wooley Swamp sounds lovely as a name, until you get a meet and greet by its most prominent resident. Also, never ever, ever a good idea going as newlyweds camping, when it's October, and it's Halloween and there's a full Moon out there. But people never learn, and that's why there's food for yet another year!

      This was a fun trip Jeffrey!

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  9. Alex Pisswhistle, King Of The World!

    Alex isn't a King,
    he’s a frightened little boy!
    He keeps pet weevils in a box,
    and treats them like his toy.

    Alex is no orator
    he shies from all debate
    by causing a distraction
    with his victimising hate.


    Alex doesn’t like it
    when weevils show free will,
    he shakes their box and strikes a match,
    and burns them, till they’re still.

    Alex is a coward,
    who makes the weevils quiver,
    with unlikely prophesies
    that rarely are delivered.

    Alex has a secret
    that he’s hidden very well,
    he's scared of little weevils
    that's why he gives us hell.

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    Replies
    1. A very enjoyable poem, good rhyme and story.

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    2. Well, this is a little gem. After reading the title, it would have been extremely difficult to not read the story, and I'm glad I did. After the second read, I noticed the last line indicates the poem is written from the weevil's viewpoint.

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    3. I'm fairly sure that over here, we elected Alex to be king, which makes this all the more frightening for us little weevils.

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    4. RR Kovar you are correct we are the weevils.

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    5. Oooh, a darkly satirical piece for our times all seemingly innocent in the telling. I like this. I like it very much.

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    6. Loved this! You can almost hum along with it. What a choir this must be, all the little weevils squirming in their box.

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  10. A Fish Story

    The anatomy of weevil larvae is such that the quivering buggers made excellent fish bait. Never failing to pursue prosperous ventures, Charlie DeMint of Charlie’s Bait & Tackle Emporium cultivated his own brood.

    Commonly referred to as the skin beetle, the young thrived particularly well in decaying human flesh. Having already overcome considerable internal debate, Charlie’s chief concern was obtaining enough flesh.

    A man does what a man has to do, Charlie mused as he corralled a van-load of children. Due to unprecedented overcrowding, the orphanage would be only mildly concerned about their whereabouts.

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    Replies
    1. You certainly had us on the hook right to the end with this tale.

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    2. Well that took a very dark turn and then some. What people will do to get what they want even be that in trying to snag a prize fish!

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    3. A van-load?! How much fish does he plan on catching? What a mad lad this Charlie is!
      I like how macabre this is, it takes you by surprise for sure.

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  11. Hunting.

    Hunting and catching prey was easy but now he sat, wrapped in the filth of the deep dark and debated what to do next.
    He’d toyed with it for hours and now he was hungry.
    He poked at it twice more. The moist flesh rippled as skin-weevils, cockroaches, and silverfish scuttered across its surface.
    Quivering in anticipation, he extended his neck, and bit deeply.
    A tortured scream echoed through the tunnel but the moaning and muffled sobs continued until he slashed its throat and ate its tongue.

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    Replies
    1. Mother never told this hunter not to play their food. A rich darkly told tale. Excellent.

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    2. A cat playing with its food. Except I suspect this feline only has the two legs. 'The moist flesh rippled as skin-weevils, cockroaches, and silverfish scuttered across its surface' is an evocative line, indeed!

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    3. Why do I get the feeling that whatever poor soul got a huge chunk bitten out of it was tied, or hung or bound in some way? I'd hate to think what "games" this curious predator was playing until he got bored...
      Such an unsettling piece, the tunnel, the darkness, the moist....Once you get transported there you immediately want out, but the curiosity is too strong. Well written, Terrie!

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  12. Not sure if we're allowed more than one entry? Thanks Phil.

    ORANGE DIOXIN DREAMS

    I watch.

    All day. All night. It’s been years now.

    Our makeshift burrows are shrouded in the bitter stench of sweat. We’re tarantulas waiting to pounce – every last one of us.

    No birds sing here. A branch bounces under a lizard’s weight. Its leaves quiver as violent heat streams through the trees; sunrise achingly hot already.

    Our food has turned, even the weevils are dead in the rice sacks.

    “Expect it,” they say. “It’s harmless.”

    We have no time to debate the effects of the rainbow herbicide sweeping into our lungs.

    I have warts… growths.

    I didn’t have them yesterday.

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    Replies
    1. I'm cool with more than one entry!

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    2. A future for us all as man interferes with nature? A portent tale of times ahead, perhaps, and I loved the phrase 'we're tarantulas waiting to pounce'.

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    3. Well this is so sad and damning, but you've painted it in such vivid words that the world almost seems radioactive, a sickly glow.

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  13. Believer


    We found Her in the fields by the pulsating hum of death, sifting through the tilting crops. From below Her outstretched shadow I traced the fervent smile carved upon Her surface, Her dim eyes, and wept.

    “I abhor her,” he said, lighting the aircraft fuel.

    I knelt, quivering, and prayed through his blasphemy. Between my blackened toes the smoke wriggled weevils out in a hungry swarm.

    “There’s no need to debate yourself any longer, Sister.”

    But I believed my body ignited, and Her eyes, like two stars, burned anew. From the flaming sarcophagus Her immortal self appeared. Re-birthed.

    I rejoiced.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, this is very good. A Goddess reborn, lost, forgotten until now. But who is she and is she saviour or fiend ('We found Her in the fields by the pulsating hum of death) and for who? Lots to savour here.

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  14. Okay, and the winners are:
    1st Place: Cindy Vaskova
    2nd Place: William Davoll
    3rd Place: Rebecca Kovar

    Tough one to choose, loved all the entries. Hoped it also sparked the writing bug again for a few folks who have been struggling finding the words at times recently.

    Cindy, William and Rebecca - email me your addresses to phil.sloman@yahoo.co.uk and I'll get Ross to get your prizes out to you. Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations Cindy, William and Rebecca! Lovely to read your dark and dangerous words.

      And thank you Phil for awakening the creative muses that have lain dormant - no doubt in languid poses - for far too long.

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  15. Brilliant flash of inspiration running this, Phil - thank you for the extra reading opportunities as well as the heads up to the current Prediction https://predictionfiction.blogspot.com/

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