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Word Vault Flash Fiction - Spring Contest

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:45 PM
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Tau (Offline)
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Default Word Vault Flash Fiction - Spring Contest

Another season approaches, and this time we have an outing into the Victorian era, enjoy and good luck. Also a round of applause for Morechoiriel for winning the last Word Vault with ‘Oh, Nuts.’ And is now featured in the WBQ 30.



Members are allowed one entry in the Word Vault Flash Fiction Contest. You are required to use at least one of the words from the Word Vault, (duplicated for your convenience below). Entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Word Vault Flash Fiction: WBQ30 - Comment thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

250 words maximum


Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact a member of staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Close Date:

30th of March 2011, 12 midnight GMT


After the closing date, we (the Staff) will select a winner to be published in the next issue of Writer’s Beat Quarterly, assuming permission is given when we contact the winner.

alderman (n): 1. Member of a municipal legislative organisation in a city, alternatively magistrate of a rank below a mayor.
From Old English ealdorman (elder man) title for the chief noble within a shire.
2. (Victorian street slang) Half Crown, a monetary unit.
3. (Slang) A man’s potbelly.
4. (British slang early 19th century.) Roasted turkey, alderman in chains (or hung in chains) when garnished with sausages.

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
-- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene iv

chaunt (v): 1. to sing, alternative form of chant.
2. (Victorian slang) to inform, snitch

yaruin (n): (Victorian slang, London) a thin gruel usually made with milk and oats, also called “milk soup” or “milk pottage”

The Ruffin cly the nab of the Harman beck,
If we mawn'd Pannam, lap or Ruff-peck,
Or poplars of yaruin...

In translation:
"The Devil take the Constable's head,
If we beg bacon, butter-milk, or bread,
Or pottage...

“A Canting Song,” from Part 2 of Dekker’s Belman of London, Lanthorne and Candle-light, 1609

voil (n): (Victorian Slang) Town
(adj): alternative spelling of vile (Egan’s Grose, 1823)

drum (n): 1. Percussion instrument.
2. Hollow or cylindrical object, barrel.
3. (obsolete) A social gathering held in the evening.
4. (Victorian Slang) Building, either a house of lodgings or a prison.

flummox (v): to confuse or flabbergast
Example: The young gentleman was flummoxed by the lady’s rejection of his charm.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Last edited by Tau; 01-31-2011 at 10:48 PM..
Old 02-22-2011, 06:56 AM
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Default The Piano

Images float through his head, music fills his ears and a smile flickers on his drawn grey face. The room is quite. No footsteps haunt the outside corridor; no voices linger or echo from passing patients or nurses. He loves the quietness.

He remembers the cell. The dank walls, the caked dirt floor, the lice that clung to his torn shirt, crawled through his threadbare pants. Each day the same, yaruin in a cracked dirty bowl. Each day a torment as they dragged him into the torture room, the harsh lighting stinging his eyes, the cruel instruments placed along the wooden table, waiting, waiting to be used.

Used . . . without pity, endless agony that stole his self-respect, that bruised, and tore, and ended his dreams.

* * *

‘How are we today George?’

The doctor’s voice forced him from his revelries, evaded his quietness.

‘Feeling much better Doctor, yes, much better.’

Words without meaning, words he knew the doctor wanted to hear.

‘Good. A little progress everyday, the sooner you’ll be home starting a new life, eh George?

He hears the words even as the snake inside him winds its body around his heart, tighter, tighter, pressing, squeezing the last ounce of life juice from his broken body. The door slams, the doctor’s footsteps recede and in the silence the music returns, swells until he thinks his ears will explode. He remembers the broken piano, thrown out, junk on a desolate landscape; remembers the crumbling building, it’s inhabitants liberated, taken away on stretchers or buried deep beneath the rubble of what had once been their prison.

The music plays on, Mozart, his favourite. His fingers play across the keys, his ears hear only the richness, the vibrancy of the music he loves . . . his hands . . . are no more, just bleeding stumps wrapped in bandages lying on snow-white sheets as he lives his dream.
Old 02-24-2011, 12:29 AM
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Default The Visit - 250 words

Julia hated this place. It always reminded her of a haunted house: big, gloomy, draughty and old. It probably was haunted, people died here after all. Her beloved grandma at 106 would probably be next. At least Julia wouldn’t have to visit after that. She found the zombie like geriatrics and creepy staff too much to handle.

Julia located her grandma in the vast common room. Cautiously, she moved her to the visiting room. Settled on a pink sofa grandma pulled the same thing as always from her green cardigan pocket.

“This alderman is what brought me and your grandfather together,” she declared fondly, passing the half crown to Julia.

It was a lovely story, told with real emotion. Her grandfather had purposefully dropped the coin by grandma’s feet. They had begun talking about their impoverish upbringings when they both referred to it as an alderman. They courted for months then married the following spring.

As the story finished Julia noticed one of the staff loitering and involuntarily shivered. She returned the coin to grandma, trying to disguise her uneasiness. Too lost in her memories, grandma didn’t notice anything wrong and fell asleep. Soon she was snoring softly, the coin clasped in her hand against her chest. This was how Julia wanted her to die; blissfully happy.

Getting ready to leave, Julia didn’t hear him approach. The kitchen knife slid into her chest like butter. Collapsing, blood quickly pooling around her, she had one thought.

Grandma wasn’t next after all.

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A person's true strength is shown in how they handle failure, not success
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Last edited by Tau; 02-24-2011 at 04:00 AM.. Reason: Change Approved.

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