Friday, 25 September 2009

Saturday Wordzzle 82

Each week, Raven gives us a set of 15 words - 5 for the mini, 10 for the 10-worder or all 15 for the mega challenge. The idea is to create a passage which includes the words.

As usual, go to Raven's Nest for the rules of the game and some excellent advice.

Most awkward word of the week: brain cortex

The Mini (mental hospital, falling leaves, apple cider, packing crates, clues)

Having failed miserably yet again last week to please the dragons by shortening my Wordzzle posts, I think I need a nice long rest somewhere quiet like a mental hospital. I mean, what do I think I'm doing, trying to placate mighty creatures of myth and legend so as to avoid marble blocks descending on my house like falling leaves (hey, didn't we have that phrase a few weeks ago?). Now I seem to recall the dragons like poems and they are short, so maybe I should read some poetry and get some clues on brevity there. Hmm, having said that, I'm not really that good at slinging the old rhymes together. Maybe if I just send them a couple of packing crates full of bottles of nice tasty apple cider, the dragons will forgive me for the excessively extravagant exuberance of my verbosity. Oh, dear, there I go again, better make that three crates!

The 10-worder (Tibetan sky, symbols, won’t you come home Bill Baily, shadow figures, brain cortex, practice makes perfect, life, start of school, lavender, chow down)

When I finally go, I want one of those Tibetan Sky burials. Yep, when the old brain cortex goes all flatline and the medics have shaken their heads and walked away, I want my earthly remains to be given to the sun, the four winds and whatever birdies and beasties might want to chow down on them. There'll be no more Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey for me (not that that's even my name, you understand, I'm just saying). No, I'll be in my new life. I'll be the new kid at the start of school, ready to live it all and learn it all, all over again. Memories from this life will just be cryptic symbols or shadow figures at the back of my mind, reminding me of something I can't quite put my finger on, as elusive as the faint scent of lavender I sometimes smell in the mornings. Yes, I'll be back to ride the Wheel again because, you see, practice makes perfect – and, unenlightened soul that I am, I need a lot of practice.

The Mega (Tibetan sky, symbols, won’t you come home Bill Bailey, shadow figures, brain cortex, practice makes perfect, life, start of school, lavender, chow down, mental hospital, falling leaves, apple cider, packing crates, clues)

Harold was running as fast as he had ever done in his life. He had crashed through the bathroom window and had landed twelve feet below, broken glass descending around him like falling leaves.

As he'd scrambled up, two shadow figures had resolved themselves into the forms of a man and a woman running towards him out of the darkness, pointing some kind of weapon. As the woman had got closer, Harold had realised with a shock that she was the one that had helped him with the postcards at the station. He'd let out a yelp of surprise, and they would have caught him right then if the higher functions of his brain cortex had not over-ridden his impulse to stop and ask her what she was doing there. As it was, he had veered off just in time to avoid the crackling discharge of the male human's weapon.

Agent Mercury suppressed a curse as the darts of his Taser flashed harmlessly past the demon as it suddenly changed direction. Man, but this one was fast! He reached for his radio as he set off in pursuit.

Agent Prada acknowledged Mercury's summons, tossed aside Lavender Tibetan Sky (lousy novel, anyway), and started the van.

India was hot on Mercury's heels. A mix of nerves and start of school-type excitement filled her. You could say practice makes perfect all you liked, but practice was nothing like the real thing! Heck, if someone had told her a year ago that she'd be chasing demons in the dark, she'd have thought they belonged in a mental hospital.

Harold could hear the sound of the humans' pounding footsteps grow quieter as his superior speed began to tell. His vessel was not particularly strong, but his reflexes and stamina were demonically good.

Suddenly, a shocking question jumped into his mind: where was Teatime? In the excitement, he had left the little monkey behind! Dammit! The sprawl of warehouses was just ahead, maybe he could lose the humans in there and double back for his companion. He raced round a corner and down an alley between two buildings – to a dead end. He looked around quickly for somewhere to hide: going back would run him into the humans again for sure. He ducked through a busted-in door into one of the warehouses. Luckily, there were old packing crates for him to hide in or behind. He chose a dark corner and slipped in behind a crate which once contained bottles of apple cider.

Mercury and India reached the alley mouth. The demon was nowhere in sight. India shone her torch around, looking for clues as to where it might have gone.

In the darkness, Harold was mentally berating himself. If he'd only practiced some shape-shifting over the years, he could easily have escaped but, no, he had to waste his time re-working old jazz tunes like Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey instead! Fat lot of good that was going to do him now!

India's torch played over the side of the building, illuminating spray-painted gang symbols and startling a rat that was about to chow down on a discarded hamburger. Hmmm, she definitely had a feeling about this place...

The rest of Joshua squad had arrived by now. One of the other agents, Othello, was carrying a pillowcase with something struggling inside it.

"What's that?" asked Mercury.

"Demon left his pet monkey behind." Othello explained, "Thought we should drop it off at the animal shelter after."

"OK, put it in the van for now." sighed Mercury. "Right, here's the plan..."

Harold counted four humans entering the warehouse. They spread out and began poking around the crates. It was only a matter of time before they found him unless he could sneak past them and out the door, which was unguarded.

Quietly, Harold edged towards a patch of shadow nearer the door. So far so good: the humans hadn't noticed. He paused a moment to ensure no-one was looking his way, then carefully moved to the next hiding place. His bare feet made no sound on the rough concrete. At last, the doorway was just a few feet away and they still hadn't noticed! Harold slipped out from behind the last crate and through the door. Now to find Teatime!

As fast as he was, Harold was nowhere near quick enough to dodge the barbs of Agent India's taser as they shot into his back. He crashed twitching to the ground.

"It worked!" India called, stepping out from the shadows. She smiled down at Harold. Her first Spot and first catch, did it get any sweeter than this?


    I hate her!.... BLEH.. NASTY, NASTY INDIVIDUAL!... Got a feeling Teatime might have something up his sleeve?... :-D

  2. Oh... poor Harold. You know it's good writing when you have me rooting for a demon...

    Loved all three. I do think you need to ignore the dragons. Much as I love them, they have a touch of the bully about them sometimes. I don't find your piece particularly long and wordzzles has no rules, so... send them crates of Apple Cider if you wish, but...

    I loved your tibetan sky burial piece. I want to be cremated and have a tree planted or something. Use me as fertilizer when i'm done with this life/body.

  3. I think watercat said it all - Oh no! Can't wait to see what happens next...

    And I totally agree with Raven! Write what's right!

  4. The mini and the 10-worder were both very clever and the mega Harold story is taking interesting turns. Good job! To keep the dragons happy, just include a bit a food every now and then and they will forget to grumble too much about the length.

  5. They were all great this week. But I have a feeling that Harold will manage to get away somehow.

    If you want to write short pieces, you might want to try Friday Flash 55 ---where you have to write a story in exactly 55 words. It's good practice for self editing. You can find a few of mine HERE HERE and HERE.

  6. Wow! Exciting! I think Teatime is going to leave Harold out to dry though...and Harold will come over to the good side. I can hope, right?

  7. The mini story, about trying to please the dragons, and the 10 word story about how your remains should be disposed of (I hope you don't plan on the instructions being needed anytime soon), were both good. The story about Harold and Teatime was very exciting. It may be that Teatime will have to do the rescuing. Not only do they not suspect him of being capable of doing it, he's probably a lot more capable than Harold.

    In a perhaps partial answer to your question on my mini story, former Presidents also get Secret Service protection.

    Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

  8. Let the dragons grumble. Hope Teatime comes to Harold's aid.

  9. He he! Excellent stuff - just a question: as Harold came in through the bathroom window was he protected by a silver spoon?

    Might have helped

  10. @Watercats - LOL and again LOL! Oh, that agent India is a piece of work, isn't she? I think if I knew her I'd want to slap her.

    @Raven - Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying. I'd like to think my mortal remains could be useful after I'm gone, too.

    @Bug - I shall indeed try to write what's right (very catchy, incidentally!).

    @DawnTreader - Thanks for the tip: those dragons do like their vittles, don't they?

    @CJ - I've been looking at joining the Flash 55 world for some time now. I came across a similar idea using 100 words (a drabble, it was called). 55 looks like a real challenge and I shall certainly check out your stories.

    @Reston Friends - Teatime's in just as big a fix at the moment as Harold is so it'll be interesting to see who recues whom.

    @Stephen - No, I don't have any plans for my remains to be used soon, I'm having too much fun. Teatime is very capable but he is just a very little monkey so it remains to be seen what he can accomplish. He is more street-savvy than Harold though, that much is clear. Thanks for the info on former presidents, too.

    @Bettygram - Best not to annoy the dragons too much though :-)

    @DFTP - Hehe, actually he went out thought the bathroom window and I think it'll take more than a silver spoon to fix this.


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