July 2017 Comp

Sat, Jul 15 2017 08:34am IST 1
3224 Posts

No names, no packdrill


The first time he entered her, she was fifteen and a virgin. Afterwards he made her wash the stained bedsheet. Used half a bottle of white vinegar to clean the blood.

Her blood.

The second time she pummelled his hairy chest with her fists. He blacked her eyes and broke an arm. Fell off a ladder, he told the hospital. A doctor sucked the end of his pencil. Made a few notes.

She kept quiet.

Silent each time he took her until she became pregnant and bloated. Then he was injured in a car accident and confined to a wheel-chair. Both legs paralysed. Otherwise, still functional.

She aborted the foetus. Left it dripping on his chest, until he woke and screamed. Swore he’d make her pay when his body recovered.

Miscarriage, she told the hospital. A woman doctor scraped her clean, made a few notes and prescribed paracetamol.

A month later, at night, while she dragged his legs into bed, he sat up, wrapped his arms around her and hauled her on top. Ripped off her nightdress. Groped her breasts. Laughed at her distress.

It began again.

Pain and suffering in silence.

Contraceptives, she told the hospital. A nurse read her notes, gave her an injection.

When he was in the wheelchair she had leverage. Could pin him down for a minute or so. One Saturday, she visited the hospital while he drank whisky. A woman consultant sucked on her pencil, gave her stronger drugs, and when she got home he was slurring his words.

She ground the tablets into his half-empty glass, and helped him drink it.

All of it. Plus a refill. Thirty minutes later his eyes were closing, and she straddled him in the wheelchair.

Holding a sharpened pencil. From the hospital.

She told him he was dead. He began to struggle. Like a baby. Pushed his hairy arms into her chest, tried to wriggle free, but she rode him like a cowgirl, legs locked around his wheelchair.

He swore at her, spat at her until she clawed his face with one hand and thrust the pencil up his nostril with the other.

All the way.

Right up to the 2H mark.

He hurt me, she told the hospital. She opened her hand. Unwrapped the bandage. A woman psychoanalyst stared at the blood-soaked pencil.

And made a few notes…

396 words.

Sat, Jul 15 2017 05:48pm IST 2
358 Posts

All Things Come To Those Who Wait (394 words, including title)

Ten years I’ve waited for this moment. Ten years of keeping myself alive when I could so easily have ended it all by jumping off a bridge or swallowing cyanide. Ten years I’ve waited for you to come out of jail, reading about you sometimes in the newspaper. How you were a model prisoner and got a degree inside – psychology, oh irony of ironies, to make up for your lack of empathy and humanity, your psychopathic tendencies which you claim to no longer have now that you’ve found Jesus.

Well, I found something else: a passion to cut you limb from limb, to pare the flesh off your bones. To hear you scream as she must have done, so you know how that feels. I’ve dreamt of being smeared with your blood only to wake up and discover I still have to wait. But those dreams are the only time I’ve felt happy in all these years – so I have to thank you for that.

But today is the day. I stand with the crowd at the prison gates and watch you walk out, then follow you home to your parents’ place. Your slate wiped clean for the state. I rent a flat opposite to watch your movements. My binoculars trained at the window to see what you eat, what you watch on TV, when you switch off the light. In the morning I wait for you to leave the house, then follow you to the swings and slides in the park.

I sit on a bench nearby and observe you watching the children. See you get up and approach a little girl. Before you can touch her arm I remember the face of my child in the morgue – the bloodlessness of her features – and pull the breadknife out of my bag, thrusting it into your back, catching you by surprise. I witness you yell, whip around, fists balled to punch me as people scream and grab their kids from the sandpit. I plunge a second knife into your gut, hear your gasp, swear, roar. The violence I didn’t know I had quells my fear and makes me fast, not giving you time to react. But then you do and I’m on the ground in your blood, and in mine, writhing like a fish in the dirt.

Sat, Jul 15 2017 10:12pm IST 3
49 Posts
An ordinary life (397 inc title)

The raised eyebrow was the first clue.

‘How much have you had?’ She was filling the kettle before even taking her coat off. I was obviously about to be prescribed strong coffee.

‘Only a couple…ish’.

She switched the radio on and Women’s hour filled the kitchen. She bustled around tidying, heels clicking on the tiled floor. Picking up my discarded uniform with her fingertips she pushed it into the machine not even bothering to hide the grimace.

We’ve been here before, the familiarity washes over me; a set of nights, too much to drink then the violence.

Quicker now the heels click towards me. Bang. Forehead rammed into the table, everything blurs as the pain dances along my eyebrows. Groggy now, raising my head slowly, hands over my face. Nails scratch at my arms, digging and clawing at the skin. Red stains the worktop as I try to wriggle away. It makes the shape of a giraffe with a bent neck. I’ve seen enough blood already this week thanks, I don’t need to see it at home too. Hands around my throat now. Choking, struggling. I grasp her wrists trying to push her away, pushing for air. In…out…in…out, bruised but free.

“…and women must be given those opportunities to be equal to men…” the radio is still on, oblivious to real life.

Where is she? Dare I look? The fridge door slams shut. Glancing up the brightness of the kitchen is alarming. The pain in my head is worse. Heart pounding. It used to beat quicker for her when we first met, now when she makes it beat faster it is the rhythm of despair.

The respite is short lived. She pushes me off the stool to the floor. I’m heavier than her, how does she have this strength when she’s like this? Curled into a ball I try and protect what parts of me I can. She is between me and the door so getting away is not an option this time. The kicks come fast. Pain in my arms, my legs, back, head. I risk a look, coming towards me is the barely-there tread on her bright red heels, straight at my face, I can’t get out of the way as her foot gets closer. The room still smells of coffee and my world is limited to her shoe coming towards -

Sun, Jul 16 2017 12:53pm IST 4
Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1072 Posts
Sun, Jul 16 2017 01:01pm IST 5
1331 Posts

The Gingerbread Wars

Tutti spat the piece of cake across the kitchen. 'This has gone too far.'

Marleen stepped out of her grandmother's range. 'Oma ...' She spread out her hands. 'It's only lebkuchen. Just a little spice and batter–'

Tutti slammed her rolling pin down. 'The ancient food of warriors.' Her face was aflame.

'Yes, Oma. Of course it is.' Marleen ran cold water over a tea towel. 'Let this cool you.'

Flaying hands slapped the cloth away. 'You are too young and foolish.' Tutti straightened her apron. 'I will go and see the hackfresse.'

Marleen blinked as she watched Tutti bustle out. She understood her grandmother's anger but to say Frau Lidburg had a face of ground meat was too much. It was time to get her Opa.


Herman listened to the raised voices from the safe distance of Frau Lidburg's garden. He took hesitant steps back and forward. Tutti wouldn't get violent. He was sure of it. But then this was her gingerbread recipe that had been insulted.

He moved to the doorway as the first crash sounded.

Fragments of what had once been a mixing bowl skittered across the floor.

Throwing crockery wasn't good but Herman decided that must be the end of it. Two reasonable woman would stop there.

Tutti marched into his line of view. His jaw fell open as he watched his wife dig her fingers into Frau Linberg's hair and force her face into a tray of rising dough. It looked like pumpernickel, a particular favourite of his, but he thought that might not be seen as important at the moment.

Dark strings of uncooked bread decorated Frau Linberg's cheeks and forehead. Herman nodded. It was rough justice and he was glad it was over.

Water splashed onto the floor.

It dripped off the hem of Tutti's skirt and formed a small lake around her. Frau Linburg still held an earthenware jug but it was by her side rather than being brandished about.

Herman squared his shoulders. They were even now. All that remained was for him to endure Tutti's ranting.

His wife and Frau Linburg tussled over a large spice jar. Tutti got a grip on it and flung it behind her into the fireplace.

The smell of burning ginger filled the kitchen.

Herman set off at a trot. He was sure he was needed in the pig yard.

Sun, Jul 16 2017 05:49pm IST 6
Jenni Belsay
Jenni Belsay
693 Posts

The morning after Gaby buried the dismembered remains of her husband, the raiders returned. She’d watched the crane truck approach. Bastards would be after the generator. Not expecting trouble this time, there were only two of them.

Drawn by the squeals of her baby, they found her in the barn.

Gaby stood under the hayloft, next to the wheel rakes. Impossible to hurl those. The only decent weapon she’d found among the twine, screws and nails, scattered after the first raid, was a broken claw hoe. With the handle stub pressed into her palm, her fingers interlaced the prongs.

The older, bull-necked man gripped an axe. The other must have been about fifteen. Puny, and he seemed unarmed. She could smell their sweat.

Overhead, the baby’s cries grew louder. Gaby stepped into view from the shadows; her eyes flicked to the ladder – closer to the bastards than to her – and back to Bullneck.

He licked his lips. ‘Guard the door, son, while I turn off the noise. Can’t hear yourself kill in here.’

The ladder creaked under the man’s weight. Boots clumped across floorboards, but Gaby didn’t move. She watched the boy.

Watched his mouth open – at the splintering of wood, the hiss of cascading hay, and the thump of his father onto wheel rakes. Gaby turned her head. Tines protruded through the man’s neck and back. From within the bundle of blankets now pinned to his gut, the wailing intensified.

She turned back to the boy. ‘Mobile phone. Crap for communication since the cyber attack, but handy for recording. Best you go now.’

Instead, he charged.

Wait ... Wait ...

Gaby dodged, raked his arm, but the hoe – snagged in clothing or flesh – was ripped from her hand. His howl of pain galvanised her. She ran. Nearly at the door, rugby-tackled, she thudded to the ground. Dragged back against his reeking body, she felt his chin on her head, twine around her neck. He grunted with each vicious, victorious twist. Not so puny.

Heart and lungs bursting, she writhed and clawed. Darkness descended, while her beautiful baby girl waited, hidden in the forest. Orphaned at seven weeks.


Scrabbling in the dust, one hand found metal. She thrust up, back. In.

His grip released, without a scream.

On her knees, gasping, Gaby finally looked. Only the flat head of the six-inch nail showed in the boy’s left eye.

400 words excluding title
Sun, Jul 16 2017 08:19pm IST 7
T B Carter
T B Carter
16 Posts

A Rude Awakening

There was a man studying the documents that I’d left on the table last night. I took a couple of quick steps towards him and he suddenly noticed me, his eyes going wide and his hand darting inside his jacket but it was too late as I was way too close for him to even yell out. I caught him in a chokehold, my other hand over his mouth as I brought him almost silently to the floor.

My victim’s silent struggles ceased after a while and I doubled checked he was unconscious. Before I could find something to secure him with, a male voice called from the kitchen “Dan, you okay?” I tensed and a few seconds later the owner of the voice came through the door carrying a tazer.

He saw his colleague lying on the floor and had time to swear before I knocked the gun out his hand with the rather wimpy poker I’d grabbed from the fireplace. He reacted quicker than I expected, diving at me in a rugby tackle and we both went flying over an antique dining chair as I lost the poker but landed right by the tazer. I grabbed it. My opponent had recovered remarkably quickly in the split second I had taken grabbing the tazer and was moving towards me, I pulled the trigger aiming at his chest, he actually grinned at me as... nothing. I didn’t have time to react before he piled into me again moving fast, this was no amateur, this was someone who knew how to fight dirty. This was going to be fun. I used my opponent’s momentum against him and propelled him into the ancient wood panelling that covered the back wall of the great hall. He managed to turn as I jumped up and I threw the tazer at his head hitting him in the eye, he cursed as I followed that up with a slightly awkward left hook that he managed to block. I jumped back just missing being hit by an ambitious kick aimed at my face, I had my balance now and I grinned as I threw a fight ending right hook at his face and there was a satisfying thwack as I connected with my off balance opponent who went flying, hitting his head on the table with a sickening crunch.

395 Words Including Title.

Tue, Jul 18 2017 02:16pm IST 8
919 Posts
Wed, Jul 19 2017 12:20pm IST 9
919 Posts
So much activity on the latest wall, keep having to bump.
Wed, Jul 19 2017 04:30pm IST 10
13 Posts
Ohh good topic! I might write something.
Thu, Jul 20 2017 11:25am IST 11
919 Posts
Sun, Jul 23 2017 10:02am IST 12
919 Posts
Mon, Jul 24 2017 12:26pm IST 13
919 Posts
Mon, Jul 24 2017 10:12pm IST 14
Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1072 Posts
Bump indeed
Tue, Jul 25 2017 08:30am IST 15
Monica Handle
Monica Handle
16 Posts


A bar. A guy in front of us, giving it that and taking his time, the wank bucket. Ah’ll have another white wine, thank you. D’y not have any corn chips? Corn chips, in here? On and on, with the occasional wee glance round, so he knows right enough: we’re three deep back here. Couldn’t give a toss, though, could he? He’s enjoying it! Bob the barman’s muttery and arms crossed. Had enough, no doubt. Is that the lot then? Twenty-two thirty. A card? Can ye no pay cash? The machine is kept in a cupboard; practically a museum piece – might as well walk round to the bank.

My mate waves over to Bob, and someone shouts: Put it on a slate for fuck’s sake. See tae us and the gadgy there can catch up efter. How’s that?

Bob shrugs. The guy’s still waving his card, playing at ignoring all the chunter, but me and my mate note a wobble. My mate taps the shoulder: Get a move on pal.

Fuck off.

That’s it then. My mate pulls him round, white wine flying. Bob scoots to the end of the bar and there’s space around us. My mate’s at him, wild like, one-two-jab-jab. The guy’s stunned but not down. Give him a second and he’ll be doing his thing. I hang back.

No fear. No, none of that. It’s just … I know my place. In these awfully unfortunate situations me and my mate are like the best of double acts. We’re the Morecambe and Wise of violence, Laurel and Hardy to the brawl.

My mate’s over there, batting away the guy’s jacketed arms. I’m over here, waiting my turn. The guy’s likely thinking I’m not wanting to risk a beating. But he’s wrong! I’m the straight man and my mate’s the comic, the warm-up act you might say. He’s just getting the one-man audience softened up, a bit relaxed oddly enough, before I step up and, to the guy’s considerable surprise, deliver the punchline.

There’s blood now and the guy’s crumpled, foetal twisted on the lovely Edwardian tiles, one hand gripping the brass foot rail. Someone says: Bob, a pint of heavy over here! There’s laughter.

Yet again, the left hand knew exactly what the right was doing. Thank fuck for that.

(383 words, inc. title)

Wed, Jul 26 2017 08:37am IST 16
1331 Posts
Wed, Jul 26 2017 03:32pm IST 17
1742 Posts

As soon as I saw him, I knew how it was going to be, him approaching down the school hall, his face smug and fat, and all of humanity’s rage and pain shot up from the floor, through my legs and body and down to the end of my arm and I swung that bat.

I’ll never forget that look of surprise that told me he hadn’t expected it, that he had assumed I’d go meekly by, nor the stab of agonizing empathy as his pudgy mouth downturned like a baby’s I’ve made him cry, my God, I’ve made him cry or the surge of vile hatred that flooded my body and how I wanted more than anything, oh, more than anything I wanted to kill.

But he was bigger. And he had got on top of me, and my legs and arms were stranded and useless. Then my sneaker got a grip on the polished floor and I shoved and his own momentum or carelessness got the better of him and he slid and I went for the bat, raised it, dashed it down god this is how it feels, it feels awful

His hand, supported by all that weight, seized my wrist and twisted. A huge boulder fist smashed into my teeth, exploding lights and noise and pain inside my head. Somehow, I was somewhere but I didn’t know where, and my head was being yanked back and what got me most of all was the unfairness, the taunts in the schoolyard and the trip-ups and all the rest of it and the universe or God or whatever wouldn’t let me have even this one little win and that did it.

I slithered out. Incredibly I was still holding the bat, he must have overlooked it and he was on his knees like a trembling whore and the last ten, twenty, hundred seconds told me that he would give no quarter and I let that ironwood fly, crack! against the side of his head, crack! again. I’d go to jail. I’d die for this but I didn’t care, it was worth it just to seize that little victory for all the ignoreds and the hateds and whatever it was I was.

Until his body slumped forward, black curly hair a mess of matted red, and my adrenaline faded now and oh God, oh, no, what had I done?

Thu, Jul 27 2017 03:14pm IST 18
919 Posts
Sat, Jul 29 2017 04:12am IST 19
226 Posts

Walk Away

There are no options left now. It's you and three against one and you're wondering how it got so bad, so fast. Quit it, don't wonder, it'll do you no good. They're coming at you and in this crowded bar full of people, nobody is coming to help.

Get a weapon, get an edge. Anything. The pool cue. You snatch it up and its a cheap stick of wood, no heft in it. Swing it down hard on the edge of the table, it breaks with a gunshot snap. Where it shears, it leaves a wicked point. Good. That's good. The guy on the left, he jumps back at the sound. Store that away, he's not coming at you any time soon. The one in the middle, in the check shirt, he stops, takes it in. And that's good too. Maybe a way out. Maybe. Except for the third guy. He's the alpha, he's not stopping and he has to go down first. There's a glint of steel in his hand and it just got much worse

Don't think. Remember. You slid into stance. Side on, harder to hit. Left hand up to block , right hand drawn back to strike. Hear your master's voice, the best fight you can have is the one you avoid. Not this time.

Then its happening. Alpha expects a jab with the broken cue. Side step his lunge. Sweep the cue around instead, down on the wrist. The crack of impact is loud. Lucky, so lucky. Alpha stops, clutching his wrist. Drive the blunt end of the cue into his face. Catch an eye socket, turn, swing and the same end catches check shirt on the cheek. It's not stopping him, slowing him, a second's respite then the third guy piles in and you've got nothing.

Sprawl on the floor. Frantic. Get up. Third guy's done his bit, honour satisfied, he'll stay down but he's bought alpha enough time. Get up. Before check shirt lays in with the boot. Get up. Stagger up. Third guy. Downward side-kick to the face and he squeals. Again. Louder. It's enough.

Alpha and check shirt hold back. And there's the blessed sound of sirens.

Sat, Jul 29 2017 10:56am IST 20
61 Posts
Great piece of work Stevie, well done! Now we're all waiting to hear if police got it sorted! Joyful
Sat, Jul 29 2017 11:02am IST 21
61 Posts
Wow Monica, that was a rough piece! But well done for great atmosphere. Joyful
Sat, Jul 29 2017 11:07am IST 22
61 Posts
having read all these amazing entries I'm convinced you all have been in brawls............. but super, fast, atmospheric prose. If we are amateurs then the profs had better look out!! Joyful
Mon, Jul 31 2017 02:40pm IST 23
Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1072 Posts
Last day for the friendly monthly comp good people.
Tue, Aug 1 2017 08:51am IST 24
919 Posts

Did I say push you out of your comfort zones. You all seemed to have leapt out screaming. Thank you for such a diverse collection of fight scenes for me to read. Good thing I’ve got a strong stomach.

Seagreen – A great explosion of pent up anger. ‘The snap of breaking bone was oddly satisfying,’ was both graphic and gave me a look into the MC’s state of mind. A nice twist at the end that she wasn’t saving her mother at all, but herself.

Mashie Niblick – I had to google ‘Chaconne’, so a nice lesson in here already. This went from one dance to a more deadly type. Quite visual with the echo of the music in the movements of the fight. I’m sure I didn’t get all the connections of what was going on here but I enjoyed the rhythm of the piece.

Dyslexic of Dartford – This conjured up the atmosphere of the ring beautifully. The baying of the crowd, the tense silence, and the final screaming for blood. Poor naïve Jason. Things were not what they seemed.

Yo – Although this is written as recall, some real ouch moments. The rib splintering through the shirt and the couple stopping him swallowing his tongue were particularly hard hitting. And then the twist that this wasn’t about the fight at all, but his actions. I was left with a certain ambiguity about how I should feel about the MC.

Purple Witch – Nice tension here of will he/won’t he take down his opponent before keeling over, further hyped by the children’s escape depending on him winning. Some sensual phrases in here. Particularly liked the ‘slip in the wetness of his own blood.’ Nice symmetry in the beginning and end with the sunlight.

Sandra – Very clever. I didn’t click until the end. There was a real feeling of building violence and the woman worn down and desperate, but this was an entirely different type of battle from what you were suggesting. Nicely done and I know how she feels.

Newbie – This fight starts with a casual feel – all in a days work for the vampire law – and a sense of camaraderie that contrasts sharply with the violence of ‘rip out his heart.’ Feels easy until things go wrong and the fight starts in earnest. Great vampire battle lust.

MosquitoFB86 – Fantastic tension in this. Alternating the reaction of now with what happened in the trench didn’t slow down the action at all, but added to the tension and horror. ‘Dear God how much blood has he got?’ really put us in the moment. A hard hitting and emotive piece.

BellaM - Nice punchy action, fast paced and visual. Walter using anything he can get his hands on to slow down his attackers. Good use of short sentences in the midst of the fight. A brutal ending for poor Walter.

Berks – This starts out cool and controlled - a real professional at work. But the arrogant superiority that holds almost to the end is his downfall. He’s met the opponent who’s quicker and gives him his comeuppance. Quite psychological, and a nice turnaround of events at the end.

Hilly – A real sense of terror and helplessness about this. Emmeline comes to the rescue despite the odds. ‘Snapped and popped its massive jaw,’ is a wonderfully vivid phrase, and the final paragraph builds to that moment of realisation and horror. And was little Mary saved? I hope never to meet an angry bear after this description.

AlanP – Tense and brutal. You can’t help but feel a certain sympathy for their actions, but then what a twist at the end. Left me reeling.

J.Net – What a lovely contrast of the two developing situations. Divergent paces as the boys sort their argument out but the mothers’ behaviour degenerates into a scrap on the front lawn. Loved the flash of underwear and the interested neighbour called back by his wife. Great characterisation of both the boys and mothers. A clever piece.

John Alty – You’ve done a clever thing here by introducing the idea of the fight, leaving a question mark with the first and last comment, then back tracking to keep us in suspense. You might not think you can do violence but I thought the one paragraph of the fight was nicely paced and caught the action. A fun read.

Stephen Terry – A dark, well written piece. Not exactly a pacey fight, but a battle for survival at the end. And, ‘Right up to the 2H mark’ – ouch. That image is going to stay with me. Very impactful.

Hel – You really put me in the emotional wringer with your opening paragraph, then pulled me in close and graphic in the second. The tension builds to the pacey attack and bloody ending, leaving us on that note of uncertainty. A powerful piece.

Tarquilla – A clever reversal of expectations here. Nice when something doesn’t unwind in the normal way. I liked your scene setting with the clicking heels and Woman’s Hour filling the kitchen and then the tension starts to build until the well-paced explosion of violence.

Barb – A monumental food fight. I love the strings of uncooked bread hanging off Frau Linberg’s face. Filtering it through Herman’s POV gives it a nice edge of humour, and I love the closing line.

Jenni Belsay – Really didn’t think Gaby stood a chance but she outsmarts them all. Like the twist that this isn’t a Viking type raid, but a dystopian future. A great building of tension and that very graphic ending to the boy. Made me wince big time. A lot of story in a short adventure.

T B Carter – A real James Bond style rumble. I loved the way your MC was enjoying himself as contrasted to the violence. Great use of varying sentence lengths to give good pace and ended nicely on a ‘sickening crunch.’

OFP – Viewing the action from the distance worked well for the tension as there was always the question of whether Powells would make it back. It lost none of that visual quality for not being an up close fight with details like the vivid spray of blood. Loved the technical, controlled feel to it and the way most of the scene took place in silence. Great characterisation.

Monica Handle – A disturbing look inside a mind of violence. You did a brilliant job of putting me right in the character’s head, and let me experience the violence in his emotionally detached way. Quite chilling.

JD – You put me through emotional turmoil and tension here. I really wanted the MC to come out on top, but what an ending. Clever change of tense in the middle pulled us into the moment, and I really felt the crack when the bat hit. An emotive piece.

Stevie – You put me right in the character’s head and brought me along for the fight. Great use of short and fragmented sentences to create the pace and tension. Superbly done.

What an amazing variety of pieces that pulled me in so many different directions. There wasn’t just violence, but emotional turmoil, big stories in short extracts, cunning twists and even humour. With so much great stuff to pick from I used the criteria I set of great pace and tension to make a choice. Based on that, for me, the winner was Stevie, closely followed by MosquitoFB86. I’d also like to give honourable mention to BellaM, T B Carter and JD.

Thank you everyone for the excellent entries.

Tue, Aug 1 2017 09:20am IST 25
3335 Posts
Thank you for setting the comp, Kate - very enjoyable.

Congratulations Stevie. Also well done to MosquitoB86, BellaM, TB Carter and JD.

Some great stories.

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