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Writing Prompt “Fox Forest”

Theme: Fox Forest

Required Elements:

  • leaves from a tree
  • singing

Word Count: 1,200


Legend says Fox Forest is named for the foxes who live there, foxes who sing in human voices…the rest is up to you.

(If you use the above description above in your story, the extra words will not count against your 1200 words.)

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110 thoughts on “Writing Prompt “Fox Forest”

  • Carrie Zylka

    Read the stories here:

    (If you don’t see your story linked in this comment within a day or two, feel free to use the contact form to let Carrie know she somehow missed it.

    Meanwhile, please be patient, there is only one moderator, and she is not always online. We’ll get to it as soon as possible. Thank you.)

    • Signing in
  • Hello everybody! You mean leaves like leaves from a tree? Oder leaving the forest? Just to make sure. 🙂
    • Carrie Zylka

      The requirement is leaves from a tree. I’ll update it to avoid any confusion.

  • If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than this classic (especially the second half of the video):

    • Ilana Leeds
    • If this hadn’t been done before, it would be my entry this time round – foxes, forest, singing, the trees have leaves on…fits perfectly!
    • Carrie Zylka

      Oh great now I’ll have this song stuck in my head
      I’m embarrassed to say that I used to sing this with my nephew pretty much every 5 minutes for two weeks straight…..

      • haha! Have you put that on YouTube?

        I’ve woken up each morning with this song in my head for the past few days too …

        BTW – what does the fox say? 🙂

    • O my goodness.. I love this so much! Now I’m tempted to write a tail.
      My daughter says it was a hit some years ago.
      And I didn’t know????

      This is definitely what gwanma’s singing tonight for her wittle 3 yr old.

      Thank you, Andy.

    • Vicki Chvatal
      … or you have to swear off drugs for life. 🙂
  • OK, this is interesting. One of the volumes of my children’s novel, (which are novellas in themselves – of which three are finished) involves a fox, a forest and I can always add the singing. So, I guess I’m intrigued and in.


    • Vicki Chvatal
      Just out of curiosity, what kind of character is your fox (hero, villain, etc.)? I’ve noticed while reading to my son – & from vague memories of my own childhood reading/ watching – that foxes tend to be cast as villains to a greater or lesser extent. Other predators like wolves or bears can occasionally be good, or change from bad to good, but not foxes for some reason.
      • Fantastic Mr Fox 🦊?
      • Vicki,

        Look no further than Disney who made the animated Robin Hood a fox, along with foxy Main Marian. As we all know, Robin was a terrific fellow. I’ve always considered foxes sly, and clever, but not really villainous, unless of course, you’re a chicken in a henhouse, in which case, they would probably consider the fox a villain for sure.


        • Vicki Chvatal
          Right, I admit that my familiarity with kids’ culture is rather limited. Better get up to speed quick!
  • My wife walked in as I was playing the video and asked what that was all about. “I am enriching my life”, I said. And, now I have. Cute and worth the few minutes.


    “Where we goin’, Basa?”
    “I don’t like surprises.”
    “Do I care?”
    “Let’s just go home.”
    “What are you – a mummy’s boy?”
    “No, course not.”
    “Then shut it and keep up.”

    The bigger boy strides on. His brother hesitates, then tags along, skipping to re-find Basajaun’s rhythm. The other boys follow suit, chattering amongst themselves.

    * * * * *

    To the east of the town there is a dense, dark forest. Many, many years ago, folk in the region gave it a name: ‘Azeri Kantarien Basoa’ . The name has been handed down through the generations. The forest is populated by all kinds of flora and fauna, like any forest worth its name.

    * * * * *

    “Basa, we’re tired.”
    “Okay. I’ll leave you here, then.”
    “No! We wouldn’t be able to find our way back.”
    “Do I care?”
    “I’ll tell mum.”
    “No, you won’t.”
    “I will!”
    “No, I promise you. You won’t.”
    “Can’t we just rest for a bit?”
    “Aaargh! All right. Five minutes. Then I want you all up and raring to go. Okay?”
    “Okay, Basa/Yeah/All right/Sure/You bet/Definitely/Will do/Thanks, Basa.”

    The boys flop onto the grass bordering the path. No one is chattering now. They just want to enjoy this brief respite. Some take off their shoes and rub their blistered feet. Others close their eyes and take deep breaths. Basajaun stands some feet away from the group, gazing towards the east. His brother, Eneko, sits cross-legged and stares at Basajaun’s back, trying to figure out what’s got into him.

    * * * * *

    Legend has it that there also lives in Azeri Kantarien Basoa a large skulk of foxes. They are perfectly normal foxes – orange coat and brush, sharp teeth and eyes – except for one day every century.

    * * * * *

    “Can you hear that, Basa?”
    “Course I can hear it. I’m not deaf!”
    “Sounds like singin’!”
    “Sounds like it because it is.”
    “Where’s it comin’ from?”
    “Over yonder.”
    “The forest?”
    “Yeah, you know – that thing with trees, and bushes, and leaves.”
    “Not …!?”
    “Come on.”
    “Wait, Basa! Wait for us!”

    * * * * *

    On this one day every century, all the foxes in the forest are believed to burst into sublime song.

    * * * * *

    “If that’s Azeri Kantarien Basoa, I ain’t goin’ no further!”
    “You can’t come all this way and not go in!”
    “I ain’t goin’, Basa. We ain’t goin’. Ain’t that right, boys?”
    “S’right/I reckon not/Too true/We’re with you, Ene!”
    “Hang on, boys listen!”
    “We ain’t takin’ notice of you no more, Basa.”
    “Listen, I said!”
    “We ain’t takin’ … we ain’t … we …”

    * * * * *

    The foxes sing a song that’s so sweet, so seductive, anyone passing nearby will be drawn in.

    * * * * *

    Come into our foressst, dearsss
    You’re the first in many yearsss
    Come and leave behind your fearsss
    Come in, come in, come in.

    The boys file silently past Basajaun. Eneko is the last. He doesn’t look at his brother. When the forest has swallowed Eneko’s tiny form, Basajaun turns away. Whistling along to the tune that’s floating in the air, he retraces his steps westwards.

    * * * * *

    The song is so seductive that you’ll be drawn in.

    Drawn into the darkest recesses of the forest.

    The piercing blue eyes watching.

    And they’ll be the very last eyes that see you.


    • So Basajuan is an evil leader of little boys, hmmm? I thought your story had great rhythm and handled the quirks of the prompt very well. I enjoyed it!
      • Thanks, Trish! Yep, that’s about the size of it.
    • What a well told, Grimm story. Something about the forests in Europe that bring out the evil in people, isn’t there? Good job, Phil. Enjoyed the story and while I was pretty sure where it was going with this one, significant clue:

      “No! We wouldn’t be able to find our way back.”
      “Do I care?”
      “I’ll tell mum.”
      “No, you won’t.”
      “I will!”
      “No, I promise you. You won’t.”,

      you kept me hanging in the dark until near the end.

      Glad I’m reading these stories in mid afternoon. I’ll be able to sleep better tonight.


    • The most folktaley in form here for sure. The speech is very reminiscent of translated texts or recorded oral histories. You have captured that style very well and I always look forward to the dark turn things traditionally take at the end. Thank you for obliging!
  • Is it Basajuan or Basajaun? as in Basque mythology, Basajaun, “Lord of the Woods”
      • Ilana Leeds
        Rather evil older brother. He’s getting rid of his sibling and the smaller boys. Kind of Pied Piperish. That story always gave me the chills as a child. I had nightmares. Well done Phil and lots of show with the dialogue.
  • Vicki- what a splendid story. You drew me in with your hyper-realistic dialogue and you transitioned to the singing leaves so smoothly it seemed very believable. I appreciated the backstory on Chase the tour guide and thought you offered the perfect amount of detail. I really liked your story!
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Thanks, Trish!
      Hope we’ll see a story from you this round; it’s been a while. 🙂
      • I know. My mind is blank these days. Could be old age or maybe the pandemic. I get great joy out of reading the stories and I try to write positive feedback as I’m able. I miss writing but haven’t been able to produce anything. Oh well- reading great stories is a lovely pastime too!
        • Vicki Chvatal
          I hear you. I went through one of those down periods a few prompts ago.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in
  • Another great story from you, Vicki. The singing leaves are a marvellous conceit, and their (unconscious – they seem to be doing someone else’s bidding) motivation – revealed very subtly at the end – is nicely horrific. The dialogue is priceless – humorous and revealing features of the characters with hardly any overt description. This line is great: “How would foxes in some middle-of-nowhere forest know Cure songs?” Surely the question should be: “How tf can foxes sing at all?!” But that just adds to the careffully-drawn absurdity of the situation. I think you might mean ‘intelligible’ here: “…complete with legible words.” A really fun and well constructed story.
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Thanks, Phil.

      I see the whole thing as an evolutionary quirk where the trees have developed a nice symbiotic relationship with whatever lives in that burrow: trees sing, and everyone gets to eat in the end. Except for humans, but they don’t count. 🙂
      (The idea of singing leaves came from the e-mail notification of the new prompt, which looked as if the requirements were “singing foxes” and “singing leaves”. For some reason, singing leaves worked better for me than singing foxes.)

      Thanks for the tip: “intelligible” definitely fits better.

      Also, please allow me return the compliment: the “creepy/ evil kid” horror trope never gets old if executed properly, and you’ve done a great job with it. As an aside, your story works great as it is, but if it were longer I’d also like to know how Basajaun himself escaped the hypnotic effects of the foxes’ song, and perhaps his motivation as well.

      • Thank YOU, Vicki!

        The Basajaun mystery is open to interpretation (maybe a bit TOO open!) A clue may be in the name (see Robert’s comment).

        Yes, I spotted the ‘singing leaves’ thing, too, and considered going that way … but ultimately decided on the easier route. You made a great job of it, though.

        • Vicki Chvatal
          I googled Basajaun, but failed to find the solution: the Basajaun of Basque legends appears to be largely a benign figure; and I didn’t find any connection with foxes. Is this your own invention, or is there a source legend? And if Basajaun isn’t human, how did he end up in a human family, with a human brother? (Just curious.)
        • You’re right, Vicki – the name does mean ‘Lord of the Woods’, and Basque people wouldn’t name their sons that if it had an evil connotation. So the use of it in the story is a bit of a mish-mash, but let’s just say that … once in a century, the ‘Lord of the Woods’ turns out to be a wrong ‘un.
      • Ilana Leeds
        Great story Vicki. I liked the ending which was rather deliciously predatory. The forest’s revenge on its decimation by human kind. It was able to lure some beings in for blood and bone obviously.
        • Vicki Chvatal
          Thanks, Ilana. I’ll leave it up to interpretation whether it’s the forest’s revenge (after all, this particular location isn’t overdeveloped or overpopulated), or just evolution at its cutthroat best. 🙂
  • Ilana Leeds
    Foxes of the Forest

    The ruby gold leaves spiral up, lifted by the breeze and then, float gently down to carpet the forest floor. Brin glanced up occasionally, pensive, as he whittled the block of wood held steady between two arthritic knees. His gnarled freckled hands moved carefully over the wood, chipping and nicking away at the lump coming to life beneath his sharp pocketknife.
    He knew then, the time of singing would be nigh at hand. His hands played with the wood block he had picked off his winter pile of firewood in the shed. Its shape was right and most importantly there was only one knot. It was perfect for what he wanted.

    Putting the piece of timber down on the workbench, he wearily scratched his chin, his aching fingers scrabbled through the wispy reddish white beard that now reached his waist. It would not be long now.
    He put the half-carved block down. He would work on it later that evening There was too much that needed to be done in the daylight hours.

    Forty-two years ago, he and his wife Ava had made the journey to this valley in the farthest reaches of their island state. Ava had been heavy with child. The first of their six children; two of whom had been still born. The other four had left their parents and the forest dwelling to explore a greater world outside the seclusion of the valley and its forest once they reached an age where hormones had necessitated an expansion of their existence. Ava and Brin let them go.
    “We’ve done our best. They’ll make their own way in any field they choose. They are clever, one and all.”
    “It would have been right for at least one of them to stay and help us in our dotage.” Brin grumbled, when their last son Avak left them. He has stayed until he was nearing thirtyish. Brin had thought he would go and at least return to the forest, but when his sister Julyanna came with her husband Meddark from the city over one hundred miles away, he saw their happiness in their togetherness. He wanted that for himself. His restlessness grew, as did his temper.
    Brin found him beating a frightened nanny goat what had played up on the milking stand.
    “What’s wrong with ye? She’s a first timer on the stand. There’s no call to clip ‘er like that.”
    “Ay, there is. The bitch put her leg inna tha bucket. Now five litres of milk spoilt.”
    Brin scratched his chin and looked sharply at the young man.
    “Well, kids and lambs welcome to it. It’s not like we’re short. For crying out, man. Cease ye tantrums. Besides we also have put out pans for the foxes. Our little forest friends.”
    Avak stood and before his father could say a word, hurled the bucket out the open shed door.
    “I cannot. I CAN NOT!” He shouted and strode towards the door. “DO THIS ANYMORE!”
    Brin finished the milking and took two brimming buckets into the kitchen of the house that he had built with his own hands and extended over forty years. Avak was sitting with Ava at the long wooden table in the kitchen.
    “He wants to go.” Ava stated flatly.
    Brin put the buckets down gently on the bench and turned to their youngest child.
    “Well, then, go. Tonight, if you must.” Ava gasped at the abrupt surliness of his tone so unlike the gentleness of Brin’s normal demeanor. Avak stood up and relief flooded his features.
    “I intend to. Pa, I’m sorry.” He turned to his mother and grasped her hand. “Ma, I will return. When I’ve found what I want. I can’t, you know, stay.” Ava and Brin exchanged sad glances.
    “It’s alright.” She told Avak. “This isolation, for you, must be hard. Your father and I have each other. Go with blessing.” She kissed the top of his head.
    He stayed till dawn and left as the sun streaked the eastern horizon, making the tops of the forest trees gleam a fiery orange glow. His rucksack filled with spare clothes and food for the four-day trek through the forest to the road that led to civilization. He was rapidly lost from sight and had not been seen for the past ten years by his father. In that time, Ava sickened and died not two years after his departure.
    Brin buried his wife at the edge of the clearing. The foxes gathered there near the grave mound. It was then crouched over her grave, weeping for the loss of her, he first heard the keening cry of the vixen.
    She had her three cubs with her. Small chubby little things with shining bright black eyes. They stood stock still and then after a few minutes sat back, raised their muzzles to the night sky and mimicked their mother’s weeping song.
    He rolled back on his haunches in wonder. A strange comforting sound that calmed his wild grief. He had thought to follow her in those first few days after he had discovered her body cold and blue lipped, huddled in their bed after he had come in from the early morning milking and caring for the flocks of geese and ducks and other livestock.
    It was there where he fed them his spare milk and meat scraps. From that first wake meal he gave them near the fresh grave, it became his daily routine to spend an hour at dusk and again in the early morning. He fed them and watched their little family grow. He planted several flame trees around the grave site in the months after Ava’s death. The trees grew as did the little foxes and some went away. Others came.
    Brin had carved the small foxes from the forest wood, then painted them with red soil ochre and white clay. The wooden figurines he placed on the pathway to Ava’s grave. If anything happened to him, when the children came back, they would know where their mother was buried.

    He finished his chores and made his way to the grave site laden with food for the foxes. He was so tired lately and spent more time than he ought down by Ava’s last resting place. In the growing darkness, he saw the glimmer of eyes and soft velvet forms moving through the forest.
    Gently he placed the meat scraps and milk in their containers by the edge of the clearing. He was sitting down cross-legged in his usual position when pain wrapped his head in a vicelike band of agony. Gasping he fell forward onto all fours, panting he tried to rise and could not. He sank slowly down, face down onto the earth.
    The vixen padded forward after some time. The man’s stillness confused her. He had the all too familiar smell of death about him. She bent forward after some time and licked his face gently before backing off. Now, she was sure. She took her cubs with her when she went.
    The foxes did not return. Nor did the children. Only the red gold leaves fell carpeting the body and the grave.

    • Ilana what a beautiful story about the cycle of life. I liked how you incorporated the prompt into more realistic avenues. Well done!
    • A very lovely story, Ilana, steeped in melancholy. I’m not a parent, but I can imagine the pain that comes when kids leave home. More often than not, I think, they keep in touch and later reciprocate the love that was given them in their early years. That it doesn’t happen here is terribly sad. They won’t see the figurines Brin has made, and he will rot beneath the leaves. But he gets a final bit of love from the foxes. Smashing stuff.
    • Magic, Ilana. Loved the story, but more,so, I loved the writing itself. Musically and lyrically, you drew me along, I’m trying to decide if you get the top spot or not for my vote because the next story has such an original pitch, and I’m trying to make up my mind. Really well done and the only thing I noticed was the first sentence started out in the present tense, and the rest of the story is in past, for example: The ruby gold leaves spiral up lifted by the breeze. Had the sentence read the ruby gold leaves spiraled up lifted by the breeze, all would have been right with the world.

      Then again, Phil is the English teacher in this group, and I may be whistling in the wind with my comment. God knows I miss it about half the time in my stories.

      Anyway, I truly enjoyed the melancholy sadness of your story. Well done,


      • Ilana Leeds
        Thanks Roy. High praise indeed. 🙂 And yes, the need for a good edit is always present. Even I as a fellow English teach should have picked that one up. I had just finished a writing workshop on Memoir last weekend and I hand wrote and have started typing up my memoir stories. It’s an eye opener when you read back your own writing critically. And embarrassing too.
        • Ileana, forgot you were an English teacher. You seem to have more time for writing. Is life slowing down a bit?

          I seldom do FB anymore and don’t keep up. I couldn’t take the vitriol that people I love and respect were posting. Too much hate on the site. It was easier to no longer be a part of it.


    • Lovely story. Really sad, but moving to see the fox with her cubs with with him at the end. I also feel sad that his grown up children didn’t see his carvings or visit their mother’s grave
    • That was quite beautiful. Thank you! My Dad is a carpenter so the details to do with the woodwork struck a sentimental chord within me. Somehow it reminds me of ‘Tuck Everlasting’, it is of a similarly sweet ilk to do with family bonds, love, life and death in the forest.
  • Vicki Chvatal
    Ilana, such a beautiful, sad story, and such poetic language.

    The last paragraph would be quietly sad if not for the sentence “Nor did the children.” I find it simply heartbreaking; especially looking earlier in the story, when it appears that none of the children had visited for 10 years, and perhaps didn’t even know their mother had died. Made me wonder if they’d ever realised both their parents were gone, and how long it took.

    Speaking of language, IMO one sentence doesn’t fit stylistically with the rest of the story: “The other four had left their parents and the forest dwelling to explore a greater world outside the seclusion of the valley and its forest once they reached an age where hormones had necessitated an expansion of their existence.”

  • Ilana Leeds
    You are right Vicki I could probably have expressed that better and in two sentences to tighten it up. Thank you for reading.
  • Victory Song

    Cunning, sly, wily, sleekit. Never clever or smart. Well, we changed all that. We showed them. Who’s clever now?

    ‘Where are we going?’
    ‘I told you, it’s a surprise. You’ll just have to be patient for once.’
    ‘I hate surprises and I have no patience.’
    Rory wasn’t her usual type. His red hair for one thing would have normally been an outright ‘no’, but there was something about him. Unlike the usual boys who hung about her, vying for her attention like peacocks displaying their wares, Rory was an enigma. He was deep. Elusive even. There was something about him which intrigued her.
    ‘Rory, seriously, what is this place? I thought we were going to dinner?’ She pulled her light cashmere cardigan tighter around her and leaned in closer to him, shivering, as the clouds passed overhead. She stopped as they reached the edge of the forest. Ahead of them was a narrow dirt path, barely visible under the leaves and broken branches.
    ‘I am NOT going through there! I’ll ruin my shoes.’
    ‘Come on Lady Victoria. Get over yourself.’ He grabbed her hand and led her into the forest. The path soon disappeared, and she found herself treading across the soft, springy, moss covered forest floor, through a thicket of tress, so tightly packed they blocked out the light. Reaching a small clearance, they stopped. The smell of damp decaying earth underneath a layer of russet and gold-coloured leaves hung heavy in the air. The silence engulfed them.
    Rory sat on a boulder in the middle of the clearing and unpacked his ruck sack. He laid out a picnic blanket and grinned as he pulled out a hipflask and a pack of sandwiches.
    ‘Dinner is served Madam!’
    Victoria screwed up her face as she looked around for somewhere to sit. ‘This isn’t exactly what I had in mind. This place gives me the creeps. It’s so quiet.’
    The leaves rustled and whirled around beneath her feet.
    ‘You’ve angered them now.’
    ‘The foxes of course. Have your really never heard of this place or the legend of Fox Forest?’
    ‘Never. But I have a feeling you’re going to tell me.’
    He offered her the hipflask along with the box of sandwiches and leaned back against the stone as he recounted the tale.
    ‘Forsooth Mi’Lady. There’s been bloodshed in them here woods. It was your lot actually. The ‘Tally-Ho’ brigade. Ten men, six hounds, one terrified, exhausted fox, ripped apart in the name of sport.’ Bravery at its finest.’
    Rory paused to take a swig from the hipflask, before continuing.
    ‘Now legend has it that, the foxes soon realised they could out-smart the stupid hounds if they worked as a pack, which isn’t typical fox behaviour you understand. They were usually chased into these woods by the hounds and surrounded by the hunt. It was simple. One fox would put itself in danger and lure the hounds deep into the woods, probably to this very point, before disappearing underground. The idiotic dogs raced around like headless chickens, howling and barking, and slowly, the foxes would appear from their underground stakeouts, surround the hounds, and well… you can guess the rest. This carried on over centuries, until the hounds would no longer enter the forest. It is said, that sometimes in the dead of night, the sounds of animals in pain can be heard coming out the forest, but no one is ever sure it’s the fox or the hound.’
    ‘You’re an idiot Rory! For your information my lot weren’t bloodthirsty killers. Fox hunting was purely about pest control. The fox were vermin. If you had done your research properly, you’d know that they weren’t ripped apart. The dogs were called off and the fox was shot. You’re a typical towney, you just don’t understand country life. You think you can impose your idealistic values and morals on us, yet you don’t realise how much you need us.’ She glared at Rory, her cheeks flushed despite the cool night air.
    A twig snapped behind her.

    ‘Can we play with her mummy? Please?’
    ‘No! it’s not safe.’
    ‘But Rory is with her. Perhaps she will sing with us?’

    ‘What was that? Did you hear that? Someone’s here. Rory, this place is freaking me out. Can we go? Please?’
    ‘Relax. It’s probably just an animal,’ he smiled.
    ‘You and your bloody legends! It’s ridiculous. Animals can’t decide to stake out and ambush other animals
    A gust of wind rushed through the forest, whipping the leaves up into a frenzy, like mini-tornadoes, swirling around in front of her.

    ‘I told you, didn’t I? She’s not the playful type.’

    ‘There it is again. I heard voices? I want to go now!.’
    He smirked. ‘But I haven’t finished the story. You haven’t heard the best part.’
    The leaves settled as he continued.
    ‘So, the hounds stopped coming in, but the idiotic huntsmen pack didn’t. The Laird’s son, a foolish young lad, about fourteen or so, keen to show his bravery, and frustrated by the hounds whimpering pathetically around the edge of the forest, declared he would follow the fox on foot and would show it no mercy when he found it. Did you know that the fox hunters often collected small trophies from their kill? No. Thought not. Anyway, poor lad. They heard his screams from the edge of the forest, but they were too late. They found him right here, laid out on this boulder. Died of multiple bite wounds. And worse, but I won’t go into detail.’
    Victoria paled. ‘Okay. Enough now. You’ve had your fun. I don’t even know why you’re telling me this.’
    ‘Well, despite the ban, they seem to be gathering a head of steam again. Ýour lot. We knew they would of course, but these things are better nipped in the bud, don’t you think?’
    A familiar horn sounded in the distance. Up ahead Victoria saw a streak of red, racing towards the forest, keeping low, the hounds hot on its heels. The leaves whipped up and moved swiftly towards the edge of the forest.

    ‘Run my boy, run. Fast as you can’

    Victoria gasped as she watched the leaves transform into row upon row of snarling foxes standing their ground at the forest entrance. The hounds halted and paced back and forth, unwilling to go any further. Their cries and whimpers could be heard, alongside that of the huntsmen.
    ‘Get in you stupid bloody dogs. After it for God’s sake.’
    ‘I’ll go father.’
    ‘Rory, no! I recognise that voice. It’s the Pembleton boy. Please, we’ve got to stop this. We can’t let them harm him,’ she pleaded, scrambling to her feet.
    Rory smirked. ‘Enough now’ he called.

    ‘Let us sing to him.’

    ‘No. He understands.’
    The foxes retreated and the leaves rustled once more as they settled onto the forest floor. The boy, pale and shaking, turned and ran.
    ‘Oh my God. You spoke to them. What are YOU? What just happened?’ Victoria whispered. ‘I don’t understand.’ she backed away, horrified.
    ‘Just consider it a warning. Now go spread the legend amongst your own folk.’
    Rory turned and disappeared into the leaves, singing his victory song.

    • Kirstennairn- I loved your story. You had me hanging on every word wondering where you would take it. I thought it was creative and well told. My only minor complaint is that it ended too soon- I wonder if you could trim more of the setup to allow for more details towards the end. Great story!
      • Thank you for your comments. I think I might have to unsubmit it and try loading it again
      • Ilana Leeds
        Absolutely great story. I wanted a different ending though. I wanted him morphing into a fox or some spirit protective of course of the forest. Great story and you have me hooked. Beautiful.
        • Thank you, and yes, that would have made a good ending
    • Kirstin,

      I’m assuming the story I read Is the corrected version, because I didn’t see very much to change. Good story, really good. I enjoyed where you took me. As I told Ilana, so far it’s between you and her for top spot, IMHO, so good luck. I have to think about this. Loved the originality of the story in dealing with the prompt. And, as I went back to Rory’s red hair in the first paragraph, after reading the last paragraph, I realized you told us all along the Rory was a fox, but I didn’t catch it. Very well done, I have no quibbles with the writing in this story.


      • Thank you Roy, and yes, that was my intention, that Rory was a fox – I wasn’t sure how explicit to make it, but ended up thinking I’d leave it open to interpretation. Really appreciate your comments
        • Kirsten,

          Actually, you made it explicitly beautiful for me.


    • I loved the ending. I think it’s good that it started with a really stereotypical setting and then cut off with the random dark twist. Sometimes it is better when you are left wondering. And I always love empathy for foxes….although my tale took a turn!
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Good story, Kristin. Rory’s red hair is a clue we have almost from the start, but whose meaning only becomes revealed later.

      My only quibble is a couple of lines of dialogue that got me confused:

      1) ‘I’ll go father.’
      ‘Rory, no! I recognise that voice. It’s the Pembleton boy. Please, we’ve got to stop this. We can’t let them harm him,’ she pleaded, scrambling to her feet.

      I think these need some kind of break between them. It took me several reads to work out that the focus switched from the hunters to Victoria and Rory, rather than a continuation of the hunters’ dialogue (implying that the boy’s name is also Rory?).

      2) ‘No. He understands.’

      Who are they talking about – the Pembleton boy? What exactly does he understand?

      Overall, an exciting read. And extra points for keeping everyone alive (this time), 🙂

      • Thank you. Yes, I can see why it’s confusing. It’s partly due to my lack of IT skills! I tried to change the font or put the foxes conversation in italics to separate out their conversation from that between Rory and Victoria, but once I post the story, I can’t alter the font.
  • something strange has happened to the formatting- not sure how I can change this? Any ideas?
  • Hi, I can’t unsubmit my first story – The Hunt- I’ve re-named it ‘Victory Song’ with a few minor changes. It’s this one I’d like to keep up. Does anyone know how I can get rid of the first one? Thanks
  • Hi I am new to this group so I am sure I will faff the submission up somehow! But I spotted the contest yesterday and here are the series of horrifying events that this prompt brought to mind. Enjoy! And thank you for such an intriguing prompt!


    Legend says Fox Forest is named for the foxes who live there, foxes who sing in human voices…

    I have heard those anguished voices, bestial cries wrenched with pain, cutting through the stillness of the cold night air. Only the most sadistic of minds would call that blood chilling chorus ‘singing’. Many have been lost to that forest. My brother amongst them. Sometimes I think that I can still hear his voice calling out from the darkness. Caught amongst the fox’s ‘song’…

    When we first came to that forsaken place, as we were ushered out of the cab of our would be taxi driver (a local who spoke no English, but readily took our money, and sped off the second we got out) I was overwhelmed by a most potent odour. My nostrils stinging with the all-pervading stench, before some hint of spice lingering in that unknown musk, caught in my chest, throwing me into a fit of violent coughing. Particles from that noxious cloud seemed to settle on the tongue. A foul sediment with a flavour akin to dust covered meat, laden with rot and cinnamon. I will never forget that taste.

    There was a haze hanging about us. Plumes of smoke rising from beyond the treeline. Thick enough to block out the sunlight. Choking in this eerie occlusion with no idea where our driver had so unceremoniously abandoned us, due to no other obvious signs of human activity, we headed towards the source of that eye-watering smog. A subharmonic rumbling reverberated around us. As we drew closer it became apparent that it was in fact a guttural voice. Another singer then adding his growl to the otherworldly duet. Accompanied by a rhythmic clanging.

    The crackling of the fire signalled our arrival at the clearing. Revealing a large crowd and the makers of such ethereal music. Two throat singers and a man wielding a gong. The backing to the most gruesome of settings. With their voices rising in tremulous waves, the gong was struck with increasing intensity as the duo reached their climax. Then all fell deathly silent. A moment later there was a strangled grunting, a frantic squeal, followed by a hiss. A loud whistling as of a kettle coming to a boil and a sequence of popping. With their backs to us, silhouetted against the fire, I could not at first make out their actions. A gust of wind cleared the smoke for an instant, hurling the nauseating aroma of burning hair and roasting flesh our way. A large figure wielding some sort of two-pronged pitchfork strode solemnly to the side of the gathering before spearing a screaming crate. Raising a convulsing fox into the air and gravely lowering it into the blaze. Its once sleek fur, now matted with gore and slick with blood, glinting in the firelight, before being consumed by the flames.

    I spun to meet my brother’s horrified gaze. Then turned my attention to the stack of cages across from us. In a shot we were unlatching all that we could. Some mangled in traps, others bound with snares. It was abhorrent. Utterly repulsive. It was a mad hope to think that our actions would go unnoticed. As my brother desperately tried to untangle wire from a fox’s neck, it lashed out. His pained shout and the fox’s snarls made our activities agonisingly obvious.

    With their first shouts we ran. Their language was unintelligible, but they were armed and angry. How we lost them, I do not know. The smoke suffocatingly dense, our lungs burning, our legs heavy. We ran for so long. Ducking repeatedly behind trees, rocks, to catch what breath we could before running onwards again and again. As the day sank into twilight, we finally came to a stop. Waiting in silence. At last, all that we could hear was the wind rustling amongst the trees.

    My brother looked at me as if to let out a sigh of relief, but instead threw his hand to his mouth, racked by a bout of coughing. Lowering his hand, he froze aghast and held it up to me. It was black with blood as were his lips. Something was very wrong. He fell to his knees, wheezing and shaking. All I knew was that we needed shelter. I needed to make a fire. The cold was setting in. So, I took his hand, helped him stand and took his weight upon my shoulders. Supporting him as best I could.

    As the Sun set a piercing cry shattered the last of my hopes. Another breaking out from the opposite side of us moments later. An entire chorus of barks and shrieks encircled us from near and far, intermixed with growling and retching. At one instant animal like, at another hideously human. I began to run, dragging my brother with me but the cries came from every direction. There was a rumble of thunder. Suddenly my brother wrenched free and disappeared into the black. My calls drowned out by their screams. The cacophony grew so loud and reached such fervour that I too felt I should start to scream! The trees all about me started thrashing violently. There was no escape. Then in an instant everything went still. There was not a sound…where were they?

    It seemed like an aeon passed as I awaited imminent death from all sides. When a gentle pattering began. Raindrops. But no, something larger. I mistook them for falling leaves until one started writhing in my hair. I snatched at it with disgust before reflexively looking upwards. Oh, how I wish that I had not looked. Dozens of dark forms, backlit by lightning as sheets of rain began to fall, were clinging to the tops of the trees. Their heads arched back at neck-breaking angles, mouths agape. As the droplets touched their parched tongues and pustule ridden skins, they erupted. Pouring forth an unstoppable tide of worms. Their putrescence raining down upon me.

    I did not handle this realisation well. It is at this point that my memory becomes intermittent. I remember the smell, I remember the foxes, I remember the screaming…. I can still hear their song.


    Victim was found attempting to jump off a bridge. Two officers died in attempts to restrain her. Upon apprehension subject succumbed to a severe seizure. After successful resuscitation she broke free and fell into the river below.

    The distribution of pathologic lesions, internal cysts and parasite burden of all major organs was extensive. Victim was immunosuppressed. Suffering from additional bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Impossible to determine which organs had the heaviest parasite burden due to rupturing. Upon recovery the entire body cavity had been expelled. Witnesses claim this expulsion occurred upon contact with the water. A yet unidentified species of parasitic worm was found at high density throughout the brain. The resultant damage serving as explanation for the victim claiming to hear singing, voices telling her to jump and behaving in such a violent and illogical manner.

    Upon first inspection parasites appear to be Platyhelminthes. Flat worms potentially of the Echinococcus genus but expulsion of larvae upon contact with water more akin to Schistosoma.

    Highest tier alert. Initiation of containment protocols advised. Unknown communicability. May be waterborne, bloodborne or worse. Either way they are in our waterways now…

    • EHow- what a gruesome creepy tale- very well told. I liked especially how you handled the ending. Very well done!
      • Thank you Trish! I am not sure why this is where my mind went but it was fun to write!
    • oh, glad I’ve already eaten! That was a pretty gruesome ending
      • So…a success? Haha. Thank you for making it all of the way through my story!
    • Pretty good stuff, Emma. Welcome to the group. I like your writing and you look like you will fit right in. Looking forward to see what else you can do.

      Your writing is crisp, although you switched from 1st person to 3rd without warning and it took me a minute to realize the teller of the story was dead. Don’t know if that’s possible or not. I think written in 3rd the entire story may have been a better venue, but that’s really being nitpicky. The horrifying thought of what you describe being in our waterways now, is a gruesome thought indeed. Sleeping tonight, may just be difficult.


      • Thank you Roy! Well I intended the first part to be a journal entry or narration. The end to be a post mortem of the main character. With the intention of causing that moment of confusion and shock in the reader. But the word count started to catch up with me. No excuse really! I definitely should have made that distinction clearer. Overall as long as a generally horrific impression has been made I am quite satisfied haha.
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Great story, Emma! Don’t sell yourself short.
      (It’s also the most gruesome story this round, by the by.)

      The post-mortem section really ties things up and accounts for the exaggerated horror and things that don’t quite make sense in the narrator’s account. I guess we’ll always be wondering where she picked up all those parasites, and if any foxes had been involved at all … But hey, you fulfilled all the conditions of the prompt to a T. 🙂

      I do hope that the parasitic worms and their effects aren’t based on personal experience working at the zoo. 🙂

      • Ilana Leeds
        Yup the gruesomeness fits right in with the times as we are again in lockdown because of the “virus” in Victoria Australia. As from Midnight tonight. Life is never dull.
        I felt like it needed to be longer though…just saying.
        • Hi Ilana! I sort of replied to your reply in my reply to Vicki, if you take a peek. Sorry I am terrible with social media of all kinds, I do things in a very haphazard way! Plus I have never actually used this kind of forum before. Need to get used to its idiosyncrasies.

          You are from Australia? Good luck and stay safe! I am from the UK.

          Oh lockdown. What can be done? These things happen, pandemics have occurred throughout history and will happen forever more. I just hope that people keep adhering to safety guidelines and comprehend that patience and persistence are the only answer. All will be well given time.

          But yes my story certainly touches upon the sort of scenario we are in, although that was not my primary intention. Facing gruesome truths head on, doing your best to find solutions to them and being able to find a way to laugh at the ludicrosity of it all, no matter how bad things get, is certainly my way of coping with things.

          At least thanks to lockdown and mental melancholy, we have created the perfect recipe for writing strange tales such as these!

      • Thank you Vicki! I could receive no higher praise haha.

        Oh parasites! I have had a lot of odd experiences with those guys. I have an MSc in Applied Ecology, have done necropsies, did some fieldwork in Borneo and Kenya and unfortunately yes there were parasites at the zoo! But nothing lethal…I hope. I mean they can lie dormant inside of you for decades…yey!

        For some reason with this prompt the first things that came into my head were:

        1) That there are a lot of Fox myths in the East. They worship fox oriented deities, there are lots of tales to do with fox/human shapeshifters luring people into the forest and I remember that they historically carried out ‘Fox Fumigation Rituals’. Normally more to do with blood or burning parts of things rather than entire foxes though!

        2) That foxes carry echinococcus (flat worms) that can be transmitted to humans. Many species of flatworm can be transmitted through contact with infected animals (faeces, urine, blood, saliva, apart from directly penetrating the skin). And schistosoma (blood flukes…ugh!) can burst out of animals/people causing them to want to soak the burning wound in water. Upon contact with which the worm releases thousands of eggs…! Plus spread can be variable, they can multiply immediately or lie dormant within their hosts, as I mentioned…and worry about frequently.

        And also for me the biggest conclusion I came to after heading out naively idealistically into the world of ecology was that Westerners frequently misinterpret what people in the Eastern hemisphere are doing and why. They have a lot of terrible things to deal with which we largely never have come into contact with. More often than not what at first seems ‘barbaric’ or strange is actually being done for a practical purpose.

        So what I loosely wanted to convey was that through misunderstanding, the need to stop the spread led to ignorant tourists, would be do gooders, becoming infected and spreading some sort of absurdly potent parasites to the Western world…

        The limitation of 1200 words made conveying all of this very tricky but then again if we did not have that pre-requisite then I probably would have never finished writing this in time to share it!

        Such an awesome prompt though, really set my mind awhir!

        I may well expand upon this little story…although I maybe need to turn my thought to more wholesome things for a time haha. Get the parasites out of my brain!

        • Haha well the knowledge and field experience I gained were awesome but finding paid work in ecology is not so great. So you probably dodged a bullet there in the long run!

          The exact thought I am having for the SCP entry is to do with radioactive fungus! The novel I am working on has fungus involved quite heavily too. With specialist knowledge no one notices mostly, as long as you speak or write with confidence they assume you know what you’re on about and go with it! Beautifully describe your bluff and all is well. Wasn’t it Lovecraft who said “Never explain anything”? I think so…

          One of my biggest regrets in life was when I was on fieldwork in Borneo, I got stung in the head by something like an Asian Hornet pretty much the instant I got there, so I could not go out the night that the others found bioluminescent fungus! It is ridiculous but I am still like ohhh I want to see some!!

          My mind lately always wanders to parasites or fungus. But I also write slightly less macabre scripts for comedy sketches to try to maintain my sanity ha. There is such an allure in strange and deadly things though!

    • Thanks John! Yes I am only recently realising that my background in Ancient History and Ecology has kind of turned me into a Lovecraftian character mentally. So Sci-Fi/Folk Horror are my favourite things!

      I initially went into an Ancient History degree thinking to get ideas for Horror, with some vague potential future profession attached to it, but the Egyptian Revolution broke out so I kind of diverted to Zoology to flee the human race…got lost along the way somewhere and am now trying to flip back from the painfully regulated formality of science writing to the freedom of fiction.

      I would never say that I love flatworms! Ha. Although anything with the ability to destroy something larger than itself is to be admired in its own right.

      I had not heard of SCP, but upon a googling, oh my god I am totally exploring that further…oooh. I want to write things for them!

      • Thank you for such kind compliments. Uhoh though, SCP’s current ‘Nature’ themed competition entries are due by the 1st. Looks like I won’t be sleeping this Weekend!

        Lovecraft was a strange man but his works are fantastic! And I can relate to his dark family background and melancholic ways, his stories brought me a lot of solace when I was a young teenager, so I have a soft spot for him despite his overt racism and people’s polarised views on the chap! The intensity and relish he had when describing bloodthirsty rituals or incomprehensible beings, is something I very much enjoy. I need to find my own signature words. Managing to claim your own vocabulary is awesome. Eldritch and Cyclopean are his. But yes, most excellent that your sons have hopped aboard the Lovecraft train!

        In one of my interviews to do an Egyptology degree I brought up Lovecraft’s ‘Imprisoned with the Pharaohs’ and it was like lighting this American professor’s fuse! I’d found the Horror password. He really wanted me to go there. He was running around showing me books of hieroglyphs and statuettes. Aww but alas it was not to be.

        I don’t know that much either about Japanese/Chinese/Tibetan/Mongolian folklore. But I am intrigued by it. I just happened to have read a few papers at some point in the past on blood and burning rituals, I think when I was doing something on human-predator conflict. It is funny I always got side-tracked by intriguing folklore that would pop up in the google search. Well at least my knowledge gained through procrastination is now coming into use somewhere. I have mostly been reading a lot of Slavic folklore recently. They make me laugh out loud a lot with just how darkly they end and how utterly insane they are. I don’t really know how to interpret huts made of witches that walk around on chicken feet!

        That must have left some very stark impressions on you as a child, being in Japan. I am jealous. The Japanese are certainly masters of horror, probably largely due to their folktales. The games: Silent Hill, Project Zero (Fatal Frame), Resident Evil and the films in the Ju-On (The Grudge) and Ring series, offer some of the best psychological horror there is. I have never really touched on Japanese literature but I have no doubt that will open up entirely new realms of terror!

  • Carrie Zylka

    All right everyone, the story submission time for this prompt is now closed, I will post the voting link soon, at which time you will have 24 hours to vote.

  • John- I enjoyed the circus barker style of your narrator and thought your story carried me along quite smoothly and quickly. I enjoyed the narrator’s patter and thought you did a great job at hinting at the interlocutor’s words without writing them- brought a great sense of immediacy and even personalized the piece for me. Great work!
  • Excellent story, Vicki. While I realize why you did the last paragraph the way you did, I think it could have been a bit less tell and a bit more show, if you know what I mean. It’s like you said, “Shoot, I got only this amount of words left, so let’s just wrap this puppy up.” I guess it’s because of the author intrusion by asking the reader a question. I’m not sure that’s a good method, especially in a story this good.

    I just reread the last two paragraphs without the sentence: Why did the birches produce the sounds when moving two-legged things were close? It was better without it.


    • Vicki Chvatal
      Thanks for your comment, Roy. I generally agree with the “show, don’t tell” principle. However, this time I envisioned the last sentence as it was from the start, and not due to the word limit. I just didn’t feel like writing explicit horror. Perhaps I could still do it differently if I had more time.
      • Vicki, I think taking out the question fixes my problem with it. Like I said, it’s a good story.


  • Don’t worry John! I foolishly decided to write my story in ShaxPir last night, the internet went down and some nonsense with the ‘cloud’ erased my work. I had to rewrite half of it so there probably are mistakes in mine too!

    Regardless I thoroughly enjoyed your story. I used to be an overnight zoo tour guide and bush craft instructor and this is delightfully reminiscent of that! The narrator’s attitude towards townsfolk and fanatical persistence in forcing them to join them in revering the glory of nature is very endearing. I also adore the phrase ‘You must receive the Arboreal Sacrament’.

    • I actually voted your narrator as the best character although I don’t know if that is allowed!

      If I can be a tour guide, you totally could! I am by nature a recluse but you just slam down the persona, pretty much exactly in the format you wrote this in and emulate that character. I was maybe a little bit too much like your character on my tours but the guests seemed to enjoy it.

      We genuinely led tours by torchlight and I used to add horror elements to it all because there was a bell tower and wolves! Amidst actual zoological facts. I need to try and get a tour guiding job again, it was such fun. Although at times chaotic. Leading dozens of people around in the dark always is!

    • Do it! Channel Price he is King! And aww it was his birthday yesterday, as was Christopher Lee’s and it was Peter Cushing’s on the 26th. The supreme trio of terror!

      I would absolutely love to do Horror tours. Might look into that in London or make some ghost stories up in my village. Just force people along on them in your narrator’s style.

  • I enjoyed the dialogue and the humour it brought to the story. I had to re-read the latter half a few times to understand what was happening. Roy mentioned perhaps a little more ‘show don’t tell’ might help, and I think he’s right. I think some of the detailed explanation confused it a little, but I did enjoy the concept of the story and the twist at the end. It’ll get a vote from me.
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Thanks for your comment, Kirsten.
  • Good story, Rumple. Don’t mind if I call you Rumple, do you? Enjoyed the singsong, barker style as mentioned already by Vicki. The writing is excellent, I’m just not sure it was as cohesive as you could have made it. By that, I mean you could have shortened this story by a good bit and got the same thing across, I almost think you got caught up in loving what you were doing so much, you just kept on going until you ran out of words. No problem, but I recognized it because I do it. A lot. More than I should. Like now, for example.


  • Thank you! This made me laugh. I used to be a tour guide, the dialogue is very accurate, exactly the sort of irritating guests you would be dealing with. You have captured those pedantic types very well. And the ending is very satisfying. Stupid humans! So oblivious to the workings of nature.
    • Vicki Chvatal
      Thanks, Emma. Is this the same tour guide job that you had at the zoo (which you mentioned elsewhere), or have you gone through a bunch of interesting jobs?
      • Indeed it was the same job! The best and worst I have ever had. Come to think of it that might partially be when I became so morbidly fascinated with parasites. I got covered in tics repeatedly whilst coppicing hazel and had to sleep in a bird quarantine cabin there once! I incorporated history into my tour too though, there was a lot of interesting stuff about including a bell tower and an air raid shelter. Odd times.
  • Vicki Chvatal
    John, I really enjoyed the language in your story. The monologue is full of character – the narrator comes across as half New Age hippie, half old-style spruiker/ snake oil salesperson. 🙂

    It took me 2 reads to appreciate your story: at first i was somewhat thrown by a seeming lack of narrative or resolution. IOn second thoughts, I must have been influenced by most other stories being in the horror genre or similar: I kept wondering who’s gonna eat them in your story :), whereas you took a completely different approach.

    • Vicki Chvatal
      You’re welcome. 🙂
  • Ilana Leeds
    I had to vote twice so please ignore the first vote where I had Phil ‘t in two places and take the second vote.Sorry.
    • Carrie Zylka

      Got it! Thank you!

  • Carrie Zylka

    Without further ado…. here are your winners!!!

    1st Place: Foxes of the Forest by Ilana Leeds

    2nd Place: Victory Song by kirstennairn
    3rd Place: The Last Eyes by Phil Town
    4th Place: The Fox’s Song by eHow the Scribe
    5th Place: The Foxfire Brigade by John Mansfield

    The story with the favorite character was Brin from “Foxes of the Forest” by Ilana Leeds.
    And the story with the best dialogue was “Exploring Legends” by Vicki Chvatal.

    Seesh…great job knocking it out of the park ladies!

    • Congratulations, Ilana & Vicki (on a roll!) – great stories.

      And everyone!

    • ilana Leeds
      Thank you for the votes and it was a hard week to choose the best stories. I really liked two stories and had a hard job choosing between them. I did not expect mine to come up a tie breaker as i had a review and nearly put in a second draft of it. Glad everyone liked Brin. Thinking of expanding the story and getting a daughter to come back in a post apocalypse world.
  • Carrie Zylka

    To be totally honest I thought I could be the tie breaker.
    I read both stories twice each and honestly couldn’t choose which one I liked better.
    Both were EXCEPTIONAL.

  • It was a tough one this week- they were all good stories. Well done everyone
  • Well done guys! Thank you everyone for being so friendly and writing such unusual tales, this has been a very interesting introduction to this group!
    • Hi John,

      Apologies for a delayed response (or if this is in the wrong place, I just clicked reply on an earlier message and am hoping for the best!) I am scatty at the best of times. I am trying to get started with the whole self employment malarkey. Designing my website from scratch and doing all of the business plan nonsense. Defending my own existence to get up and running as a freelance writer/editor/proofreader/producer/voice artist. Basically trying to do anything and everything that lets me work remotely and support my creative projects but viably provide services to people in the mean time. All whilst house renovations are going on. Just all a bit intensive. So every time I come back to this group, the prompts luring me in. I’m like no…no…must work. Stop getting distracted!

      I gave in and wrote a story for Reedsy the other week though…hmm don’t know if I can post that here, presumably sacrilege! Apologies if so…but felt that I should exchange a story for a story.

      I will join in again here soon though.

      I just scoured the archives for your ‘Silence’ story and have saved it in a document to read later! Thought I should reply pre-emptively as the delay is seeming like a snub. Not intended! Thank you so much for this discussion. I want to read the story properly though, so will write my thoughts at a future date. Seems exactly the sort of format I continuously end up writing in too!

      I keep procrastinating at the moment. Battling with the humidity and heat in a loft room, I feel like my brain is imploding. Partly where my ‘Roof Man’ story on Reedsy came from. My portable ACU just arrived but I do not have the correct tubing…wasted hours finding the right components, although I have a meeting / phonecall tomorrow to try to progress my business (if you can even call it that yet, it is in foetal form!) Procrastination on all fronts.

      With writing my main problem is always deciding on perspective. Well and holding back the stream of consciousness spew! Weirdly I have been finding that that tendency seems to be lending itself well to screenplay writing. Exactly as you said before, your imagination and writing become like a cameraman’s perspective flying from one person to another. Which can be very tricky to convey through prose alone.

      I only decided to start writing fiction again about a year ago, suffering from PTSD from doing History and Science degrees for over a decade. So I’m only just pondering out writer’s resources online and rediscovering my voice. But yes, the first novel that started pouring out of me is wholly Lovecraftian, spliced with Etruscan mythology. Other dimensions and dream sequences. All about inadvertently sharing someone else’s body or even several people co-controlling one person, whilst none of them are quite aware that the others are there at first….needless to say it does not lend itself readily to being clearly expressed!

      Having that inner division is so interesting and there can be a lot of comedy in it too. But deciding whose perspective you are writing from is challenging. I started writing it as a third person narrative, that you later find out is being spoken by someone that was co-habiting the body of the person they are describing…! In first person there would be more immediacy of conflicting thoughts…but clearly indicating who is who, without the audience being able to hear the difference in voice, without telling them it is a different internal voice is tough stuff! I mean just trying to describe it here is impossible enough!

      Thinking about it I should track down the script for ‘Being John Malkovich’ that might help me ha.

      I have been working on comedy sketches recently (partly to lighten my thoughts from the dark recesses horror takes you to) and when inventing shot lists, that first person perspective our short stories seem to blurt out in, is actually exactly how you need to think as a Director…plus then all the flying about perspectives are more viable and easier to communicate because you can see it! With storyboards, what seems like chaos in writing suddenly makes very clear sense. I have been finding that slapstick is immensely difficult to sequence together though! I imagine fight scene choreography would be even more insane. Two scenarios which can never really summon the same laughter or awe in writing as they do visually and aurally. Timing is everything!

      I have also been contemplating playing with some non-linear storytelling software. Multiple choice Goosebumps type scrawlings that lend themselves to game storylines. I always get carried away creating immense universes, most of which would never be explored as fully as they could be if pushed towards novels or films. I love the physicality of being there which games permit. The use of sound and music too. Oh it is a struggle to channel the creative thoughts in one direction. I’m just hoping that it will all fuse together one day!

      Lovecraft games-wise ‘Call of Cthulhu’ the PC game is excellent! I have not played any of the games you listed (!) but have been intending to play them ha. Fallout 4 makes direct reference to Lovecraft. Pickman’s Gallery is involved but with ‘art’ made from dead people as opposed to paintings of other-worldy beings.

      Well…in the course of writing this I am procrastinating! Must focus! Jot down the business notes in a vaguely concise manner…

      But yes…I freely proffer to you my email address: for future communiques. If this is easier? (Forgive the slightly pretentious address name but I am trying to create a wholly writing oriented hub to compartmentalise my chaos somehow, and that’s just what first popped into my head!) I feel bad if other people have alerts to all of these comments which are becoming increasingly diffuse and may not be of interest to them! Plus in these forums/fora or whatever the anglo latin bastardised plural is…I get confused where the messages are. Anyone else feel free to email me too if you do read this! Always enthusiastic to discuss creative writing!

      Hope the contests beyond this one have lent themselves to interesting creations!

      I must read through everyone’s stories and join in again soon. Be well!

      All the Best,


  • Congrats everyone. I’m surprised there wasn’t a three way tie for first with Kirsten. It was a tough week to vote, and if you were a guy, a tough week to write. If you notice I had the good sense to stay out of the contest. Actually, I wrote a story that was so bad the fox asked if he had a vote and he wanted to vote for the girls. I love it when my characters talk to me but I was outfoxed this time.


    • I was traveling across the ocean and anyone who looked a wee bit foxy made up half a story in my head.
      Then, like Roy, I outfoxed!
      Bravo to the winners! 👏🏽👏🏽
  • Vicki Chvatal
    Thanks, everyone, & congratulations to Ilana!
    Personally, the vote was very close this round.

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