Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mephisto Rises, A Saturday Centus

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Jenny Matlock


Here we go again with the 18th weekly installment of Saturday Centus, that incredibly difficult writing meme that only the very cleverest of writers dare attempt lest they fail miserably and have to run the gauntlet of ridicule and humiliation.

This isn’t like some childish N.Y. Times crossword or Sudoku puzzle.  Jenny Matlock of Mensa fame has devised this terribly sophisticated meme for those of us whose mental capabilities easily dwarf the rest of society and require greater mental stimulation than that which can be derived through normal means.

Those that feel they are worthy of the task may accept the challenge from Jenny at her blog, off on my tangent, and will be provided with a prompt, a  phrase which they are required to use within a short story of 100 words or less.  The prompt is not included in the word count.

The only other provisions of this challenge are that no vulgarity or pictures are allowed and that the prompt must be used intact anywhere within the story.  The writers are given until next Saturday to write their stories and link them back to Jenny’s original meme post so that we may all bask in the warmth of each other's creative conflagrations.

I hasten to point out that only the very best writers can be Centusians and that if you wish to be counted amongst our talented elite then you are invited to submit your stories.  Through the comments received you will be able to determine if you are truly the right fit for our extremely gifted assemblage of literary minds.

Maybe through this masterful exercise you will come to discover that you too have that creative spark of brilliance that exemplifies the likes of essayists such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson and H. L. Mencken.  If so, then possibly you have what it takes to become a Centusian and revel in the glory that it conveys.

For those whose skills would make them unqualified for membership as a Centusian, don’t be melancholy.  Your gifts are just designed to be targeted to a wider audience of readers who will hang onto your every word and praise your gifts while hoisting cans of beer into the air before pounding them down all at once and smashing the cans against their thick, protruding foreheads.  To you we say be proud of your achievements and don’t doubt your ability to go out there and “Git er done!”

This week our prompt is the most famous of classic literary prompts,

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

Here is my treatment on the prompt which I have entitled:


Mephisto Rises

My mother remembers it vividly.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Eerie clouds settled over our town like an icy shroud while a chill wind howled through the trees.

An inexplicably uneasy feeling filled our home with fear and dread like the cold hand of death was resting on our shoulders.

Our family cat, Astrid, hissed loudly from under the bed as if expecting some terrible evil to be unleashed.

News of several churches suddenly bursting into flame and the panicked, tear-streaked faces of the true believers decrying it as the end of days filled our TV screen.

That was the day I was born…again.  


Jenny Matlock
Creative Writing At The Speed of Dark!



32 comments:

  1. By the time I finished the intro I was wondering if I met the criteria, did I belong in this fine group of centusians and was that even a word? Then I decided it didn't matter, this is Tom's blog - Tom makes us laugh, makes us cringe and makes us a cry and Tom can say what he wants and somehow always evoke emotions of some sort.

    Today, your entry was a bit chilling, the burning churches. Even without a description one could smell the fear - I am sort of glad your character was born - again because that last word made me giggle - their is such a stigma on born again...I couldn't help it.

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  2. Good one! Sounds like the beginning of a Dean Koontz thriller!

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  3. Unusual and frightening sounding...very good writing.

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  4. creepy - I like it! After reading your intro though perhaps I need to re-think my participation:)

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  5. I loved the phrase "icy shroud". Really good descriptions. I could see why someone would be "born again" after that lol. Very scary.

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  6. "Icy shroud" jumped out at me, too! Tom, you've done it again!

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  7. I like the creepy and scary aspect to your centus!

    And now let me go back to my "childish" (pfft) Sudoku puzzle!

    *sob*

    Kidding!

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  8. The hissing cat sent a chill up my neck! This was great!~Ames

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  9. I'm running on three hours of sleep and I was reading this torn between two options of emotion. 1. wanting to admit that I have no writing skills whatsoever. Geez, Tom. You are so ridiculously brilliant. And 2. wanting to say "huh?"

    So I have decided upon further perusal to take a nap and try again when I wake up.

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  10. Ha! I love it!! you write so descriptively. I could practically see that hissing cat. (Excuse me for the giggle at being "born again".)

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  11. Dude, You're getting pretty doggonned good at this. I swear I'm going to give it a shot when things slow down...

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  12. Naps. Helpful for brain cells. Helpful for reading with some intelligence. Helpful for saying "get off your dead a** and start sending this stuff around!" Or else. The hissing cat will be the least of your worries.

    Wow.

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  13. Another home run, Tom. I'm glad you've realized how totally brilliant we all are :-) You're the smartest, of course ;-) It cracked me UP that we got this prompt, and it's been so fun to read all the different versions. This one is in my top 3.

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  14. I am now a true believer in your enormous talent. Most weeks I've wondered, "Does Tom really belong with the creme de la creme over at the Centus?" This week, I feel as though I finally drank the Kool-Aid.

    God help me.

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  15. If you missed the true tone of that comment, you're outta the club. Or I failed miserably. Either way, you lose.

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  16. Okay, that was creepy. Tell me you truly haven't turned into a "born again" anything. You've scared me. A good sign that your writing succeeded.

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  17. Interesting...makes me wonder "who" really burned those churches down...

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  18. I enjoy the unpredictability of your writing. Plus, you just know how to git er done. I did have to - er - look up Mephisto. That followed the humiliation of clear conviction that I shall never achieve true Centusianism. Oh well, I have a nice seat on the short bus.
    xoRobyn

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  19. Very well done Tom ;-) As I read this I thought about the recent fire at a mosque near me in Murfreesboro TN...of course then being taken to a different place...would love to know more of this story...having just seen Inception, thinking maybe it was a dream? Peace

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  20. I had to grab a coat after reading this one. Burning churches? YIKES! I'll admit I giggled at the born again.

    Nice job, Tom!

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  21. OK ... way to put the pressure on the rest of your fellow Centusians ... do we live up to the hype or are we for the beer can smashing set? Curious minds want to know!!1

    And total freak of a story this week! Loved it!

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  22. I love it when the words I read create a vivid image in my head. And you sir, have done it.

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  23. Brilliant...as usual! All I can say is "Amen" and "let's take it to the Lord". Funny, I never knew a Jewish guy who was "born again"! :) Have you ever thought about a career writing introductions to books? You are amazing!

    I just posted two assignments in one post. I'm bad, but please visit me anyway!

    Malisa

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  24. I can tell you all you need to kmnow about contemporary dentistry. Read my blog.
    Thank you in advance.
    You are a gifted writer. I am jealous.

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  25. Late to the party again. I try not to read any posts until mine is up. Don't want any undue influences or accusations of plagiarism. As usual, you hit this out of the park. The imagery was creepy and wonderful, love the description of the hissing cat. And the last line made me laugh out loud. Actually I'm still laughing. Now MY cat is hissing! But your introduction brought back all those feelings of insecurity and inferiority that I thought I had buried after high school. Damn it.

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  26. ah, Tom, this was truly your best story I've read so far!!! Very atmospheric, and the great twist in the end. The descriptions were great as well.

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  27. The dark side meets religion meets comic god. Bravo

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  28. OMG..I got chills from this one...I love how the end just GRABBED me...! excellent..!

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  29. heehee

    =D

    I can't decide which I like better, the Centus itself or the intro.

    Excellent! Both.

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  30. Nicely done. Excellent interaction, emotions and hook. I'm left very intrigued. Love it.

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