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Word Vault Summer Contest (WBQ 34)

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Old 05-01-2012, 08:13 PM
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Default Word Vault Summer Contest (WBQ 34)

The most important tool a writer possesses is his vocabulary. Words are the building blocks upon which we create characters, realms, and situations. It is imperative, then, that we seek out new words with which to enrich our writing. This is easily done in a world where new developments continually lead to new coinages. But what of those words no longer in common parlance? Dictionaries are littered with archaic words that once tripped so lightly from our pens. Here, too, are rare and specialised words, seldom used perhaps, but no less marvellous for all that.



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

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

Word Limits:

250 words maximum


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

Close Date:

30th of June 2012, 12 midnight GMT


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

ablaqueate (v): To lay bare or expose the root of a tree by removing or loosening the soil.
Example: In the constant battle for the soil of that hill, the trees have lost to spring floods and summer winds. Now they stand ablaqueated, their roots knotted firmly around nothing.

carillon (n): A set of at least 23 bells used to play out tunes, usually found in bell or church towers.

evince (v): To demonstrate or show a point clearly.
From the French evince from the Latin ēvincō (to conquer absolutely).
Example: At first the locals didn’t believe a monster was among them, but the stranger evinced such terror, that they began to suspect.

pronubial (adj): Presiding over marriage.
Example: Marrying people was the curé’s favorite sacrament; no bride was ever as radiant nor groom as proud as he when, flushed with pronubial bliss, he pronounced them one.

rambunctious (adj): Hard to control, unruly or energetic.

reticulation (n): The pattern formed by crisscrossing lines, such as pipes, string, roads, etc.
Example: The teacher demonstrated the reticulation of the wires in the dismantled radio.

xyloid (adj): Like wood, woody.
Example: The new poly-plastic had a xyloid smoothness when polished.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Last edited by Tau; 05-01-2012 at 08:18 PM..
Old 05-02-2012, 11:35 AM
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Default Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

"They opened the Altar of the Kings below the cathedral."
"Kings of Mexico, ¿eh?"
Varela laughed. "Bishops, but there is an emperor buried under Mexico City's cathedral. There were emperors here from Europe long ago."
The bus lodged in traffic before a saffron cathedral on the Avenue Cinco de Mayo. The driver pointed.

"Can you hear him?" Varela asked me.
I went to the front of the bus. "¿Mande?" I asked. What?
He pointed to a float covered with marigolds or zempazúchitls with a glass casket.
"San Francisco de Asís," he said.
I scowled. "He's from Crusade times, ¿no?"
"You think it's not real, jóven?"
"Do you?"
"You are a niño, what do you know? He is preserved by a miracle."

"Traffic's not moving so let's walk," said Varela from behind and we disembarked and weaved among the cars.

"For St. Francis of Assisi!" Varela shouted dodging a Volkswagen.

At the Cathedral of Puebla we followed a crowd that passed through a spoked mausoleum with tombs around a hub. "One of the bell towers is open," a tourist said and we enqueued at the narrow spiral stairs.

From the lip of the enormous bronze campaña, the crown of the carillon, you saw all the chapels of the city.

And down below, San Francisco wound his way through the Day of the Dead unfolding in candy colors and you heard the ring of all the cathedrals interweave with a poetic tintinnabulation of the bells.

Last edited by Tau; 05-07-2012 at 07:33 AM.. Reason: Aproved correction.
Old 05-17-2012, 09:07 AM
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Default That Man!

The man was hard to control, rambunctious, that’s the word my mother used. I remember on each Sunday morning, the carillon we played at the top of the church tower rang out loud and clear, how when I’d arrived home Mother would say, that man exerts no control, what a cacophony for a Sunday morning. She never did like Mr Johnson, our chief bell ringer.

I’ve always loved the bells, the clear pure sound they make ringing out across the village. I started practising on my tenth birthday and on high days and holidays there I am at the top of the tower, loving every minute. It appears that feeling is about to change. Why, you may well ask? I guess it might be something to do with Stewart Mason.

He’s a nice enough fellow, but if I tell you he is somewhat boisterous, heavy-handed, that he constantly causes reticulation of the bell ropes, so much so, I’ve had to evince more than once, maybe you’ll understand how I feel.

How often have I had to place my hands over his and slowly evince the correct method? His hands are smooth, tanned, so is his face. He has cloudy grey eyes, and, I’ve recently noticed his charismatic smile. I worry that I might have to disillusion him – he’s no bell-ringer!

Today, regrettable, he said he wouldn’t be able to continue our weekly sessions. I thought I’d cry, but, oh lucky me, he’ll be taking me to the cinema on Thursday.
Old 05-17-2012, 07:25 PM
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The reception filled the church pews with a rambunctious energy that stirred the very air of the chapel. Affront the mass of people, the Pastor stood proudly as he radiated in pronubial stature from the altar.

From amidst the wooded outskirts of the churchyard there walked a lone girl. She walked quickly, taking short pauses to formulate her way through the reticulation of paths, unable to distinguish what was manmade, and what was natural cut in the vegetation from flooding. The tight twisted myriad of routes was lined with trees ablaqueated from the harsh inhospitable weather of the region.

Breaking into the opening of the churchyard her eyes gained a gleam of relief. She approached the waxen doors of the chapel and took a moment to feel their xyloid finish with the flat of her palm, commotion brimming inside. A moment to breathe…

Having flung the left hand door open, she was immediately struck with horror, which drained her face of its youthful glow. Much like a hushed whisper, the commotion previously heard when approaching the threshold of the chapel had disappeared. The reception had evaporated.

The carillon bells began to softly yet steadily chime over head, their ring filling the air enough to make allocating the source impossible. She stepped back in despair, the once white chapel now charred and missing two thirds of its roof. The ghastly ringing of a bell that was not present in the tower evinced the young girl… she truly was lost.
Old 05-18-2012, 07:13 AM
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Icon6 I'm Late!


He paused to check his pocket watch once more as he emerged from the reticulation of hedge rows. The cathedral’s melodic carillon confirmed that his pocket watch was indeed correct. His thought was interrupted by a call from within the hedge rows pleading for him to “Wait!” Her rambunctious, incessant calls evinced the conclusion that she was making him late.
Remembering that he was late for a very important date motivated him to continue his mad race. But, to what was he racing? Was it a pronubial engagement? No. Ah! It was tea time.
He raced across a lawn like meadows heading for a stand of trees when the little blonde girl cried out “Please, wait!” As he once again pulled out his pocket watch he fondled the xyloid watch casing and saw how late he was. He frantically searched for the large tree whose roots had been ablaqueated by the wind and rain over time. The young girl’s plaintive cry told him how close she was. He found the entrance hole. He rushed to enter because he was so late! He tucked his long, furry ears back against his head and literally dove into the entrance. As he was descending down the dark hole, he heard Alice cry out once more “Wait, rabbit! Please, wait!” As he floated down the passage way he turned looking back over his shoulder and said “I can’t. I’m late for tea and the Mad Hatter gets very angry when I’m late!”
Old 06-17-2012, 11:21 PM
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It was there, in black and white, in his final faded will:

The old black box must be found before any more wedding ceremonies could be enacted in the historic old church. For generations, the little village, hidden away in the hills, had been prohibited from holding pronubial ceremonies. It was written in the council papers. But now everything was about to change.

A map showing the adjoining olive plantation, evinced such clarity that the congregation, in their enthusiasm to find the box, became ever more rambunctious. Map in hand they ran, gesticulating, waving spades, shouting, towards the orchard, determined to find that single olive tree where the black box was buried. They started digging until the roots were ablaqueated and the reticulation was clear for all to see.

'There it is!' shouted an onlooker. They rushed forward clawing at the roots until the curious black box was visible. They stood in awe at the xyloid smoothness of an antiquity buried for more than one hundred years.

Then there were cries and shouts of jubilation. The only sound louder than their celebration was the carillon ringing out from the little church, marking a return to its pronubial heritage.
Old 06-22-2012, 01:50 AM
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The sun beat down on me like a sweltering hammer. The xyloid surface of the pews reflected its brilliance in a blinding fashion all across the yard that had been chosen for the service. Rambunctious birds flew noisily from tree to tree, adding to the noise that I was sure signaled the end of my days. The carillon; they sang a tune that to others might be light hearted and joyous, but reminded me more of a funeral dirge.

Yet, here I stood, waiting for it all like some kind of madman, dwarfed by the shadow of the largest redwood tree I had ever seen. It rose into the sky like a never ending pillar, the apex of which people joked held up the sky. The roots, large and gnarled, like the grey, craggy fingers of a giant dug deep into the hill upon which it sat.

For the service it was decided that no matter how long it took, they would ablaqueate the roots of the tree that faced the ceremony grounds, and create a hollow in the hill so that it could take place underneath. The reticulation of the trees roots was said to evince the metaphor of holy matrimony, and so, was proof enough that the digging had been worthy.

The bell rang, and the point of no return had been crossed. The priest strode out of the church, a pronubial smile adorning his immaculate features. I stood, within the hollow beneath the tree, and I waited.
Old 07-21-2012, 07:48 PM
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My Dog, My Friend


My alarm goes off. I'm so tired, I think. I press snooze and beg for just a few more minutes of sleep. I feel Paisley, our Doberman mix, stealthily slip under the covers with me.

She does this every morning. It's a ritual of ours, this morning routine. I allow her up only between the alarm clocks. In return, it's the only part of the day she isn't rambunctious.

I stuff my sleepy face in her soft fur and sniff the familiar corn-chip doggy smell that I love so much. In another 20 minutes she'll be begging for breakfast along with the rest of the family. But right now she's soft, she's so warm...


I sigh, punch the button, and fifty pounds of dog stretches under the covers making it an awkward fit for all of us. I join her in stretching and she sighs and drags herself out of bed, doing the upward dog the whole way off. I'm right behind her.

We mosey to the kitchen where I punch the button for the coffee and pour some kibble in her bowl. She eats while I wait for my Cup O' Life and we go outside. While she bustles about her morning routine, I sit on the patio drinking the draft of the living.

In many ways, Paisley and I are the same. We live to serve our family. Perhaps in different ways, but I've seen her nuzzle my daughter in a down moment, wag her tail when my husband gets home, and she always cooks with me--even if it's just to scour the floor.

I, too, hold my daughter when she's sad, get excited for my husband to come home, and I can't deny cooking because, well, I like to eat.

It's the morning, though, that we carve time out for ourselves. I hate waking up, but I love these quiet moments with my dog, my friend.

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