Damned Words

Enter.  Sit before the Tale Weaver.
Heed: true beauty tis not in the eye of the beholder
but in the minds of the Damned.
Open yourself to us…


A Picture Paints 100 Words, by Dan Dillard

The knob creaked as I gave it a twist. The ancient sound of metal on metal made my ears ache and slithered panic up my spine. Funny it should do that. That anything was able to do that to me in this stage of the game.

It was brilliant that I even found this place, so fitting to my plan. Her body tucked ever so well into the old crematorium. The drugs working their magic until after I lit the burner and the flames licked up, tickling her with devilish hunger. My favorite part was yet to come. The screaming.


Poisonous Hope, by Tyr Kieran

Imprisoned behind an unlocked gate of decorative iron, I watch the world carry on without me. Each day I remain in captivity works on my soul as bacteria would on a slab of uncured beef. The breeze that swirls in and out of my chamber taunts of life’s sensations that could still be mine. Yet, intangible chains bind me to a rotting corpse while the sweet poison of hope corrodes my chance at eternal peace. It’s too tempting to ignore. I cannot rest, cannot let go. So, I wait for receptive prey to venture in and unknowingly forfeit their future.


Sacred Charge, by Nina D’Arcangela

Day after day I have grasped you, clung to your surface, held you as though you were yet a remnant of her. Many the night I sat below you, gazing upward; wishing, hoping, never praying. Have I made you my false idol? Perhaps. But in your solemn stance, you guard over all that was precious to me, how can I blame you? But I do. My mind bleeds for what should have been, for the chance never to have seen you. My tears shed upon your unyielding beauty only add to my remorse for what lies beyond your sacred charge.


Refuge, by Joseph A. Pinto

Refuge; before these iron gates I tremble.  Words, long forgotten, muttered upon this unforgiving draft.  Weary fingers graze lips; memory languishes.  A song cries.  Lost, what once remained.  Balm to my wounds, these iron gates I clutch.  To twist this handle, to enter into that which I have denied myself.  A thousand angels mock my arrogance; their light I have shunned.  Tell me godless thing, who haunts your starless nights?  My thousand lies expired at last; hollow, barren, crumbled within.  Shadows beckon; so soon shall I dance.  Refuge beyond these iron gates; blackened tomb.  Condemned both by heaven and hell.


Vacuum, by Leslie Moon

You ask me to grasp this? Enter something into which I cannot perceive meaning. Is there a way through this dim portal? Will I come to the end and find a vacuous self? Strain into a haze with no return?

Ask me not to open this sepulcher of doubt. Free my way, menial I will welcome. To touch this skeleton of all my fears, a repugnant notion. You bid me- go, no gentle nudge. I am plummeted to the world beyond my fears. Where all I cherish is missing. All I long for is past. All I was is gone.


Sleeping Dogs, by Thomas Brown

Higher and higher the dog-king climbs, advancing up the stairs. Where the brickwork fails, he catches light; small glimmers in the dark. Dawn illuminates the countryside, and at its heart his tower; a Gothic spike, a splinter, driven deep into the hills.

Steps crumble, break beneath paw-hands, and then he is outside. The rooftop glitters, wet with slime and sunlight on old stone. He crawls to where the guttering clings tightly to the slate, and where the new dawn sees his flesh, his broken face, his lolling tongue, it hears him laugh, breathe rancid breath, then turns him into stone.


Inner Sanctum, by Blaze McRob

From down the hall, the words do come, and with them now, a screeching hum. As door does open, telling all, that deep fears wait at beck and call. But now must I with no noise crawl, or parents both will make me call, out in the night as they will beat, the stuffing out from my small feat. For in my bed I am to be, and not in hall the place for me. As radio for this great show, within my soul is not to grow. But Inner Sanctum does arrive, and three year ears in story dive.


Welcome Home, Baby! by Hunter Shea

Shirley, I’m coming!  

The words came out as, “Sssrlleee, mmmm cnnngggg!”

One foot stepped on the other and my forehead slammed into the grated door. It should have hurt, but then again, all the should haves were dead and gone.

Unlike me.

Unlike the other shambling wrecks in the cemetery.

Do I look that bad?

I twisted the iron knob. I’d been able to breathe last time I’d been here. I came to bring flowers, talk to the air.

The door opened with a steady creek.


Her skin slid off her face. So what? We had each other again.


Veneration, by Daemonwulf

The shrieks of the ageless faithful defile him, seeking restitution from an eternally deafened heart. Their history of torment, revealed in screaming admonition, scrapes the frozen memories and claws at cold, darkened walls, struggling for a chance to be heard.

Theirs is a multitude of ignored voices; immeasurable lives ending as grist to be chewed by holy teeth.

He slams the door as the suffering faithful yearn for salvation, choosing instead the false prophecies he utters in glorious silence.

Crying out for redemption, they clamor for their promised reward, only to find sanctuary within the warming shit of their God.

Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author
and may not be reproduced without prior consent.
Image © Copyright Dark Angel Photography. All Rights Reserved.

64 thoughts on “Damned Words

    1. Thank you, Ladysknight! Image prompted flash is wonderful, and it does offer a peek into each individual mind. Anywhere from the completely obvious, to the obscurely associative. I’m very happy to know you enjoyed our group project!


  1. What a great treat this week to read pieces from all the PEN authors. Very entertaining and unique efforts by everyone. Would love to see more of this kind of thing in the future.


    1. Thanks Lawsonsk! It was a treat to do it as well. It came about by unfortunate circumstance, but turned out to be a great exercise in restrictive flash. I’ll second that vote for more! 🙂


    2. Hey Sharon, thank you very much!! The Damned put forth outstanding prose this week! A great showcase of talent; we’re working on a few things here in the shadows, so don’t be surprised to see some Damned flash again!


  2. This was some damned good reading. Ya’ll are some damned good writers. I can’t tell which one of these damned things I like the most. They’re all so damned good!
    Seriously, that was pretty awesome. I love reading stories inspired by the same pic. They are always so different. The imagination amazes me.
    And thanks for giving me a reason to swear so much, without swearing once. I felt like smurf!


    1. Well, that’s awfully Damned nice of you to cuss at us in such a pleasant way! LMAO! Thank you (Damned group hug) for the compliments! It was a great project, and one I hope we do again soon. Thank you for reading, commenting, and a big Damned thanks for coming back time and again! Nothing like a Damned appreciative reader to make us Damned happy!! 😉


    2. Hi Jaimie!

      Thank you for all your support of the Damned!! lol Keep swearing away!! And keep reading away; the efforts of all the Damned in this flash piece is astounding. I think you can easily glean a new perspective from each piece when in fact reading it over.


  3. I enjoyed this post very much, both as a one of the writers and as a reader! We Damned must do this again, maybe once every cycle.
    The skill and imagination in this group amazes me and fills me with pride. Joe, the weaver of tales, did an amazing job assembling such a diverse and inspiring group. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him and the rest of the Damned for being who they are! I’d also like to send out a BIG thank you to all the readers of the Damned, you feed us and give us the strength to do what we do–THANK YOU!!!


    1. I will second that Tyr. It takes talent and vision to see up the road. (Joseph you rock)
      Each of you inspire me beyond my abilities as I am sure you also do for others.

      The thing I also liked seeing today was an inner voice that we share. We are more than just writers we are Damned Writers!


    2. Tyr, I would like to think we are just beginning to hit our stride as a group. Write amazing prose, and they will come (that is what they say, isn’t it? lol).

      We are Damned, but without our great and loyal readers, we are merely writers again. Thank you all!!


  4. It really is a beautiful and disturbing thing to see the different places our minds and voices go to when inspired by the same prompt. More than anything, it serves to highlight that most amazing thing about reading – being able to see the world from someone else’s perspective, even for just the fleeting duration of their story.

    There are some interesting interpretations here! They will definitely warrant a reread, to fully appreciate them all. Tyr, my friend, I am particularly enjoying Poisonous Hope. Leslie, your piece is also singing to me!


    1. Awesome! I’m glad you liked my segment, Thomas! I had a blast writing it. I’ve never written a complete story in 100 words before…


    2. It is a great collection of impressions expressed through written word, Thomas, I agree wholeheartedly! Digging around another’s mind is always a tricky and hopefully rewarding journey. I think everyone did an outstanding job of expressing what they saw in the image! 🙂


    3. Tom, I’m still attempting to figure out from where you pulled your prose! lol

      I mean that in the best sense of course, my friend. Each and every post contained within “Damned Words” is extremely well done. I’ll probably have a new favorite each day I read it over!


      1. Ohhh… I see absolute grandeur in the dog-kings approach of the vaunted halls; his attempt to enter the keep guarded by an enchanted door. Well, I’m not the author, and my imagination is running a bit rampant, but non-the-less, it’s what I see in the image through Thomas’ prose. Then again, I could just be bat-shit crazy… 🙂


  5. I loved this idea of ‘variations on a theme’. Fantastic to see what different thoughts one image can conjure. I agree with the previous comment that this would be great as a regular feature!


    1. Hi Karen! Thank you for reading our pieces and appreciating the different points of view! It was very interesting to see who saw what in the image. It’s one of my favorite forms of writing (image inspired flash). After all, isn’t all creative writing spawned from vision; whether seen by the eye or the imagination?

      Another vote for more, I’m not sure how many I’m up to, but I’ll second-second it again! LOL Thank you again, Karen, for visiting, reading and appreciating what we are trying to do here on Pen of the Damned! 🙂


    2. Hi Karen!

      Thank you for your support of the Damned!! Well, we are working on a few things behind the scenes here at the Damned…don’t fret, no animals have been harmed over the course of our experiments! lol

      Thank you again. Keep on being Damned!


  6. This was a great idea and one we should do more often. It’s very interesting to see through each person’s damned eyes. You’re all so poetic. I’m about as poetic as a David Lee Roth lyric. LOL


    1. Hunter, darling – don’t you know? David kicked ass! The band went to shit without him!! LOL

      Your piece was as intriguing as every other. A peek into the squirrelly, darkly humorous mind of the Monster Man is a gem in and of itself! (I love the part where her face slides off – icky gooey fun!) 😉


    2. Hunter, you realize there’ll be a flash story of David Lee Roth waiting now for you…doing a high kick…dressed as a Squatch…drinking Sierra Nevada beer…wearing a Monster Men tee shirt.


  7. I love this entire collection of flash pieces. The differing perceptions of one image are intriguing and very thought provoking. I’d like to pop open a can of worms with a couple questions…

    One: What does your piece specifically speak to? What portion of the image did you choose to focus on or did you take it as a whole; or as a piece of a whole?

    Two: How long did it take you to write it? Did you go with your initial smack-in-the-face impression, or did you ruminate over how you’d like to interpret it?

    My answers: My piece is specifically speaking to the handle itself. I didn’t focus on the full image as the object of my flash, but chose to directly address the handle as an entity.

    I went with my initial impression of what slammed into me emotionally as soon as I saw the final image; I found a direct focus to lay the blame for my imagined loss – the locked handle separating me from my clearly dead love. It took me about 10 minutes to write it, and maybe another 20 to edit the wording, ensuring that everything I wrote addressed my subject directly.

    I love flash fiction – tons of fun! And I loved reading everyone’s interpretation of the image. Every piece stands out for me, because every piece sees ‘my handle’ through a different eye, and expresses it through a different voice!

    Please guys, chime in on the questions, I’m genuinely curious to know… 😉


    1. With Flash Fiction (and most of my poetry) I let the image hit my mind and grow. The visual was exceptional; the handle sprung at me daring me to open it.
      I’d had one of those dark, sleepless nights so I decided to write sleep depraved (and emotional). 10 minutes of a bleeding on the page write…
      (enough true confessions)

      Great fun and hope to do it with each of you again very soon
      Thanks Nina


    2. Nina, this was a great effort on behalf of the Damned. Just an incredible amount of talent…

      Okie dokie, I’ll step up to the plate and answer your questions:

      ONE: I immediately immersed myself into the image, as opposed to studying it & attempting to “decipher” what it could be saying to me. So having said that, I focused on it as a whole.
      Hmm, as to what ‘Refuge” specifically speaks to…I think it speaks to the judge/juror/executioner within us all…

      TWO: I tried not to give the image any thought. I was afraid that by doing so, I’d actually over think it. So I went with my initial ruminations; it flowed easily, until I exceeded my 100 word limit by 6 words on the last line. You should’ve heard me cursing!! lol

      I haven’t done flash on a regular basis, but this truly stoked the creative fires; something I’d readily do again with the Damned!!


      1. Excellent, Joe! Thank you for the answer. If you’ve noticed, I’m hopping from comment to comment gobbling them up. You’re approach (new as it may be to you) is very much like mine. You see it, you feel it, you run with it. What we all see is different. You saw it as a whole, I saw an object to throw angst at.

        I definitely got the self-judge/juror/executioner vibe – it bled from the piece. As to you going 6 words over – LMAO – yup, that’s how restrictive word count works. Don’t ya just love it. Dig, fret, shuffle, jumble. Move the words around, MAKE them work the way you want them to. I feed off of it! Love doing it. :}


    1. Hey DMiller! Thank you most kindly for appreciating our work! Damned writers we are, all with a different outlook and varying voices to be expressed. Thank you for visiting the blog to read them and commenting on the post! ;}


  8. Damned Ones.

    I was quite anxious to read this cooperative post. At the risk of repeating what everyone else already stated, I found this little exercise to be a highly interesting approach for the group. I very much enjoyed reading everyone’s individual take on the image. I expected the POVs to be quite different and wasn’t disappointed. And, I too would 2nd (or 3rd?) the suggestion that we continue to throw bits of similar flash in along the way.

    In response to Nina’s question… I chose to view the image as not a physical door, but a door of metaphor. It seemed to me like quite the regal door. If not one that has been neglected for some time. And who but an omniscient cloud-being might have such a door? Once that perspective was determined, my mind simply went where it often dares not dare tread. *blasphemous grin* And then came my own ‘Veneration.’ *so-to-speak smile*


    1. Thank you for the insight, Daemonwulf! Reading a brilliant piece is one thing, interpreting it, yet another; but the inference of the author is something all together different. I’m always eager to know what the intended message (if there was one) behind any prose might have been, and how it differed from my perception. Thus the question…

      Much like you, I expected a wide swath of points of view, and was not disappointed in what was delivered. I never fear repetition of a solid idea. I think we all agree this was a great collaborative effort on behalf of the Damned; and as Blaze says, shout it from the mountain tops!


  9. I too must agree that this is quite an eclectic array of Damned excellence. What amazes me is that although all the tales were dark in their own particular way, the stories were more reflective than our usual horror in your face fare. My piece is probably the calmest one I have written in awhile, and yet, there are undertones of true life horror because it happens to be a non-fiction tale. It is an amazing thing that my fellow Damned ones could put so much Dark reflection into 100 words. Jobs well done!



    1. One of the things I love about restricted writing is that even though you have less to work with, you express more through it – at least for me. I don’t think that anyone would have guessed your piece was a non-fiction spin. Your summary of infusing Dark reflection into 100 words is more than apt, Blaze; it’s dead on the mark!


  10. Just a quick detail or two… I am not the ‘Author’ of all these wonderful pieces of depravity, I’m simply the one fortunate enough to post them. And they are in no particular order. Fear/love/hate them all equally – but don’t be afraid to tell us about it; your feedback is food for our creative souls!


  11. I think I responded to the image texturally, if that’s possible from a picture on a screen! The Gothic atmosphere, the harsh lines, hard corners, stony colours, architecture, the ‘ascent’ of the image and the way it seems to rise, gave vision to my tower and its dog-king gargoyle.

    It took me longer than I expected to write because I felt every word had to be carefully considered. But I take a while to write anything, for the same reason, so I should have seen that coming!

    It was a pleasure to write, and even more so to share.


    1. Thank you, Mirabella, you are a sweetheart! Restricted word count flash fiction is a fantastic way of exorcizing you imagination and ability. We hope you enjoyed the varying perceptions on the single image. ~ Nina 😉


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