Category Archives: Trifecta Writing Challenge

Trifecta #33_3/ Grieving

This Week’s Trifecta has three prompts/challenges. This is the third. I posted for the second, just click back one, and enjoy both! (Yes two posts in one day!)

Write a 33-333 word response to the song featured below. (The Smashing Pumpkins “Thirty-Three”.) There are no other requirements for this prompt. Just use the song to inspire a creative response.

The mid-late 1990’s saw the highs and lows of The Smashing Pumpkins. Their songs saw me through my own such times.

—–

Six- thirty felt like midnight, the day already having been a slate shadow, muting even the home team’s crimson and white. Steve pulled the scarf tighter as he made his way through the throngs. Thick beards kept men warm, and doubled as disguises. Then again so did scarves; his subterfuge was complete.

Crossing the last street, he made it for one more trip, his duck / weave tactics still sharp. The Tankard still stood, not having been looted, defaced or the green and blue flag burned. It was the perfect place to not be found. He pulled open the heavy wooden door and stepped inside.

Warm air was the only greeting. Every eye watched the flat screen TV, set to the Archers- Crusaders game, now in the closing minutes. The Archers were not the home team here. Had they been, Steven would have been recognized faster, having graced local sports covers and young athletes’ hearts for a long time. Not anymore.

The bartender glanced his way and shook his head perceptibly. Steve sat down at the stool that had his ass imprinted in it. Without psychic powers, the man found and filled a familiar highball glass. He set it down before Steve.

“What’s new Greaves?” Charlie asked.

“This,” he answered, pulling several folded pages from an inner jacket pocket. “Article in the Sunday insert.”

Charlie kept his gaze on Steve. “Seen it already. The Top 10 Heros to Zeros. You’re #3.” Earlier, someone else had tacked the story up in the bathroom; he had torn it down.

“Yeah, too bad it wasn’t me who died, I coulda made the top spot.”

The patrons began counting down, “3…2…1…fuck yeah! Crusaders the fuck out!” Another heap of blame. Had the paper waited a day, they could have bumped him up.

“’Scuse me, Greaves.” Charlie walked to the crowd, pausing for a bottle and a line of shot glasses. “We did it, fellas!” He set up the drinks, saluds all around, while Steven drank alone.

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Trifecta 33/ZB 14 – Rack ’em Up

This week; Trifecta has three challenges. This is the second.
Write a 33-333 word response using the third definition of the following word:

score (noun)
3 a : an account or reckoning originally kept by making marks on a tally
b : amount due : indebtedness

Please note that we need you to use the singular, noun form of the word. Also, the word score must appear in your response.

I am looking to get last minute on all three, hopefully I can. I will say that just this one will be ZB-related. Let’s see exactly what Allen had planned…

—————-

As the action unfolded on screens across the country, some viewers cursed disparaging advice from the isolating comfort of living rooms, others cheered him on in taverns, still others shook their heads as he ruined the betting lines. The one thing they shared was the obsession.

Allen had no idea of his ‘following’, and was only acutely aware of his mental abacus clicking away. Staying alive was slightly more important than the score. For now.

He trotted down the street, the barrel of his rifle trailing smoke, his right hand still tingling with the pulse firings. The GPS did its job perfectly; after a quick side trip to his truck, he looked down the street towards a familiar building. Pulling out a pocket mirror, he attempted to reflect the sunlight in its direction. After a moment, he received a similar reply; it didn’t need to be Morse code, and it gave better tidings than a bullet would have. The metal garage door opened slightly, enough to crawl under, and he sprinted directly to it, checking both ways for zombunnies (or traffic). His sense that something was following was confirmed as a bright purple egg bounced at his side and behind. Ignoring it, he skidded under the door and barely felt the explosive concussion as the corrugated metal slammed shut.

* * *

“So, a prodigal son returns,” Echo stated to Allen and the congregation. “We watched the footage of your daring escape earlier and more recent progress here. We’ve refused more recent visitors, but considering your help settling our differences with the Hare Band, you deserved a second chance.”

“I do appreciate it, and…”

“Is this new bravado based on your sister’s ordeal, or your own? It’s become confusing watching both.” Echo gestured to several televisions broadcasting different shows. Allen watched Emma busily working in a lab alongside others, a clock ticking down across the bottom of the screen. On the other screen, Allen watched himself, live, his kills updated in real- time.

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ZB or not ZB?

That is the question.

I’ve been asked by many of you, including the folks at Trifecta, about what I plan to do with the Zombie Bunnies series, mainly, “Will this be a book?”

It’s a good question, one I have asked myself by the time part four came around. Obviously a book would be a great option/opportunity! The questions I ask myself about that possibility run the typical Who, What, Where, gambit…

The most important question would be, do I stop writing it HERE?!

The way I see it, I could a)finish up the story, b)  solve ONE of the major conflicts, then ‘complete’ it if I get a book deal, or c) a combination, by which I finish it here, but flesh it out to book length/form afterwards.

Considering the momentum I have gained here, would it be ‘fair’? After all, it is your collective enthusiasm, and great words prompts/challenges, and some plain ol’ inspiration/creativity that has brought about this following. I do not mind putting the time and efforts into writing this for you all to enjoy, that’s what blogging is all about.  If I even started pitching this to publishers, would I have to cease writing/giving it away, and at the same time try to prove by the traffic and interest in the story that it would be worth their while to make a deal? Would that be a paradox, or just a buzzkill?

Even just by skipping prompts and going about the next parts on my own steam (which I will do very soon), I would be writing more words and details (I admit, 333 word limits help keep me well-disciplined with ‘essential’ words), and could really get it going.

Or hey I could put up a Kickstarter fund, with the goal of enough $ to self-publish it; get a copy of the book, maybe autographed by me, 8×10 prints of Emma fighting zombunnies, or lunch with Richard Connar for the big donors! That would mean deadlines not just to finish it, but if I do fall short of the goal, the book would still have to be completed.

I could also make it part of my NaNoWriMo come November, and take it from there. This is one of the best ideas I have had for a while; I am sure I can complete it – though time constraints and Thanksgiving week almost always wipe out my chance to ‘win’ it.

To add to the variables, here is a writer who has posted pretty much everything he has written, including his series on…yep, zombies! http://www.davidwellington.net/serials/

I should add that I did buy his ‘Monster’ series, they are really good, and have great theories on the zombies’ perspective.

Agh, too much to consider, but that is how my mind works. But what a dilemma to have, considering I had no idea that this idea would be so well supported. So yes, essentially  it’s all YOUR collective faults. Thanks!

Feel free to chime in with your ideas and opinions. I’ll be pondering, deciding, and most of all, writing. Again, thank you.

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Trifecta 31/ ZB 13 – In the Hunt

The woid of the week is….

ALLEY (noun)
3: a narrow street; especially: a thoroughfare through the middle of a block giving access to the rear of lots or buildings

The storyline has recently followed Emma (and yes we will return to her soon), but were you wondering what happened to Allen?
Oh, ummm, ok. Well, here it is anyway! The equally sly and saavy sibling has his own schemes….


“I just want my truck and gear. Plus, ok, the thrill of the hunt; I’ve been offing Zombunnies for a couple of days now, and I have safari experience.” It was mostly true, and Allen knew Richard wanted him out of the way, but not dead. For now.

“Fine,” Connar agreed after considering the ridiculous comparison, “back to Delta you go. But, you’re wearing a shoulder camera; I want footage, and hell, maybe we can build a following, make you a hero after all.” He motioned to McMuscles, who stepped out and promptly returned with a rifle and pack. “Though your personal items are likely gone, it wouldn’t do to drop you off empty- handed, while you go scavenging, hunting, or whatever you have planned.” Quickly they fitted his gear, complete with GPS and the promised surveillance.

Allen wasn’t going to be the one breaking the mutual suspicion, so he let the mercenary lead the way up the stairs to the helipad. He needn’t have bothered, as McMuscles warned, “Watch that last step,” and gave a personal ‘hello’ from the now familiar black boot. As it hit Allen square in the chest, he considered, between bumps down the steps, it was better than a walnut stock to the skull.

* * *

Allen awakened on his back, not in Connar’s office, but in the middle of a street. His sudden consciousness made it seem like he was teleported, but the helicopter hovering overhead reminded him that he had slept through the trip. The rotors whumping as the craft drifted higher and away were not as agonizing to hear as a cracked cranium would have exacerbated.

He sat up, his chest sore, and feeling exposed to wandering bunny hordes, regrouped in an alley between abandoned storefronts. He considering using the GPS, but first things first, reached for the camera to rip it off. Screw him.

“Believe me, you don’t want to do that,” his earbud transmitter announced. “Keep us live; you’ll stay that way too. Maybe.”

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Trifecta XXIX / ZB 4.5 – The Harvest (Prequel)

This Week’s word is:
DECAY (intransitive verb)
3: to fall into ruin

I’m going to take a step BACK this week in the Zombie Bunny story/time line. This week’s ZB fix takes place between Episodes 4 and 5 (I have links below that line ’em all up for you).

Plus I am off to the other side of the country (San Diego) tomorrow for a week, so take a moment if you please and revisit the story from the beginning. [Note that I have tried my best to keep consistent ;)] I might not be writing, but I will try and check up on you all from my phone.


The scents and sights of decay intensified as they reached the farm. At first it was the expected rancid dumpster stench that defined rotting vegetables, but a thick almost sweetly metallic fragrance, less familiar to the layman, lingered at the olfactory scale.

Agents Un, Dewey and Trippi were familiar with it. Sometimes they caused it.

The agents fanned out across the cabbage field, in sight of one another; Un took center, Trippi the right to the silo and Dewey to the left to the house and barn. A fourth, agent Pfeiffer, stayed behind in his hazmat suit, taking samples of the crops, and the pellets that illuminated even on this sunny day. Cicadas rustled in the trees and bushes dotted along the property.

“Status?” the voice in their earbuds was not any of theirs; The Director was at HQ, monitoring the situation.

“No sign of anything living…or not,” Un whispered. “Crops rotting faster in proximity to pellets,” Pfeiffer added. Un glanced towards Trippi, who was moving too quickly to the silo. “Trip, stay sharp.” He wasn’t nervous, but he started when a leafy vegetable flickered in the breeze just outside his vision.

Un’s checkpoint was a scarecrow dangling crookedly from its perch. He reached it, humorlessly noted the Carrot Top likeness, and scanned the farmland.

Dewey was at his point, but was idling along a dirt path between the house and barn. “I got bunny bodies…” he reported.

“Dewey, house is priority, get there now.” Even within his whisper, the authority was clear. I’m not going to let the rules slide on a dipshit recon mission, he thought bitterly, knowing the Director was hearing these lapses and would give him hell, even if they foun…

Un interrupted himself as he realized the cicada’s chirping had ceased, and a low continuous squeaking had taken its place. He scanned each direction, but couldn’t pin a location in the open field.

“We’ve got company,” he muttered darkly, not noticing the scarecrow’s red hair shuffling.


The Zombie Bunny Entries:

    1. Fetch the Holy Hand Grenade!
    2. Part II
    3. Part III/Prequel
    4. Part IV
    5. Part V
    6. Part VI – Welcome to the Fold
    7. Part VII: Peeple are Peeple
    8. Part VIII: Off-Balance
    9. Part IX: On the Edge
    10. Part X: Get to the Choppa!
    11. Part XI: Heroes and Villains
    12. Part XII – Setting the Stage

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Trifecta XXVIII / Zombie Bunnies 12 – Setting the Stage

This Week’s word is:

WILD (adj)

3: a (1): not subject to restraint or regulation : uncontrolled; also : unruly
(2) : emotionally overcome ; also : passionately eager or enthusiastic

We return to the action of Zombie Bunnies…

The limo ride through battle- worn streets was tense enough to make Emma’s jaw ache, as she sat alongside Richard and two generic ‘suits’. They were leading an entourage that included several trucks and a full length bus, each pristine and boldly emblazoned with the EM logo.

“This zone was affected worse than Delta,” Connar explained. “Though the epidemic didn’t originate from this facility,” he stole a quick glance at Emma, who met it with flaming meteoric daggers, “It was the first field research laboratory the government set up.”

The government presence was notable, as the bunny and civilian corpses were suddenly replaced by soldiers’ bodies and equipment. As they drove past a wrecked checkpoint, Emma looked through the tinted window and noticed McMuscles standing nearby watching them, a high power rifle slung over his shoulder, and shells (walnut and bullet) strewn around his feet.

* * *

A thick stack of printouts was waiting on a desk in the office Emma was assigned to. After a short restless nap on a military cot, she had begun to leaf through them, when there was a bustle at the door and two men barged in; a young man in khakis, EM-logoed polo shirt and headset, and another whom she recognized and loathed immediately; TV host Donald Carcharias. “Why is her room larger than mine?!” Donald seethed to the other, without acknowledging Emma. “This is unbelievable, I… well hello dear!”, he switched his tone and smiled as Emma approached. She took his outstretched hand, meeting the wild demeanor emphasized by his veneered grin and saran wrapped forehead, with some leftover daggers, wishing she had those bullets instead.

“So sorry we missed each other earlier,” he apologized, “but…”

“Mr. Carcharias, what the…”

“Emma, please! Call me Don!”

Fuck. You. “Mr. Carcharias, why are you here?”

“Ehhehe… feisty, huh? Well, I guess Dick knew our personalities would clash perfectly.” He glanced at the printouts. ”I see you have the script- keep reading. They want us ‘on set’ in twenty.”

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Trifecta XXVI / ZB XI – Heroes and Villians

This Week’s word is:

enig·ma noun \i-ˈnig-mə, e-\

1: an obscure speech or writing
2: something hard to understand or explain
3: an inscrutable or mysterious person

Please remember:
Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
The word itself needs to be included in your response.
You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
Your post must include a link back to Trifecta.
Please submit your post’s permalink, not the main page of your blog. For example: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/03/trifextra-week-eight.html not http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com.

You know what time it is?
Come along and sing the song!
Z-O-M-B-I-E B-U-N-N-Y!

Well our heroic siblings have been rescued, so we can all take a deep breath and relax…

Emma and Allen’s uneventful ride in the helicopter should have been relaxing, but with McMuscles sitting across from them, opening walnuts in his fists (Somehow, he managed to keep the brain shaped nuts intact) they shared an uneasy feeling.

“Where are we going?” Emma asked, after deciding Allen wasn’t going to.

He paused. “Empire Media Headquarters, ETA 10 minutes.”

Allen then spoke up impatiently. “What, are you collecting survivor stories?”

“We brought your father in this morning. Mr. Connar wants you all together.” Crack. End of conversation.

Despite Richard Connar’s public presence (and self- financed documentary), Emma and the general public still saw him as an enigma. Having watched ENN, she doubted his intentions were for some tearjerker reunion footage. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

* * *

They landed on the rooftop helipad as scheduled and were unceremoniously led to a penthouse conference room. Emma noticed the wall sized screen as they entered, broadcasting the neighborhood where they had been only a short time before. Bodies, both human and bunny, were scattered around the area, with gratuitous closeups of the grenade impact zone.

“Yes that’s the aftermath,” Connar announced with no introduction. “We shot your escape, and got another chopper out there making a little extra news for us.”

“Where’s our father?” Allen asked looking around suspiciously. Connar gestured impatiently.

“He’s doing his part, reassuring the public that KillEmAll will end this crisis.” He reached in his pocket and presented a thumb drive. “This information we rescued with him contains data on the project you and your colleagues worked on, Ms Appleby- the one that created the outbreak. Your father’s appeal to save you was more than paternal, thankfully.”

“We’re securing a government-grade laboratory for your use, and will monitor and even broadcast, your progress. Refusal is not an option. Oh and Allen,” he turned and nodded to McMuscles, who unholstered a very large handgun, “Push aside those thoughts of attacking me. We’re only looking for one type of hero right now.”

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Trifecta XXV / ZB X: Get to the Choppa!

The Word of the Week is:
thun•der noun \ˈthən-dər\

1: the sound that follows a flash of lightning and is caused by sudden expansion of the air in the path of the electrical discharge
2: a loud utterance or threat
3: bang, rumble [the thunder of big guns]

Ok Emma and Allen are STILL about to be fed to the bunnies while the cameras are rolling…but wait! A wild helicopter appears!


PJ Appleby jumped from his seat towards the screen. “Emma! Allen!”

Connar turned to him, a curious expression on his face. “You know those two?”

“I know my kids when I see them.” PJ replied evenly.

Connar’s demeanor changed; Appleby doubted his smiles were ever a source of comfort. “Really? Well, that changes things.” He clicked his remote again and sound burst from the speakers on the wall. The thumping of the rotors was in the background. “You hearing us, Murray?”

“Loud and clear,” Murray Bedward, EM Carchase Correspondent, replied.

“Good. Scratch that last plan. Screw the cultists, get me those prisoners.”

* * *

“Move!” Allen turned as he shouted the order, grabbing the cultist behind him who was distracted by the looming helicopter. They wrestled briefly for his gun, but the other man shoved and sent him sprawling over an air duct. He moved to Allen, bunny ears askew, and leveled his weapon.

*Blam!* The man’s head, and bunny ears exploded. Sprayed with bone and blood, Allen looked at the ‘copter and saw a camera, no wait, a side-mounted cannon spit another salvo at the other cultist, who was ignoring Emma and preparing to fire on them. His fate was even messier.

A ladder rope was lowered to them and they climbed on, Emma first. As Allen neared the top, the copter swayed, and a man in a cheap suit and deafening tie leaned over to block him. What the hell?, Allen thought.

“Too much weight,” the man proclaimed, and moved to hit Allen. Suddenly, he pitched forward, then tumbled out, taking a screaming nosedive into the pit of bunnies. Allen hauled himself into the passenger hold.

“That better?” He heard the voice and noticed a man sitting next to Emma, seemingly made of muscles, a green mohawk, and a grimace. He nonchalantly pulled out a grenade, yanked the pin, and tossed it down to the bunnies. “Try hiding that egg,” he catch- phrased as the thunder of the grenade explosion rumbled below them.

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Trifextra XIV / ZomBunnies IX: On the Edge

This weekend, we return to the 33-word prompt, but this time, a 33-word prompt with a twist. Your task, should you choose to accept, is to take a scene that involves (or affects) at least three people. You should then write this scene from the point of view of three of the characters, using 33 words for each character.

We left Emma and Allen in the clutches of the Hare Band, who plan to offer them as a sacrifice to the Zombie Bunnies. Each characters’s location/situation in the scene is italicized, POV is bolded.

Emma, looking down from a makeshift plank on the roof of the pet shop, at the horde of bunnies waiting underneath, trying to think up a plan –

Where’s an Artoo unit when you need one? Hell, I’d settle for a chick in a metal bikini. Great, my last thoughts are a nerdy fanboy’s. What the… a helicopter?! Allen, quick!

Richard Connar, watching the scene from the EM CopterCam video feed and talking to the reporting staff on board–

“We’re going live now, keep the camera on the victims… closer! I want to see and SMELL some fear. Right, interview the cultists afterwards, we can work a weekly series out of this.”

Allen, standing behind Emma, with zombie bunnies underneath, thinking typical guy thoughts –

We should have stayed with the other cult. I could have found out how furless that babe was. That Peep is repeating on me; nice last meal. What, Emma… ok they’re distracted! Move!

 

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Trifecta XXIV / Zombie Bunnies VIII: Off-Balance

This week’s word is ‘confidence’:
3 a: a relation of trust or intimacy <took his friend into his confidence>

b : reliance on another’s discretion <their story was told in strictest confidence>

c : support especially in a legislative body <vote of confidence>

In the interests of a cliffhanger for our two heros, let’s pick up the story from some other characters, and see how THEY are faring…


“I expect that our conversations will not be held in any form of confidence,” PJ Appleby chided Rich Connar, Overlord of Empire Media. They were in Connar’s executive meeting room on the penthouse of Tower Watch, EM’s flagship building. Appleby had just arrived by helicopter, spirited there by Connar’s security team from his own headquarters, and just in time; the bunnies were everywhere. Only he had made it.

“I’m glad we have that understanding,” was the others’ reply. “But it’s not what we know, but what we tell that matters.” His attention was focused on the wall covered in television panels showing simultaneous news reports; from pandemonium on unknown streets, to desolate farmlands, the horde was spreading across the screens. He was examining one video feed, a close up of a bunny’s tackily furred torso. It paid no mind to the camera as it fed on what remained of EM reporter DeeDee Lottagams.

“Such a waste. She was our finest looking reporter,” Connar explained. “DoubleDee could wear a bikini during Armageddon and have you convinced it was a Spring Break kegger.” He turned to Appleby. ”Another team is headed to a new hot spot. We’ll follow up with that. In the meantime, we’re setting up your interview with Don.”

Appleby winced. Donald Carcharias was the anchor of ‘Rake & Shovel’, the nation’s highest rated interview program. Q&A’s with Don reduced more than one world leader to tears, and just last month, a well- known actress had attempted suicide on- air during a frenzied grilling.

Connar noticed Appleby’s expression and gave a cruel smile. “Oh don’t worry. You have information we need to mine and refine for the public good. Now, let’s…” He paused and tapped his earbud headset. After listening for a moment, he pulled a small remote device from his pocket; the screens combined to one large live video. Appleby’s heart dropped as he watched the scenario unfold.

“Now this,” Connar shouted with mad glee, “this, is a story!”

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