Tracing Contessa

This week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt proved to be another which gave me several ideas and, with the exception of  a riff on the old Crossroads myth, all fell neatly into the Future-Noir setting I love to inhabit.  So initially, it was which to choose.  The thing is, the ideas were there but the words were not.  Brain fade.  Ultimately, a new idea came to me and it brought some words along for the ride.  Today’s post is the result.  Here’s the photo prompt:

This week Madison has posted a guest photo, courtesy of Mary Shipman.  The post, along with Madison’s own story and links to all the other authors, is here:

Take a look and get involved, if you are so inclined.

On the subject of photos, I would like to briefly introduce and recommend my lovely wife’s new (and thoroughly excellent) photo blog.  She has a wonderful eye and an artistic flair I’m sure many will appreciate.  Please take a look and let her know what you think 🙂

And now, weighing in at a hefty 165 words, may I present to you…


Tracing Contessa

Sleep fell from her, dissipating along with vague echoes of dreaming. The Umbilicorder ceased its phallic probing of her cortex and retracted into the bulbous base unit. Dirty washes of light played across the dilapidated room as the biomechanoid console considered the products of her REM sleep.

Beneath her, plastic sheets covered a debauched mattress, thick with the history of Contessa Macabre’s most infamous flesh parlour. Domino lit a cigarette and hunted kanji in the smoke, waiting.

The door became a thousand tiny splinters under the force of their arrival; three looming giants with parchment skin where eyes should have been. Their tombstone voices were unified, a crushing cacophony.

“You have dreamed too close to the truth. We take you now.”

Domino blinked, her irises swirling to crimson.

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

Once the Correctors lay ruined and twitching, Domino introduced the Umbilicorder to what was left of the leader. The readout made her smile. Now she knew where the Contessa lived.


18 comments on “Tracing Contessa

  1. Very interesting story. I’d love to read more. It seems like it’s from a book or some larger story.

    It was a little hard to understand towards the beginning but the end helped out. I understood it better, but I’m still a tad confused.

    You left me wanting more though.

    Here’s mine:

    • Andy Flood says:

      Hi Jonathan,
      This story is an experiment involving a character of mine along with a few ideas I had rumbling around. I think maybe it’s another case of me knowing what I’m reaching for and not quite communicating it well enough. I’m pleased you enjoyed it enough to want to read more though. Domino has featured previously, along with similar settings and I suspect that future prompts will be twisted to suit my future-noir leanings…
      And hey, once again, I’m sorry for being a muppet and getting your name wrong on your site. Thanks for your kind words 🙂


  2. Certainly a nice and different take on the prompt, with powerful and vivid descriptions. Mine is here:

  3. Great to see you being able to stick to a genre that interests you. I am amazed of how detailed your story is from just this prompt. Your imagination, choice of words and ability to create a world like this always leaves me speechless. Well done, and glad to see another appearance of Domino.

  4. Gary says:

    Great work as always, Andy. It’s great to see you getting another rare chance to jump into your beloved cyberpunk genre! It’s especially gratifying to see you being able to bring Domino to the table once again, as I do hope she gets the following you (and Domino) deserve.

    I especially love the “hunting kanji” line, the imagery it conjures is a perfect example of that gritty noir setting – and, being a fan of horror and all things freaky, I loved the description of the Correctors!

    Let’s hope we get the chance to find out what happens next…

    And here’s a little self-promotion for me, with my near-200-word story this week:

  5. Kris Kennedy says:

    Such a different genre for me…intense, amazingly written, great description..

    Here is mine:

  6. JKBradley says:

    Great descriptions. I loved the splintering of the door.

    Here’s mine:

  7. Sandra says:

    Lots of action in this piece, and some great ‘sci-fi’ terminology. Umbilicorder – how cool is that? She’ll need to be sure to keep from getting fluff in that. 🙂 Nice one, as ever.

  8. Very potent with description and very into the bionic worlds of William Gibson and those Japanese bionic horror films. “The Umbilicorder” – great name, great invention.

  9. janpoulton says:

    The description of your characters is at the heart of what makes this very powerful and creates instant impact. I am pleased that the Correctors proved no match for Domino. I just love her as a character and look forward to her future conquests 🙂 This is definately a genre which you excell at. Well done Andrew. Proud of you too. 🙂 xx

  10. teschoenborn says:

    Very tech heavy sci-fi with a dose of horror thrown in for good measure.

    Here’s mine:

  11. pinionpost says:

    “Thick with the history…” for some reason I just get that line in a very visceral, physical way. “Thick.” Nicely done!

    -Brian (here’s mine:

  12. Weeellll, Andy–you’ve given me a new motivation for reading your genre. Your post was gripping and I’m surprised at how I enjoyed what you wrote–it’s not my usual genre. When it captivates me, it’s very well done. Thanks for moving me from my reading “comfort zone.” 🙂


  13. oni1138 says:

    I LOVE DOMINO!! Nice to see her again 🙂 Excellent as always!!

  14. Amanda Gray says:

    I love the set up! I haven’t met Domino before but now I look forward to more. Here’s mine.

  15. Lora Mitchell says:

    Hi Andy: Being of a diff. generation and not a fan of the sci-fi genre, I admit I had difficulty following your story … with words I’m not familiar with…but others do and appreciate it, so that’s all that matters. Here’s mine:

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