Saturday, 27 April 2013

An A-Z Story - X

Xciting times (cheating already eh?) as we reach the last weekend of the Challenge!

My theme is as follows: each day I will ask for words beginning with that day's letter, which I will randomly select five from to use in a sentence in an ongoing story. That sentence will be posted the next day when I'll ask for words for the next letter. So my Z sentence will appear on May 1st.

Thank you for the eXtensive list of 236 W words yesterday from which I have eXtracted the following:

Writer (suggested by Scribbles From Jenn)
Winged (suggested by Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Wrongdoing (suggested by Carol Kilgore)
Weight (suggested by S.P. Bowers)
Wallflower (suggested by Rebecca Douglass)

Nearly there! So now we have:

Angels had always had a certain ambiguity, being both human and divine, reflected Acatour with an acute sense of malaise as he looked down on the arable fields of medieval England. A bird flew past making a belligerent shriek, unnerved it seemed by a boggart; Acatour descended, thinking it would take a brainiac like him to unravel the poor soul’s beginnings and why it had not reached Heaven.
     York Cathedral hove into view, shrouded in wooden scaffold as part of the local bishop’s campaign of restoration; but before he could challenge a carpenter over whether any of his colleagues had fallen to their doom, his presence was announced by the crawdad he’d eaten back in 20th century New Orleans repeating on him. He wiped dribble from his chin as the remains of the crustacean narrowly missed the workmen to land in the dew of the graveyard, berating himself for his debauched and unangelic behaviour the previous night; why did that dame have to desert him? The effervescent Ella had always been eager for exciting adventures, but when he’d asked her to accompany him on this esoteric time travel mission, she’d called him a crazy drunk and left.
     It did sound rather fabulous, in the true sense of the word, he thought to himself as he descended further before landing on an empty area of scaffold, all the better for making himself visible; next to him was some viscous fluid, making him think that any fall from this precarious structure would surely be a fluke. Stepping away from the gel-like substance, he felt something watching him and turned to see a Gardengoyle on the wall next to a carved bunch of grapes, which caused the gregarious sounds of the workmen to die away as two thoughts rang clearly in his head: what was it doing here, and did he detect guilt in the creature’s eyes?
     That horrendous stare was starting to give Acatour a headache when a workman with a harried expression shimmied up onto the platform via a hemp rope, his arrival causing an apparently hilarious reaction in the Gardengoyle. “Hey, you!” said the workman, stomping towards Acatour, but something seemed to interrupt his progress, drawing him inexorably towards the island of iridescent liquid, which seemed entirely illogical to the angel until he sensed the impish carving’s illicit intentions.
     The workman slipped on the puddle and waved his arms frantically like a jester, trying not to fall over the edge; in that moment Acatour sensed the wickedly joyful mirth of the Gardengoyle and grabbed the man’s arm, saving him from jeopardy and causing the creature’s joy to dissipate as it contemplated a future in Paranormal Jail.
     “Thank you,” said the man, “my darling Kate is too young to become a widow,” but upon saying this he started to keel over as if affected by his own version of Kryptonite; Acatour had been ready to show kindness to the grotesquely kitsch Gardengoyle, but now saw the only solution was to destroy it. While struggling to hold on to the lanky workman - who had become rather loquacious and kept babbling about his wife and lover, who Acatour hoped were the same person - and stop him from being lost over the edge of the scaffold, he cast around for any tools or discarded carvings he could use as a weapon and finally alighted on a rather hefty rock lobster, which, it occurred to him, would be much more effective than a crawdad.
     A look of merriment crossed the creature’s face that was quite deranged considering it was about to be smashed to smithereens, before it melted into the rock leaving nothing but smooth stone - it was magic, of course - and Acatour quickly descended the monumental structure, past more workmen and a rather flustered merchant, and burst through the main door just as matins was beginning. Two hundred heads turned towards him in a space as quiet as a nunnery, and he felt like a numbskull for interrupting, but he had a need as urgent as a junkie looking for his next narcotics to get that Gardengoyle before it did any more mischief; the next thing he knew, a numbing pain and squeezing sensation on his head told him the Gardengoyle had found him.
     “Oh Father, hallowed be thy name-” began an officious bishop, quickly interrupted by a loud “Ouch!” from Acatour and an earsplitting shriek from the monster at an octave which must have been unreachable by humans as the besieged angel finally wrestled it off his head, before pitching it to the black- and white- tiled floor which looked like pieces from an Othello set, where it smashed into a thousand pieces.
     “Your Holiness,” said Acatour before the stunned bishop could speak, “it is paramount that the remains of this wretched creature are scattered as far as possible, otherwise it will reassemble; and I suggest the privileged members of your congregation would like to take a piece home, one to perhaps repair a dry stone wall round a potato field, another to form part of a whimsical garden frequented by a pixie,” but before he could go on, his eye was caught by the twinkle of precious stones among the debris and he realised the scoundrel had been a thief as well as a murderer.
     By this time the congregation had gathered around the scene, and a man seemed to quiver as he stooped to retrieve a diamond ring before saying to Acatour, “Thank you, good sir, this belongs to my wife; I am a quartermaster, please accept this Quark cheese and flagon of mead to quench the mighty thirst you must have garnered in your quest to quell this monster.”
     Acatour regretted that the being wouldn’t be able to repent, but reflected that it would have probably been quite recalcitrant in that regard; turning to the quartermaster, he accepted his offerings with a rapacious stomach and hopes of rejuvenation from a meal that that great do-gooder, Robin Hood, would be glad of.
     The next sight that met his eyes, however, threatened to saturate his mind as the sensational Ella walked in through the open door; as she called out “Hey, stud!” he recalled the synchronicity he’d sensed between them and his first thought was to take her away somewhere more secluded. Although this tabernacle was not the place for such unangelic behaviour, he couldn’t resist pulling her behind the nearest triptych for a torrid kiss that made him thrum, and noticed she was wearing the necklace he’d left that acted as a tether between them through time and space.
     “Do you believe me now, you upstart?” he teased, glad that their unilateral thinking had led to this union; glancing out of a stained glass window, he noticed it was raining and made an umbrella materialise in a nearby urn, although such a thing was yet to be invented.
     “Of course, my valiant angel,” she replied with a smile, but as they walked out into the rain another thought came to vex him as he realised the downpour would make the viscous deposit left by that vile creature even more treacherous, and the workmen would be vying with each other to be the next casualty. Throwing caution to the wind, he lifted the weight of Ella - she was no wallflower and would want to help - and flew back up to the scaffold, wondering if any writer for the cathedral would record this weird tale of a winged man who came to correct wrongdoing; if they had, then they already would have done, but this was no time to think about time travel’s paradox.

Can't wait to see what you come up with for X! (No ex- words, please - I know I did it, but it wouldn't be challenging enough! Proper nouns are allowed.) You can offer as many as you like, and they can be as obscure and outlandish as you like (feel free to use a dictionary for inspiration). The more words you suggest, the more chance you have of one being picked. It doesn't matter if you suggest the same word as someone else (as I know not everyone always has time to read all the comments); each will count as its own entry.


Rhonda Albom said...


Rhonda @Laugh Quotes

Cynthia said...

This is probably one of the toughest letters to work with...

X marks the spot (though that is a phrase, not a word)

That's all I have for now. Good luck!

Dee @ A Deecoded Life said...


I also sort of cheated on X day btw. A lot of us probably did haha.

Misha Gerrick said...



Suzanne Furness said...

Tough one today!


J.L. Murphey said...


Ruby Manchanda said...

Tough one ... :) I like your short piece written with a flow

MadelineAnn said...

I have a wonderful Chinese friend called Xei Mei (pronounced Shay May, more or less!)
Hadn't read your story since B, and am spellbound by it - well done!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Xeriscape, xi, and xeric.
Do you know how few words begin with X?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick ... Mischa's Xhosa is a good one ... Mandela is a Xhosa ..

Here's mine: Xinomavro grape - the one I used in my post ..

Cheers and have fun with your Xs .. Hilary

Amy Jarecki said...

X-Cellent (sorry, I cheated). Love your blog, of course there's the Xoloitzcuintli dog. I'm visiting Scotland in May. Wave if you see me. I'll be wearing the red Wisconsin sweatshirt :-)

Trisha said...

Not checking to see if these have been taken already:

Xerxes (names are still words, right??)

Anonymous said...

I only know a few X words and I'm pretty sure they're already posted.

Jean Davis said...


I could pull out the dictionary, but at least this one came to mind...even if its not a true x word. :)

Heather R. Holden said...

Eek, X words! Let's see...


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think all the X words are taken now.

Christine Rains said...

X words are tougher. Here are mine: xerophyte, Xerxes, xylem, Xenium, and xeroma.

Jennifer Joyce said...

X is going to be difficult!

Xylophone (I know you had a picture of one in your post but I'm struggling)

I'm out.

Samantha May said...

All the X words I could think of have been posted. I guess I'll have to sit this one out!

Happy Saturday :)

Bob Sanchez said...


Unknown said...

I'll cheat, too and throw in the word I used today, it means cookie in Chinese, as part of my X list:

Xiaodianxin 饼干

Michelle Wallace said...

Misha got to the word first, but I would also offer: Xhosa

Writer In Transit

Carol Kilgore said...

X is tough!

Jay Noel said...

Maybe this will be my last chance to have one of my words chosen:


Julie Flanders said...

I can't think of any that haven't already been suggested. I'm so curious to see what you manage to come up with for X!

Happy weekend! :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I think all the x's have been covered! Not even going to try.

Nick Wilford said...

Wow! I'm Xtremely impressed with you all. Going to have to pull out my dictionary for some of these! I wonder what my sentence will look like!

Krista McLaughlin said...

I think all of the X's are covered! Good luck picking one and using it! :)

loverofwords said...

I love the Chinese one -- you have to use it!
Xanadu (Colridge, but you know that)
Xavier (Father Francis)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I used xenophobic and xenophile. You did a fun project for the challenge, Nick. I liked it, even though I couldn't get her to add words every single day.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Did anyone mention Xanthippe? I really admire how imaginatively you've woven all of these words together!


Bish Denham said...


Unknown said...

I'm just now visiting, and I have to say, that was stupendous! I'll be back to read your previous posts *paranormal jail, hilarious* So, let's see, since I've got ancient Greece on the brain, how about:

Unknown said...

Xanthium Gum
that's all I got!

Shell Flower said...

I'm loving your story. These might be repeats and don't ask me what they mean, but here goes:


Carrie Butler said...

Haha! I'm with Elizabeth. It looks like the others have this letter covered. ;)

Anonymous said...



Unknown said...

X is always the toughest, so you're not the only one "cheating" with something like "Xciting times" ;-) looks like you have enough X words by now!

Kathryn Thornton said...


I have loved watching this story unfold. Great job.

Ella said...

Wow, I'm in awe~

Happy Monday Nick

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

That's all I've got

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks everyone! Again, a superb effort. I'll relieve you all from coming up with any more X's and will get my head down on this sentence now (eep!)