Tag Archives: writing prompts

Story A Day May #16

First, if we all haven’t seen Mad Max, then we should stop reading, go see it, and then come back. Just Sayin’.

Second, I got an inkling of a story while passing Cave Hill Cemetary on my way to work. It’s on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and if you ever come through Kentucky, it’s a beautiful place to visit. Chartered in 1848, it has a Civil War burial section, as well as offering walking tours. Anyways, enough history lesson and on with the fiction!

May 16, 2015

It stood, almost a lone sentinel. All the others gone by decay or age. There were only five others around the meadow. The house was long gone, but the stone markers were still there. A few of them nearly covered with weeds and wild strawberry plants.

The two nearest to it were slowly dying. It could feel their strained life. Not enough moisture these days, or nutrients, and no human souls came by anymore. But it didn’t much care, for it had stood for a hundred years, and it would stand longer. Proud. Healthy. It knew others would grow eventually; seeds dropped by the birds or the wind.

It still remembered the day he came. It was growing through a tight space between two flat stones. It had not much life left, as the dry, stamped down earth offered no room for it to flourish. He’d knelt, a looming shadow, and traced a finger over the trembling leaves. It had only six then. He said, You’ll never hope to grow here. With a stick and his fingers, he gently dug, unearthing the shallow roots.

It could remember the short-lived panic as it left the earth. But the panic was for naught. It soon found itself in a new home. Dark soil, full of all life, encased it. It could breathe again. There were towering ones nearby that gave encouragement. And always, him. He watered and sang, and when it grew big enough, he sat beneath it.

There were long stretches of time when he went away. It would wonder if he’d return, sometimes thinking that he wouldn’t, only to be happy when he did. As the decades passed, the man spent more and more time among his stone fortress, among his fields, and always the majestic oak tree.

When the General passed, surrounded by family, they buried him at the foot of his favorite tree.

And so it stood, proudly watching over the one who saved him.


Story A Day May #13

Flaaaaaaaaash Fiction. Can we guess it’s short today? I’m still happy with it, and today’s inspiration is brought to me by our dinning room artwork. 🙂 We have a collection (prints, obviously, as we wish we were rich enough to collect art!) of those vintage European spirits ads. Enjoy!

May 13, 2015

The lady in the green dress came by again, I told him.

That’s okay, he told me back, she’s just offering you something tasty.

But what about that cat? He’s got mustard-yellow eyes, and long whiskers. Longest I ever seen. He sits in front of that red disc, a halo of cryptic symbols. Black claws poking out just enough to curl around his perch.

He laughed. He tucked his walking stick under his right arm, grabbed the glass of beer so large he needed both hands, and issued me a wicked grin. At least he’s not that pointy green devil, he said before taking a lick of froth. His aperitif is bitter.

At least, I echoed. But is there nothing to save me?

The woman in white will save you. She used to be a swan.


Story A Day May #12

Okay, so today’s entry is short. Like, short, short. I’m blaming it on my day off laziness, which has come after a day of working in the garden and running errands. And this is in no way tweaked from an actual conversation between me and my husband. Absolutely not.

May 12, 2015

 Second Dinner

             He looked down at the sizzling chicken and rice meal in the stainless steel skillet. Beside him, she did the same.

“That’s a lot of onions,” he said.

“Yup. And a lot of peppers.”

“Lotta peppers.”

“I don’t even know how I could doctor this up.”

“Doctor? You can’t doctor that. You’d have to do surgery.”

“I’m sure I could do some kind of patch job,” he said, sounding diminishingly hopeful.

“No way,” she said. “I’m sure it’s good; it’s just that we don’t like onions and peppers.”

“Nope.”

“It will take me ten minutes to pick out what I don’t like and I’ll have a half-empty burrito and a pile of stuff on my plate that I won’t eat. It’s exhausting.”

“Well, then, you better start making plans for second dinner.”

“Ooooh. We’ve got that gouda-filled ravioli.”

“Sounds great.”


Story A Day May #11

Today, I thought I would try something a tad different. Searching the vast reaches of the internet (i.e. what my US broadband servers will let me see) brought me to a nifty website. http://writingexercises.co.uk/index.php for any that are interested. The site has a multitude of prompts, and I was searching for one that would inspire me today. Silly me, limiting myself to one. After I wrote using the first prompt, I had one of those ‘Ah-hah’ moments, and realized that several of the other prompts I’d generated and dismissed were viable options. Silly, silly, girl. Which gives us today’s four prompt entry. Enjoy!

May 11, 2015

First line of dialogue prompt:

“Why did you scream like that?” He stood at the top of the basement steps, staring down with alarm.

“Giant cricket. One of those gross, spotted ones with the three foot legs.”

“My God. Really?”

“Yeah, I’m not coming up until you kill it.”

“Just step on it. You’re wearing shoes.”

“Nope.” She shook her head. “It will eat me.”

Title of a story prompt:

The Hissing City

 Callie hugged her arms to her chest, wishing her jacket were thicker. She hated leaving the diner this late. Hated waiting for the steam train at the empty platform. She could remember a time before the steam. Before the sun started flaring. Before the raging storms came. The overabundance of water had been bad for many places; places near the coasts or not too far inland. But for those still living in cities, existing in the middle of the terra, the water was as good as gold. Steam powered everything here, and the sounds still startled her, even after three years.

Random plot generator prompt: The story begins in a church crypt. Someone is accused of theft. It’s a story about family ties. Your character investigates with the help of a good friend.

“Give me the lantern,” I said.

Brian handed it through the crack in the stone wall. I held it above my head. The ancient crypt lay undisturbed for three centuries until yesterday. Yesterday, the groundskeeper saw a figure darting from the entrance which is supposed to be locked. The woman found the chain and lock lying on the ground. She took it to the Friar, and he called me.

Brian tagged along for, as he called it, ‘funsies’. I don’t know why my oldest friend liked going on investigations with me, since he got out of the Private Investigator business six months after we started our own firm. It was a fairly lucrative way to make a living. Most jobs were husbands or wives hiring me to find out if their spouse was cheating. Those jobs paid the bills, and gave me a modestly comfortable life. Every once in a while, though, something juicy came along. Something like this.

“Jackson, I can’t fit through this hole,” said Brain.

I turned around. His face was pressed against the stone. For once, being 5’8” and weighing 120 lbs gave me an advantage. Brian could not squeeze his over six foot broad frame through the crumbling structure. “It’s fine; wait there.”

“Dude, what if there’s someone in there? They could be waiting to kill you.”

I rolled my eyes. “Brian, we’re in a church crypt beneath an order of monks in a secret, walled up section. I doubt anyone knew about this.”

“Yeah, no one but us and the thief.”

“Okay, good point. Still, I’ll be fine. Just wait there.”

I started forward, ignoring his random humming that he always did to stave off boredom. There were two rows of tombs. Large stone rectangles, with heavy stone lids. Other than the set of footprints – woman’s size eight – nothing else seemed amiss. Until I reached the end of the row.

A section of the wall was busted behind the last tomb on my right. Crouching, I placed the lantern on the ground before reaching into the hole. A crowbar lay next to my knee, discarded by the thief. I could take it and dust for prints, but there would be no need. As my fingers closed over the petals of the white rose left for me, I knew exactly who to look for.

Random job/occupation prompt: School meals supervisor

Ugh, they can keep their fruit budget, thought Ms. Winkker. Growing bodies need meat. Lots and lots of meat.

She cackled a little at the thought of all these privately schooled Saturnian children living on stardust and bloom-sprout fruits.


Story A Day May #10

Day 10! Woo and Hoo. I feel pretty good about sticking with this for ten days, even though I feel less than stellar today, I knew I had to knock something out on the ol’ keyboard. We can all thank the husband for the opening line of this story, and for the third word of my trio of word prompts, even after I protested that I wouldn’t work that one in. (He still insists that I’m the one in charge of the story) Enjoy, and see everyone tomorrow!

May 10, 2015

Word prompts: banana pudding, dinner, nazi

The Dinner

             “Man, these vanilla wafers are good. You know what I kinda want now?”

“Banana pudding?”

“Naner puddin’. Mmhhm mm.”

Scott handed her two more before scrunching the bag down in the yellow box and replacing it in the cabinet. He looked at his girlfriend, Denise. “Ready?”

“I guess. Do we really have to?”

“I s’pose we could play hooky.”

She grinned. “That sounds like a great plan. Oh, here, sweetie, you got wafer crumbs on your tie.” She walked over and wiped the teeny, betraying sugary-bits off his maroon silk tie. “Let’s get this over with.”

“After you, sweet cheeks.” For added effect, he swatted her dress-clad butt as she passed him. He chuckled at her ‘Don’t get me excited’ look.

The engagement dinner had been his mother’s idea. While Scott didn’t mind having dinner with his parents, or his future in-laws, he really didn’t expect to be having one involving all parties so soon after actually getting engaged. He’d only asked Denise two weeks ago. He loved his parents, but they could be a bit overbearing. It was one of the many reasons he adored Denise’s family. From the first time he met her parents and two brothers, he felt like part of their family. Her mom made lasagna, and her dad made a salad from all the veggies grown in his garden. Denise’s parents liked living a little farther out from the city, liked getting their hands down in the dirt. Scott doubted his mother or father had ever cooked a day in their life.

Denise stood at the front door, gawking. “Your mother sent a limo. A limo, Scott.”

He let out a long sigh. “She told me the other day about it. I insisted that we could drive ourselves to the restaurant, to which she replied, ‘What about cocktails? You’ll have cocktails and you’ll need transportation.’”

He and Denise said the last part in unison. She giggled, and he leaned down to kiss her. After a few seconds they parted. Her eyes went wide, and she slapped his arm in an excited remembrance. “Oh, this is why my mom said earlier that the car was there. I had no idea what she was talking about. Holy moly, your parents sent a limo to get mine. Aww, that’s sweet.”

“Cynthia has her moments.” He held open the front door.

“Stop calling your mom by her first name. It’s weird.”

The limo driver held open the door for Denise and Scott, told them that any beverages or snacks were complimentary. They joked about making out during the ride, but decided against it since appearing at a four-star restaurant for dinner with their parents in rumpled clothing probably wouldn’t go over too well.

When they arrived at Calamari, Scott had to keep Denise from getting out of the limo.

“I don’t need that poor man to walk all the way back here just to open the door,” she said, refusing to let go of the handle.

“It is his job. Like, literally, his job. He gets paid to drive and open doors,” said Scott.

“I can’t make his job easier? What if he ends up driving around a bunch of bratty teenagers later? They definitely won’t open the door for themselves.”

Right then, the door opened. Denise hastily took her hand away from the inside handle. Scott snickered, but she got out of the vehicle, thanking the man. He did the same.

Scott held out his arm for his fiancée. She took it, wrapping her arm around his, fingers resting against his forearm. He felt the tiny flutters, the tingling sensation in his stomach, almost a nervous feeling, at the love of that small, intimate contact. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, and they walked into the restaurant.

The maitre d’ showed them to a reserved room at the back of the establishment. He opened the double doors for the couple. Scott and Denise stopped dead at the sight. The suit clad maitre d’ extended a hand. “Mr. Walsh?”

Denise took a baby step, modest heels clicking on the stone tile floor. He resisted and felt her tugging on his arm.

A waiter came around the pair to pull out the two middle chairs at the elegantly set banquet table. Deep purple and lavender tulip flower arrangements sat near either end. The middle held a large crystal vase with all white tulips. Denise’s favorite.

“How could your mother possibly know my favorite flower? In my favorite colors?” asked Denise in a hushed voice. “She’s a witch, isn’t she? Tell me now before I wake up married to a warlock.”

“Ha ha. She called your mother, I’d bet money. Did your mom tell you that your brothers were coming? Not that I mind because, honestly, they make life worth living.”

“No. Who is that redheaded lady? The one with the redhead teenage clone.”

“Natalie and Rachel.”

“Your stepmother and stepsister are here? What the f—”

“Scott, darling!” Cynthia Walsh spotted them and rushed over, arms raised. She gave him a hug and kissed his cheek. “And Denise. You are the picture of loveliness.” She embraced her future daughter-in-law before taking her hand. “I hope you like the arrangements.”

“They’re gorgeous,” said Denise. “Thank you so much.”

“Well, it’s not every day that your son decides to marry such an elegant young lady. You deserve it.”

His mother left them to speak to the maitre d’ about something concerning the appetizers. Scott and Denise went to her parents. “Hi mom. Hi dad,” she said, getting tangled in a hug from both at once. “You guys look great!”

“We clean up nicely,” said Carla Fern. “Of course, we had to buy this one a new suit.

“The old one was deemed, what was the word?” said Daniel Fern.

“Dated, dad. Several decades too old,” piped up Will, Denise’s youngest brother.

“Wide lapels are not a thing anymore,” said Charlie, the eldest of the twenty-two year old twins. Charlie slapped Scott on the back. “Good to see you.”

“You, too, man,” said Scott. He gave Carla a hug, and shook Daniel’s hand, and the three of them started talking about his job until he heard the deep, authoritative voice of his father, and the severe tone of his paternal grandmother. Scott whipped around.

“Nana is here,” he said. He grabbed Denise’s hand and pulled her in front of him as a defense mechanism. “Protect me.”

“You are insane. She can’t be that bad.”

“She can and is. Wait. You’ll get a lecture about the war in less than fifteen minutes.” He held up his wrist. “It’s 7:47. I’ll time it.”

“Oh, let go of me.” Denise wriggled free of his grip and went to greet his father and grandmother.

Everyone began sitting. Two waiters circled the table. One filled goblets with ice water while the other took drink orders. Denise was still looking at the four page booklet when it came to her and Scott.

“I’ll take the IPA,” he said.

“I think … uh … gosh. Okay. I’ll take the frozen sangria and peach bellini swirl.”

“A house specialty,” said the waiter.

Cynthia ordered appetizers for the table. She sat next to Carla, and Scott stared at the two women who couldn’t be more different having what seemed to be a perfectly pleasant conversation. Beside him, Denise spoke to his father, Karl, answering his intense questions about her upcoming internship at a prestigious architecture firm. Scott could tell that his father’s queries were unexpected, but she never sounded more polite. Things appeared to be going better than he dreamed.

The pair of waiters returned with drinks. When one of them handed the frozen bellini to Denise, she exclaimed, “Yahtzee!”

“Nazi?”

Everyone looked at his grandmother. She wore an expression of extreme dislike. “Did she say Nazi?”

“No, Nana, she said Yahtzee,” said Scott.

“Nazi?”

“It’s an expression, Nan,” said his stepsister. “Like the game?”

“Communism is not a game, young lady,” reprimanded the elderly woman.

“Oh, no, Mrs. Walsh, I didn’t say what you think I did,” started Denise, only to be interrupted by Karl.

“Mother, do please stop talking about the war for five minutes. This is your grandson’s engagement dinner, not a lecture hall.”

Denise glanced to her right at Scott’s subtle throat clearing. He held up his wrist, tapping his watch with his index finger.

“Thirteen minutes,” he mouthed.


Story A Day, May 8

Aack. I missed two days. I did spend one of them in bed again, curled up next to the vaporizer. I did combine my words from May 6 & 7 into one story, but it’s on my iPhone, so I’ll upload it later today. Swear.

But, for now, you get today’s short story. Yes, it’s true. Yes, I am a klutz. If you hate the sight of wounds, even itty-bitty, minor ones, then don’t look at the second picture. Enjoy!

May 8, 2013

Prompts: lawnmower, elbow, marionette

Word Count: 581

The Idiots Guide To Breaking A Pane Of Glass

We came home from mowing the lawn at my mother-in-law’s house. I stood in the driveway, hosing off the bottom of the lawnmower, using the jet setting on the sprayer. After all the caked on grass was washed away, I moved to my vehicle. Hosing off something shouldn’t be as fun as it is, but I had a blast, (hahaha) doing it. My husband carried the lawnmower down the stairs to the basement.

            Now, on a side note, we inherited a stupid lawnmower. It’s electric. And not cordless electric, either. Cutting the grass involves holding down a lever against the handle while pushing/pulling the mower, while trying to not run over the forty-foot orange extension cord. Stupid. I starred in the ‘hold the cord girl’ role while Tim mowed the grass. It shouldn’t take two people to cut the lawn.

Another ridiculous thing we inherited is the basement door that leads to the outside. The only doorknob is on the inside, and when we first moved in, the lock had been broken for so many millennia that a paint key shoved through what used to be some sort of lock and a long 2×4 propped up against the door kept it shut tight. A paint key. Who knew it was a multi-purpose tool?

My father installed a lock for us, but the damn door is so old that it doesn’t quite line up, so when we go to shut the door, you have the SLAM it to get the key to completely turn the bolt. Okay, Tim slams it. Repeatedly. Loudly. Annoyingly.

I, being a wimpy sort of girl, prefer to do the more painful and barely effective approach of shutting the door and slamming my hip against it until the door lines up the door frame enough for the bolt to click into place.

This works well enough. There is one thing to be mindful about. The upper part of the door has four panes of glass. Anytime I’m trying to close the door, I always think, “What if the glass breaks from us slamming the door?”

Okay—two things, really. The second is during demonstration of my crazy method of door locking, I put my elbow against the door. This morning, my elbow went through the pane of glass.

In the Hollywood version of this event, someone always takes a flimsy shirt and wraps it around their arm or hand, punches through a window or door to unlock said opening, and they are fine. In real life, you will cut yourself, even with a flimsy curtain between you and the glass.

Tim ushers me upstairs and into the bathroom, where he proceeds to clean my wound, and apply liquid bandage. If you’ve never used it, let me warn you – it stings. A. Whole. Freakin’. Lot.

I’m sitting on the toilet while he has my arm held up, bent at ninety degrees, and he’s holding onto my wrist and moving my arm back and forth to “Work the liquid stuff into the cut”. I told him that I felt like a marionette at the repair shop. A cursing marionette, whose arm stung like crazy.

The good part is I did not need stitches. It could have been much worse.

The best part is I got to do that Hollywood move without even meaning to, which is probably why I didn’t need to go to the ER. It was awesome, worth the bloody elbow, and I would totally do it again.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Stitches Not Included.
Stitches Not Included.

 


Story-a-day #4

Going for sweet and cutesy on this one. 😀  Trying, anyway. Oddly enough, today’s word prompts were given to me by a male co-worker. I went longer than 750 words, but not too terribly long. Enjoy!

 

May 4, 2013

Prompts: leprechaun, unicorn, pony

Word Count: 1,195

Not Imaginary

There had never been time for frivolity in Amelia’s childhood. Her parents called her a princess. They treated her like a princess. Her bedroom looked like it had been decorated by a fairy-godmother. But the problem with being treated like a princess was that her parents expected nothing less than perfect, ladylike behavior. Early on, Amelia experienced the disadvantages of such an upbringing: lack of close friends, nervous habits, and the ever-present compulsion to straighten throw pillows. Even her play clothes as a child were wrong—a dress and a set of black shoes with a strap across the ankle. Neither of those was ever smudged.

She noticed the tiny stain on her daughter’s pre-school teacher’s sweater. The woman was what Amelia thought of as a free-spirit. Her parents would’ve had more descriptive and less kind words for the teacher, but she was a nice woman, and Amelia’s four year-old daughter, Katherine, loved her. Currently, Amelia listened to the teacher gush about Katherine’s latest drawings of mythological creatures during art time, and how Amelia and her husband had a ‘refreshingly non-conventional’ way of raising their daughter to ‘believe in the beyond’. All of it made Amelia very nervous.

She got through the rest of the conversation without having to say much of anything, said goodbye, and ushered her daughter to the car. Katherine started talking the moment they were on the way home, chattering about her day, her friends in pre-school, and how she drew the leprechaun in a purple because it’s his favorite color.

“Sweetie, you know leprechauns aren’t real,” said Amelia, glancing worryingly at her daughter in the rearview mirror.

“Sam is,” said Katherine. “He lives in the painting above my desk. He comes out at night to tuck me in and tell me a story about Rainbow Land where he lives with his family.”

For two weeks, Katherine had gone on about Sam the Leprechaun. At first, Amelia ignored it, figuring it to be harmless. The longer it went on, though, the more disturbed she became. It might not have been so terrible except that her husband wasn’t there to reinforce Amelia’s ruling on the matter. A last-minute business trip had pulled him away twelve days earlier, but tonight he would be home. She felt sure her husband would help with the issue.

Not long after dinner, during which Katherine demanded a plate be set out for Sam, Jason walked through the door. He greeted his wife with a hug and kiss, and swept their daughter up in his arms.

“How’s my Kitty-Kat?” said Jason.

“Hi daddy! We missed you,” said Katherine.

“Oh, you did? Well, I missed my two favorite girls.”

“Daddy, tuck me in. I have to be ready for my story,” Katherine pleaded.

“Are we having story night?”

“Not you, silly. Me. Sam is going to tell me a story. Sam the leprechaun. He said tonight he’s going to bring his friend along. She’s a unicorn. I think she’s like a pony, but taller. And white. And has a long pointy thing right here—” Katherine poked her father on the forehead.

It sounds like you have a busy night ahead,” said Jason. “Let’s get you to bed.” He carried her across the kitchen, and held her out. “Say goodnight to mommy.”

“Goodnight mommy.”

Amelia leaned over for her kiss. “Goodnight sweetie.”

She watched Jason carry their daughter from the kitchen. Amelia finished the dishes, tidied up the kitchen, and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. Jason was in the shower, so she changed into her nightgown and performed her nightly beauty routine.

Jason poked his head out of the shower curtain. “Sam the leprechaun?”

Amelia shook her head as she finished rinsing the toothpaste from her mouth. “She’s been going on and on about him for days. It’s not natural. I never should’ve decorated her room like a scene from a fairytale movie.”

“She’s fine. It’s a phase, that’s all. Didn’t you ever have imaginary friends?” He caught the look on her face. “Never mind.”

With a huff, Amelia retreated to the bedroom. No, she never had imaginary friends. She barely had real friends. Meeting Jason had done wonders for her self esteem, not to mention her ability to relax. Having Katherine forced her to loosen up even more, though at times, Amelia wondered if she were a terrible mother. She hated being stifling, but sometimes it was so hard to be the opposite.

By the time Jason got into bed, Amelia’s light was already off, and she lay on her side facing away from him. He scooted over until he lay in the middle, and she moved too, so her back pressed against his side, letting him know that she wasn’t really mad.

He talked about his trip for a little bit, until they heard Katherine in the next room. Her high-pitched squeal came right through the wall, as did her excited voice. She rambled on so fast they couldn’t make out the words. Seconds later, another voice floated through the air—still high, but not quite feminine. Amelia sat up.

“She’s doing voices now! Voices! This is not normal. Our daughter is crazy,” she moaned.

Jason chuckled. “She’s not crazy; she’s four.” He patted her leg. “I’ll go check on her.”

Amelia flopped on her back, worry renewed about her daughter’s mental state. Light from the hallway lit up their bedroom door. She heard Jason open Katherine’s door, an even louder shriek of excitement, and the unmistakable neighing of a horse.

The next sound was Katherine’s door shutting. Jason never appeared, so Amelia got out of bed, and went into the hall. Her husband stood outside their daughter’s bedroom, looking pale and stunned.

She reached for the handle.

He grasped her wrist. “Don’t.”

“What? Let go.”

“I really wouldn’t,” he said, eyes wide.

She pushed his hand away, and opened the door. Katherine sat in the middle of her bed next to a tiny man. He was dressed in a way that would make one immediately think Leprechaun, only instead of green, his clothes were in various shades of purple. Amelia stared at them staring at her. A flash of light drew her attention, and she slowly turned her head. A unicorn stood in front of the closet.

Amelia slowly turned around to look at her husband. Years of strict upbringing and discouragement of this very kind of behavior kicked in. Sort of. The tiniest part of her that always wanted to participate in this kind of behavior flared up, and for the first time in four years, she knew this was the moment she could give Katherine the best childhood ever.

She walked out of the room, but before she closed the door, she said firmly, “You can stay up for thirty minutes, Katherine. After that, your friends have to leave because you have pre-school in the morning.”

She pulled Jason back to their bed. They settled down, both staring at the ceiling.

“What the …” he finally said.

“Oh, goodness, do not tell the neighbors we have a leprechaun in our house. We’ll never hear the end of it,” said Amelia. “Goodnight dear.”


%d bloggers like this: