Writing Prompt 12th August 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice

Anon

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Writing Prompt 5 August 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

All power corrupts but we need the electricity

Anon

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Not Alone

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash 

I double checked the locks. I checked the windows and closed the curtains over. I pushed furniture out of place to block the door. Tonight is the last night. Tomorrow I will go back to my family, go back to my friends and beg them to forgive me, beg them to let me back into their lives.

As the darkness falls, I can hear them singing. Whatever they are, they surround this house, the place that was supposed to be my refuge, away from anyone who could hurt me, away from Steve.

But the strange singing and the tapping get worse every night. The haunting voices are getting closer and climbing the ivy and the outhouse roof. I feel so alone. I hope I make it to morning.

Water’s Not the Worst of It

Photo by Meg Barnett on Unsplash 

“Are you sure about this, Mr Easton?” Kane said, looking down the dark steps. “And he won’t listen to you?”

Mr Easton shook his head. “It’s not that he won’t listen to me, it’s just that he thinks I shouldn’t be doing what he called ‘mechanical operations’ as I am a ‘man of the cloth’. I don’t think that dying has helped him become a calmer person.”

“He wasn’t calm when he was alive.” Vic said. “He was a terror. You had to grow a thick skin around him.”

Kane looked at the old man hunched next to him. “And you knew him when you were an apprentice?”

“Yep, sixty years ago, give or take. He was a bugger then and he’s a bugger now and there’s no way I’d go down that hole.”

Kane looked down into the dark cellar. “How bad can it be?”

“If we don’t it fixed soon, there will be structural issues.” Mr Easton said.

Vic nodded. “He could hear the start of it, went down to find the leak and hit his head on the doorframe and died.”

“I think it is a classic case of a spirit unable to rest until something has been put right.” Mr Easton said.

“It would have been put right years ago if he’d let someone get to it.” Vic said. “But he would never trust another man’s work. He wasn’t that good himself, though.” A tea cup flew off the draining board and smashed into the wall next to Vic’s head. “He had rubbish aim as well.” Vic said. “And I’m waiting outside in the car.”

Kane took off shoes and socks, then picked up Vic’s heavy metal toolbox, handed Mr Easton the lamp, and made his way gingerly down the stairs.

The cellar was cramped, with paint flaking from the walls and water flowing over the stone floor. Mr Gomersal was sitting on one edge, a translucent half smoked cigarette stuck behind his ghostly ear. He looked over the tool kit.

“At least it isn’t all this new rubbish.” He said, looking at Mr Easton. “This the lad?”

“It is.” Mr Easton said, “No-one else will come down.”

“When I was a lad people took work where they could take it, and none of this complaining.” Mr Gomersal said. “Right, lad, you do as I say and we’ll be fine. I’ve worked out what the problem i. Now get a wrench, not that one you idiot, that one. That’s it, now pick it up, it won’t bite you.”

“Yessir.” Kane picked up the wrench and looked at the oozing pipe.

“Can you see where the bolt is? No, not that one, you idiot, the one behind it. Bring the light closer so you can see what’s in front of your face. Yes! Give the lad a cough drop, he’s found it!”

As Kane struggled with the rusted pipes, he decided that being ankle deep in cold, dirty water was not the worst part of it.

Dis

Photo by Mauro on Unsplash

I was desperate. This was the only thing I could think of to get me out of this mess. I looked around the attic. This had taken the very dregs of the money I could scrape together. If this didn’t work, I was sunk.

I took a breath. The book had to be right. I’d found it in the box of old cookery books that I’d hoped to flip. That hadn’t worked either. Everything I had tried had turned to dust. This was my last throw of the dice.

I looked around again. All the chalk marks were exactly as the book had shown. I had copied them again and again, just to be sure. The coloured candles were just as shown, the incense was correct, and I’d set it out exactly as specified.

I felt tension run through me. How bad was it to summon a demon? It wasn’t like I was going to worship it, I just needed to get out of this hole. I swallowed. What if I’d got it wrong, what if the demon controlled me? What if I was responsible for evil? All the books and films of evil being unleashed on the world ran through my mind. I ran through my mental checklist. No, I had followed the instructions to the letter. It had to be alright.

What would happen when the demon appeared? For a moment I almost forgot to breathe. I hadn’t thought of that. What was I supposed to do with a demon? Did they understand the stock exchange? Could they find buried treasure? I looked down at my notebook and my hands were shaking.

“What am I supposed to do when the demon comes?” I didn’t realise I had spoken out loud until I heard a step behind me. I whirled around. He was there. He made me think of some sort of aristocrat, tall and slim with finely carved features, piercing blue eyes and thick red hair, trimmed and combed away from his face. The shirt looked like silk and the jeans looked tailored. I swallowed. 

“I believe it is customary to offer a guest a drink, even if that guest has replied to a summons.” The smile was mocking and his eyes knowing. “You can call me Dis.”

Katy van Cuylenburg: Response to the Writing Prompt!

This is the response from Katy van Cuylenburg to this week’s prompts, which is also in the comments.

Oh wow, that sunrise is…is. I always enjoy a sunrise.It’s so beautiful. Now I have to deal with my sister. I don’t want to do this ever. She killed somebody. She just went out there and killed somebody…a guy. Sliced him to death. She said it was self defense. I believe her. I believe she was left to her own defenses…and her own weapons.

So I’m pulling up in front of the cottage to see her. We have always enjoyed being by the ocean. The rhythm of the tide and waves has always been our zen.

Dinner is on! The bbq is working. Loving this beach house. Okay Sis, tell me…
What gotcha there…How hard did he hurt you? Glad she didn’t go to jail.

This is a great space. Fine house. Beach, tide, sand. I’m happy being here. Glad to have this space. How wonderful she puts on the music.

And then the uniformed contingent arrived. Okay. I can listen. It’s time for alternative situations. Good grief, my sister has always been convinced quicker than me.

I say No! Nee! Nien! Nyet! She yells at me. I don’t care. I feel the need to be me.

I do not run. I do not hide. I leave. I

I love the madness of this!

Madhouse

Photo by Christopher Harris on Unsplash 

I paused outside my home. It all looked as it should, with a neat step and a bicycle propped outside. I made a mental note to get the ivy trimmed back. The last thing I needed was to look like a haunted house. I picked up the parcel and opened the door. “Hi, I’m home. Jacob, the new polish you wanted has come.”

The sofa cantered up to me. “Darlene, you have to do something! Melinda thinks she has woodworm.”

The hall was wide and spacious, but it was still a squeeze for Cassie to get in. I grabbed the vase on the shelf before it toppled over. “Do you think it’s serious?”

Cassie jiggled awkwardly. “I know that Melinda is very upset.”

“I’ll go and have a look.” I said. “Perhaps I can calm her down.” I waited patiently as Cassie manoeuvred forwards and backwards to get the angle to get back into the drawing room. She wasn’t a very large sofa, just big enough for two, but it was still a squeeze to get through the door. The portrait of my grandmother sniffed.

“That dresser is always making a fuss about nothing. I mean, even if it was woodworm, it isn’t the death sentence it used to be.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” I watched Cassie wiggling and reversing yet again.

“I know, but I will tell you something to worry about. You don’t have a young man.”

My heart sank. I dreaded coming home to another lecture about how it was time to provide children to inherit the house. “I need to check on Melinda and give Jacob his polish.”

“You aren’t getting any younger.” The portrait called to me as I squeezed past Cassie and into the kitchen. The dresser was looking as dejected as it could, propped against the sink.

“I’m so sorry to put you to trouble.” Melinda said, her voice catching in her throat, “But I’m worried I might be contagious.”

“Let’s have a look.” I pulled out my phone and switched on my torch to get a better look. “Here?”

“Right on the hinge.” Melinda said, “Perhaps if I’ve caught it early enough, I can just have my cupboards removed.” She paused. “Will that hurt?”

“It’s just a speck of grease.” I picked a cloth from the sink and gave the edge of the cupboard. “There you go – all gone.”

“She was really upset.” Leah said.

“I’m sure anyone would.” I told the stove. “Anyway, I’m just going upstairs to give Jacob his polish.” And as I walked upstairs to the wardrobe, I wondered who on earth would be mad enough to bring children up in a house like this. 

Weekly Writing Prompt: 8th July 2019

The reason I’m posting a writing prompt is because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Christopher Harris on Unsplash
Please credit this photo if you use it

What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?

Ursula K LeGuin

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Writing Prompt Response by Marianne Gustavson Madson

Mr Suave

Here is Marianne Gustavson Madson’s response to the writing prompt. Due to similar technical difficulties to Katy, I’ve posted it onto my blog so it can be shared, and I think it is amazing, and I want to know what happens next.

It was the summer of 1974 when Mr. Suave strolled into the popular Hollywood Restaurant’s bar where I sat at a darkened corner table. My head had been bent over my journal as my hand scribbled but the paper suddenly wafted as if struck by a breeze.

My eyes lifted to the sight of a very attractive man whom I immediately named ‘Mr. Suave’. He leaned causally against a bar stool and faced the bartender as if they knew each other.

“Welcome back, the usual?” The bartender said with a smile as he reached where the expensive liquor was stored.

Mr. Suave nodded yes as he gracefully eased onto a bar stool.

My eyes secretly admired Mr. Suave in his expensive black suit which he wore comfortably as if he were in an old shirt and jeans. His body looked agile and lean and he was tall and graceful yet very masculine, I thought as I drank him in.

As if he felt my gaze upon him, he casually looked over his shoulder … at me. His dark chocolate bangs hid one eye while the other checked me out. I blushed from being caught and half lowered my eyes so I could still see him through my lashes. He gave me a lazy smile as he shook his glass in greeting.

I didn’t answer but instead bit my lip as my pen hovered and then froze midair when I saw the chair across from me move.

“Mind if I join you?”

I looked up into a handsome face that made my eyes fully dilate, he looked like a young Cary Grant.

“What are you writing?” He didn’t wait for my answer as he went ahead and sat across from me.

“Just stuff, thoughts.” I said as my eyes met his. “Let me see,” his right hand reached for my journal but stopped …when I said.

“You have pianist hands.

” He looked at me and then at his hands. “I am a pianist, a composer.”

“I knew it, may I?” I asked to hold his hands. He let them rest in my mine as I studied his. I explained with envy in my voice, “you have the right length, that extra tip to play Chopin.”

He laughed, “I can and do, and I know what you mean.”

“What did I say that made you laugh?” “It wasn’t what you said, it’s like the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“So you’re saying I look like a dull book?”

“No, yes, I mean, it’s Hollywood and you look normal to be sitting in a bar.”

“I’m sitting in a dark corner,” I said as if that held weight.

He gave me a long look as he held his glass in front of his lips, he suddenly took a sip and then said. “I want you to hear a piece I’m writing, come back to my place with me.”

I rolled my eyes at him, “I don’t know, I’ve heard tortuous killers can also be good-looking.”

“Harve, please assure the lady she’ll be safe with me.” Mr. Suave called out to the bartender without turning around.

“He’s good,” Harve assured with two thumbs up

Writing Prompt Response from Katy van Cuylenburg

There were some technical difficulties with Katy’s response, so I’m posting it here, but I can’t claim credit. This awesome story is from Katy van Cuylenburg

You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve – JK Rowling

I knew this day would come. I didn’t sleep all night. Awake mostly for the celebrations, dancing, embracing. Including the trepidation of what was to come, the journey.

I must have dozed off. ‘Wake up! Get up!’ yells my Mom shaking me. ‘You’ll be late’. My Mom is a stickler for the rules, old fashioned some would say. She’s okay, she keeps me in line…and goodness knows I need to be kept in line sometimes.

I’m up, dressed, and psyching myself up for the journey. I’m looking forward to the ceremony. I get to see Sadepisara. She’s also making the journey. She’s really cute. I hope I end up in her group. My friend Rankkasade is coming too.

‘How late can you be??’ ‘Stop daydreaming and get you brother ready, your father is waiting for us’. Snapped out of my daydreams, I get my brother into the tram and we head off for the Village Square. The bells are just beginning to ring.

I can hear the roaring coming from the square. The bells are ringing. Have to admit, I’m starting to feel special. I worked hard for this and was chosen. It just seems a bit overwhelming. I don’t like I have to leave, but I’m happy a couple of friends are going with me…and Sadepisara. I’m hoping she notices me.

‘Hey Lumi!’ ‘Over here’ yells Rankkasade. He’s standing with a few I don’t know. I think I recognize two of them. I’m busy looking for Sadepisara.

‘ATTENTION ATTENDEES, ATTENTION’ comes from the podium. A lull falls over the square. The bells ring out the anthem and then also fall silent.

‘Time to form your groups for the journey’ ‘This is special. You are special. Please make sure you report to your group by 1200’

The drums start beating!! The lights flash, flash, jagged lines, and then more drums. They are harder now. I’m looking for my family to wave at them. We are in our groups. ‘Lumi! Lumi! Over here Lumi!’ It’s my Dad. I wave. I think he saw me.

I’m scared. I don’t know what’s at the end of the journey. The lights are bigger now. The drums louder. It’s almost time. A few groups have already gone. We were kept back. We are the biggest, strongest. We are ready! I am ready! Jump!!!!

Here we go….I am the downpour in your Thunderstorm! I am the strongest raindrop you will ever know.

But my future is undecided in what puddle or place I arrive.