Good stuff Moon. These are so fun.
Wrote a story to your prompt, at the bottom of the last page with a new prompt.
“Make something up,” she insisted. “You can’t tell them the truth. You know what’ll happen to me if you do.” Her face was unattractive this way; eyes wide and mouth pinched in fear. Selfish. She didn’t seem to care about the penalty for being caught lying to the Council, nor the fact that they have the false-finders. Stories leaked out occasionally about people getting around the false-finders, but I’ve never known anyone to successfully do it.
“Why’d you do it in the first place?” I hissed. “You know the penalty for unlawful procreation! How did you even manage to remove your device? You knew exactly what you were getting into when you did this, and now you want me to save you? They’re not going to believe it just fell out of your arm,” I finished, my voice scathing and low.
“I put it back,” she confessed, pushing her sleeve higher so I could see the raw cut where she’d re-installed her No-Pro. “See, so they’d think it was faulty.” Apparently it escaped her that they’d certainly ask to see her arm, and the cut was clear evidence of tampering. I shook my head, disgusted at her level of delusion. The Council would certainly find out she’d intentionally gotten pregnant, and if they did, they’d keep the child and have her killed on its first birthday, after her nursing duties were done. A life for a life, they said, defending this policy of keeping the population stable. And now she wanted me to lie to them? They’d kill me too. Still, if I told the truth, I'd be free to choose a new wife after this one was dead ...
Edit: New prompt -- so many balloons
The sound of a balloon popping woke me up. I saw red and thought the world was made of blood. But then my head rolled back on my shoulders, things came into focus some, and the red sharpened into a big rubber spot on a powder-white face inches from mine.
Mornin big boy, a man’s voice said, cracking like a teenager’s. Guess I should say night though, huh? Still dark out there! Gotta tell ya, I thought you’d never wake up.
A crappy, red-rubber nose. All scratched up and dented with these crescent-shaped marks dug into it. Marks like when you dig your fingernails into your palm. Under the nose, painted dimples stretched out a purple smile. I remember stale cigarette-breath and stained-yellow teeth behind those purple cracked lips. And two bulging, veined eyeballs on springs from some trick glasses hung down into my face, knocking back and forth against my cheek. Back and forth against my cheek.
I was getting sooo bored, the voice said.
I tried to move and sparks snapped in my head. Felt like my brain was being smushed into the backs of my eyes. The clown laughed. My thoughts kept falling off before their job was done. And the only words I could put together were, Wha. Huhnh? I tried to put a hand to my forehead but my wrists wouldn’t move away from each other. Tied by rope.
I shot you fulla magic, he said. Come on, wake up. I wanna play.
I forced my eyes to move, to try and look around. My tongue glued to the roof of my mouth, my mouth lined with dirty sandpaper. All around me two of everything was swaying, floating in and out of what I could see. Everything changing shape, changing color. Blue, green, orange things hanging in the air, with string tails trailed down and pinned to the wall behind the blurry clown sitting on my chest. Every passing second drifted off into some other one. Until my eyelids gave up.
And everything collapsed into dark.
New prompt: Sorry, I cheated
I did cheat on length a little. My bad. I'm gonna use this though, for something longer.
lol Redd, you took 'so many balloons' and managed to think of something I'll probably have nightmares about. Only you :)
Thanks Kacie! Glad to hear it. I mean, not glad that you'll have nightmares, but...well maybe I am, haha. I'm glad it worked! Never written about a clown before.
Hey guys, I dunno if anyone other than Kacie read that short clown piece, but I expanded that idea into a much longer piece, and I need some eyes. If anyone's down, it's up in the workshop now!
It's been far too long since this thread has visited...
The game was tight. 18-17, and it was Dave's serve. Dave was always the best at serving. His padde hit the ball just right, sending the ball with a combination of speed and english that Ryan just wasn't good enough to return. 19-17. Dave couldn't always pull off a serve like that, but he was good under pressure. Another serve, even better than the last, but Ryan managed to return. Barely. The ball few high, setting Dave up perfectly for a slam. 20-17.
Game point. Ryan's serve. Ryan took a breath. Maybe he couldn't serve like Dave, but he had tricks of his own. He sent the ball to one end of the table. Dave returned, Ryan hit it back fast to the opposite end. Dave returned again, but Ryan was ready, and Dave was off balance. 18-20. Another serve, a little high off the table. Dave slammed but it flew long. 19-20. Ryan launched another serve, it was perfect. But so was Dave's return. A quick, intense volley ensued and the wind picked up. The ball landed on Ryan's side and flew sporadically in the air. Ryan tried to track it's movement, but no luck. 19-21. Game.
Dave shrugged. "Sorry, I cheated." But the house rules were clear, it counted as a point. As it was Ryan's house, he could hardly complain. Ryan tossed his padde on the table, cursing his luck. Dave grinned, shrugging again. It was the closest Ryan had come to winning yet.
Ryan picked up his paddle. "One more."
need more paper
Welcome to TRC, I hope you enjoy your time here however brief it may be. If you hear my voice again in the next 12 months, you may assume it's not to wish you a happy birthday. This is how we hire at TRC, one hundred candidates at a time. Those of you who attended your college welcome lecture may have heard, "Look to the left, look to the right. One of you will be gone by the end of the year!" You may substitute, "By the end of next week!" I choose to terminate probationary associates personally, you will receive a voice mail in your morning inbox. Be sure to check first thing each morning to see if you still work here. Don't feel too badly about it when it happens, there are a number of fortune five hundred corporations who would hire you based solely on having been vetted during TSR's hiring process in the first place. Go find one and work there.
The Trans-Republic Corporation does not exist to provide you with a comfortable future, or a retirement plan, or your mortgage payment, or your student loan debt! TRC exists to make money. Your future here is based solely on your ability to produce more than you cost. We have "Standards" here at TRC, you are expected to routinely exceed them. Be on your assigned station at assigned times, you are not being compensated for saying hi to your mom, updating statuses, or checking on the weekends weather forecast. All keystrokes are monitored and recorded, your ID badge contains a tracking chip, and no! You do not have any questions. This is not a reality game show, this is reality!
I noticed you taking more notes then I was in front of me, hi I'm Rob. Hi, I'm Rebecca, I feel bad now I thought you were just looking down my blouse. Well that is a very detailed Iguana peeking out of your bra, it deserves more than a passing glance. How, may I ask did you get it passed the employee physical? Or don't the ladies have to do that? Do what, strip down to our birthday suits for an hour of being poked and probed with vinyl exam gloves? I don't what you are talking about, and I had Henry added after I got the hire notice, kind of a rebellious celebration. You do know rebellious doesn't have a good track record around here, right? I was hoping to find a kind of lab partner to share the load with. Maybe if we both take notes together we can survive the game and make it to the show. Who knows you might even get to see the detail on Henry's tail, the colors are intense! What do you think? Rebecca, I think we are going to need more paper.
[Don’t bet me]
— What, have you been drinking?
— What have you been drinking?
— An excellent choice, if one must be made. Nevertheless, it's a violation. I'm afraid I'll have to make a note of this.
— Well maybe you shouldn't have told me, eh?
— You'd rather I not tell you these things?
— You can't have it both ways.
— Of course. Neither can I.
— You wouldn't expect any less, would you? From me?
— I think you misunderstand. At some point, you misunderstood, and that line of faulty reasoning persists even now.
— Don't bet me.
A few more words were spoken, customary. The older man, whose office they occupied, stood to signal the meeting was at an end. The younger man, whose personal data lay in spreads on the desk, looked away, twisted his closed lips, then stood as well. Neither offered a handshake. Once the younger man had closed the door behind him, the older sat down again, opened the bottom left drawer, produced a refillable e-cigarette unit filled with a custom bubblegum/mint/morphine cocktail, and took several short tokes. He gathered the papers together, ignoring their order, and replaced them into a brown folder. Then he noticed a slip of his own stationery in the younger man's seat. The note read: I already got this, vasehead.
[this side up]
Nick flicked his knife open and cut through the tape.
"No! Dammit, Nick! This side up, can you not read it because it's upside down?"
Nick rolled his eyes. "It doesn't matter."
"They ship it covered in styrofoam on all sides. Watch." Nick slid the package out of the box. "See? No problem."
Leah snatched the taped-together styrofoam from his hands. "If it was something for you you'd have done it right."
Nick waved a hand. "I did do it right."
Leah scoffed and left the room. Nick knew he wouldn't be having sex tonight. "Wonder what it'll be next weekend," he muttered.
I will myself
Their eyes pause on your face for the length of a car-horn-blast and then pass over you, scanning the sidewalk for crazies and homeless people as they adjust their shopping bags. What they're looking for here is for you to do the same, make the suggestion of eye contact, that split-second fight-or-flight glance at the fellow members of your species for the flash of a knife, the bulge of a gun, and then to just walk past, the glow of your cell phone already lighting up your face.
It's what life is, it seems: Pushing off from your wallflower position in the corner, crashing blindly into another human, dancing, fighting, fucking, or ignoring on your way to the opposite corner. And the dance goes on. Though you're hardly qualified to be defining life. You can't get out of your dark corner over there. Or, maybe, your wallflower corner follows you, the plaster fused to the fabric sleeves of your elbows, so that you drag the wall with you, behind you, watching everyone else move past eachother.
They look at their phones, at their feet. A few still look at the sky now and then. But no one looks at anyone for longer than it takes to know that this isn't danger. It's everyday life. It can be shrugged off. Dismissed. And walking, invisible, able to do nothing more than simply will yourself to exist, you shuffle forward down the street past a woman—just some girl old enough to pay bills—and want almost nothing more than to slap that glowing screen from her hands, grind it under your heel, find her eyes under all that makeup and say, "Look at me. I'm alive. I'm real."
We're almost there
It’s always quite at first. There’s time to think and ponder on what’s about to happen. They aren’t human, that’s what the commanders tell us. But I’ve been down there before and they sure look human, they smell human, they scream human… The web straps hold us tight against the seats until the first drag of resistance begins to push and then clutch. The vibrations start to build and I set my jaws to keep my teeth from rattling out of my skull. The thin carbon fiber skin glows a soft red on the inside but keeps us protected from the sun hot plasma less that a meter from my face on the other side.
I spend a lot of my time thinking about that. What it must have been like on a submarine during a war being depth charged. Knowing that if the protective hull is breached there might not even be time to know it happened. No time to pray for mercy or ask forgiveness for their sins. Death without the death prayer or anyone to say it for you. Lost between this mortal world and the next existence. No ritual to make the bridge appear and so step off into a void, alone, unseen, cold and dark forever…
Is that what’s it’s like for them. Our sky pilot tells us before we load that they have no souls. They have no vision of the divine of any kind or form and therefore are… The vibration ceases and the rush of cold atmosphere quickly dissipates the residual heat. A sharp jab from the needle in my suit stabs high up on my left butt cheek. I feel God’s presence fill me and the animals offend me, I feel rage and hatred for them. I want to hear them scream and see them writhe. I fondle the trigger guard on my flamer and feel the urgent tug of an erection! When the path is cleansed the sacrament of release will occur. A jolt throws me hard into the seat once more as the rear gate drops before we even slide to a stop, light pours in from the open maw. The siren begins to shriek and our driver throws the twin handles forward, the tracks bite into soft brown soil. Nearby men and women with their wide eyed children gape at the strange object fallen from the sky into the middle of their crop field. Standing on my seat I hose the three nearest figures with cleansing fire and God begins to reward me.
Lacking Better Options
The point of the screwdriver is cold in my nose, nudging and spreading my sinus on the right side. Grabbing the chain that connects my nose and ear ring, I pull away from my face, widening my nostril to slip the point up farther and my jaw opens without my say-so. Somehow it feels good. My cheeks are warm as a clean needle.
The blood under all my skin turns my hand the same red as my nailpolish as I tighten my grip on the handle of the Phillips and turn towards the mirror. I'm making eye contact with my reflection's own pinpoint smack-shrunken pupils. There's almost no black. My eyes look like balls of green mucus with two ants floating dead center behind my greasy purple hair. Somewhere behind that's the mush that makes all this work.
I want to see the moment it all goes wrong. Or maybe right.
Used to be getting high was enough to keep me alive. Now that our band's on posters in the bedrooms of people I've never met, money's no issue, and their love is every half-assed factory-written birthday card I never got. Drugs are my every meal and snack, but even without withdrawals breathing hurts, just feels like marking minutes, hours, tours. Breathe in. Breathe out. Don't breathe out. Whatever. Who cares; my band's manager, I guess. Fuck it. Lacking better options, I sit on the closed toilet, knocking foils and gutted pens to the floor. My pinpoint pupils and shimmering nose chain are the last things I see before the plastic handle scrapes my septum, the deep pressure clears some far off tunnel and my left eye veers straight up. Gravity overdoses. The bathroom counter meets my chin.
And...a funny thing--a funny thing happens. My hand drops. The Phillips stays jammed. And my lips stretch into the realest smile of my life.
You Are Freedom
I'll drop another prompt in an attempt to keep this on the first forum page.
Tap Dancing Octopii
Toccata and Fugue wheezes from the old pipe organ in the church. The gathering wind carries the scent of fresh wet leaves, scarlet and gold, through the broken remnants of the once magnificent stained glass windows. I dropped my last hit of acid an hour ago. The scents and sounds and colors are beginning to run like sidewalk chalk drawings in the rain. Gianna is coming tonight, now just a few miles from landfall she approaches with the fury of a woman scorned. Tidal surge rushes through the inlet channel and surf pounds against the dunes. Here beside the bay the setting sun in the West dances with the dried leaves on the dirty stone floor and turns the massive cloud banks in the East to golden walls and towers. I will stay and make my final stand, here in this place which man and God have both long ago abandoned. Each for their own reasons I presume. Only I remain, an old man with no God to speak of and little left to live for.
I don’t remember taking off my clothes, but I find myself in darkness lying naked on the wooden alter. The old crucifix, long removed from the wall has left a pale outline above me. I sense a metaphor just beyond my minds reach but the sound of breaking glass interrupts before I complete the connection. Trails of light and sound make it difficult to navigate but somehow I locate my pants and the lighter in my pocket gives enough illumination to find my cache of votives. My original intent was to burn one at a time, the light from the first seemed lonely and weak. Soon it was like trying to eat just one potato chip and I had an even dozen flickering merrily inside the deep red glass cylinders. The wind rose from low moan to shrieking howl and back again. I begin to beat upon the keys frantically trying to find and keep its rhythm screaming my voice into the echo of the empty sanctuary and becoming giddy when the harmonics intersect. In an instant, silence and stillness fall, the rich echo of the last B-Flat rolls and dies. Trembling I slosh my way down the aisle and pulling back the carved wooden doors I stand in the entry arch ankle deep in the warm brackish water and clothed in the brilliant light of a full moon looking up into the infinity of stars above.
For a moment I know the touch of God but rushing toward me I also see the face of the demon coming to devour my soul. Turning to bolt the door I slip on the mud and marble. Face down spitting brine, knees and hands cut by unseen shards of glass, gold and blue and green. Stumbling, crawling, retching, kneeling on the steps before the abandoned altar I prostate myself and cry out my confession, beg for absolution, offer my last will and final testimony. The demons pound and howl outside the door as the roof gives way above the doors and a thousand pounds of slate and timber fall, crashing down exactly where I had stumbled a few minutes before. The first sound I notice is the reassuring tuk-tuk-tuk of my little Honda generator still running in the Sacristy. The acid has worn off and after a few obligatory dry heaves I rise unsteadily and look about. The bay water has receded and around me scurry crabs, mullet, and octopus. In the pale dawn of salvation I begin to play Scott Joplin rags. The crabs and mullet dance a delicate minuet as the octopus form a chorus line and tap dance in time to the dripping water from the half destroyed roof. My soul is cleansed, my spirit free, life has no meaning beyond this day. But this day is enough, it always was. Sometimes you just need a little help to see it I guess.
(Silver slivers shimmer)
The silver slivers shimmered under the glow of the sun. Though it was slightly marred by the painting of blood. How many people have lost their lives? She lost count after the tenth blade drop. 1, 2, 3, 4, onwards into the rest of the day that gave way to late evening.
She had worked has a banker, yet now she was merely a shanker. For every time in darkly dim cells she had to fight for the last scraps of food. Only the shadows kept her company, who she had made several friends with. Only they could understand her misery.
The next week, she walked up the stairs. The sound of the blade was like music for engineering devils, a sound clipped. Only hell now could be worse. Her bravery created a folk song: When the blade count to three, come and watch the parade with me. Come and watch the crowd's fury, Come and dance with me.
Erp derp, forgot the prompt:
Bad Luck Cat plotting approach - A MC is not the protagonist in the short story, characters they meet flesh them out through 'recollections.'
Device: Bad Luck Cat being something like Mothman or other unknown entity or individual.
I liked that one.
Holy crap, Otter Man! That really surprised me. Good stuff.
Interesting prompt, Flouisa. And really tough it turns out. Never tried something like this before.
Richard: I swear to God I saw it, walking home one night from Rite Aid with my rolled-up bag of prescriptions under my arm. Heard somethin' from the alley to my right, like clinking glass, from where this dumpster was behind a nail salon. I don't know, like a bottle or something, you know? But then I heard this voice, a kid's. Saying somethin' I couldn't really make out. This was cross the street from the Seven-Eleven and a cop car was pulled in there, probably getting coffee or something, so I figured what the hell and headed into the alley a bit, my paper bag gripped in front of me, blood pressure meds rattlin'. Maybe five feet from the dumpster the growling started and the streetlights shattered above me, raining angry sparks. And a huge furry shape lunged from behind the dumpster, knocked me over, ran deeper into the alley, the sound of nails skitterin' on concrete. And that was when the cop car cross the street blew up, taking the front of Seven-Eleven, the cop, and two panhandling homeless men with it. Coincidence? I don't know, you know?
Marie: Nobody believes me. I've gone to visit Daddy in jail and told him through the plastic phone about the kitty baby I used to feed in the backyard when he and momma were asleep. I'd go to the way back, past the pool, to the fenced hill through the trees. And at exactly 11:11 every single Friday the kitty baby would be there. Meowing backwards with its hairless, upside-down face up against the chain-link fence. It was really big for a baby, but it was a baby, you could tell from its eyes and the way it reached its furry paws through the fence for thumbtacks and rotten sushi--the only thing it'd eat; took me a month to figure out--and then up to where you'd think its forehead should be but wasn't and gobble the food like my little sister Penny used to with Spaghetti-Os. One night I took Penny to meet the kitty baby. She reached her toddler fingers through the fence, her eyes wide, her face not much older looking than the fleshy upside-down one coming out of the dark. The kitty baby drooled into its nostrils, coughed, blinked at the two of us, and left. On our way back to the house, Penny slipped and fell in the pool, hitting her head on the edge. The pool-light went out, but not before the cloud of red bloomed. I jumped in, but I couldn't find her. The police took Daddy--they found the bruises he'd left on Penny; then on me; then momma. He doesn't believe me, thinks I pushed her. I'm eighteen years old now and he still thinks I'm making stuff up. He cries and hangs up the plastic phone. It was the kitty baby. I don't know how. But it was.
Mrs Langdon: Listen, I don't know who gave you this number, but if you don't stop calling here...Do you hear me? I've heard all those ridiculous stories. About the neighborhood cats gone missing. Nothing but stupid urban legends. My husband was a good man, a doctor. He never hurt any poor cats, much less our daughter. Sure, he was eccentric. Innovative. Unconventional, perhaps. But to suggest, what is it they say? That he surgically fused our poor sick baby girl with a bunch of black cats? To what end? To create what? A monster? No. Our daughter was sick and in a lot of pain and passed away in her sleep. She is not some--not some abomination out there, quote unquote, 'spreading her own bad luck and misery to all who cross her path'. Please stop calling here or I will call the police.
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Hope you don't mind the weirdness.
The Girl, that cat, and Saint Peters Gate
She was more beautiful after she was gone, though he hesitated to admit it. It was not her dead eyed stare that made him appreciate her absence, but the fact they could no longer read books together and drink wine.
At night he would visit her spirit at the crypt, and with his black cat, would sing at first Edgar Allen Poe poems, but these eventually became more aligned with modern counter cultures. For the lady he had known had been more rebellious in life. And thus he sought to support his wife, despite her absence.
He tried to swallow his tears, as he drank his aged imported absinthe. Only the glow of the moon was his comfort. Then he rested there as if in a quasi mode, and rested off and never woke up.
They held hands together at the end of Saint Peters Gate.
Prompt: Bittersweet Children's Adventure
Sorry, wasn't aware my prompt was so hard earlier. But it turned out great.
Thanks Redd, I appreciate the compliment. I've been trying to write again and these prompts really help. The last flurry of posts have all been very good!
That was beautifully simple, your story. I'll have to mull over your new prompt a bit.
Thanks! I'm glad you thought so. I think that's a great idea, that bad-luck urban legend thing. Is that an idea you've been tossing around?
@Otter: I hear ya, me too. I love these things, little bursts of writing. Great exercise for getting back into the mindset. Also it's great story-seeding, finding stuff that works out.
Yea in fact I used it for The Cat Who Longed For Mortal Love, as a way of subverting it in order to depict the cat as sympathetic and human. Not sure I succeeded. Might workshop it after I join the other stories.
Edit: Yes a very long short story, practically a novelette.
Edit2: Bizarelly in I Write Like the style was compared to Gertrude Stein, which is odd as I was going for more of a vaguely Irish styled Magic Realism.
From the prompt (Be Well Friend):
'Be Well Friend' said the headsman. The girlfriend remembered the crying voice of her girlfriend, who was executed on that day. It was a cold a dreary evening when the shadows along the walls climbed to total heights, and the lunar light hangs over old starry nights.
She could remember seeing her head roll away. She could never forgive the executioner, who she and her sweetheart had developed an aquaintanceship. It was the following week, and she took the Mayflower ship. Here she would enjoy some solitude.
Her village was raided, the end.
Alternative: High contrast Literary -- The 'child out of time' nostalgic effect, a little girl born in Victorian age Holland dies and her soul is placed in a born male body of a cyberpunk. Longing for kinder mythical past being disillussioned by the reality of the present. Timelines between the 19th century and the 22nd with a hallucinatory effect.
Inspiration: H.P. Lovecraft, of course.
Paris Last Night
I saw you brother at the bar last night he was with a girl I haven’t seen before. Yeah, it’s his new girlfriend. She’s super cute but I think she’s a bit of bitch you know. Why? Well you know it’s just..
Do you want to stop for coffee later? I know a nice café nearby. I’d like to but I promised my mom I’d come straight home, I don’t want her to worry. You can call me though if you…
This is fuckin’ awesome man! These guys are great, can’t believe I waited this long to come to one of their shows. I know, right? This is what life’s about! Hey! What’s that guy about over there? Where…
These conversations were never finished. (from the prompt ‘you are freedom’)
-Are you alive
^ Very nice. Inspired the following.
Pain. Everywhere. Blood too. He can't feel his legs. Checking with the arm that still moves, they're still there. For now. Ears ringing, he triest to put things together. What happened?
Stacatto pops through the deafness. Fuzzy eyes focus, blurry figures become clear. He has an gun? He wishes he had one of his own. The gunman stalks the room, firing a bullet into the back of anyone still moving.
Play dead. He worries he'll be there soon enough. His head falls limp, eyes wide open like the corpses around him. "Allahu Akbar!!!" More gunshots. He sees his girlfriend. She's not playing. Fighting not to react, he stares at her. Tries to imitate. Something jabs him in the back. He doesn't move.
Hands roll him over. "Are you alive?"
Leaky Water Bottle
Ocean In A Bottle
The leaky water bottle was slightly cracked. An old woman who lived in the house, with its boarded up windows, could not afford the tape to make it water tight. For a long time it had only been her own water glass. Yet little by little it would become like a leaky faucet.
Days came and went. Eventually she managed to get tape. But when she lifted the bottle top, a giant ocean came pouring out. The old woman could float, and she drifted along the giant waves. Until washing ashore upon a tropical island.
She got to have Banana splits there after.
Prompt: Love from beyond the grave, tragic romance. Star crossed lovers.
Bad Luck Cat (From a couple prompts ago.)
There was a stray black cat, once named Morris, who shared his food with his feral cat friends. It was food provided only to Morris by the humans who thought him very handsome and friendly. Where humans thought his small paws cute and fur, soft, he was shunned for these things by the other cats and wanted-gone by some. Of course, the humans had no way to know Morris was considered ugly, and likewise, the other cats had no way to know he was thought pretty. Where the two worlds ignorant of each other, Morris was ignorant to it all. Sure he sensed the watching cat-eyes and he alone felt the loving hands, but he had only his own speculations. In spite of those, he still shared his food with the other cats. Leftovers and treats provided only to Morris by the humans. Nutrients, like calcium and Omega-3, needed by the other feral cats.
One day the cat snatcher came. There was no other word for them, 'snatchers.' The cats were there one moment and gone the next. Sure the humans used words, like "humane," but cats only understand actions and most cats knew to avoid the snatchers. But because Morris was so well liked by humans, resulting in warm hands and warm bellies, he approached the snatcher who was quite welcoming in her own way and she did what she does best. She snatched up Morris.
So be careful of your thoughts and wishes. For one day, you may just get that which you desire. Unfortunate for the other stray cats, there will be no more fishes.
Same prompt as above since I didn't use that one. :)
"Happy Anniversary, Jim dear," Mary says, tipping the tin pot to fill the flowery porcelain teacup to the brim. She sips off the top and scoots the saucered cup across the table, holding her hands extra careful so as not to spill any on the vintage Ouija board laid out in front of her. Tonight's a big night. Fifty years. Her kids grown and gone, she is alone tonight in her kitchen, not a lit bulb in the house. All the pictures on the walls staring in the candlelight. The air is static.
Steam curls above the blank black face of Jim's tea. Her Jim, ol' JimmyJem, he always liked his tea black. Next to the cup, the gleaming alphabet waits. The rounded triangle of glass is cold under her hand. Mary imagines Jim holding the other end of it, the indicator, his cool dead fingers frosting the glass over the enlarged letter W. She asks her question to the empty seat across from her, "Jim? Are you there?" and the candles flicker. Her heart jumps. The air is static.
Mary holds her hands extra careful, so as not to influence the letters in any way. The tea grows cold. The candles shrink. She waits.
New Prompt: Feel the pain
Wow, we're getting some good posts lately
There's so many too by this point. Might be cool at some point to collect some together. Like a LR micro thing.
FEEL THE PRICE DROP
'Feel the pain.' said the mugger. Everything up to this point led up this, yet as with life was unpredicted. If it weren't for that god damn land lord, I would have still had an apartment. I had first gotten my job as a seafood department clerk. I carried around rotten fish, at first to feed the neighbors cats. But now it was the best option I had.
The mugger went down without a fight. The fish was so large it broke his neck. But he was still breathing. He will wake up with ... a splitting head ache. Despite him having tried to mug me, I felt some degree of responcibility, so I took him to the hospital. My neighbors talking cat, who was waiting for me at home, but now found me to search for me, said 'So that's why you didn't feed me.'
'Sorry I'll buy you a new fish.' I said.
'No worries, you have a large bill coming.' The cat said. Though luckily in retrospect the bill wasn't as large as I expected. It only cost a 50,000 dollars and a lifetime of debt.
I still wonder how the cat is now, with his new family. Having put him up for adoption.
Prompt: Tragic yet pulpy metafiction. Failed rescue arc.
And as someone who realizes just how hard this is, you only get four curse words. Because I just got a new fascination for the old zines.
I like it because it helps me get out of my 'high contrast time period' kidlit writing routine.
I have to admit, I have no ideas for that prompt.
Trying to keep this on the first page.
New prompt that follows the rules: Play it again
"God I hate that song." The long-haired teenager ranted and raved about how terrible how god-awful the music was. How annoying it was when bands didn't write their own music. How formulaic and unoriginal it was.
His father half-listened, numb to it. He was the same way at his age, truth be told. Of course, when he was in a garage band he bothered to take lessons, but never mind that. By the time his son had finished failing to impress the girl who clearly didn't want to be listening to him, he'd gotten the DJ's attention.
"Yeah?" his old friend asked.
The father couldn't hide his smile. "Play it again."
My slow computer
Error: file not found
Bad command or file name
Abort, Retry, Fail? __
Waxing, Waning, Whining
The waxing waning moon was whining because it could not finally rest, and give the sun a chance to shine. Yet because the star had been blown from its orbit (the sun on a family vacation), the moon had to do double time.
The moon had developed a kind of hum, that if there were still humans alive on Earth at this eternal hour, would hear loud magnetic noises. The moon felt lonely, yet there was nothing that it could do. So it simply waited for the sun to come home.
And once the sun arrived, the moon smiled. As it finally got to rest.
Prompt: Temporary Residence Motal
The lid up there grinds open, metal scraping. Sunlight floods in and I squeeze my eyes shut. Because it hurts. And because I don't want to have to see where my limbs used to be. Those angry stitches, like zippers. Like maybe I could unzip them, pop out new arms, new legs. Climb out of this hole whole.
"Morning, Subject Two-Fourteen." His voice is deep and measured, syllables spaced like my thumping heart. "Are you going to speak today? Or just whine, like Subject Two-Ten?" My eyes being one of the only things I can still control, I keep my lids clamped tight. The dark is familiar, friendly. Gravity holds my weak, naked torso to the padded cushion that lines the floor of my cell. Cage. Fucking specimen jar. These four corners are all I know, really; before the hole, I can't remember the last thing I remember. Wake and sleep bleed into one long blur, reality waxing and waning. I think I used to be homeless.
"You can't move," he says. "No needs to attend to, yours or otherwise. You eat, defecate, and urinate when I say so. Your every waking second can be dedicated to thinking. In a way I'm jealous, really. The secrets of the universe lie behind your eyelids."
I open my eyes. His face is right there. So close I could almost just lean up—propped up on nonexistent elbows—and kiss the surgeon's mask on his face, look through his eyeglass lenses to his dead eyes and ask him. Ask him. Ask him what? Why? How? I look up at him looking down at me like an upside-down turtle, like a crippled roach. His pen clicked and ready with clipboard. I smile, clear my throat, and ask him to scratch my stomach.
someone's feeling clever
We met a little over 8 years ago. The wife and I were on our annual October vacation. I had just finished playing golf and he was walking next to the path on the way back to the club house. I stopped to say hello and in the course of a brief conversation learned he was homeless and living in a nearby shelter. I would normally have just kept on going about my business but there was something about his eyes. They were large and soft and seemed for just an instant to lock on mine and reach down deep inside to touch my heart. I spoke to my wife about it that evening. She was skeptical of course, but one of her best qualities has always been her ability to understand what’s most important to me. Even if she doesn’t always understand why.
She soon saw it too of course. Those deep beautiful eyes could beguile and enchant and soon she was also captivated. The hard times had left a mark on him but I made a promise that I would bring him home. It took time for him to trust us and us to trust him. He was fearful of being alone, cautious of new experiences. He began to first share our food and our home, then our lives and even our bed! Not that I minded so much, he always waited until I left to steal my pillow. He gave more than he ever took in any event, so difficult to long remain angry or distressed in his calm and gentle presence. He made the most simple and mundane events seem like major life events. Coming home from the grocery store, or a weekend away was cause for raucous celebration. We shared a special love for golf. Me for the joy found in the simple beauty of the morning sun. He for the simple memento I would faithfully produce on my return.
Something changed, no good thing lasts forever. In the weeks recently past I could see something was troubling him. I tried to brush it off as nothing at first, perhaps a bit of upset or a passing bug. It became clear he needed help. It was in his eyes almost pleading with me to understand, he didn’t want to let me down. I promised I would bring him home. Last week I did for the last time. He’s resting now, quiet and still. On the shelf in my closet is a box, it’s just a square blue cardboard box. What’s inside fills my heart with memories and yes a bit of sorrow and pain. It’s worth it, like I said he gave me so much more than he ever took. Next October I’ll bring the box with me and I’ll play some golf in the warm autumn sun. Somewhere along the path where we first met I’ll make a small hole in the soft good earth. I’ll place a bit of his soft fur and a well chewed yellow golf ball and I’ll say my last goodbye to Buster. It won’t be easy, it isn’t now. But a promise is a promise and I’m going to bring Buster home!
Sleep Well Friend
Sleep Well, Friend
The machine beeps and beeps, sending a jagged blue line across its screen to tell Stuart that Lucky's still breathing. Over a decade in med school and twenty plus years working his own private practice has brought Stuart to this point, kneeled over the stolen doggy-sized bed rigged up in his basement, running his hand over and over through his prematurely gray hair. His only friend left in the world stretched out on this little bed in front of him, fur mostly gone but for some wisps on her muzzle, at the base of her tail.
Stuart never got married, never could find someone whose presence he could tolerate long enough for the idea of a second date, much less till death do us part. As the years went on, finding himself more and more unable to throw himself into his work, Stuart's nights became filled not with groaning patients and bottomless cups of coffee, but alone at home. An only child, his parents long dead, Stuart did what most lonely people do: he got a dog. Lucky was a shi tzu, a little black-and-white furball whose tongue was too long for her mouth, forever poking out pink over her slight underbite. She'd sleep on her own pillow next to his in bed. And Stuart was happy.
One day while out for a walk, Lucky squatted down beside a hydrant and Stuart got his poop bag ready. Only nothing came out. Stuart dismissed this as constipation, normal. He switched dog food. Until Lucky coughed up a glob of blood. Stuart called in a favor, got her scanned by some specialists, and there it was: stomach cancer. The so-called 'specialists' gave Lucky a month at most. But Stuart didn't go to med school for nothing. Rigged up on everything he brought home from the hospital he'd worked at for a quarter of his life, Lucky lost most of her fur and several teeth, but months passed, a year, and Stuart's best friend still lives—plugged in and shitting in a bucket. But Stuart can't sleep now. The pillow next to him is cold, and the beeping heart monitor echoes through his skull. He stares at the ceiling, watching it lighten as the numbers shift on his clock. At a time he should be fixing his coffee, fixing Lucky's morning dosage, Stuart gets up, goes barefoot into his basement. Leaned over his friend, he takes Lucky's bald paw in his hand, and unplugs the machines.
Help Me Understand
The bone saw hung loose in his hand. He didn't intend on actually using it. Yet. That was for clean up and disposal. He set it on the table and reached for the knife. It gleamed in the light, cold, sterile, beautiful.
The middle aged man finally spoke. "Why are you doing this?"
"It's a compulsion, I have to feel."
"I thought you didn't have feelings."
"Not usually. When I do it, that's when I do. You normal people, you have feelings all the time, don't you? I never understood growing up what feelings were. I would read about them, I'd see them in others, but it was from the outside looking in. I couldn't understand. But when I watch the life go out of someone's eyes, that's when I can feel. It's you, you help me understand."
"You can get help, there are other ways."
He lowered the face shield. "Let's begin."
Virtual Sky Drop
"Let's begin," he says, his voice muffled by the face shield. I lift my head up from the table to look at him, but before I can come up with a good enough reason to stop, please, let me live, his knife comes down in a flash, rips my throat. The weight of my head falls back, thunks to the table, but I can't feel it. Jets of red drench my clothes, spurt out and splat the eye screen of his mask. He wipes it away with his pinky and leans over me. In some numb way, I feel his latex fingers find the flaps of my neck, worm up behind my jaw, behind my face. He leans closer and closer, looking into my eyes as I gurgle, bleed out.
The room gets hot and that heat spreads up into my eyeballs and they melt and instead of the world going black it goes white—cool, rushing white—and I'm falling, except it's not me anymore, no lines between me and anything else, and together, opened up, this vast consciousness falls through itself until SPLASH.
I flail and wave my fat fists, gasping for air. Strong hands lift me, snip something from my belly and everything hurts. I cry. The strong hands pass me to a pair of soft hands, cotton against my face, and I'm so hungry. "Hi, baby," the soft hands say. "Mama's here. Shhh."
Overdose on Pleasure
Ooo, nice! I'm not even going to ding you for not using the three words because that was so clever.
Haha, thanks! You set up such a nice dark scene, I couldn't resist piggybacking. It started out with the intent of using the prompt, something like the previous life would end up being a computer simulation, a virtual sky, but it didn't really go that way... My bad.
Alternate new prompt: I Want You
It was a dark and stormy night, aspens sighed and creaked in the tempestuous gusts, the Airedale in the window of the quaint Cape Cod emitted three short spaced barks as the weather beaten visage of the parson passed slowly and solemnly below on the pebbled slabs of concrete sidewalk made uneven by the gnarled roots of the failing ancient elm. It’s magnificent canopy once home to hawks and Cardinals was now reduced to few and sparse remnants and stumps with squirrels and raccoons sheltering in the hollow stumps which were all that remained yet still produced a meager handful of bright green foliage each Spring and turned golden before dropping in the subsequent Fall. Upstairs the young writer waited, fingers poised above the classic ivory keys polished smooth by fingers long before his own fingers were ever formed and felt the electric aura of the unread, unpublished, unsung icons of the olden glory days. Johnson and Walczak and Anderson! As he sipped his Earl Grey tea the muffled sound of a knock and creak of slightly rusted hinges on the screen door which had holes large enough for Mrs. Murphey’s cat to hop through and kept nothing from entering and so her kitchen was merry with the antics of a multitude of flies in the Summer and moths in the early warm evenings.
They began to speak, her in rich melodious tones lilting with the shadow of her mother’s native Carlingford on the wild coast of eastern Ireland, she often spoke longingly of the times before the bloody brits ruined everything. He began to type, slowly at first, with short deliberate strokes the smell of light machine oil began to replace the recent aroma of the tea as the pins began to warm in their pivots and the quick slap of steel die letters began their rhythmic slap on the cool bright white bonded page before him and his cheap thoughts began to soil paper with his most twisted filth. Below the bed creaked as it sagged under the weight of first the parson and then his still shy lover as she began to dim each of seven lamps in the small tidy room and at each lamp removed first her grey woolen sweater and then her brightly dyed scarf and so on until she stood before him clad in her last remnant of modesty and heard the mechanical whir through the ceiling above her head. The staccato sound resumed, she removed the garment and extinguished the last remaining illumination from the small votive rose scented candle by the bed and gave herself into his arms. The keys began to feel soft and warm beneath his fingers as they caressed and stroked the seemingly endless stream of fucks and sucks and cocks onto the once virgin sheets as the bedsprings below began to protest in earnest and the flimsy wooden headboard began to slap against the wall echoing through the hollow studs and sharp cries and gentle moans with bits of monosyllabic conversation no longer hushed and indistinct as the pages began to fly he no longer stacked them now soiled with the excrement of his mind but let them tumble to the floor. His hero’s blade dripped crimson, the naked corpse before the hard sparkling black diamond of his remaining eye and observed with satisfaction the final quivers and twitches of her body the lovers below gave a final simultaneous exclamation and began to gasp and suckle against each other’s pale aged flesh once firm with promise of youth but now wrinkled like an old couch blanket with the rippled mottled color and texture of soft warm cottage cheese.
Good morning David! Good morning Mrs. Murphy. I hope I didn’t keep you awake last night, I had the parson over last night and we had the radio on a bit loudly I’m afraid. No Mrs. Murphy, its fine. I was concerned I might keep you awake with my typewriter. Oh no dear boy I hardly notice and I don’t mind the sound anyway. You know one hardly ever hears that sound anymore, it’s really quite nostalgic you see as my first husband often wrote in the evenings but of course that was a long time ago. Mrs. Murphy? Yes, David? I want you! Well of course you do, why don’t you come inside and we’ll have tea first…
(He’s Dick Hertz)
K, time to revive this thread! Near two years?! Unacceptable...
"So a guy named Richard fell off his bike and smashed his junk..."
Cam rolled her eyes. "Jeff, seriously, enough."
"He put a loudspeaker up to his crotch. Know why?" Cam didn't respond. "He's Dick Hertz!"
never eat pineapple