Friday, December 31, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Prompt: Write about a man with strangely colored eyes.

Source: Modified from


She held back a gasp as he looked at her. His eyes were flat, slat gray; emotionless, pitiless. He did not blink, the gray orbs were only broken by the wide, bottomless pupils. They seemed to absorb the light rather than reflecting it; always following her. His eyes sucked her in.

Notes: Unfortunately for all involved, my wireless adapter is out of commission until further notice. I will try and keep up with prompts, but I'm pretty sure there won't be one tomorrow as I will be traveling and unable to get ahold of anyone else's wireless. Happy New Year, all, hope your computers are treating you better than mine.

December 30, 2010 - Fated

Prompt: Write about two tarot cards.

Source: Modified from


The knarled hands

flip the cards

in sequence

The knarled fingers

close on the final two

then drop

The two unreveal tarot cards

flutter to the floor

December 29, 2010 - Annabel Lee

Prompt: Use the name of a famous literary character (examples: Helen, Ishmael, Elizabeth Bennet) for one of your own characters.

Source: None


She was a solemn child, with her eyes the color of the sea and her skin the texture of ocean sands. She watched things, with her too-intent eyes, and her fingers brushed her own hands absently, ceaselessly. She watched people, her gaze following their tics and movements, and she watched the hands of the clock as the seconds ticked by. But more than anything she watched the rain that nearly always rain its drops down the windowpanes and splattered on the dirty buildings outside.

Annabel Lee was a small child, slight figured and short for her age. She brushed through life like a whisper, as if she was invisible. She asked little and received less, unintentionally ignored by all around her, her soft voice often too quiet to be heard.

She collected clippings, little bent-up pieces of paper gleaming with pictures of plates of food and eyes and cats that smiled unnaturally. They lay all about the floor, fit together by their mishapen, mismatched edges. Someone might have stopped her or protested if they had seen her digging in the trashes on her walk to school, in her classrooms, in her grandfather's study, but no one noticed. Annabel Lee would peer into the cans and arch her arms to reach in and snatch the thrown-out magazines and crumpled pictures.

Her grandfather grew old and reckless, his trash filling with magazines about far-away places, and Annabel Lee looked at every one, but she never cut them out until the day that she found an article about the sea. She read the entire article, drinking in the description of the salt air and the sands. It was so real that she was tempted to sniff the paper and she could not resist raising the paper close to her face with her tiny hands. The new, shining photopaper of the magazine smelled like home.

Notes: I couldn't resist drawing some aspects from the original character, I like Edgar Allen Poe and his Annabel Lee far too much not to.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sacrificial Hero

Prompt: Create a story using all archetypal characters (examples: the young hero, the damsel in distress, the benign old woman, etc)

Source: None


The crowd seemed to surge like a wave about to crest upon the shore toward the noise, toward the cries of “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Jonas almost stumbled beneath the feet of the human herd. The group rushed forward until they could all see – almost touch – the fighters. Jonas heard the jeering commentary, the goading cries, and saw the leering, garish faces. It made him sick.

In the center of the circle a young girl lay still in the shadow of a tall palace guard. Jonas could not understand why the crowd was even calling the event a fight when it was obvious that the girl had not even had a chance to fight back.

She was bleeding from a cut on her arm and her long hair fell in tangles around her face. She was sobbing; Jonas could somehow hear it above the noise of the spectators. She looked up for a moment, right into Jonas’ eyes.

The guard raised his arm to knock the girl flat again and Jonas pushed through the throng to stand between them, stretching out his arms to take the blow.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Prompt: Sane mage

Source: modified from


Aldrid ran a hand through his hair, primping the contained chaos of the long black strands. He grinned, his violet eyes glowing a little. He looked as if he had licked his fingers and stuck them in an electrical outlet. He looked insane, but he figured that was all right. After all, not many mages had ever been accused of being sane.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Prompt: Character - Blaise Finney



Blaise Finney looked like a mouse. He had drab brown hair that fell about his ears, which seemed just a half-size too large for his head, in long not-quite-straight pieces. He was small-bodied, all angles and bones that showed no matter how much he ate. He was quiet and, when he did speak, his mouth moved in quick, tight shapes that made him look like he was nibbling. His entire appearance was nothing if not demure, mousy in all its aspects. This rodent-like air was only contradicted by Blaise Finney’s eyes, which not many people did. They were dark and cold. His eyes seemed to reveal a curiosity and propensity for violence – they seemed to be calculating what would be the most interesting way to inflict pain on the person they were viewing. It was a game to Blaise, the only one he played, and he was very good at it. He could guess a person’s deepest fear from the way they held themselves, how quickly they broke eye contact with him and where they looked after they did. Blaise Finney may have looked like a mouse, but he thought like a rat.

December 25, 2010 - Allison and the Door to Somewhere

Prompt: The Door to Somewhere



Allison stood looking down at the rabbit hole with a smile, amazed at the irony. Her full-skirted blue dress blew softly in the wind. It had been pressed just so by her mother only that morning and she tried to resist feeling too happily vengeful as she knelt by the rabbit hole.

She had not seen a rabbit - waistcoat or no - and Allison suspected that she had no chance of fitting in the rabbit hole, but she looked into it anyway with the faintest expectation of falling forward and downward.

She squinted in surprise as she gazed into the hole. In its dark recesses, Allison could have sworn she saw a door - bright red with a shiny gold knob. She leaned forward, trying to see better, certain that the image would vanish beneath her stare, but it did not.

Allison reached her hand into the hole, lying on the ground to reach for the door and it's brilliant knob. She thought she felt it, just within her fingers' grasp, but she could not latch onto it, the width of her shoulder keeping her a few centimeters too far away. Allison retreated and looked down at the door in the ground. Distantly, echoing as if it came from underground, she thought she heard ticking, but nothing moved within the rabbit hole.

Notes: I received a beautifully illustrated copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland today and that's sort of where this idea sprang from.

Yeah, I'm a slacker over the holidays. I'm not going to do a penance prompt for the 25th, in all honesty, because it's one in the morning and I'm tired. I suspect I could come up with a few better excuses, but that's the one at the top of the list.

On another note: Merry Christmas (and other holidays as well)! On Monday, I'm going to be traveling and I'll be gone for (something like) five days. I'll try and post, but I don't expect to have internet very often so I apologize in advance for any days I may miss.

Ooooh, and the playlist on the blog has (finally!) been updated. I was going to do one for Christmas, but I never quite managed that . . . Maybe I'll do one for Saint Patrick's Day or something . . .

Penance: December 24, 2010 - Dragons

Prompt: And you thought dragons didn't exist . . .



"It could've been worse - he could have called you ugly or something," I didn't really think about the words, I just said them.

Bailey's hair seemed to crackle with electricity and she glared at me. Her eyes blazed and her nostrils flared. I could have sworn that I saw smoke curling from between her clenched teeth.

All I could think, as I smiled stupidly, apologetically, was about the conversation Dylan and I had had that morning in which he had tried to convince me that scaled, fire-breathing dragons exist.

Looking at Bailey's bared teeth I laughed at myself. And you thought dragons didn't exist

December 24, 2010 - The Mist


Source: Found through Google


Liza looked up. She saw stars peering through a soft mist and circling planets patterned with swirls. She saw a flock of great birds with wings feathered in rainbow hues.

Liza heard a distant, sweet music that brushed her skin like the mist, caressing gently. She let her eyes fall closed, obscuring the spectacular view, to listen to the music better.

Then she felt his touch, brushing her bare shoulders. Liza breathed in, holding a breathful of wet mist and anticipation. His lips drifted over hers for a brief eternity and then his touch vanished.

Liza's eyes snapped open and she sat bolt upright. The mist had disappeared.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Silken, Sad Uncertain

Prompt: Silken, sad uncertain



The child's eyes were uncertain - a kind of silken, sad uncertain that turned her eyes into twin pools of vulnerability.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The House without a Window

Prompt: Start an original story with this title: The House without a Window



Trever rolled the rubber ball around in his palm. He could barely see anything in the windowless darkness. He tossed the ball up experimentally, catching it deftly despite the lack of light.

He added another ball, biting his lip as he juggled slowly. The balls made hollow noises as they hit his hands. Trever closed his eyes. It was dark enough that there was hardly any difference.

The rythm broke and one of the balls bounced lightly, rolling down the dim hallway. Trevor opened his eyes, straining them to follow the ball's movement. It vanished from his line of sight, but he could hear it as if bounced down the stairs.

Trevor remembered the stairs. He had once walked down them, the halls had once been lit with windows every few feet. But the house was empty now; without a single window.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Prompt: Describe a routine or holiday ritual, using the 2nd person “you”.



You lean against the counter, the hard tiled edge biting into your lower back, hitting the same spot as it has for the last eight years, since your final growth spurt. You can see everyone else in their usual spots: Grandma spooning eggnog for Uncle Luis, who’s on his fourth glass, Tarren and Ethan’s continuous supply of children under the age of ten running around squalling, and your cousin Tabitha is giggling too loudly while her boyfriend of the moment looks a little afraid of her but more afraid of the bustle of your family.

You roll your eyes, a little irritated with the noise and nonsense, but you take a sip of Grandma’s special eggnog and smile at the distant sounds of Grandpa regaling the teenage cousins with his wartime tales and sit up on the counter, putting aside your annoyance, because you know this is how Christmas has always been in your family, how it always will be. Because you know that this is how Christmas should be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spear Bearer

Prompt: This story must involve a spear in the beginning.



Stabbing, hot blood flowing. Looking so much like a waterfall, flowing down his chest. And tears, searing, painful tears clouding everything as her aching hands grasped the spear’s shaft, driving it home again and again into his chest.

Hera woke with a start. The room was dark around her, and cold with the heavy, wet air of the night. The familiar, wet air of her homeland. She closed her eyes, drinking in the cool breeze. She had been in the wilderness plains for too long – had been in the desert, on the dry, forlorn battlefields for too many months.

She settled into her mattress and tried to go back to sleep, reminding herself that she was home. The war had been won, it was over. The weapons had been returned to their resting places and their allies were safe. All was as it should be.

Her eyes flicked open again in the dark and she sighed, her throat feeling thick with tears. She could see the image – the memory – from her dream so clearly; she remembered every sensation of the event. The soldier had been so young, looking terrified in his battle armor, his sword too big for his body. And she had slaughtered him. Because he was her enemy. The child, who looked like her brother Mackii, had been her enemy. The bleeding soldier, crying out in his strange native tongue, had been her enemy.

Hera turned to her side, feeling the discomfort of her strained, wounded hands. Hands that had born a spear for too long without rest. Her hands clutched at each other, mingling their individual pain, and a single tear slid down Hera’s cheek.

December 19, 2010 - The Goat

Prompt: Character - The educated, rebellious male half-Chimera with a knack for trouble. His non-human ancestry gives him a horribly inhuman appearance.

Source: Modified from


He was tall and broad-shouldered, traits that might have been valued in a human, or even in an elf, but on him it only served to make him more frightening, more threatening. Cimeon thought that, if he had been born shorter or a little skinnier he would be easier to ignore. Or if his dad had not been a full-blooded Chimera. Having blue skin or pointy ears or fangs was one thing, having blue skin, pointed ears, fangs that would put a vampire to shame, being tall and having gigantic shoulders was something completely different. The goat growing out of the middle of his back probably did not help either.

Notes: A chimera is an ancient beast that has (among other things) the body of a lion and the head of a goat growing from the middle of its back.

Also, I know I missed two days, but one of them I was flying across the country and the other I was having computer problems and major jet lag, so I decided to excuse myself from the penance prompts (which is horribly lazy, I know, but oh well).

December 18, 2010: Finals Week - Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Prompt: Write the last sentence of a story about unrequited love.

Source: None


She flew out on a Saturday as she always did, smiling and greeting him by name when he motioned her to walk through the customs metal detector and Cohen longed, not for the first time, to know where Miss Jimson, with her ready smile and enormous, expressive brown eyes, was flying to.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finals Week - Like a Kite

Prompt: Write the last line of a story about an abnormally tall character

Source: None


He bent toward her from his great height, but even on her toes their lips did not quite meet so he lifted her away from the ground and kissed her gently while she swayed in his arms like a kite hovering above the trees.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finals Week - Cinderella and the Gardener

Prompt: Write an alternate ending for a well-known story

Source: None


And, of course, the slipper fit Cinderella perfectly. So Cinderella and the Prince began dating, but they soon found that they had very little in common for the Prince had never set a fire or scrubbed a floor and Cinderella could not read a word of Latin or mount a horse, much less ride one. And they went their separate ways.

The Prince married the Princess of the bordering kingdom, a girl who was simple, but kindly enough and he loved her dearly. They had two children, a boy and a girl and, though they were foppish and a bit spoiled their father raised them to read, write and even speak flawless Latin, and he was devoted to them.

Cinderella took a job as a governess to one of the aristocratic families and managed to teach the rotten children some matters before she fell in love with the royal gardener, who brought her vibrant, bright roses and spoke about flowers more passionately than most preachers spoke about heaven. They married and lived in a happy little cottage on the castle grounds. They raised their gaggle of children to know the value of nature’s beauty and hard work. They lived and worked happily together for many years. And the gardener brought Cinderella vibrant, bright roses every day they were in season until the day she died, long after the Prince’s son had become king and Cinderella’s oldest daughter had become the nursemaid to that king’s firstborn son. And every day after until he followed after her, a few days after the king’s second son was born, the gardener tended the flowers that grew on Cinderella’s grave and wound about her headstone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Finals Week - Echos

Prompt: Write the last three lines of a story with a bittersweet ending

Source: None


They stood side by side, so close that they could almost feel each other’s warmth through the space that separated them. The early morning air was crisp and cold, floating over them in a slightly damp current. Bane wanted to reach out and touch her hand, to stroke her cheek one last time, but he was too late; when he turned, she was already gone – vanished into the wet air like the echo of a laugh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finals Week - Asleep

Prompt: Write the last line of a story set in a sultan’s palace

Source: None


The smell of jasmine drifted in on the wind, shifting through the gossamer curtains, to curl around the young serving boy’s face, a face so peaceful he could have almost been asleep.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ambassador's Son

Prompt: Write the last paragraph of a story about two characters who do not speak the same language

Source: None


Bastian's nurse held his hand too tightly as they walked down the marble hall. Her sky scraper heels clacked noisily and she was speaking in a low voice to Betty. Bastian knew that she was only holding so tightly because she knew that if he chose to run away while she was distracted she would get in trouble, but it still hurt. He was determined to run away, but then he caught sight of the ambassador's son coming down the hall in the other direction. The dark-haired child was following his nurse obediently, his face solemn like no child's face Bastian had ever seen. As they passed, Bastian could not help but glance at the boy's foreign features, noting the strong nose and skin that seemed to perfect for a boy. The ambassador's son caught his gaze and for a moment they glared at each other. Then the boy smiled and passed and was gone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finals Week: The Freaks

Prompt: Write the last line of a story about an animal-like character.

Source: None


The breeze that kicked up the edges of the tent ruffled the hair on Sidney’s face as he lay behind the imposing bars of his personal stage; he smiled slightly as the cheerfully haunting music began outside and Burke’s eerie, booming voice lured the spectators in to see the freaks.

Notes: This marks the beginning of finals week. I have a final every day for the next school days so I decided to carry that theme a little farther. This week every prompt will be a finishing part of a particular type of story.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Prompt: Write about a group of people dressed entirely in red.

Source: None


John peered through the trees. He watched the people milling in the clearing. They were silent – the noiselessness made the hair at the back of John’s neck stand up. It was so unnatural how they were standing there so quietly, all of them dressed in red.

The clothes fit perfectly against their bodies as if they were a second skin – the men and women and a little blond-haired girl. The red clothes as if they were covered in blood.

John crouched down, afraid that they would see him, but they seemed distant. They did not look toward him.

Penance: December 10, 2010 - Like

Prompt: Write about a character who says "like" too often

Source: None


She used her hands when she talked. And she told lots of drama war stories and swore to emphasis her point. She was really entertaining to listen to, but you could never take her serious - she said "like" every other word, sometimes more.

December 10, 2010 - The Coin

Prompt: Use all these words in a story or poem: preacher, coin, stairwell, comb.



She pressed her fingers against the sharp teeth of the comb in her coat pocket; it pinched the cold-numb skin, hurting more than the nervous motion usually did. The stairwell echoed with the noise of her footsteps. She looked down at the paper in her hands again. Preacher Gorse, eleven o’clock.

Her chest hurt. She wasn’t sure what the father wanted, but it probably had something to do with her mother. And her mother being dead.

She sighed, looking down at the paper again, double checking what she had already triple checked. A few stairs above her, she saw a penny, face up. The coin was shiny, like a little piece of a sunbeam lying on the ground.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Encounter with Old Man Sun

Prompt: Write about a god of sunlight who takes the form of an older man.

Source: Modified from


Old Man Sun sat by the side of the road, stroking his long beard and squinting into the distance. He slouched on the big rock, his feet braced up and his clothes draped over his bones like gauze curtains.

He watched the road, sitting except for the incessant stroking of his beard while the wind blew his hair and clothes. A figure appeared in the distance and he hobbled down the rock, his body bent over.

The man saw him from a distance, but he pretended that he had not. The traveler was young and straight-backed. Old Man Sun smiled. His teeth were perfect, flat white pearls.

The man slowed. He seemed to want to move to the other side of the road, but he was afraid of appearing afraid. Old Man Sun watched him unblinkingly, unapologetically.

And when the young man was abreast of him, head down, walking fast, Old Man Sun stuck out his ankle and tripped him. And Old Man Sun laughed and his face shone like daylight itself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Prompt: This is a tale about xenophobia. The story is about a duchess who fears non-human beings. The effect of magic on technology is a major part of the story.

Source: Modified from


The windows were all black, like the world had closed in around us. I sucked in a breath, bracing myself before I left the kitchen. I knew the main room would be loud, too-warm. It would be bustling with people who smelled like alcohol and hard labor; people with no sense of personal space. A room full of strangers.

“Get on with it,” the grating voice of the stove was flat, impatient.

I looked over at the appliance. “I’m going. Shut your door.”

The belligerent, metallic clang startled me as I turned away. Stupid stove – total jerk.

Tyrone called out as I entered the room, his dread swinging as he swayed with drink. “Duchess! Where’s my drink?”

I could feel the entire room staring my way. I ignored Tyrone completely. I delivered my drinks and left the room.

The stove greeted me with a petulant command – probably telling me I should interact with the customers – but I ignored it too. I went up the stairs, out to the roof. I could remember when the stove did not talk and when only regulars came to the tavern; before the magic had poisoned everything.

The sky was as black as the windows had suggested, lit only by the faint glows that marked streetlamps. I breathed out a coughing laugh. They had had to bolt the streetlamps to the street so that they would not walk away to pursue other things. One of them was missing – it had figured out how to detach itself and no one had seen it since. It was as warm outside as it was in the kitchen several floors below – heavy, putrid warmth.

I could remember when the sky was never darker than indigo blue and sometimes we could see the stars; before the furnaces had refused to hold the filth inside them and spewed it into the sky. They had called me duchess back then too – called me aloof and snotty – but I had been happy, or at the very least free from fear.

I looked out into the black, dirty sky. I saw strangers walking toward the tavern. Strangers. And bile rose in my throat. I could tell from their dress that they were from the Distant Country, where the magic had come from. And I was afraid.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Prompt: Write about the relationship between two brothers

Source: None


Cambian collapsed into a chair, kicking off his boots. “That was ridiculous,” he huffed, indignant and out of breath. “Father had me riding by Andrid and refused to let me converse with anyone else the entire afternoon.” He looked over at his brother who was standing by the window of their shared room, as if expecting a sympathetic grimace.

Candel glanced at his older brother, expressionless. Cambian was sprawled in his chair, sweaty and rugged. Candel supposed that was the way a man returning from a hunting trip was supposed to look; the way the first son was supposed to look. Candel looked out of the window, watching as servants loosed the animal carcasses from where they lay draped on the party’s horses. He wished he had gone, but he had not received an invitation; he could not remember the last time he had spoken to Andrid, or his father for that matter. “That must have lightened the mood slightly.”

Cambian scoffed, “The girl is a harpy.” He retrieved an apple from the bowl on the table and took a too-big, smacking bite. “Father only keeps her on hand because her father has a particularly large purse.” He took another bite. “And a title – Duke,” he snorted.

“Perhaps.” Candel kept his voice even. He knew that their father planned for Cambian to marry Andrid – the plans had been in the works longer than Candel could remember – but it would not do anything to contradict Cambian, it never did.

Candel turned to leave the room. He knew Cambian would stop him, interrogate him, but his brother said nothing until he had almost left the room. “Where are you going?”

Candel tried to offer his brother a quick, noncommittal smile. He was not sure how it came across. “Help the servants,”

“Ah,” Cambian nodded. “Could you polish my armor after – tournament tomorrow.”

Candel inclined his head, turning before his face could register the resentment he felt at being treated like a servant. It had been happening all his life, but Candel could not help feeling irritated by his brother’s arrogance. He walked out of the manor quickly. He had intended to help the servants, but he could not stand to be around them – his equals – at that moment.

His mother was scrubbing the floor, on her creaking knees with her skirts hitched up and hair falling into her face. She looked up as he came in “My boy, what brings you home so early? Your father and brother are well?” her eyes were instantly worried.

Candel sighed. “Yes, mum, fine. You should let me do that.”

He knelt down next to her, reaching over to take the scrub brush, but she would not relinquish it. She looked into his face, holding onto the brush tightly. “What’s wrong, Candel?”

Candel stood. “Nothing, mum.” He went to leave but his mother’s voice stopped him.

“It’s your brother, isn’t it?”

Candel hesitated. He was not sure he could explain the anger he felt seeing Cambian mistreat his betrothed and run wild at their father’s expense. Only that morning he had seen Cambian roll his eyes as his mother kissed him goodbye before the hunt. He had felt so furious at how his brother took everything for granted, how he felt so entitled, while Candel’s own mother was forced to live away from the manor house, supported but hidden. He could not express how he felt acting the part of a servant while his brother took and wasted his inheritance.

He smiled at his mother, reassuringly. “I’m fine, mum.”

Monday, December 6, 2010


Prompt: Create a story, poem or any other piece based on this metaphor: a plate of fear



She swallowed, feeling the bareness of her throat, the vulnerability, above the dress’ open neckline. She stiffened, feeling the presence of the servants around her, fluttering by like ghostly shadows. When she saw them their faces were silent, stoic. Their eyes were glazed and glassy – they seemed to look right past her to the platters and goblets and silver. They did not make a noise, floating about the room.

She looked down at the immaculate lace tablecloth in front of her, trying to avoid looking at the man seated at the other end of the long, rectangular table. He was distant – obscured by glasses and elaborately decorative dishes – but she thought that he must be watching her.

She jumped as a servant’s sleeve touched her. She looked up; the man’s face was a blank white mask. He did not show that he had noticed her at all – it was as if he was setting an empty table. Embarrassed, she looked down to the dish he had placed before her. Her skin prickled as she looked at the wide, shallow bowl. It contained a heavy, red soup; it reminded her of blood, a thought that made her sick. It was a plate full of fear.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Prompt: This is a tale about debauchery. The story is about an awkward archdruid.

Source: Modified from


Hein tugged self-consciously at his long robes, trying to straighten his appearance before he entered the council room and began be scrutinized by the druid council. His new robes - the heavy, intricately woven, but coarse, neutrally colored robes of an archdruid - weighed down his shoulders making him feel as though he was slouching even while standing upright. He had known the council was looking to promote a student to archdruid, but he had never known that he was being considered. It never would have occurred to him to wonder if he would be considered; Hein knew the council was full of sick, corrupted druids, most of them at least twice his age. He had known that - everyone did - but he had not known that they wanted a puppet.

The door to the council room was closed, but its carved wooden design allowed him to see into the room. He could smell the wine from the hallway. Hein took in a deep breath, bracing himself, determined to remain impartial and separated from the council's corruption. He could not be bought.

Hein pushed open the decorated door to take his place on the druid council.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Prompt: Before I go to bed tonight, I'm going to...



Diane leaned back in her office chair, crossing her leather-sheathed ankles on the desk. She glared at the woman sitting across from her, wishing that she could burn a hole right through Vivian's red-rimmed glasses.

"I expect those articles on my desk by tomorrow morning."

Vivian arched a severely-plucked eyebrow in disdain, but she nodded. "Anything else I can do for you, director?"

"That will be all." Diane sighed as the irritating reporter left her office.

Her assistant, Jamison, walked in. "Trouble with Vivian?"

"None whatsoever," Diane lied. "What have you got for me?"

"Gale is on line three for you and the morning edition ready for you to look over."

"Heavens," Diane exhaled. "Before I go to bed tonight, I intend to eat my weight in chocolate and forget that Dewey freaking Gale ever existed."

Jamison smiled. "An evening to make the entire staff envious. But perhaps you should take his call first."

Diane smiled patronizingly at her assistant before picking up her phone. "Go get me some coffee, Jamie."

Friday, December 3, 2010


Prompt: Here’s a 90-second drill: List items you can find in an airport. When the 90 seconds are up, write a story that includes all of the words on your list. Set your story anywhere but near an airport.


Response: stairs, food, people, planes, metal detector, officer, kids, suitcase, bathroom, music, announcement, gift shop, information desk, carousel, laptop

She was sitting alone on the stairs, knees turned in tweaking the black and green stripes on her tall socks so that they zigzagged across her calves. Her hair had too much texture, like it needed to be washed, and her heavy eyeliner looked like it had been put on layer over layer without bothering to wash away the previous day's smudges.

Ayden had just come from work and he was sick of people. He had been sitting behind the information desk in the university library for nearly eight hours listening to people whine about not being able to find what they were looking for, directing visitors to the gift shop that really was just down the hall like the sign said, and telling students to stop - to stop playing their music so loud, to stop talking so noisily, to stop eating food by the library computers. Just before his shift was supposed to end a young married couple with three obnoxious, squirrelly kids had come in, leaving a trail of snot and fallen books in their wake. He had finally managed to get away when one of the demons had screamed for a bathroom, but he was almost forty minutes late. And to top it off, on his way through a campus check point, he had tried to carry his laptop through a metal detector and the on-duty officer acted like Ayden was a terrorist, making him even later.

He was exhausted and all he wanted to do was gripe and moan about his awful day, but Ayden knew he could not. He into the big hall and saw her sitting on the stairs, looking forlorn and abandoned and he knew there was no room for griping. He almost called out to her, but he doubted, given her unwashed, defensive, punk-rock appearance, that anyone called her "Lissy" anymore.

"Alyssa," he said, walking up to the bottom of the stairs.

She was up higher than most people sat - almost at the top of the first flight. She pretended that she had not seen him, like she wanted to pretend she had not been waiting on him and given up on him coming. "Took you long enough," she greeted, standing to walk down to him.

Ayden was struck by how very small she still was. He was eight years older and she had always seemed tiny, but she looked underfed and she seemed not to have grown an inch. She was tiny, swallowed up by a ratty black skirt and her lurid striped socks and a black jacket that looked like a circus tent hanging on a clothing rack.

"How was your flight?" he asked. It was a lame question, but he did not know what she was interested in anymore. He could not very well ask her about catching frogs to make into stew which was what their relationship had consisted of before she moved away.

"I hate planes," she said, lingering on the last stair as if holding on to an illusion of height. Ayden opened his mouth to ask another question, but she cut him off. "And before you ask, my dad is old and selfish and has high blood pressure, but he's fine."

Alyssa passed him. She walked with her hands deep in the gigantic jacket's pockets, stepping with an odd bounce which Ayden realized came from the black platform shoes she was wearing.

Walking out of the university side-by-side was like deja vu; they had done it so many times before. But at the same time it was a foreign experience; Ayden’s dad had always been in tow, trying to keep the two riotous children under control.

"So how long are you here for?" Ayden asked Alyssa's back.

She did not turn. "Until my dad ships me back to my mom again."

Ayden shut his mouth. He did not know the girl walking in front of him; this moody, matured-but-still-tiny Alyssa was a stranger. He felt uncomfortably overdressed and overachieving next to her - pursuing on his Bachelor's in Anthropology and working at the school's library and participating in service clubs. He wondered what year she was in high school - if her father could even force her to go to school.

He had looked forward to seeing her again with an eagerness that had surprised him, but with her standing in front of him he struck by a heavy sense of unfamiliarity. Ayden smiled at a girl who passed them - Crystal or Kristen or something. The campus was sluggish; it was too cold to spend a lot of time outdoors so most of the students had retreated to the university hang-outs - the library, the cafe, the classrooms of the nicest teachers.

They got to the edge of campus quickly, where the trees came right up to the road. Ayden wished that he had driven, but it was only a ten minute walk to his house and it had seemed like such a waste of gas. He had pictured walking close to the trees where they had used to play with Alyssa and talking companionably. It was painfully quiet between them.

Then Ayden heard it - the circus-y music floating to him. There was a park just inside the woods with a carousel, he remembered. When they were little he and Alyssa had begged to visit it every time they passed. He remembered how it seemed so big and seemed to spin so quickly; Alyssa had always hung off of her horse, standing in the stirrups and laughing into the wind.

The girl in front of him stopped suddenly and Ayden almost ran into her. She turned her head toward the music as though she had only just noticed it. Her eyes were green and faraway. She jumped, as if noticing she had stopped, as if ashamed of something, and began walking again, her steps short and precise.

Ayden stayed where he was for a moment. He could not see anything but the image of Alyssa's face, touched by the carousel music. Beneath her heavy makeup she had looked like Lissy. And she had smiled. Like she could not help it.

Notes: I forgot to put the source for the actual prompt yesterday:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Streets of Carnival

Prompt: Open a magazine and a newspaper and find a picture of a person. Then write a 300-500 word profile of the person.

Source: positive that this came from a magazine, but . . .)

She pulled the borrowed cloak a little closer to her body - her clothing was anything but period and if anyone else saw it her cover would be blown. The mask was a little big and the perfectly curled, newly died blond hair was uncomfortable, but she tried not to let it show. She was a slightly older than most of the people she passed on the street, but she knew she was pretty and when she offered them a small smile they seemed satisfied. She thought back, reviewing her assignment in her mind. It would not take very long to slip through the crowd of masked teenagers in Edwardian garb and get to the quaint antique shop on the next street. The place was sure to be crowded – its array of torture implements from past ages always drew a large group of admirers at Carnival – and the vast majority of people would be half-intoxicated; no one would notice her, no one would see her collect the object. It would be a simple task – in and out in only a few minutes. It was almost irritatingly simple. Her assignments seemed to have been not only diminished, but decreasing in importance and difficulty over the last few months. She almost did not mind – the lighter work load gave her more time to pursue her own interests – but she worried why her master would be giving her less and less responsibility. As though he was fading her out. She shook her head, trying to clear it. The curls that brushed her face still smelled of dye. It might be a simple job, she reminded herself, but every object had its protectors – some more capable than others. The shop was crawling with teenagers and she smiled. There was nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010 - The Aquarium Room

Prompt: Is it dangerous to . . .?

Source: The tallest guy in my math class

He glanced at the two figures beyond the aquarium partition. Tiny blue fish sent shimmers over the silhouettes in the next room. "Isn't it, you know, a little dangerous to leave them alone together?"

Fatima smiled at him. She shook out her hair, admiring the way the light from inside the giant aquarium played with his bone structure. She could not for the life of her remember his name.

She leaned in, touching his arm. "They'll be fine, I'm sure. They're responsible adults."

He raised his eyebrows. "You told me Tanner threatened to kill Ethan. That sounds responsible to you?"

Fatima gave a slight, apologetic smile. She had forgotten about letting that tidbit slip. "They're big boys, they can handle being in the same room."

He turned away from her, looking through the aquarium again. The water was too misty to see the boys clearly. Fatima tried to win his attention back, but after a while she stopped trying.

The party had wound down; she picked up a few cups to throw away. When she walked back into the aquarium room the boys were still there back behind the glowing fish. Fatima sighed. Hadn't they caused her enough trouble?

She walked in, "Ok, boys, break it up. Time to go h -" and stopped. The plastic cups dropped to the floor.

Notes: I'm back! And officially eight minutes late - not a great way to start December, I know, but I may have made up for it in the fact that this month's weather forecast has already been posted to the blog. Be sure to check it out!

December Weather Forecast

December 1 – Is it dangerous to . . . ?

December 2 – Open a magazine and a newspaper and find a picture of a person. Then write a 300-500 word profile of the person.

December 3 – Here’s a 90-second drill: List items you can find in an airport. When the 90 seconds are up, write a story that includes all of the words on your list. Set your story anywhere but near an airport.

December 4 - Before I go to bed tonight, I'm going to...

December 5 – This is a tale about debauchery. The story is about an awkward arch-druid.

December 6 – Create a story, poem or any other piece based on this metaphor: a plate of fear

December 7 – Write about the relationship between two brothers

December 8 - This is a tale about xenophobia. The story is about a duchess who fears non-human beings. The effect of magic on technology is a major part of the story.

December 9 – Write about a god of sunlight who takes the form of an older man.

December 10 – Use all these words in a story or poem: preacher, coin, stairwell, comb.

December 11 – Write about a group of people dressed entirely in red.

December 12 – Finals Week: Write the last line of a story about an animal-like character.

December 13 – Finals Week: Write the last paragraph of a story about two characters who do not speak the same language

December 14 – Finals Week: Write the last line of a story set in a sultan’s palace

December 15 – Finals Week: Write the last three lines of a story with a bittersweet ending

December 16 – Finals Week: Write an alternate ending for a well-known story

December 17 – Finals Week: Write the last line of a story about an abnormally tall character

December 18 – Finals Week: Write the final scene of a story about unrequited love

December 19 – The educated, rebellious male half-Chimera with a knack for trouble. His non-human ancestry gives him a horribly inhuman appearance.

December 20 - The story must involve a spear in the beginning.

December 21 - Describe a routine or holiday ritual, using the 2nd person “you”.

December 22 – Start an original story with this title: The House without a Window

December 23 – Silken, sad uncertain

December 24 -

December 25 – The door to somewhere

December 26 – Character: Blaise Finney

December 27 – Sane mage

December 28 – Create a story with all achetypal characters (examples: the young hero, the damsel in distress, the benign old woman, etc)

December 29 – Use the name of a famous literary character (examples: Helen, Ishmael, Elizabeth Bennet) for one of your own characters.

December 30 – Write about two tarot cards

December 31 – Write about a man with strangely colored eyes

Sunday, October 31, 2010

November 2010

As I said in a notes section earlier . . . there are no prompts for November. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and this is my first year participating. Instead of prompts and responses being posted daily, I will be attempting to churn out approximately 1667 words every day. My NaNoWriMo project, Iron Shoes, can be viewed here: I would greatly appreciate any visits/comments/ratings, though you should keep in mind that this it will be written without any real editing so there are going to be issues. I hope you'll bear with me . . .

If I don't see you on that project - I'll see you all in December!

Familiar Fear

Prompt: Fear of the unknown.



I leaned against the doorframe, trying to keep my breathing quiet. My eyes created shapes in the thick darkness that filled the room - monsters and demons that leered at me with long teeth and sharp claws - but at least it was a familiar darkness, one I was well-acquainted with. I dreaded turning the corner and walking out of the room. I leaned against the doorframe and tried to keep my breathing quiet.

Notes: Happy Halloween!

Penance: October 30, 2010 - Fate

Prompt: I am the wind blowing through your hair.

Source: "This is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas


He breathed and I felt it shudder down my entire spine. "You cannot escape me, Genevieve."

He laughed and I cringed. The screeching sound was such a contrast to his smooth, beautiful voice. "I am the children playing in the streets. I am the demons you mow down. I am your dreams of Israfiel."

I stiffened and he laughed again - that sound that revealed him for what he was, that harsh, demonic cackle. He brushed his fingers across my cheek and into my grimy hair - still matted with demon blood and dirt. His touch made my scalp crawl. "I am the wind blowing through your hair and the blood running from your wounds."

He dug his nails into my scalp, pulling my head back by the skin. He breathed in my face, his illuminated eyes searing into me. "You cannot escape Fate, Vieve."

Notes: This is a piece from my half-finished novella Guardians. I had a plot epiphany a few weeks ago, so this story will continue (after NaNo though . . .).

October 30, 2010 - Angels

Prompt: A hell full of angels.

Source: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Márquez


I took a sip of my water. As I swallowed, I could feel the pulsing rhythm of the music in my throat. A wing brushed the bare skin of my upper arm and I shuddered, looking around the room.

There were angels everywhere; twining on the dance floor and leaning against the walls, black lights highlighting their great feathered wings. The music was not loud, but its pulse carried through the entire room, masking other noises and making the angels appear silent, ethereal.

I adjusted the wide elastic band of my wings. They curved high above my head and flowed almost to the floor in a cascade of translucent white feathers. I fit right in among the costumed angels. I felt a little dizzy. I fit right in among the charlatans.

I had been briefed. I knew that each of the angels tangling on the dance floor with such grace had been buying and selling black market goods for years - some even people. I knew that the winged creatures beside me were always looking for both prey and partners. I felt sick to be so well-suited to their world. The Gabriel might have looked like a picture of heaven with its dancing angels lit by glowing light, but I knew it was a charade. The Gabriel might have been full of angels, but it was truly its own circle of hell.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Prompt: Every day the sun comes up and every night it goes down again.


Response: Sailing

We have been on this boat for so long that it has become a part of us - the creaking wood has become nothing more than a shaky extension of our shaking fingertips. I am past feeling sick - perhaps past feeling anything other than the wet and the cold.

The wind is vicious - biting our salt-blistered skin with icy fangs and screaming in our ears. The sea has turned to acid around us - burning deep into the wounds that the chaffing wind leaves. The sky is all too often dark and hanging like boughs laden with snow.

Every day the sun comes up and every night it goes down again, leaving us in absolute darkness, huddled together while the wind bites. My salt-stung eyes begin to imagine the sun's rays on the horizon long before sunrise, making a glimmer of the distant stars into a yellow gleam, and I begin to rejoice that it is morning and no longer night. Sometimes my eyes also imagine that, in the halo of the sun's glow, that there is land - all green and tropic. But there is no land.

We have not seen land for so long.

But when the sun does come up, it is never in the direction I was looking. I always imagine it coming up like a conquering hero and bathing the world in warmth, but its rays are never as warm as I had pictured.

Our timbers - the boat and ours - tremble under the sun's fingers' much needed touch. It dries out a little of the cold and chases away a little of the wet.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old Weezie

Prompt: They say Old Weezie’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for a hundred years or more.



Her bright, glazed eyes stared out from beneath the crinkled folds of her coffee-colored skin. Her hands with their pale, soft palms and short-cut nails held mine - so much smaller and weak and translucent-white by comparison.

"You know, they say, child, Old Weezie been reading palms for a hundred years or more."

She did not look up at me, her gaze tracing the lines of my hand with itching intensity.

"Is it true?" I asked, my voice so small.

She did not answer my question. She turned my hand over and patted it gently.

"Well?" I asked, soft and scared.

"You got sad hands, child. Hands so sad." And she turned her fire-glazed eyes back to her cross-stitch, leaving me weak and translucent-white alone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Prompt: A woman who works in a used bookstore finds a photograph of herself in one of the books brought in for resale. She looks outside and sees the man who just sold them to her watching her. She is afraid she is being stalked.



It was sweltering - you could almost see the humidity in the air. The atmospheric moisture made the air seem to shimmer as the sun shone through it. It was a little cooler in the bookstore, though not much drier. The yellow sunshine coming through the front window turned the books gold and revealed a billion tiny dust particles floating in the air.

Emma hummed a little - a tuneless mixture of old songs - as she worked. Her hair was falling down from its loose bun, turning into ringlets around her face. She picked up a book from the newly purchased pile - a compilation of Aesop's fables - and flipped through it to dislodge any bookmarks or loose papers. Finding it empty, she paused to admire a particularly charming illustration before pricing the book and setting it aside to be shelved.

She picked up the next book - a collection of fairytales - and began aimlessly flipping through it. Emma read a few lines from a story about a girl who collected fallen stars before continuing on. The picture was backwards, wedged in the spine of the book. It marked the beginning of another story.

It had some numbers neatly penciled on the back. Emma extracted it for a closer look. It took a moment to realize what she was looking out. It was early spring in the picture, she could tell by the bookstore display. It looked like it was overcast, but the bookstore window had cheap fake flowers lying among the books. Definitely spring. And she was locking up.

It was a day she didn't remember. She didn't specifically wearing her hair up like that paired with those earrings. She had gotten rid of that coat after spilling nail polish remover on a sleeve. But it was definitely her.

Emma leaned against the counter, suddenly feeling weak. She grabbed the next book in the pile, flipping through it to see if it had any hidden photographs. It was empty. She reached for the next and then the next, scattering the books and tearing pages in her panicked haste.

Then she paused, her breathing echoing in the heavy air of the bookstore. It was a man who had sold her those books. Emma looked out of the bookstore window. He was standing across the street, smoking. Their eyes met when she looked at him. She looked away quickly, mind spinning.

She walked as fast as she dared as she locked the bookstore door, keeping her eye on the man across the street. He didn't move. She didn't look at his face to check if he was still watching.

Emma grabbed the store phone from the counter and slid down against the hard surface. Crouching there she was more protected, she told herself, but that rationalization did not stop her from shaking.

Though he could not see her, Emma still felt his gaze as she dialed 911.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

See Through

Prompt: I could never forgive _______________ for ______________________.


Response: See Through
"You act like you couldn't care less, but really you'd kill to have boys fawn over you the way they fawn over Jessie."

She swallowed and spat out the first cliché response she found. "You don't know anything about me - you don't care about anyone but yourself."

He leaned in, blocking her in, staring her down. "Deny it, then. Tell me I'm wrong."

She glanced up at him, afraid she might cry. She could never forgive him for seeing right through her like no one had any business to. "You're wrong," she lied.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sock Monkey

Prompt: You are a 7-year-old child who has been kidnapped by a family who has been raising you as their child. They took you when you were just 2. What they did has been discovered by the police. One day you are playing quietly in your room when the police break down the door and arrest the couple you know as your parents.



The edge of the chair hurt my legs. I put my hands on the hard plastic and swung my legs. It hurt, but I tried not to let it show. I wouldn't cry. I was a big kid and I would not cry.

It was real big and empty in the station. My sock monkey was crumpled on the chair next to me. I wanted to pick it up and squeeze it tight, but I didn't want to look like a sissy. Daddy said I shouldn't like dolls at all - I was a big boy not some wussy girl. I wished I hadn't brought the stupid thing at all.

I could hear the police people talking, but I couldn't really hear what they were saying. I wondered where Mommy and Daddy were - I hadn't seen them since they brought us to the station.

I tried not to cry, but I was so scared. I reached over and grabbed my monkey's arm and clenched it in my fist.


A tall lady with curly hair was standing by the door.


She came and crouched next to me. "Hi, I'm Joanne."

I swung my legs. It hurt. "Hi, Joanne."

She didn't look like the police woman who had taken me away from Mommy and Daddy - the police woman had been scary. Joanne looked nice.

"Is that your monkey?" she asked.

I held on to it tighter, even though I wanted to let go and tell her that I was a big kid and I didn't like dolls. I didn't want Joanne to think I was a wussy.

"Can I see him?" she held out her hands. She was all careful with him.

"Does he have a name?" she asked.

I shook my head.

I looked up at her. Her curly hair was kinda shiny. "Do you have any kids, Joanne?"

"One," she said. "A little boy about your age." Then she just looked at me. I couldn't understand why she was crying.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Metaphorically Speaking

Prompt: Fill in each phrase with the first metaphor that comes to mind: Blue paint spilled on the road like _____, Graffiti on the abandoned building like ____, the dice rolled out of the cup toward Veronica like _____, _______ is like muscles stretched taut over bone, music in the hallway like ______.



Blue paint spilled on the road like royal blood.

Graffiti on the abandoned building like an overlaying fabric of scars and tattoos.

The dice rolled out of the cup toward Veronica like summersaulting leprechauns.

The thin canvas is like muscles stretched taut over bone.

Music in the hallway like the sound of children laughing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Prompt: Describe a lake as seen by a young man who has just murdered someone.



It's cold. It's been cold for weeks now and the leaves are turning and falling, clouding up the water's surface. It'll be weeks more before the leaves are blown all away and the lake freezes over, but I picture it that way anyway.

The water looks pretty. It looks pretty harmless. I imagine what it would feel like to drown in it though, to swallow that water and take it into your nose, into your lungs and feel yourself shutting down.

I look at the swirled reflection of myself. I'm pretty too. I look pretty harmless. I imagine how he felt while he was drowning in me and I smile even though I feel sick. A leaf falls onto the lake and I disappear.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Prompt: Describe a landscape as seen by an old woman whose horrible old husband has just died.



I breathed out the sky and the churning goose-down clouds. I spoke the cold air that whistled through the trees and drew out the creatures.

I sat down and my chair grew to suit me, bleeding color into the house that had been black and white and barrenly clean for far too long. When I thought I would freeze to death I went back inside and left my outerwear strewn across the floor in a new kind of scenery.

Notes: I am not going to do a penance for the 22nd because I haven't been to bed yet :) but I promise that I won't need a penance for the 23rd

Penance: October 21, 2010 - Old and New

Prompt: Microwave



Some­thing bor­rowed
some­thing blue some­thing
cooked in the microwave on
high so that the radioac­tive
have more chance of find­ing
you but you’ll already be gone
rid­ing along in some­thing
bor­rowed and blue

Notes: Yes, this is pretty much a cop-out. Anyone who has experienced the wonder that is knows that all you do is click on a button and it gives you 60-seconds and a word. I was just too lazy for prompt searching. This poem is also not meant to have any animosity toward the concept of marriage, I just had "Every Me and Every You" by Placebo stuck in my head.

October 21, 2010: Shuffle Week - The Dance

Prompt: Use the title of a show tune as your inspiration.

Source: "Dancing through Life" from Wicked


It should be so easy - a swirl of gown and bounce of curl. It should be that lovely - the shine of smiles and the compliment of clasped hands.

It should be a waltz on the glittering titles of an estate ballroom beneath glittering crystals. It should be a dance, not a death march, but I guess no one told the writer that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shuffle Week: Yet

Prompt: Use the line “Don’t pretend you ever forgot about me” from Fall Out Boy’s “The Take Over The Break’s Over” in your story.

Source: None

He leaned close; she could feel his breath on her skin. He sounded so mournful, yet somehow vindictive and accusatory. "Don't pretend you ever forgot about me."

She pulled back, biting her lip. "I won't. Because I haven't."

He leaned in again, smiling a little.

She put her hand against his chest, pushed him back. Away. "I haven't forgotten about you. Yet."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010: Shuffle Week: Thrills

Prompt: Use a line from at least one other song in conjunction with the line “And he always will get his thrills, the only way he knows how” from Imogen Heap’s “Angry Angel”

Source: "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" covered by Pomplamoose


He always

will get his thrills

the only way he knows

how - - Reading empty lines

of ancient poetry

and babbling on about hidden meanings.

Everything I like is just a little bit stranger

a little

bit harder

a little bit deadly for me.

October 18, 2010: Shuffle Week: The Dark Waltz

Prompt: Ask someone else for the name of their favorite song – use the title or part of the lyrics as your inspiration.

Source: The Dark Waltz by Haley Westenra


She looked up as his fingers bit into her lower back through the heavy black fabric of her gown, drawing her closer. Lalith looked up into his eyes, glancing at her through the eye holes in his dark mask and realized with a jolt that they were deep violet.

The man smiled. His teeth were transparent white like ice, sharp on the edges.

Notes: I will not be doing penance prompts for the 17th or 18th because I have two seperate 5-page essays coming up. I am hoping to get back on track though . . . and even though it's technically the 20th now, the submission for the 19th should be up soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 17, 2010: Shuffle Week: The Flashing of the Lights

Prompt: Put a music player on shuffle and use the first love song you come across as your inspiration (you may use any part of the song as your inspiration).

Source: "If I Had You" by Adam Lambert (Guess this counts as a love song)


My head hurt, but in a good way - a you're alive and this is how alive feels way. The lights were flashing and spinning - in and out in circles. All the colors were dancing together, clashing just like the people beneath them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shuffle Week: Dude, Honey

Prompt: Put a music player or CD on shuffle – use the first word of the first song, paired with the third word of the third song in your story.

Source: (I kid you not) "Dude Looks like a Lady" by Aerosmith and "Draw the Line" by Aerosmith - "dude" and "honey"


He looked down at the other boy with a condescending smile. "Dude, honey, that just might be the crookedest line I have ever seen."

"Don't call me honey!" The younger boy clenched his teeth, looking down at his drawing.

The line drawing was definitely skewed, but since the lines were all skewed at the same angle it actually did not make much of a difference.

The older boy patted his seething companion on the head. "Don't worry about it, honey, we've all drawn crooked lines."

"Honey" looked like he would have very much liked to bite his fingers off.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shuffle Week: There's a Good Reason these Tables are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of it Yet

Prompt: Use the name of a CD track as your inspiration (it does not have to have anything to do with the actual lyrics).

Source: Modified from; "There's a Good Reason these Tables are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of it Yet", A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, Panic! At the Disco


"So why do you think these tables are numbered?" The gum-popping blond asked, leaning in toward the man beside her.

I rolled my eyes, setting her plate in front of her. How dumb could a person be?

I walked to the other side of the table and poured the man more wine - not that he needed it. I asked if he needed anything else and he did not hear - too busy muttering in the general direction of the blond.

I held my tray perfectly level as I returned to the kitchen. I could not stop thinking about the blonde’s stupid question. I ducked in and my accomplice whispered, "Table 7."

I checked to make sure that my gun was in place and headed back into the dining room, balancing another set of plates.

Exploding Computers and Other Matters

As some may have noticed - I missed a few days and frantically made them up yesterday. Yay for makeup. However, I did get some out of order (the 12th mysteriously appeared after the 14th, for example) and I apologize. If I knew how to fix that on blogger, I would, but I don't so I won't.

On the subject of my computer exploding . . . It did not literally explode, but I have been having some major difficulties, but since those difficulties were not the reason I missed so many days (I've just been busy, tired and lazy) I have also posted penance prompts.

Hopefully I'm back on track now - you may expect today's prompt response as expected.

October 12, 2010: Baggy Tights Week: Pure Evil

Prompt: Pure Evil



Agni watched Ky as he strode toward her like a dark mist rolling in from the foothills. She swallowed, feeling the cursed brooch sear the skin of her throat. Her fists clenched within the confines of her white cloak, bracing her against the unholy pain.

Ky reached out to her as he neared, touching her upper arm. Agni watched him with fascination. His skin was almost as pale as her own, accented by unfathomable red eyes and ebony hair. His smile revealed teeth like a venomous snake and she could not help but shiver.

He was undiluted evil - evil in its purest form and highest concentration. She was repealed by the scent of it on his skin, the gleam of it in his scarlet irises, but still she was drawn to him.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Penance: October 12, 2010: Baggy Tights Week: Mildly Psychotic

Prompt: Mildly Psychotic



I grinned at her in sincere sincerity. “You picked the perfect time to leave me. I was really getting sick of you.”

She smiled like a gratified child as she folded the dirty wash in preparation for spring. “I never left at all. And now I’m back.”

“And yet I feel abandoned,” I agreed while pulling potato eyes from their sockets to feed her.

“Don’t worry about breakfast,” she asked, sticking out her tongue like she was catching raindrops falling up from the title floor. “I wasn’t hungry anyway,” she said and clambered out of the bathroom window to scrub the fire escape.

October 14, 2010: Baggy Tights Week: Tough Love

Prompt: Tough Love



I braced myself. She was in one of her moods, swinging things and singing raucously. She stared me down with wildly focused eyes. I gulped and swallowed what she gave me, clenching my teeth to keep from retching. I smiled and she beamed. Mother was always so simple – if difficult – to please on baking day.

Penance: October 13, 2010: Baggy Tights Week: Grotesque Beauty

Prompt: Grotesque beauty



He propped himself up on one elbow, wanting to rub his eyes but not quite feeling the motivation. The room was neither hot nor cold and the streetlights shone in just enough that all could be seen, thought it was not yet light.

She was writhing beside him, wracked by who-knew-what nightmares for the third time in as many nights. He watched with low-burning pain at her torment and an ever-increasing frustration. He would not be able to wake her, he knew, nor would she speak to him about it the next morning. He would get no sleep that night her knew as he watched her.

Her brow wrinkled, her fingers tore at the sheets and she whispered agonizing mysteries through her teeth, clenched in pain. The mask of her face was strangely convoluted yet smooth, her eyelashes dark and lovely against her skin.

October 13, 2010: Baggy Tights Week: Rustic Elegance

Prompt: Rustic Elegance



The mist lay heavy on the breeze. The sun had yet to break through the mist's stupor and it still hung, shimmering, from the branches of trees, swooping down to caress the wet blades of grass. A few insects buzzed and clicked in the quiet morning world, as yet untouched by the garishness of the sun. The birds were beginning to wake, calling out across the stillness, eerie in their echos.

The cottage tucked into the mist was waking too, a whisp of smoke curling from the chimmney. The mistress of the cottage opened the door, stepping out in nothing but her simple nightdress. The mist clung to her skirt, soaking it and weighing it down. Her hair hung loose in sleep's curls and mats. Beautiful and still, she watched the world awake, waiting for him to come back.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baggy Tights Week: Loud Whisper

Prompt: Loud Whisper



Her eyes were a pale violet in the moonlight, set deep in her pale face. Her blond hair lashed against her in the wind like a many-tailed whip.

Even from their distance he could see the brooch at her throat. It filled him with pride and dread. The scarlet stones marked her as his, but the jewels looked garish against her skin. The color did not belong on an angel.

She smiled at him with her eyes and he realized he must have been frowning. She beckoned him to her and he returned her smile, breathing out her name, "Agni," Though she could not have heard, her smile reached her lips.

"Come to me," she whispered. And the sound carried on the wind, clear as church bells.

Notes: If my computer doesn't explode (which the way things are going it very well might), tomorrow's response will be a companion to this (though hopefully it will be longer).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baggy Tights Week: Incomplete Cure

Prompt: Incomplete Cure



I watched the cursed ring sink into the water's inky depths. My fingers traced the permanent mark on my ring finger. I had had it for so long. I had killed so many people under its influence - dooming them with mere acquaintance.

I had cured myself, though. I would not allow myself to think of the water's currents, or of divers, or of fish. I would not allow myself to think of any way that the ring could resurface.

I was cured.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baggy Tights Week: Civil Strife

Prompt: Civil Strife



We smiled at each other across the kitchen table and our parents felt so accomplished. We ate like little angels, cleared the plates and went upstairs to do homework.

He tripped me going up the stairs and whispered "watch it, stupid". And then, because our parents came to see what was happening, helped me up and acted like I had fallen on my own. So I punched him the moment our parents were gone.

He called me "idiot" and kicked me in the back. I called him "jerk" and shoved him. He hit the wall with a thud. He swore at me.

I laughed and teased that he could not come up with cleverer insults. Then I walked away. And he tackled me from behind.

When we had fought ourselves to exhaustion, I sat on my bed nursing my injuries and listened to the low clatter of my oblivious parents doing the dishes on the ground floor.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baggy Tights Week: Benign Neglect

Prompt: Benign neglect



I blinded myself

I figure

I can't see them - they can't see me

I can't see them

I figure

I don't have to care - they can fix themselves

I don't have to care

I figure.

So I blinded me.

And let them be.

Notes: I apologize for missing yesterday - I got really busy. As you may have guess from the title - this is the beginning of Baggy Tights Week. This week is dedicated to the oddities and complexities of oxymorons and each day's prompt will consist of an oxymoron.

Another announcement I have been meaning to make: Despite the stupidity of the idea, I am determined to participate in NaNoWriMo this year (for the first time). Be warned - this means no prompts for November. I will simply be posting my work for the day. I have no idea what I am writing about yet . . .which may cause problems later . . . but I am excited.

Penance: October 7, 2010 - Left

Prompt: Write about the word "left" for sixty seconds.



I’m never right I’m always left. I never see the best part I always leave. And I never see the snow fall for all the fallen leaves.

October 7, 2010 - Mathilda and the Sweater

Prompt: Write a story in which a ghost serves as your main character.

Source: - InkyShadows

Response: Mathilda and the Sweater

Mathilda the spinster did not particularly enjoy knitting. It made her back ache and often her fingers would become numb from holding the needles, forcing her to lay her project aside and stretch her fingers. She found the task dull and tedious and she avoided it whenever possible.

She preferred to stand at her window and watch her young gardener, Elliot, at his work. Sometimes, when she was feeling especially lonely, she would allow herself the privilege of a few daydreams in which she (most usually in the guise of a beautiful young girl) and Elliot ran away together.

The spinster loved to watch the tenderness with which Elliot coaxed the flowers from the earth and tended to the trees. The gardener was a poor boy and one winter Mathilda decided that she ought to make him a sweater.

The task was daunting - Elliot had broad shoulders and a tall, lean frame that would be difficult to fit - but Mathilda gloried in the possibility of surprising the gardener with a handcrafted gift.

She began immediately, knitting as quickly as she could. She became obsessed with the process, the neat, perfect rows and the imagined image of Elliot's surprise.

But Mathilda's knitting went slowly. She was out of practice and she had never been extraordinarily gifted with it.

She knit all through the summer, when the flowers were blooming and she did not see them. She knit all through the fall, counting stitches again and again in the hope of perfection. She knit through the winter, when the snow began to fall and Elliot came only once in a while to check on the orchard.

And when she finally finished the sweater, after many many unravellings, she smiled. But the spinster had not realized how long the task had taken and when she stood to hold her work to the light, she knocked her own bones to the floor with a thunderous clatter. And all she could do was wander over to the window and watch Elliot coax the flowers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Little Heather

Prompt: How the young girl finds her way home in the dark.

Source: winess4HIM (Thanks for the suggestion!)


Little Heather lived out past the end of the sidewalk in a house in a yard full of prickly grass.

She had three sisters, all far older, and a collection of dolls all named "baby".

Little Heather loved to go to the park and play in the long, soft grass. One day her sisters were busy with piano and painting lessons and talking to two boys on the phone at once and she wandered to the park on her own taking Baby and Baby along for companions.

It was almost dark by the time she got there, the orange sun yielding to the dark winds of the evening and Little Heather was afraid for a moment. Then she remembered Babies and she told them not to be afraid, they would be home soon.

The long, silky grass was cold on her bare feet and one Baby seemed to be getting heavier.

When she wandered out of the dark into the glow cast from the porch light onto the prickly grass of her own front yard her mother ran to her and hugged her.

"How did you find your way home?" her mother asked.

Little Heather held a Baby close. "I followed the sidewalk lines."

Notes: This probably is the most random, most abstract little oddity I have ever written. I don't think I ever put a notification up (I've been slacking on notes . . .and everything else, unfortunately), but the Weather Forecast for October is posted (and well under way, as it is the 6th already).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Going Home

Prompt: You're walking down a dark corridor when you turn around. You soon discover turning around may have been the worst decision of your life...

Source: - Ana Ng


I picked up my keys, the metal edges making scraping noises against the wood of my desk and then jangling together. I turned off the light, surveying my classroom one last time. Was I forgetting anything? Nope.

"Good night." I muttered, more of an expletive than a farewell.

I pulled bobby pin after bobby pin from my hair, letting it cascade down my back as I walked through the school's empty hall. Giant windows let in a little moonlight and cast dark shadows onto the floor and opposite wall. I put my keys on a finger like some gaudy costume jewelry ring and let them jingle unhindered.

I wondered what time it was, but I did not look at my watch. In reality I knew I did not want to know. It was too late. I should have been home - fed, bathed, and sound asleep - not wandering the empty school for the third time in so many days.

I ran a knuckle over my temple. I could feel my pulse - the roiled blood venturing so close to the surface, pushing to be free. My head was heavy as I tried to review the tasks still to be done - papers to be graded, lessons to be planned, home chores to be completed. I had not washed dishes since the previous Friday and I was running out of cereal bowls.

I swallowed. Why did it all come back to Friday? Had it really been only two - three - days since I had sat in front of my television, eating out of a clean cereal bowl, at a reasonable hour, and seen my own students' faces staring out at me from the local news?

Chad Davis, Christopher Webber, Patrick O'Malley, John Brewer, Gerald Matthews. Five boys - all sixteen, maybe seventeen. Five boys' yearbook pictures organized into a neat formation next to the news anchor. The headline had rushed by several times before I had really processed it. High School Suicide Pact - Five Students Dead.

I bit my lip. Christopher’s girlfriend had not been back to school yet. Gerald and John's papers were sitting on my kitchen counter - graded and purposeless. I had not even graded Chad's paper yet; I wasn't sure if I should.

I shivered. On Friday Patrick had spent the entire class period flicking pieces of paper at Tammy Woods. I had yelled at him. I had sent him to the principal.

I stopped walking for a second, breathing hard for no reason. The hallway seemed so dark, so much darker than normal.

"Normal." I scoffed aloud. "Normal."

It was not normal for a teacher to outlive their students - it was not normal for five successful and intelligent juniors to be there one day and gone the next day. Dead the next day.

I kept walking. I had to keep doing, keep doing what I had always done. I needed to grade papers and do my dishes; needed to bathe and eat. I needed to sleep. I was not like I had really known them personally anyway.

Then I heard it. I took two steps, my unfashionable and only slightly comfortable pumps making a hollow noise, and then I heard a third step.

I turned to look behind me. The hallway was empty, set with shadows and moonlight that gave me the creeps, but it was definitely empty.


I kept walking. There it was - an extra step for each set of mine. Step, step, thump. Step, step, thump.
I sped up. The step was never out of rhythm, speeding up to match my pace.

I could hear my breathing, but nothing else. Nothing but the sound of footsteps. Step, step, thump.

My keys were cutting into my palm; I had clenched my hand into a tight fist. Then it was walking faster than me - I heard it clearly. Step, thump, thump, step, thump, thump.
A scream built in my throat. It was coming closer - I could hear it. I could feel it.

And that's when I turned to look.

He stopped when I whirled around, probably pale as a ghost. He stood stiffly, unnaturally.

I recognized him, though. "Mr. O-o'Malley," I stammered.

He did not say anything - standing still as stone, crooked as a the tower of Piza. And I never saw the knife. But I sure felt it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Story

Prompt: Write about how you felt when you discovered you were lied to.



"Your story is on page 35," he said as he handed me the compilation book.

"What?" I asked in utter surprise.

"You didn't know? It's been on the list for months - the editor loved it, it was the first one he approved."

"Thanks," I took the book and flipped it open. Sure enough, it was there - page 35.

I distinctly remembered Marjorie telling me my story did not make it. I was going to kill her the next time I saw her.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Prompt: Create a story based on this plot: gets trapped in the bathroom on Valentine’s Day


Response: Push

Eli sank down against the cold tile wall of the public bathroom, no longer concerned with the plethora of germ colonies that were certain to dwell on the smooth surface. He looked over at the closed door and thought again how very much his life was akin to being locked in a bathroom on Valentine's Day.

His suit, which he had pressed with even more care than he usually employed that morning, was wrinkled and looked like he had been wearing it for several days instead of the few hours he had actually had it on. He had hummed while ironing - a tuneless, somewhat irritating noise - and had looked forward to daydreaming about telling Veronique "Happy Valentine's" and perhaps smiling.

He had known that he would not be giving her the box of chocolates he had ordered from the inter-office candy message service and that he would not look Veronique in the eye, much less offer her a holiday salutation, but he had so looked forward to imagining it. And he had somehow managed to get trapped in a public restroom between his house and work.

It was so typical of his life that he should have expected it, he suspected.
It was the same as when he had almost decided to check out band tryouts in eightieth grade, leaving his clarinet in a teacher's classroom so that none of his classmates would tease him, only to have it knocked from its perch on a shelf and damaged beyond repair.

It was the same as when he had almost decided to ask Ingrid to homecoming in high school. He had practiced what he would say and imagined the scene all day, waiting for the faith period class they had shared together, only to discover that Ingrid was off visiting her step-father in New Jersey and would not even be home during homecoming.

Eli pulled the box of slightly worse for wear chocolates from his suit pocket and looked at them. He thought that he might as well eat them - if he did not, he might starve after all - but it seemed so unsanitary to be eating sat-on chocolate in a men's room.

He toyed with the idea of opening the box, but chocolate was so unhealthy anyway. Perhaps he would rather die of starvation than eat food that was both unhealthy and unsanitary, he thought.

As he came to the conclusion that he should wait a few hours longer before deciding, the bathroom door swung open.

The man who came in looked worried for a moment as though wondering if Eli was a vagabond hiding out in the bathroom to mug unsuspecting visitors and then he suddenly laughed. "Are you stuck in here, buddy?"

Eli felt his neck flush, but he nodded, not speaking. His eyes kept flashing to the door which had once again swung shut.

The man laughed again. He had a beefy neck that thrummed when he threw his head back. "Happened to me a few weeks ago."

He shoved one hand against the door. Miraculously, it opened.

"You just have to push really hard."

Eli nodded again, standing and edging toward the escape.

"Those chocolates for a girl?" The man asked casually.

Eli nodded.

The man laughed again. "Go get'em, tiger."

Eli turned to go and the man spoke again. "Remember, push real hard."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Gun

Prompt: Why would a trader own a gun?


Response: The Gun

The stars could barely be seen, glimmering behind wisps of clouds that shifted in winds that could not be felt in the valley. Canaan shifted on the hard earth. He was exhausted and he ached, but that was ordinary and expected. The strangest part of the situation was his inability to sleep - he walked all day, almost every day and he usually fell asleep instantly after he let his pack settle to the ground.

Canaan turned on his side and the icy metal of the gun dug into his hip. He thought about moving to alleviate the discomfort, but he could not quite convince himself to make the effort.

The metal felt acidic against his skin, as if it was eating away at him. It felt evil, gouging into him, and he wanted nothing more than to bury it in the earth. But he remembered why he had purchased it, trading some expensive little trinket for the cruel weapon, and he had been glad of it the day before when they had finally caught up to him.

He saw once again the red explosions of human flesh being split by bullets and the solemn emptiness of dead men's eyes.

Canaan shifted against the gun in his belt again and its hard edges cut into his flesh. A tear slipped from under his closed eyelid and trickled down into his scraggly beard.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sprung a Leak

Prompt: Mildred Allard and Lee Rabinovitz meet on a lake. One of them is pretending to be someone else. Write their story.


Response: Sprung a Leak

Lee could feel the individual muscles of his arms moving as he rowed. It made him smile, then strain, as he pulled another stroke. His shirt sleeve tightened across his bicep with a gentle cut and he smiled again.

The sun beat down, stirring the cool air with long, blazing fingers; bouncing star-shaped balls of light from the lake's undulating surface.

He took a deep, nourishing breath of the heavy air. That's when he was jolted from his seat.

Turning, Lee came face-to-face with Mildred Allard. She had been rowing herself across the lake in the opposite direction, her sleeves rolled up and her legs braced against the sides of the boat in the most improper way, her parasol tucked under her seat.

She had not been noticing the weather or the sensation of rowing - Mildred was hiding. She had hoped to find a safe, quiet spot on the lake's opposite bank to cower in for a while until her school mistress stopped looking for her.

Lee was instantly stuck by the soft features of the girl before him. He thought she must be the most beautiful girl he had ever seen - it so distracted him that he was not even concerned with any damage done to his boat.

Mildred was instantly struck by Lee's simple look and strong, lean body. He would know a hiding place, she was sure - a place far too earthy for her mistress to ever suspect. She tucked a dark curl behind her ear, highly conscious of the sweat beading her brow.

"Are you all right?" Lee finally asked.

"I am fine, thank you," she replied.

"I am Lee Rabinovitz - I live on the manor grounds." He held out a hand to her.

"Mildred Allard." She decided against telling him she went to St. Joan's - it could only cause complications.

Lee thought that the girl's name sounded somewhat familiar, but he put the thought from his mind. He would do whatever the lovely Mildred Allard asked of him.

Mildred smiled and fluttered her eyelashes a little. "I am so sorry - I ought to be more careful."

Lee, of course, protested that assertion and put himself at blame. They spoke and Mildred moved closer and Lee fell into her warm brown eyes. Neither of them noticed that Lee's sturdy boat had sprung a leak - too intent on their own motivations.

Weather Forecast: October 2010

October 1 - Mildred Allard and Lee Rabinovitz meet on a lake. One of them is pretending to be someone else. Write their story.

October 2 - Why would a trader own a gun?

October 3 - Create a story based on this plot: gets trapped in the bathroom on Valentine’s Day

October 4 - Write about how you felt when you discovered you were lied to.

October 5 - You're walking around a dark corridor when you turn around. You soon discover turning around may have been the worst decision of your life...

October 6 - How the young girl finds her way home in the dark.

October 7 - Write a story in which a ghost serves as your main character.

October 8 - Baggy Tights Week: benign neglect

October 9 - Baggy Tights Week: civil strife

October 10 - Baggy Tights Week: incomplete cure

October 11 - Baggy Tights Week: loud whisper

October 12 - Baggy Tights Week: pure evil

October 13 - Baggy Tights Week: rustic elegance

October 14 - Baggy Tights Week: tough love

October 15 - Shuffle Week: Use the name of a CD track as your inspiration (it does not have to have anything to do with the actual lyrics).

October 16 - Shuffle Week: Put a music player or CD on shuffle – use the first word of the first song, paired with the third word of the third song in your story.

October 17 - Shuffle Week: Put a music player on shuffle and use the first love song you come across as your inspiration.

October 18 - Shuffle Week: Ask someone else for the name of their favorite song – use the title or part of the lyrics as your inspiration.

October 19 - Shuffle Week: Use a line from at least one other song in conjunction with the line “And he always will get his thrills, the only way he knows how” from Imogen Heap’s “Angry Angel”

October 20 - Shuffle Week: Use the line “Don’t pretend you ever forgot about me” from Fall Out Boy’s “The Take Over The Break’s Over” in your story.

October 21 - Shuffle Week: Use the title of a show tune as your inspiration.

October 22 - Describe a landscape as seen by an old woman whose horrible old husband has just died.

October 23 - Describe a lake as seen by a young man who has just murdered someone.

October 24 - Fill in each phrase with the first metaphor that comes to mind: Blue paint spilled on the road like:_______, Graffiti on the abandoned building like:________, the dice rolled out of the cup toward Veronica like:_________, blank is like muscles stretched taut over bone:________, music in the hallway like:________

October 25 - You are a 7-year-old child who has been kidnapped by a family who has been raising you as their child. They took you when you were just 2. What they did has been discovered by the police. One day you are playing quietly in your room when the police break down the door and arrest the couple you know as your parents.

October 26 - I could never forgive _______________ for ______________________. Now finish the story.

October 27 - A woman who works in a used bookstore finds a photograph of herself in one of the books brought in for resale. She looks outside and sees the man who just sold them to her watching her. She is afraid she is being stalked. Depending on the slant of the story, the photograph could be compromising, or not.

October 28 - They say Old Weezie’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for a hundred years or more.

October 29 - Every day the sun comes up and every night it goes down again.

October 30 - A hell full of angels.

October 31 - Fear of the unknown.