Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Ranks

Prompt: This story must have a soldier at the end.



Ve blinked rapidly. The rain was falling hard and thick, dripping into his eyes in continuous rivers. He could hardly see the trainees in front of him. The mud sucked at his boots as they marched downhill. Every time he pulled free to take another step, his stomach dropped as though he might fall forward down the hill.

Ve could hear the other boys groaning beneath their heavy packs and the oppressive rain. A scream broke the air as one of the trainees fell to the ground in the next column. Ve paused, boots deep in the mud. The boy behind him slid, trying to stop. He slammed into Ve, taking them both down the hill.

They careened into the boys in front of them, hitting the backs of their knees. The hill grew sharper and they tumbled faster. An elbow slammed into Ve's cheek beneath his eye, one of the boy's packs fell heavily onto his stomach, knocking the air from his lungs.

They came to a bone-jarring halt at the bottom of the hill. Ve could feel warm liquid which he thought was blood dripping down his neck with the cold rain. His cheek throbbed. One of the other boys was on top of his arm, bending it backward.

They lay still, unable to move. One of the boys was crying. Ve gasped for breath. He still could see very little, even the boys piled on top of his were vague, blurred outlines, obscured by the rain.

The commanding officer's voice pierced the patter of the rain. He was yelling at them though Ve could not tell what the man was saying. Ve's ears were ringing.

The pile shifted. The boy who was on top of Ve's arm rolled, sending excruciating pain through the limb, and stood.

"Come on, boy, get up,"

A faint face appeared above Ve in the rain. It was not his commanding officer, but Ve thought he recognized the boy as one of the older trainees. A hand appeared through the rain.

"Come on, get up."

Ve took the proffered hand. It was rough and wet. Up close, Ve could tell that it was not the boy he had thought it was. The boy's eyes were dark and dull. He was from an upper division. A division that had returned from the front lines only a few days previous.

The boy had been to war. He was a real soldier, not like like the other boys. They were just stumbling through the rain, but that boy, he was a warrior. Ve looked at the other boy as he returned to his place among the ranks.

Ve's arm protested as he re-shouldered his pack and his eye pounded with his heartbeat, but he refused to make a sound. He was ashamed to be among the green, whining trainees. Ve clenched his teeth against his discomfort and continued marching.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Time Warp

Prompt: I've been to nine planets in twelve years and it's starting to show.



I've been to nine planets in twelve years and it's starting to show. I'm a little gray around the temples now and far too thin for a man of 6'4", but looking at me you could hardly tell that my skin has become measurably thinner from the chemical exposure or that I've picked up a few infectious alien diseases in the course of my travels. No, it's starting to show on everyone else.

I saw my wife for the first time in twelve years yesterday. She looked twelve years older; her skin had begun to wrinkle, her hair had silvered. She looked at me as if she were seeing a ghost.

"You haven't changed," she told me. Her voice was bitter and strained.

My son, my twenty-five-year-old son, said the same. He was only thirteen when I left, but when I saw him he said I look exactly as he remembered. He sounded angry.

My parents died in a freak accident while I was away, somewhere between my sixth and seventh planets. My only brother refused to see me on my return and though he did not tell me why, I suspect it had everything to do with our parents' deaths.

I have not changed, but the same can not be said for everything I once knew.

Notes: For all those not familiar with the staples of sci-fi, this piece is based on the theory that if you travel at light speed (or faster) you won't experience normal aging.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Prompt: Write about two trees.

Source: None.


They could see the city for days before their arrival. Heyos had never seen anything so large; in the distance, it even appeared to dwarf the mountains. The city of Eurias' white walls loomed like glacier cliffs, in stark contrast with the barren wasteland of the plains.

Every night, Heyos found himself sleeping with his feet toward Eurias so that its great, ivory walls were the last thing he saw before he closed his eyes. Claey had smiled at the boy the second night, a mischievous twitch of his heavy lips, but he had refrained from teasing him, a fact for which Heyos was incredibly grateful. He could not have explained what drew him to the city if asked and he preferred not to be taunted about yet another of his habits.

Heyos did not sleep at all the night before they reached Eurias. The moon rose full over the flat plain and the city's walls shone translucent with its light almost as though illuminated from within. As they neared the city the next day, Heyos was suddenly aware of the grime of travel on his clothes and how dirty he must be. The ice-like surface of the walls reflected the columns of travelers, some coming, some going. It turned his stomach to see the shining fortress marred by their filth.

Whenever Heyos thought it would not be noticed, he stood up on his toes, trying to see over the crowd. He had heard stories about the gates of Eurias - the intricately sturdy bars made entirely from vines. It was said that the gates had been raided from an ancient village in the mountains and, though the vines had died in transit, the gates were linked to to the city by a system of living plants, almost magical in composition. He did not catch sight of the gates until the party had come deep into the shadow of Eurias' walls and, even then, he could not see them clearly until they were almost through them.

The gates were wide enough for the two enormous trains of people could walk comfortably side-by-side, though they were set so low in the wall that tall men on horseback ducked automatically. Heyos' eyes widened as they came close. He wanted to stop and touch the gates, which did indeed appear to have been fashioned from plant matter woven into the shapes of a great stag on one side and a lithe doe on the other, but he was swept up in the crowd. He would not have stopped even if he had been able; Heyos was wary of looking backward. Well, more backward than he already looked with his animal-skin clothing and long hair. It would not do to make it more obvious that he had never been to Eurias before.

The light was blinding as they came through the gates and out into the city. Heyos squinted upward. An enormous tree, its outstretched branches serving as a roof over the whole city blocked most of the direct sunlight. The brilliant glow was reflected off the smooth surfaces of the white walls, even seeming to come through them as if they were made of muslin rather than stone. All of the traffic seemed to be going toward the giant tree.

Heyos could not imagine where everyone was going - they appeared to be walking directly into the tree. As they came closer, close enough to see the pocks in the great tree's thick bark, Heyos could see a river flowing perpendicular to them. The wide, slow-moving river flowed directly beneath the tree. From the shorter distance, he finally realized where the people were disappearing to. The path they were on went beneath the tree, crossing the river.

Heyos' palms became clammy as they nearer the monstrous plant. What if it collapsed down on them? Surely they would be killed. Would he be able to breathe beneath the tree?

Beneath the tree's great roots, the path became a seamless bridge, spanning the river. The tree sat on both sides of the river, its truck suspended well above the water and the bridge. Sounds were muffled in the half-darkness beneath the tree trunk, so that it almost seemed that they were beneath water.

At the center of the bridge Heyos paused. He looked up into the hollow of the mighty tree. He thought he could see another tree there - hanging by roots that were embedded in the larger trunk. The tree glowed brilliant white, like the sunlight that came through the city's walls. Heyos stared up at it, mouth open slightly until Claey yelled, "C'mon, bumpkin, let's go!"

Blushing, Heyos looked back down to the bridge and followed his comrades back out into the sunlight of Eurias.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christian and Anthony, Antagonists

Prompt: Create the antagonist to your February 23 protagonist character.

Source: None


Christian Gabler - 42, male, divorced: no children, one of three kids, workaholic father, alcoholic mother, works as an insurance salesman, above average height but with a paunch, balding gray hair, watery gray eyes with deep pockets, has mild bipolar disorder: undiagnosed and untreated. Likes: being alone, David Hume, the special at the local diner. Dislikes: other people, ignorant people. Fears: cops, people who are more intelligent or more powerful than he is, intelligent, educated, beautiful or powerful women, death.

Anthony Ross - 31, male, married to Melissa Shane Ross (30): no children, Paxton's coworker, African-American, deep black skin, nearly-black eyes, well above average height, muscular build, only child, father just remarried: his father's new wife is a Chinese immigrant who often pretends she does not speak English well. She torments Antony whenever she gets the chance. Likes: walking into a room with Melissa on his arm, Italian food, World War II stories and artifacts, military weaponry. Dislikes: children, Paxton, rebellious teenagers, bigots, his father-in-law. Fears: being responsible for a hostage's death, his wife dying before him/divorce.

Notes: I was going to have Christian be the only antagonist, but then I decided Paxton deserved to have an antagonist that he could butt heads with much more frequently (and so Anthony was born).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paxton Adler, Protagonist

Prompt: Create a well-rounded protagonist character.

Source: None


Paxton Adler - 30, male, single: almost married at the age of 24 but his bride-to-be died in a car accident a few weeks before the ceremony, slightly above-average height, muscled build, olive-toned skin, dark hazel eyes, black curly hair, particularly defined jaw, scar on his left forearm from a BMX accident as a teenager, works as a hostage negotiator for the FBI: has a good track record and is considered one of the better negotiators in his department, parents were killed in a gas station robbery when he was 21, only child. Likes: intelligent conversation, BMX biking, expensive cheeses, adrenaline rushes, Jalapeno Cheetos, automatic weapons, shooting ranges, handguns. Dislikes: women who are too easily impressed (i.e. by a badge), football, seafood, being wrong, the middle of winter, the sound of nails on a chalkboard. Fears: being responsible for a hostage's death, mass murderers, school shootings, debilitating illness, old age.

Penance: February 22, 2011 - Bitty

Prompt: Write about a nickname.

Source: None


She was thin and so pale that she looked as though she might fade into nothingness. She was a waif - all blond hair and tentative, light eyes. Her name was Belinda. The word did not suit her - it was far too long and heavy for such an insubstantial being - and so it was hardly ever used. When it was used it was used it always appeared to shock the child, as though she had been struck.

The word Belinda so much weight that when it was used on that fragile child it shattered the precarious set of her shoulders, it smashed against the light in the girl's eyes, and destroyed the teasing smile on her fragile, thin lips.

Even the other children could batter her with her own name - their accompanying giggles drove the blows harder and faster into her diminutive form. So most called her nothing, touching her shoulder instead to get her attention. But the child who knew her best - a bright-eyed girl with a dark mane of uncontrollable curls named Henrietta - called Belinda Bitty. No one else called her Bitty; from anyone else the name would have been another blow, flaunting the fragility of her existence. But coming from Henrietta, whose name suited her perfectly, the name Bitty was perfect. It was just light enough for the girl to carry.

February 22, 2011 - The Clock

Prompt: Use an unconventional symbol in your piece.

Source: None


Her skin had shriveled, coming off the bones in deep furrows and wrinkles. Her bones were almost revealed by the tissue paper-thin covering. The skin was so far pulled away that the long white bone lines could be clearly distinguished if not clearly seen.

She could almost see them reflected in the glass face of the grandfather clock. The apparition in the glass was all lines and gathered, ribbed, puckered skin that was one sharp movement away from sliding off the bones. The clock had not yet been wound. Its pendulum hung still, poised.

The clock needed to be wound, perhaps she could get her daughter's husband to do it. If they ever arrived. They were supposed to be there at five.

She looked at the clock and her deep-set eyes, pushed back into her face by a flood of wrinkled skin. It looked about to fall off her skull. She wondered what time it was and if it was anywhere near five.

Her reflection glared at her. Perhaps five had already passed, maybe years before. Or maybe five had not yet come. Yes, that had to be right, because if five had come her son-in-law would have come and wound the clock.

Notes: So I guess I used a conventional symbol (the clock) with an unconventional significance. My bad.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sins of Omission

Prompt: Write about a character's inability to complete an important action.

Source: None


"I love live theater," he raved, gesturing broadly to the spotlights above them and the balcony that wrapped around the auditorium. His chest was puffed out, his balding pate glowed beneath the lights.

I bit my lip, trying to bite back the words I should tell him. I should have told him he was a racist, egotistical, bigot and walked out on him. But he was my boss and it was not my place to tell him. So while he ranted about theater's grand history, peppering the story with his own accomplishments in the arena, I kept my mouth shut and my job intact. Surely someone else would tell him off someday - someone whose livelihood was not at stake.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eagle's Wings

Prompt: “Borne as on eagle wings”

Source: Phrase from the Hymn Praise to the Lord, the Almighty


He wrapped his arms around me. I could feel the bands of muscle there - so real, so solid. I kept my eyes closed. I was surrounded by his touch, his earthy scent, by the rustlings of his wing feathers.

I let my eyes flutter open when he took off. I hung from his arms. I could see the strain I put on the muscles of his chest in the ripples in front of my eyes.

The wind around my ears, the sound of his flapping wings, sounded like music. It sounded like the words to a hymn I had maybe once heard echoing in a cathedral back when my mother had taken me to church. I felt them running through me; they echoed the exact sensation I felt. Borne as on eagle's wings.

I let my eyes close again. Israfiel carried me higher, bearing me up on his mighty wings.

Notes: This is a little piece from the perspective of a character in my project Guardians. I've been working on it lately and this phrase just worked as a moment in the character's personality.

Penance: February 19, 2011 - Done Good

Prompt: Sage

Source: (this is actually today's word)


You done good for yourself. You real smart, real wise almost – like some ancient shaman. You real sage, even. You got the wrinkles to prove it and you eyes – they real trusty, your eyes. You done good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19, 2011 - The J Family

Prompt: Write a story in which all the characters’ names begin with the same letter.

Source: ivegotwritersblock on


"Did you find everything all right?" Joe asked, without looking up. He began ringing up the items on the belt.

"Yes, thanks."

Joe gave a barely-polite smile in return. His back ached; he worked as quickly as possible, whipping the bar codes of the items past the scanner.

"Mommy," a shrill little voice proclaimed. "The checker has my name on his chest."

Joe looked up. His eyes widened as he took in the family in his checkout line. There were at least six, somewhat grubby children, lined up in front of him. The child who had spoken was peering up at him over the belt. The boy's mother smiled down at him. "That's his name, Joe."

"Is your name, Joe?" The kid asked, his eyes wide as if he had never contemplated someone else having his name.

Joe nodded.

"I'm Joe, too," the child informed him.

One of the other children, a little girl with frizzy blond pigtails, said, "I'm Jamie."

Suddenly Joe found himself bombarded by introductions.

"I'm Jerry,"

"I'm Joan,"

"Hi, Joe! I'm Jeffery,"

"My name's Jimmy,"

"I'm John,"

"I'm Jared, Joe,"

The kid's mother smiled at Joe's bafflement. He rang up the last item a little shakily and said, "That'll be $57.30."

"I'm Jessie, by the way," she said as she paid him. Joe watched open-mouthed as the entire family trotted away, the children lined up like a row of ducklings.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Prompt: Write about a misty day.

Source: None


It was as if some evil was creeping over the land. The fog of the morning had thinned by midday, but the mist still hung in the air, obscuring the trees and blending them into each other. It blurred the boundaries between objects. Landmarks ran together like wet paint dripping down a canvas. As if a person could disappear into the mist, becoming a part of the eerie, floating cloud.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Deadline Blues

Prompt: Write about an author with writer's block.

Source: NatSplatt thanks RACK!! on


His pencil tapped the tabletop - a nervous, staccato rhythm. If I had been turned toward him I would have seen him biting his lip while he tapped, a sure sign that he was stuck. As it was, I did not need to look at him to know he had writer's block. The tapping had been going on unbroken by the sound of a pencil skating across paper for nearly half an hour.

I glanced at the clock, but I already knew what time it was - nearly midnight. I want to go to bed, I was exhausted, but I did not want to go alone.

I looked over at Blake. He was biting his lip. His deadline was in two days. I knew I should let him work even if working simply meant pencil tapping and lip biting, but I really did not want to. Besides, Blake got exponentially less productive once ten o'clock had passed.

I stood and walked into the kitchen. His things were strewn across the table, his chair was slid in so tightly that his ribcage appeared perched on the wood. I stood behind him. There were a few words scribbled on his yellow legal pad, but I knew better than to read them. I only read the finished project. I kissed Blake's cheek, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. The pencil stopped tapping.

"Come to bed," I requested.

His hand came up to rest on my arm. We were silent for a moment while he contemplated the mess before him. He sighed. "I'll be in in a few minutes."

I released him after another quick kiss. I knew I would fall asleep alone.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Prompt: Rocket

Source: (a while ago)


"What are you doing?" she asked all quiet, coming and kneeling all close to me.

"'s a rocket," I tell her, adding a little more red to the fiery boosters.

"Oh," she said in her grown-up voice. "That's really neat, where's it going?"

I shrugged, wishing she would go away. Grown-ups just don't understand rockets. Rockets don't have to go nowhere, they just shoot fire out of their boosters.

"Is it going to fly to the moon?" she asked, still using her grown-up voice.

I shrugged again. Why would it want to go to the moon? The moon is just big and white and boring. She sat there like she didn't know what to say, just watching me color the fire. I switched to orange. Fire's not all the way red.

"You're really good at drawing," she said.

I sighed and put my crayon down on the little table. I couldn't concentrate with her talking at me like I was a little kid. I stood up and went outside to play.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Prompt: Write about something a character says while under anesthesia.

Source: None


The boy's curls spilled over the table. His eyes roved fitfully beneath their lids. His chest and abdominal cavity were open, the skin peeled back like a banana. His ribs were bleach-white, shining beneath the lights. He stirred and Phoebe swallowed, resisting the urge to crouch next to the table and hold his hand.

She touched his exposed organs gently. They were cut in places, oozing red tears. Her fingers worked automatically inside him. The child's heartbeat, marked by a monitor, thundered in her ears. It was fast, like a hummingbird. Phoebe's heartbeat mimicked it. He was in bad shape - his muscles, pink and raw, flinched beneath her touch. They were misshapen; his whole body was covered in abrasions, deep, ugly wounds.

His pink lips - dry and cracked - parted and he moaned. His mouth was so fragile. Phoebe tried to focus on her task. "Forceps," she said.

The child murmured something and his heartbeat accelerated. The bleeping of the monitor sped up, growing louder and more shrill. "Stay with me," Phoebe begged.

She heard the child's stats recited. They were bad. The voice was as shrill as the monitor.

The child's lips moved and Phoebe could have sworn he asked, "Mommy?" and then his heartbeat stopped. The blue veins in his eyelids stood out as though about to burst. Then he was gone. The child faded, his skin growing ashen and pale. His curls crumbled to dust around his head. And then he was gone and Phoebe's hands dripped his blood hollowly beneath the siren sound of the flat-lining monitor.


Phoebe sat bolt upright in bed, her heart pounding. She squeezed her eyes shut. The boy had died on her operating table almost three years previous. He had come in half-dead, cut to ribbons by the pane of glass he had fallen through. She could swear that he had asked for his mother; she could still hear his feverish voice. She had not slept a full night since.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week - The Hard Part

Prompt: Write about two characters whose names begin with letters four apart in the alphabet (example: A - b, c, d, e - F).

Source: None


She was walking quickly, her thoughts probably on her next class. He struggled to catch up. Her long, dark ponytail bobbed behind her.

"Yesenia," he said, finally catching up enough to walk beside her.

She gave him a brief smile, but she did not slow. "Hey, Damien."

"So I was wondering if you'd like to go to the play with me tomorrow night," he blurted, afraid he would stumble over the words if he let them draw out too slowly.

She slowed slightly. "Sure,"

He had been so braced for rejection that it took him a second to respond. "Awesome, so I'll come by your dorm like fifteen minutes before. Walk you there?"

She grinned, "Yeah, I'll see you then."

Damien stopped, watching as her brown ponytail bobbed away.

Notes: In case you were wondering, this is not how my Valentine's Day went . . . but as there's only two-ish hours of it left, I'm ok with that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Thanks for Reming Me I'm Single" Week - Chucks Love

Prompt: Write about a pair of shoes.

Source: None


They sat side-by-side, kicking their heels back against the brick wall. Their identical converse bounced off the bricks, creating a steady, rubbery rhythm beneath the harmony of their quiet, hand-clasped conversation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Thanks for Remining Me I'm Single" Week - Distance

Prompt: Write about a train ride.

Source: None


We were too close together. The subway train was crowded, the people packed together. His back was against the wall, I had to brace my hands against it so I wouldn't be pressed against his body. We were too close together.

We had avoided looking at each other for days. We hadn't spoken since our most recent blowout. We were too close. I could sense his movements - his breathing and blinking and the way he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

I didn't want to look at him or think about him, but we were too close. His smell was all around me - warm, tempting. He smelled softened, like he had just woken up from a quick nap. Beneath the shaking of the train, I though I could feel his heartbeat; he breathed and I breathed. My air tasted of him.

I could see too much of him without really looking. His clothes hung off of him, he was thinner than he should have been. The skin beneath his eyes was fragile-looking. He had not been sleeping either.

I wondered how I looked to him. Did I look thinner too? I hadn't been eating. Were my eyes deep-set and fragile too? I couldn't sleep anymore.

I tried to look away, but we were too close together. The train stopped and more people squeezed on. Someone bumped me and I had to catch myself so that I didn't fall onto him. We were too close together. Our legs tangled together; our chests almost touched. Our syncopated breathing shook us as the train shook us.

We were so close together we could almost taste each other. We couldn't look at each other, we were so close that if we had looked, we would have gone cross-eyed.

I shifted, too aware of the places where we touched, the places where we were too close together. His breathing changed - he held it for a second and then sighed a little. I wondered if he was exasperated that we couldn't avoid touched - that I couldn't avoid touching him. Or maybe he had held his breath to keep it from hitching while I touched him.

We were too close together. My breath sounded wrong. I couldn't stand to be so close to him. I could hear the last conversation we had had - a screaming match over something unimportant. I could not look at him, just stand pressed against the wall, against him. We were too far apart.

When we squeezed ourselves off the train, still pressed together too close, we could not avoid touching. I could hear his breath, his muttering about the crowd of people under his breath. His hand brushed my shoulder, down my back. I touched his leg and was unable to pull back.

The distance between us expanded the instant we were off the train. My skin tangled with his touch. The touch that had just been there - that was still there. We walked down the platform as if unrelated. People passed between us as if we weren't walking together. He was too far away from me. People touched me, brushing past me far too close. I wanted to touch him, to bring us closer together.

The pressure of his touch - the way his smell had lain in my nostrils, how his breath had thrown back against mine, the sensation of his fingers running down my back - lingered on me, but it was far away. I glanced at him over the distance that separated us. He was too far away. I wondered if he still felt my touch - did the way my legs, my chest, had pressed against his leave him tingling too? Did he long for me to touch him? I couldn't tell. We were too far apart.

Notes: So I cheated - I wrote this a while ago, but since this is my first offense . . . I'm not planning to punish myself. I did type it up for the first time today, if that makes it any better. I also promised that I would do a happy response during this week and I still promise I will. I also will add to that the promise that I will make at least one of these third person. And at least one will be from a male perspective . . .

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week - The Book of Love

Prompt: Create a story, poem or any piece based on this metaphor: “a chapter of loathing”.



I rubbed my arms, trying to scrub out my goose bumps. My skin felt like the well-worn binding of a book. Binding worn so thin that it was translucent and tearing in places. Stripped bare.

I walk out of our apartment - soon to be just his apartment - for the last time, putting the final punctuation mark in our chapter of loathing. I put a period, closing the door softly behind me, because I don't have the strength left for an exclamation point.

Notes: I promise one of these prompt responses will be happy - I promise!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week - Endless Supply

Prompt: Endless

Source:'s word of the day a while ago


I leaned back against his shoulder. "Do you have any grape juice?"

He shrugged, shoving another handful of popcorn into his mouth. His eyes did not leave the television.

I sighed, pushing myself off of the couch to find my own juice. I knew there would be some - Allan always had an endless supply. An endless supply of grape juice, an endless supply of popcorn, an endless supply of movies we both liked, and an endless supply of time to watch them with me, snuggled up on the couch.

I looked into the living room from the kitchen doorway, my plastic cup brimming with grape juice. His arm was across the back of the couch, waiting for me to come back and sit by him. Not for the first time it struck me how close he was to being my boyfriend. But he was not. Just my supplier.

I went back to the couch, leaning into him. His arm came down to rest on my shoulder and he offered me the popcorn bowl.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Correction and The Real February 7th Prompt

So I skipped a prompt on accident and started "Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week a day early (assume what you will about why I was so anxious for it to come quickly). Anyway, that means that today's prompt is actually February 7th's prompt: Use this quote as inspiration: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but you’d be a fool to withhold that from your superiors. I'm not going to go back and change it because I'm too lazy (plus I've been sick for a while now and it's 10:50 at night and I'm just not up to the maneuvering). So without further ado:

Prompt: Use this quote as inspiration: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but you’d be a fool to withhold that from your superiors.

Source: One of those reverse inspiration posters with the big picture and the little white words under it . . . whatever those things are actually called.


Jaime sat perched atop the blue plastic picnic table. The oval-shaped holes cut out of the hard plastic made the position anything but comfortable, but he did not give any indication that he was sitting on anything less than a throne. He sucked in a deep breath through the end of his cigarette before letting it fall to the ground.

One of the boys sitting on the bench of the picnic table - a few feet lower - reached his leg out automatically to grind out the cigarette. Jaime never moved. His piercing gray eyes looked out over the park as if surveying his own domain.

A couple kids passed, cutting under the pavilion roof. Jaime's head turned toward them and he frowned. The other boys with Jaime tensed, ready to stand. The kids froze - they were smart enough to realize that they had made a huge mistake. No one encroached on Jaime's territory. No one.

Heads down, the kids fled. Jaime watched them until they were across the playground. He turned back around, staring straight ahead. It was only then that the other boys relaxed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week - Irreconcilable

Prompt: Vanilla

Source: None


Who could’ve guessed that I’d spend Valentine’s thinking about irreconcilable differences? How like him to break up a few days before the holiday of love and leave me with his excuses playing my head like a broken record. I wonder what exactly those irreconcilable differences were, it’s not like he specified. “Irreconcilable differences” is a pretty open-ended phrase.

Was it that one of us likes Fall Out Boy and the other couldn’t stand them? Was it that one of us likes sauerkraut on our hotdogs and the other is crazy enough to eat it plain? Was it that one of us likes Vanilla while the other is a die-hard choca-holic?

I guess it could have been our diverging career paths or our clashing ideas about Obama, but when did those things stop being challenges to work through together and start being irreconcilable?

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Week - Online Dating

Prompt: Write the slogan of a dating site.

Source: None.


For a nominal fee you can create a profile on our site and hope your true love also happens to like paying money for love and happens to see it. What are you waiting for?

Notes: Um . . . Yeah, just call me cynical. I laughed my butt off while writing this.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The White Room

Prompt: In 400 words create your ideal place.



The sun fell into the room like a brick of gold, filtered by the floor-to-ceiling window. Beyond the glass the ocean stretched out in rolling topography, accented by the white, crystalline beach strand and the few scattered beach houses. The white room caught the sunlight and the reflected blue of the water, painting the walls with living mosaics.

She was curled up on the long couch, wrapped in a light blue afghan, watching the waves as the tongued the beach outside and the trees bobbed in the salty breeze. She took in a deep breath and he smiled. He knew she was smelling the salt in the air – it was present even indoors. Everything smelled like the white beach sand that fell into the cracks of the hardwood floor and the salt that drifted on the wind, sticking to everything with the assistance of the damp air. She loved the smell of the ocean.

He set his briefcase softly on the floor and took off his suit coat as quietly as possible so as not to disturb her reverie. He slipped out of his shoes and crept toward her. He knew that if he could stand near enough he would smell the sea salt and sunshine that curled her hair.

She shifted, drawing her blanket closer to her and he froze, afraid he had been discovered. But after a moment, she leaned against the glass of the window. Sunlight caressed her curls, tumbling down her shoulders and back. He walked past the kitchen divider, past the different-shaped fish bowls filled with clear blue water and golden fish with swirling tails.

He stood by her, engulfed by the concentrated sun coming through the window. He could see a tiny reflection of her face in the glass. Her eyes followed the ebb and swell of the ocean water just a couple hundred feet away.

He moved slowly so that he would not startle her. He stroked a lock of her hair. She leaned into his touch like a cat, smiling. “Hey, baby,” she whispered.

He joined her on the couch, gathering her into his arms. He kissed her hair. It smelled like the ocean – salt and sunlight and beach sand. “How are you?”

She snuggled against him. “Wonderful.”

The sunlight fell over them in gentle waves as they watch the reflection of the ocean’s movement through the window. When she fell asleep, he pulled her even closer, watching the orange sun sink toward the water.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Night's Brother

Prompt: Create and describe a monster in 400 words.

Source: WEbook's Monster Creation Challenge -

Response: Night's Brother

His skin was light, pale blue, perfectly smooth like the surface of a frozen lake. A long indigo robe lay across his shoulders and flowed down his body in soft folds. It rippled, at once revealing and concealing his muscled torso. He came and stood above Hyacinth.

She could just make out his eyes in his chiseled face – they were dark violet, filled almost to the edges with the deep, inky color. Long blue lashes framed his eyes but they had no softening effect on the piercing glare of his unnaturally dark eyes. He bent and his long, silky hair pulled into a ponytail at the back of his head slipped over his shoulder, shifting gently as though stirred by a breeze.

Hyacinth shuddered. His abnormal, near-black eyes stared at her, unmoving. Her skin crawled. He was too beautiful, too strangely beautiful.

When he spoke, his voice enveloped her like sinking beneath the waters of a black lake. “You have sunlight in your hair.”

He touched a lock of her hair, brushing it across her neck. Hyacinth shivered. She could not meet his purple gaze, she looked away. His skin was soft and cool against her, like soil hidden deep beneath the earth.

“Are you afraid of me?” he asked. He stroked her cheek. “You ought not to be afraid of me – there are far worse things here below ground.”

He grasped her chin. His touch was soft, but beneath his gentleness was a sinister underlying strength that made Hyacinth’s skin prickle. He turned her to face him.

Her eyes had adjusted to the dim room, but what she saw was anything but comforting. The corridor was closed on both ends. The walls were set with towering mosaics depicting men just like the one before her – sunless skin and shadowy eyes. But depicted with the men were human women, girls like her. Their eyes were sad and jeweled restraints glittered at their wrists.

“You will learn to love this place beneath the earth,” he told her. His deep voice rattled her bones, suffocating. “The ones before you came to love it. And so will you.”

He knelt before her and took her hands. Hyacinth could not pull away, mesmerized by his bottomless violet eyes. She heard a click; she did not have to look to know that he had restrained her, cuffed her with intricate, sparkling manacles.

Notes: These characters are from my ongoing project entitled Underground (

Friday, February 4, 2011


Prompt: Compare two things that are unrelated.

Source: None


His hands were like birds, fingers fluttering along, then pausing. He would touch then keep fluttering on.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Too Far Gone

Prompt: Use part of your February 2nd freewrite in your piece.

Source: None.


The clack of train on tracks echoed slightly, cut off by the blare of the whistle. I leaned back, supporting myself with my arms, locking my elbows behind me. The air was pleasant, the dried leaves that cluttered the clearing floor rustled beneath a light breeze.

I stretched my legs out in front of me, crossing my ankles. I heard the train whistle again. I watched the tracks before me. The trees whispered in the breeze, barely audible over the sound of the tracks and train.

It came past me, clattering along. Its wheels churned, driven by the long metal arms at their edges. I tried to read the graffiti on the sides of the cars – the smilie faces, the names and gang names – but I missed most of them. There was just an impression of sharp-edged shapes and colors. The train was moving too quickly.

The whistle hooted again and then the train was gone. Its sounds faded into the distance, clacking down the line.

I unlocked my elbows, shifting into Indian style. I couldn’t hear the train anymore. It was too far gone. I scoffed in my throat. Too far gone, just like me. I got out my sketchbook and started doodling – trains and half-formed graffiti gang names and churning wheels. Things that were already gone.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Loud in Here

Prompt: Freewrite for five minutes. Begin with an adjective.

Source: None


Loud in here it's too loud in here In your head too many things to loud. Drumbeat, clack of train on tracks, marching band beat. Drumbeat, bass and trumpet. Guitarist, rock band, long hair, sunglasses band t-shirts. Dark corners and loud music - too loud and dark and closed in and dark. Pressed in, shriveled up and dark and withered. liar - he's a liar, he keeping you in the dark. He's keeping it too loud - he's speaking too loudly to let you hear. There's too much noise in his throat, too much noise rolling off his tongue. Loud in here, it's too loud. His noise, his words, his voice is too loud in his mouth, too loud in your head.

Notes: I originally wrote this by hand - I left all "typos" and misspellings in when I typed it up.

February 1, 2011 - Jihl

Prompt: Thimblerig

Source:'s word of the day for January 31st. It means to cheat or to swindle.


The coins clinked as they fell to the table. The pile was growing. Jihl smiled – a smile that was engineered to appear reassuring to onlookers while giving him the pleasure and release of gloating. The man across the table from him swallowed hard.
To him, Jihl’s smile probably looked anything but reassuring. The man’s abnormally large forehead was drenched with perspiration.

Jihl touched the bowls before him, showing the pebble beneath the middle bowl. He took a stabilizing breath. He was going to thimblerig this fool out of his every last coin. Jihl smiled again, and began shuffling the bowls across the table.

February Weather Forecast

We'll call this penance for yesterday. Happy February. Only one themed week this month - in honor of Valentine's Day, "Thanks for Reminding me I'm Single". The idea for this week is to explore and showcase the many aspects of love, solitude, companionship and, of course, Valentine's Day, using prompts that may or may not be connected in anyway to the aforementioned topics.

February 1 – Thimblerig

February 2 – Freewrite for five minutes, begin with an adjective.

February 3 – Use a piece of your February 2 freewrite in your piece.

February 4 – Compare two objects which are unrelated.

February 5 – Submission for The Monster Challenge.

February 6 – In 400 words create your ideal place.

February 7 – Use this quote as inspiration: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but you’d be a fool to withhold that from your superiors.

February 8 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Write the slogan of a dating site.

February 9 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Vanilla

February 10 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Endless

February 11 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Create a story, poem or any piece based on this metaphor: “a chapter of loathing”.

February 12 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Write about a train ride.

February 13 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Write about a pair of shoes.

February 14 – “Thanks for Reminding Me I’m Single” Week: Write about two characters whose names begin with letters four apart in the alphabet.

February 15 – Write about something said while a character is under anesthesia.

February 16 – Rocket

February 17 – Write a story about an author with writer’s block.

February 18 – Write about a misty day.

February 19 – Write a story in which all the characters’ names begin with the same letter.

February 20 – “Borne as on eagle wings”

February 21 – Write about a character’s inability to perform an important action.

February 22 – Use an unconventional symbol in your piece.

February 23 – Create a well-rounded protagonist character.

February 24 – Create the antagonist to your February 23 protagonist character.

February 25 – Write about two trees.

February 26 – I’ve been to nine planets in twelve years and it’s starting to show.

February 27 – This story must have a soldier at the end.

February 28 – Tether