Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chairs and Pears, Pairs of Gears, People Upstairs

One of our weekly writing prompts.

Granny’s house is a strange place. The main floor seems normal. There’s a rocking chair in the living room with an orange and gold afghan draped over the back and a sofa that has ugly flowered upholstery. The kitchen is tiny and there is always a bowl of yellow pears in the middle of the miniature table. Her bedroom is also on the main floor and not too interesting except for the cuckoo clock on the wall that ticks and grinds and makes all sorts of noises, and then on the hour, the little wooden cuckoo explodes through the painted doors and screeches its mechanical coo.

But these are the normal things. It’s the people who live upstairs who are strange. The first thing that’s strange about them is that Granny tells me they aren’t there even though she has pictures of them in frames on the mantel. The second thing that’s strange about them is that they never seem to sleep. When I visit Granny I sleep in a bed upstairs, but even when I wake up in the middle of the night the people are awake and staring. They don’t talk much, the people upstairs. That is the third strange thing about them. When they do speak their lips don’t move. I think that is also strange.

There’s also a cuckoo clock upstairs, but there are two cuckoos in it, one is white and one is black. The white one cuckoos on the hour, but the other only cuckoos when someone dies, like when cousin Emma was sleep walking and fell down the stairs. I only heard it cuckoo then.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains... [style: Literary Fiction]

Writing prompt inspired by the title of a Neil Gaiman short story.

I remember that day better than most of my hot, dry summer childhood days sitting on my Grandfather’s porch. The flies were particularly bad that year despite the draught and they alighted on his liver-spotted knuckles as he dozed in the wicker rocking chair. I made a game of catching them and putting them in a jar like you might do with fireflies. I even pretended they were fireflies until my mother found them and made me let them go out by the barn.

But that day, even the fly catching had lost its appeal in the baking heat, and I’d resigned myself to stretching out on the dusty boards of the covered porch try to somehow get away from myself to stay cool. My grandfather had roused then and began rocking like he’d not stopped while he napped. He took a sip of watered down ice tea, its ice cubes having long since melted, and then gazed down at me and cleared his throat.

“The truth,” he began in deep tones like tractor tires over gravel, “is a cave in the black mountains.”

Somehow, even as a small child, I knew that his words would someday be of great import to me, and I listened, rapt, to the secrets that spilled from his withered lips.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Little Mermaid Where the Mermaids are Feral and Eat Humans (4 min):


 Fun and Frisky Recent Writing Prompt.

The little mermaid sat on the sand and tears streaked down her face. She thought that it would be so much easier to catch men and eat them on land, but without her voice and her siren song, it was proving difficult to lure lone men to their deaths. She had never really cried before or felt the salty sting of the tears on her face for the ocean’s waters had always washed them away as soon as the tears left her eyes. She was marveling at the sensation when she heard a horrific noise akin to a giant squid being macerated in the jaws of an orca. She turned and saw a man stumbling down the beach towards her. After a few moments she realized that he was trying to sing. The sound hurt her ears. He got closer and then peered down at her with blurry eyes. “Well now Love, what are crying about?” A smile curled the corners of the little mermaid’s mouth. So tears will also attract men, she thought, and lunged.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Consequences of that Demonstration for Good or Ill


Part 3 of 3 of a multipart prompt.

The smart thing to do would’ve been to laugh and give a wink towards the man who had been heckling Katrina earlier, fling the hand backstage, and then immediately pull something else out of the hat to distract the audience. That would’ve been the smart thing. What Katrina actually did was drop the hat and chuck the hand away from her as fast and as hard as she could, right into the audience. The chaos was rapid and complete. The audience was no longer an audience, it was a hysterical mob. Katrina watched in horror as grown men trampled little old ladies in their haste to get just a little bit further from the severed hand. Women screamed, some fainted, their children getting swept away in the tide of patrons trying to exit the theater. Katrina backed up slowly and slipped behind the curtain.