Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Prompt Drabbles #10

Prompt: A cold wind carries the whispers of scarecrows.

Just because it was winter didn’t mean the Crows had left. You could still see them, at night in the dark, hovering over our fields. Right now we’re all just thankful Javed had finished the scarecrows before the crows showed up. Who knows what we would have done without our crops of Berber Berries.

The physical aspect of the scarecrows was pretty easy to figure out. They just needed to look vaguely like us; so torso, legs, arms, head. Simple. The difficult part of it was fooling the Crows sensitive auditory canals. See, when the first Crow scouts started showing up, we yelled and threw stones at them. We as a race seem to do that with things we don’t understand. We start out frightened and defensive.

Maybe if we had been a little more welcoming we wouldn’t be in the middle of this war right now. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and what ifs can’t change the present. Also the one about wishes and horses and beggars but that doesn’t apply as much. But, I digress…

When the Crows first appeared what they encountered was loud, frightened, flailing people who threw things. So that was the report they took back. Then came the first wave of them. We none of us knew what exactly they came for, as we had never seen them before or even heard of them. So for the first wave, we were silent. We stood back and watched. And they came so fast and in such great numbers that we were understandably shaken. We watched as they flew past our cities, towns, storage facilities. They knew where they were headed. Straight to the fields where the Berber Berries had only just begun to sprout.

We were as confused as we could be. The Berber Berries were nothing special. Our main export because of our rich soil and damp climate, but not something the Crows would want. At least so we thought. But towards the fields they went and landed in huge black and gray clouds. But then, instead of gathering the tiny sprouts they just began… wreaking havoc. They pulled the sproutlings up and piled them in the center of the fields. The ground which was freshly plowed and recently watered was torn up and left in clumps. All the wire fences around the fields were pulled into the plots and mixed into the dirt. The Crows left their waste lying in mounds and when they were finishing razing the fields, they left. They just. Left. As my small town looked on in horror the Crows took to the sky and sped away.

That was our lives. Our livelihood. Everything to us. And it was destroyed. But we would not be dismayed, no, because our lives had never been easy and we were prepared to fight for our future. So the farmers took their families and headed to the fields. It was still early enough to replant. It was hard, grueling work, however, many of the townspeople who were not farmers by trade volunteered their help to get the fields clean and empty for the new Berber Berry seedlings. The scientists, researchers, and analysts did their parts by taking the waste the Crows had left and looking for weaknesses.

And that was where Javed had come into the story. He was known around town as the crazy tech dude who rarely spoke to anyone. But as we came to find out, he is one of the greatest technological minds of the century. Once the scientists had found out what exactly the Crows were, Javed took the information and ran with it. Immediately he began running experiments, night and day. He was the one who came up with the name too. Many of us had begun calling them Locusts, because of the devastation they brought with them. Javed called them crows, because from that first wave, we only ever saw them in large, black, roiling flocks. Javed analysed the waste they had left and was able to build a very rough model of what they looked like and how they functioned.

The next wave came while Javed was still working on defensive measures. We were more prepared that time. Since the scouts didn’t stay when we yelled and threw things we decided to try to do the same for the next wave. Maybe it would scare them and maybe it wouldn’t, but we weren’t going to stand by and let them destroy our crops again. So we as a town surrounded and filled the fields when we saw them coming. And it worked, to a degree. Random noises didn’t seem to deter them, and the rocks were completely ineffective. But screaming words at them appeared to confuse the Crows. To anyone who didn’t know our entire story, we would have looked insane, standing in our fields screaming lyrics, poems, book excerpts, and complete nonsense at floating black machines. But it worked for the time. Eventually they retreated but we knew they would be back.

We still had no idea why they were after our Berber Berries, and really, we had no idea where they even came from. But we were fighting back and making progress. The head scientist on the project, Azaria, eventually came to the conclusion that words confused them because they had no communication system, or if they did it was completely unlike ours. She and Javed worked together on the mock up he had made, slowly making it look more and more like the actual Crows. With pictures the townspeople had taken, interviews with those of us who were eyewitnesses, and Javed’s findings, they made the model Crow frighteningly realistic. However, they had no way of discovering what powered the Crows, or whether they had some sort of controller somewhere.

We made do with what we had though. The town set up a rotation of lookouts and outposts around our crops. When they saw Crows coming, they alerted the town and we trooped to the fields to protect the Berber Berries. It was an exhausting and trying few months. The doctors were continuously producing new and better sore throat remedies. The scientists worked on ways to protect us from the elements. And Javed labored to invent speakers and computer systems that accurately replicated the sound and intelligence of real people.

Like I said, the physical part was easy. Just the typical scarecrow shape, although they had to be fairly eclectic and randomised. We were trying so hard to find a solution before the hard freeze hit. See, Berber Berries have to germinate over the winter in order to be edible. If they don’t get the cold of at least one winter, the berries are incredibly poisonous. But the people can’t be outside in the winter here. Certainly not in the fields and even the outposts will probably be too frigid to stay in. There are good reasons many of our roads are underground. Easier to heat. But if the Crows got to our crops that close to winter, well… Let’s just say our town wouldn’t be much of a town by this time next year.

Just as the season began to turn, Javed hesitantly said he might have something. He and Azaria had made six different prototypes. Just in case. Even though we had to wait for the next attack, the town was joyful. We believed in Javed. The six prototypes were set up in six different fields, and the people assigned to those fields were given strict instructions. They were not to make any sort of defensive movements unless the prototype failed. When the Crows came next, no one could have told you what number it was. There had been too many and this war had been going on for so long. They came though. They came and two of the prototypes worked. Each working in completely different ways, the two prototypes kept the Crows different distances away. One worked for about thirty feet and one for more like eighty.

So here we are, days away from the first hard freeze, and the wind carries the whispers of the scarecrows to the town. Our Berber Berry crops are safe. Our people will be safe underground during the winter. And the Crows hover, outwitted by the human language.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Prompt Drabble #9

Prompt: Celtic mythology says that leaving a graveyard a different way than you entered means spirits will leave with you. A fugitive sprints through a graveyard.

You know, they say leaving a graveyard a different way than you entered would release spirits to follow you. I wonder if how many spirits are released depends on how fast you’re going. If it does… I’m screwed.
The thoughts that go through my head when I am running away from the police always intrigue me. This one is definitely worth looking into. I mean, I don’t think I had twenty-five really weird guardian angels before I ran through that graveyard last night. Not that I’m complaining, honestly, they’ve already saved my life twice today. But the one that only has half a head is a little disconcerting.
I don’t know if all of them like me. As far as I can tell, only three can appear at any given time. Which means I’ve only met nine of them so far. But the one dressed like a baker said that there were twenty-four others hanging around me. The first nine were ok I guess. The first three stopped me from falling out of the tree I was hiding in. The next three pulled me back onto the sidewalk right before a bus would have hit me. Right after they saved my life both times the next set appears. Maybe that’s what they need to do to return to the graveyard. Save my life in return for eternal rest. Sounds like a good plan to me. Here’s hoping they don’t have to almost kill me in order to save me.

Prompt Drabble #8

Prompt: There’s an odd little town out in the desert where the length of your shadow has nothing to do with the height of the sun.

People talked about a time when the shadows followed the people and the people followed the sun. These stories are spoken in whispers in back rooms of iffy establishments. The town hadn’t seen a shadow follow a person in hundreds of years. They say the shadows used to be cast by the sun. Tkhey say that the shadows never left the person or thing they belonged with. Honestly, we’ve never believed them. Not until today.
Today, an old man walked into town with a shadow attached to his heels. The shadow moved when he did and didn’t when he was still. All of the townspeople gathered to watch him walk down the street. The town’s shadow population did too. We could all hear the rough scratchy sound of the shadows talking amongst themselves.
None of us knew how to approach this man with a shadow. Was he dangerous? Was his shadow? His shadow. What an odd thing to say. “his shadow” Shadow’s didn’t belong to people and people didn’t belong to shadows.
Finally, the mayor decided to talk to him. So, taking the sheriff of the shadows and the guard of the people he moved into the street, hoping the man wasn’t here to harm any of us. “Hello Sir Human, and hello Sir Shadow. I welcome you to our town, and wish to ask you what your business is.”
The man looked confused for a moment, watching our mayor and the sheriff of shadows. “My name is Philip. Why isn’t your shadow following you?” We all gasped and the shadows rattled angrily. How politically incorrect of him!

Prompt Drabble #7

Prompt: Write a story from the point of view of a character who happens to be a powerful cosmic creature. The catch? This character failed their mission, and thus they have been punished by their elders. Double catch? The punishment is to be bound in a human body.

“Oh my ME!” I yelled, pushing myself to my feet and brushing off my bright purple suit. “You could have gone with a slightly less horrifying color you know!” I shouted at the sky. “uh, are you ok?” a young lady asked as she walked past me. “Yes, yes, I’m fine now go on about your tiny mortal existence.” She huffed as she walked away, but I didn’t care about human emotions right now.
I walked into the closest building and found a bathroom. I had to see what they had done to me this time. Looking into the mirror I saw a thin faced, scrawny looking young man looking back at me. I had kind of expected the human part, but being so slight I couldn’t even protect myself? “HEY!” I yelled skyward “at least make me a strong human!!!” I didn’t expect an answer so when I heard a voice from the mirror I might have jumped but I certainly didn’t scream.
“You failed. You have had so many missions, and you failed every single one, but this time. This time you had to be punished. You made those creatures defenseless. They are going to have to rely on their allies from now on to be safe. So, in order to teach you a lesson, you have been put in a nearly defenseless human body. Once you have either learned to defend yourself, or made an ally who will defend you and give up their life for yours, you can have your cosmic body back.”
I was amazed. “You can’t do this to me! Do you know who I am!?!?!” I screamed at the sky.
“Not yet. But we know who you were, and we didn’t like it. Change it.”
And then I could tell they were gone. For good.

Prompt Drabble #6

Prompt: At your job, you have one task. Every day you go in, sit at your desk and wait for a red light to turn on. When it does, you push a button. You repeat this process until the end of your shift. One day, you find out what the button does.

My job you ask? I just push buttons. I mean, I know a lot of people can say that, like, pretty much everyone who works with computers. And like… uh… telemarketers. But really, all I do is push buttons. I don’t make any choices or talk to anyone. We aren’t really allowed to talk at work. I go in to work, sit down in my very uncomfortable chair at my completely boring desk and I wait. Oh, my desk it’s sort of an L shape and on the left side are bunch of little red lights. On the right there four buttons.
My job is to watch those lights, and when they flash, I push one of the buttons. If it flashes once I push the first button and if it flashes twice I push the second button and so on.
Today, when I was there, one of the lights flashed six times. I didn’t know what to do. I went to the manager’s office and told him but when I did he said I could go home. EARLY! In the ten years I’ve worked there, I’ve never been sent home early. As I walked out, I saw there was absolute chaos around my desk.
So I decided to investigate. I followed the cords from the back of the building to this warehouse. And these tiny houses. It looks like… this is my town. Every house in my town is here. And the cords turn into wires and the wires go into the houses. This is my house over here. The wire coming out is shining red hot. I bet it’s the one that flashed six times.
Oh. Oh no. Every in my town has four people living in it. But I have six other than me. Six. Six flashes. Six people. I have to get home, I need to leave right now. Those buttons I push are the disposal lasers! My family is dead.

Prompt Drabble #5

Prompt: In a world where kids are scared of the monsters under the bed, you tame them.

Walking across the darkened lawn, I made my way to the window I knew belonged to the youngest child in the house. I peeked into the window and saw the shadow move to the side of the bed. I took the flashlight out of my bag and shined it onto the bed, making sure the kid was still there. Slowly pushing the window open, I quietly stepped into the room.
I know you might be thinking that I’m a creep, or someone who should be stopped, but I promise, I’m the only thing between this child and what resides under her bed. You see, they are called The Scry, and they feast on the low-level fear that all young children harbor at night. The Scry very rarely hurt the kids physically, but they do put terrifying thoughts and ideas in their minds. They’re only a little bit telepathic. Just enough to plant the ideas, and then, being children with active imaginations the kids make and think the very worst. And they work the ideas into nightmares. That is what The Scry feed on. The fear.
But don’t worry about little Abigail in here. I know how to tame them. See, they may feed on fear, but I am fear. I was born from the nightmare of a world weary five year old boy. His mother, she was human… but his father was one of the Scry. He followed the boy’s mother until he fell in love. But having one of The Scry as one of your parents isn’t easy, and little Timmy had quickly grown tired of the squabbles. He dreamed me up to save him from the rest of The Scry, who wanted to take him as an experiment.
After saving Timmy, he sent me to do the same for the rest of the kids. The ones who just wanted to sleep.

Prompt Drabble #4

Prompt: Write about a character who is living in a planet that was conquered by aliens, and humanity now lives under their rule. The catch? One day, a strange person shows up in the human slums. Double catch? This person does not have any alien branding. No ships. No barcodes. Nothing.

      He kept to the side among the rush of people. Gear thought the humans might not notice, but They certainly would. There was one of the GB’s floating at the end of the alley. The tall gangly man knew he couldn’t hide from the Guard Bot so he turned back the way he had come. Squeezing between a few of the human workers he prayed the tight group would be enough to disguise the fact that he wasn’t tagged.
As he made his way backwards he saw a deep doorway and pushed through the crowd and into the shadow. Peeking around the corner he was completely surprised when the door opened and a strong arm pulled him backwards. Landing hard on his back he flailed until he could see that it was one of Them that had grabbed him. Nearly panicking, he scrambled back until he hit the wall. They couldn’t find out. They couldn’t know. But when he hit the wall, he finally noticed there were two other humans in the room.
One of them was obviously tagged, having chosen the facial tattoo. But the other… The other human had no visible tags. No microchip bump, no tattoo, no glowing barcode on his wrist. “Are… are you like me?” Gear asked.
“My name is Aron” the one with no tags said, “and this is Krian” he motioned to the tattooed one “and this is my friend Mio” he patted the alien. “and we grabbed you to help you break into the Capitol.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

Prompt Drabble #3

Prompt: "I'm going into the woods to scream for a while. Anybody wanna come with?"

“Hey!” She called over her shoulder, “I’m going into the woods to scream for a while. Anyone wanna come with?” Most of the others just looked amused at her antics, but there were a few who seemed to know what her joking tone was covering. She smirked to herself as she shut the door behind her. It’s their own fault if they get creeped out. I invited them to join me. She thought while walking down the path to the darker portion of the forest.

When she reached a spot that felt open enough to hold her true form she stopped for a moment to enjoy the atmosphere of the forest at night. Breathing deeply she let go of the enchantment holding her human shape in place and slowly dropped to all fours in the clearing. Whipping her tail sharply she stretched her front paws out in front of her, extending her three-inch-long claws into the dirt and pulling against the cramp that had been growing in her back. It had been a while since she had kept her human form for that many hours consecutively.

After stretching as well as she could with moving she started sniffing the air. Her long black whiskers twitching on her golden brown nose, she flicked her ears back and forth hoping to hear the sound of small woodland creatures starting their night of foraging. Although her trek along the path hadn’t been at all silent she could already hear the animals beginning to creep along it. Turning around silently, she crouched down in the typical cat fashion, except of course on a much larger scale.

Walking lightly across the clearing, she began to take note of which sounds were closest and which were coming from an animal that she was interested in eating tonight. Taking a deep breath, she let loose a scream that sounded an awful lot like a woman in pain. Let the forest know there is a predator out this night. She heard a doe startle in the woods to her left. Taking a running leap she made her way to the top of the nearest tree. Making her way through the foliage, from tree top to tree top she began humming in her head. “It’s the, eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight” The joke was not lost on her that this was the song stuck in her head when she decided to go hunting.

When she reached a spot that seemed far enough ahead of the deer she was stalking she made her way silently down to the lowest branch that would hold her. Positioning herself in the perfect place for an ambush, she settled down to wait for her prey to approach. The doe was picking her way slowly through the underbrush, stopping occasionally to snack on the rich green foliage. As it reached the spot directly under the huge brown cat, she screamed the scream of a mountain lion making its final move and dropped down on the doe’s back. Grabbing its neck as she landed she slid to the side and heard the sickening CRACK  of its neck breaking from her weight pulling it down.

Satisfied that her prey was in the bag, so to speak, she stood up and shook herself from head to toe. Hunting in this form wasn’t her favorite pastime, but sometimes the cat wants what the cat wants. Bending down and grabbing the deer’s neck she started back towards the clearing where she had changed. It would be a safe enough place to settle down and eat her midnight snack since it was fairly close to the house. One of my least favorite parts, she thought to herself, is dragging my dinner all through the woods before I have a chance to eat it. When she reached to clearing, she drug the deer to the center and situated herself in a position she could be alert in while also enjoying the fresh and warm meal set before her.

Once she was finished eating, she sat up and looked down at the more than half-eaten carcass in front of her. I’ll clean that up tomorrow I guess. She sat for a while longer, cleaning the blood and bits of flesh from under her claws and making sure there was no residue dripping off her muzzle. Sighing, she stood and began the spell to activate the enchantment she had so recently rid herself of. Although she knew she was safest in her human form, it was not her favorite one. Making sure her clothes were still in order, she slowly made her way back to the house where the rest of the book club was waiting for her. 

Prompt Drabble #2

Prompt: "Write a paragraph where a character apologizes without using the words 'sorry', 'regret', or 'apologize'."

            “Have you ever done something, and then later you just feel… pain over whatever it was you had done?” He asked her quietly. “When I look back on what I did to you, to your family. That’s how I feel. Pain. Sadness. But I don’t know what it means. I’ve never encountered anything like this before.” She looked at him with eyes hardened by the years of horror she had experienced because of him. “What you’re feeling is called regret. And what you are asking me for is forgiveness. But I’m not ready to forgive you. I don’t know if I ever will be.”

Prompt Drabble #1

Prompt: "Describe a thunderstorm without using the sense of hearing"

Sitting on the floor next to the chair, I wait for the next one. I know it’s coming because it started fifteen minutes ago and they’re just getting worse. I’m watching the window because the light always comes first. Then the shaking. Who knew that when I moved to a new state I would encounter this kind of oddity? As far as I can tell no one is panicking about the trembling that accompanies the light and falling water. Being deaf is a hindrance when I’m trying to communicate what I’m afraid of. It seems as if people are either laughing at me like I’ve told a joke or they honestly don’t understand. I’ve given up at this point. It seems to have reached the worst a little while ago so I think it should pass soon. The light flashes again and I feel the rumble through the ground around me and in the air as well. But there, now it seems not as strong as last time. I hope it’s over soon. When I asked what this was, someone finger spelled “t-h-u-n-d-e-r-s-t-o-r-m” whatever that is, I pray it won’t affect my new life in this town.

I discovered something

Well really, my best friend and I discovered something together... We found out we really love reading writing prompts to each other. And I spent a good hour last night writing from a couple of them. I'll post them here I guess, just to keep track of them. But some of the prompts are SO GOOD!! I can't wait to write more!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Mountain that Others have Climbed

I want to write but don’t know how. I face the mountain that others have climbed and it looks so easy. A thought, a word, an idea is all you need to get started. “Sit down and write” is what they say. So I do. I head towards the mountain and before I even reach the foothills I am exhausted and discouraged. I will never be able to climb the way he does. See how she reaches the summit and exclaims “Look! I wrote this!”. Although I know in my head that they did not have it easy the way my heart says, I sit at the edge of the foothills and just watch. Read the excess of material that flows from the top of this mountain that other people can climb. And with each word I read I see the ideas start flowing in my own head again. “Just sit down and write” a mantra I repeat in my head with each drudgingly placed footstep. I look up and notice that I have reached the foothills. But by now my feet and my fingers feel like they have been incased in iron. Iron hewn from the mountain that others climb. So I look to my own heart and ask the questions that have been buzzing in my ears since I decided to try to climb to the top. Why bother with writing, who cares what you see in your head that keeps racing in circles as you read the paragraphs that others have written? Do you see the skill with which he finds that perfect handhold on that rock face three quarters of the way up the mountain that others are climbing? You will never attain that level of precision. “But just sit down and write” comes the whisper on the wind from the top of the mountain that I try to climb. So again, with heavy feet and heavier fingers; with no gear like the ones who’ve gone on before, I start taking steps not caring which way. I plow on with my head down, thinking the thoughts that drive through my fingers and onto the paper I’ve placed on my lap. I feel as though I am dragging the mountain that others have conquered. One foot in front of the other, one letter following the last, one sentence one paragraph and I look up and see that I have reached the bottom of this mountain. And I keep looking up for it feels as if the mountain stretches up and away past the sky. With this weight that I feel how do I start? Where do the rest of my words need to go? I sat down, and I wrote but now that I’m here I want to turn back. I no longer hear the whisper of encouragement from the mountain itself. Its bulk is blocking the light and at this point I no longer feel interest in what others have made. The ground around me is rocky and strewn with pieces of parchment that I know in my heart are discarded words from the ones like me. The ones who want to write but don’t know how. Aha! There, I see a small path on the steep slope of this mountain that others climb. And I realize, as I start walking again, my fingers flowing across the keys with an ease I felt envious of in the past, that the ruins of the ones who failed are spurring me on. Because they tried and failed. I see remnants from the same people who I saw at the summit! The ease with which I imagined them climbing must have come from the practice they gained before me. The mountain encouraged them too, I believe. And now I can sense it, the mountain that others have climbed is still speaking. Letters are its foothills, words its rocky base, sentences that path that others have taken, paragraphs and page breaks are the valleys and crevices that all mountains claim. And in its heart it holds stories that others have told. The ones who have climbed and fallen and given up and climbed again. The ones who have conquered its slopes and reached the summit of this mountain that I am climbing. As I work my way up I hear the mountain speak of the failures and successes it’s seen. I reach the sheer rock face that I know from observing is closer to the top than the bottom. I sit to rest and hope I can find enough ideas in my reserve tank to continue. I listen as the mountain quietly explains. It says that the heartaches and troubles and pain lend truth to the stories that others have claimed. Because success without work breeds nothing but shame. It tells me that I am no different than the ones who have conquered this mountain that others have climbed. An inspiration hits me; flat on my back I look up and see the ones at the top. They’re waving, but not in an insolent way. Encouragement comes, not from the mountain with stories at its heart, but from the ones who put them there. So I sit up, I get up and place my hands here and there. My feet find footholds and I push myself up. I see each spot to put my fingers next and it occurs to me, as I work my way up, that from down in the foothills, I bet this looks easy! It takes a lot of work, and my energy is failing but I know to give up now? Means this mountain would gain more detritus there in the rocks near its base. And though those are the things that inspired me? I do not want this to be among those down there. So I don’t “sit down and write” for that feels like an out. And easy way to do what I know must be done. I push my weakened mind for just those few more ideas. I tell my fingers that no matter the ache the words must be written. And pushing and pushing I see the edge above me. So reaching with what feels like the last of my strength I curl my fingers over the ridge I can’t see as much as feel. I pull myself up and… no more exhaustion. The end is there, I can see the top. My heart is racing as fast as my mind used to. Exhilaration? Is that what I feel as I get nearer the end of this journey that started with a wishful thought? It is, and I move on with a speed I have not had before. The words are flowing and my feet are moving and I see the ones who have climbed this mountain smiling from the top. They understand the feeling of accomplishment. For I know now that I will finish, I will make it to the top of this mountain that I, and others have conquered. And before I take the last few steps, I turn and look. Others are starting, just where I was, some at the foothills, tired as me, some halfway up with the mountain’s whispers in their ears, and a few on that rock face, my most recent conquest. I smile; I turn and leap the last few feet. That’s it. I made it. I point to my paper and say “Look! I wrote this!”. Now I am the one who those others are seeing. And maybe, just maybe, they’re inspired by me.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


There are so many changes. We are so often unprepared for change and unwilling to accept it. I know I used to never want to accept change. I'm getting better about it though.

My life has gone through drastic changes pretty recently (ok, like two months ago but I'm bad at blogging) and I think I'm adjusting well. I've moved to a new state for the next three months, I quit my other job to do this one, I've purchased a car and am driving it pretty consistently. I've even come to enjoy driving.

But sometimes I look at the things I left behind when my world changed. And quite often I am unsure how to react. Do I miss the familiarity of the things I left or do I actually miss the things themselves. Is the reason I am slightly wary of the future just that I *don't* like to be pushed out of my comfort zone, or is it that I really am happy where I am, so change might make me unhappy?

The world is in flux and there are so few things that stay consistent. I'm glad I know one of the things that never changes. I'm glad I can hold His hand and know that He cares for me and my life that's full of changes.