Week 8 of Odd Prompts


Here’s this week’s list! Your challenge awaits below, whether formally submitted or selected from the list of spares.

Don’t forget to share the writing love – it’d be great to both boost the core group and have a few new voices try it out with no commitment.

Without further ado:

Becky Jones Prompt: You walk on to the elevator in your office building, automatically push the button for your floor. When you get off, your first thought is that you were so distracted you hit the wrong button. Then you realize that it’s all wrong… Brena Bock
nother Mike Shirasagi Monogatari: The Legend of the White Heron Leigh Kimmel
Fiona Grey No one escapes the wild hunt. nother Mike
Brena Bock A non-verbal but intelligent animal is trying to tell you something very important. Misha Burnett
Kat Ross “He does not know the language, but he understands the job, And he is not feared of hard work, or of pain.” From the song Native Son from Julia Ecklar’s album “Horsetamer”. Full song is here: https://youtu.be/EwuwzUse2Zg. You don’t need to use the full song.
Cedar Sanderson
Misha Burnett A forensic necromancer interviews a murder victim. Unfortunately, the testimony of the deceased is inadmissible in court. What information could the victim provide that would give the police a lead on finding evidence that could be used to convict the killer? Fiona Grey
Leigh Kimmel Mirage in time—image of long-vanish’d pre-human city. Sanford Begley
Cedar Sanderson What if you really could have housecleaning done by magic Brownies? What would that really be like? Kat Ross
Sanford Begley Guy buys a funny looking fish tank at ye old curiosity shop. Takes it home and fills it with water. When it shows no signs of leaking he goes out and buys some goldfish. Comes home and sees the bottom of the tank brighter and more decorated. assumes that the water washed enough dust off to account for the change. Dumps the fish in and sits down with a cup of coffee. Kerplunk, something splashes his coffee. Looks down and there is an unhappy goldfish looking back. Glances up at the tank and sees another goldfish loaded in a catapult… Becky Jones

Here are our spare prompts:

Spare PromptYou become acquainted with Steve, the racoon who lives in your backyard.
Spare PromptYou get in an elevator, the door closes, and… the other people in the elevator count off, one, two, three, four, five. You are number six. Then they count off again… what do you do?
Spare PromptYou and your friends are out deer hunting. You draw a bead on a nice buck, who raises his head, tosses his antlers, looks you in the eye, and says, “Do you really want to do this?”
Spare PromptThat guy outside your window isn’t a window washer.
Spare PromptA teenager raised in the cult of Yog-Sothoth, the Opener Of The Way, rebels against her or his parent’s values and lifestyle. What does the teen do?
Spare PromptYou are working in the museum after hours when fossilized eggs in the dinosaur exhibit begin to hatch. What comes out of them, and what do you do?

And finally, a visual spare prompt.

Happy writing! Send in next week’s prompts to oddprompts@gmail.com by Tuesday. Don’t forget to share your work in the comments.

Header image by Fiona Grey, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah




  1. Let’s see… ouch, this wants to get out there. Here!

    One day they’ll come for you,
    The words pounding in your blood,
    The ideas spurring you to write,
    The web of plot and events winding round you tight,
    The dreams of gallantry, honesty, and other shining goals out there.

    Oh, yes, they’ll come for you,
    And then you’ll write and sweat and write some more,
    For no one escapes the wild hunt!
    The muses unbound, the words run wild,
    The hounds that bark in the night,
    The words that roll and thunder and glide from your hands…


    There. Now that’s out of my system, I’ll go think about that prompt and see what happens…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Prompt: You walk on to the elevator in your office building, automatically push the button for your floor. When you get off, your first thought is that you were so distracted you hit the wrong button. Then you realize that it’s all wrong…
    My day started out so normal. I followed my regular morning routine all the way to the office. Since I was a bit early, no one else was there yet, so while waiting for the elevator I browsed the interwebs on my phone.

    When the elevator arrived, I was reading a hilarious fisking of some reporter’s pompous article. Without really paying attention, (bad habit, I know) I stepped in and hit the button for the third floor.

    Yes, I know, I could have walked up. But the stairs in the turn of the last century building were kind of creepy and I didn’t like taking them alone.

    The indicator binged and the elevator doors opened, still looking at my phone I stepped out and realized I was on the wrong floor. My office didn’t have such cushy carpeting.

    When I looked up, I realized it wasn’t just the carpeting. I was facing a floor to ceiling plate glass window that was looking out over a majestic glass and metal city from at least twenty stories up. My office was in a building only five stories high and located in a town of 30,000 people.

    It was at this point I started registering my surroundings. That soft carpeting? Bright safety green. Which clashed with the lemon yellow walls with eggplant trim. This assault on my optic nerves was making me slightly dizzy and nauseous. Or maybe that was the shock.

    There was a click behind me and a sudden intake of breath. I turned around and found myself facing someone. At least I assume it was a someone. Something?

    It was at least a foot taller than me, but thinner. Between the pigments of its hair, skin, and clothing, the décor looked a bit tame. I can’t even describe some of the colors.

    It said something unintelligible in a breathy voice and stepped towards me. I immediately started backing up towards the elevator. It waved it’s hands, tentacles? pseudopodia? in alarm and reached out to grab me.

    That was when I found out that I could, in fact, pass out from shock.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Okay. The prompt was “No one escapes the wild hunt.”

    And a session of free writing, with a little cleanup editing afterwards, came up with this. What do you think?

    A Hacker’s Nightmare (630 words)
    By Mike Barker

    It happened again the other night. Our servers were humming in the back room, the air conditioning keeping everything cool, but someone opened up a virtual conduit using the best of hacking protocols and cheerfully copied practically a whole database of users’ info from our systems.

    But this time, I was ready for it. I had the trackers already primed and running, and they responded with automated vigor, setting their hooks into the data stream and following it as the whole monstrous mess bounced out into the Internet, flickering between nodes, carefully redirecting and erasing its path as it went.

    (Read the rest at https://mbarker.dreamwidth.org/231247.html … if you dare!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, it did. Got stuck in moderation in my inbox. Sorry for the delay, and hope the bronchitis gets better.

      I really enjoyed this one – and look forward to the story of how they got scooped into household goods and their journey to the new world!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoyed that! I have to admit, it felt a little bit like a setup, and I was trying to figure out where the story could go next. I suppose one possibility would be that the brownies would decide that since he was such a nice guy, they should help set him up with a girlfriend… not sure about that, though. Hum… anyway, nice work!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Spare prompt: Deer hunting
    We needed meat.

    Money was scarce, and there was no such thing as “rocking chair” money–our total cash income that year was about two hundred dollars. We grew a large garden, picked wild berries, fished, and dug clams. And hunted.
    In the 1930s, during what was later referred to as the Great Depression, folks did what they could to keep their families from starving. There were a lot of moonshine stills out in the thick coastal brush and in the sandhills–I knew about some of those, but wasn’t interested in that sort of thing.

    But, thanks to my big brother Ralph, who sort of took over my upbringing after my father died, I was a more than passable woodsman and hunter.

    So…it wasn’t the best day, or time of day, to go hunting. But, as I said, we needed meat.

    Most hunting was done near to home after the morning milking and before the evening chores–dairy cows never heard they could have a couple of days off every weekend. Someone had to milk the critters twice a day.

    About 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, after turning the cows out and washing up the milk things, I took my Model 64 .30-30 carbine off the wall and headed up the hill. Now, these hills in the Coast Range are steep; the thick salal, ferns, salmonberry , and huckleberry brush don’t make climbing those hills easy, and the damp dirt is so loose you slide back two feet for every three steps you take. Downhill is easier–your feet slide, or you slide down on your rump.

    Anyhoo–after I climbed the last steep pitch and mostly slid down through the brush to the ridge back of Collard Lake, after four solid hours of fighting that brush, I stopped to rest; crawling through wet brush is hard work. I was soaking wet from head to toe; it was foggy and every bush and every tree was shedding water, most of it down my neck. I couldn’t see fifty yards ahead.

    Fifty yards was the limit most hunters would try snap-shooting anyway. A deer was seldom in sight for more than a few seconds at a time; he would be flipping past trees at a fast run. Often, especially in salal brush, he would be jumping high enough that all you could see was his head, neck, and about six inches of his back–at the top of the jump.

    Even so, after years of practice, I could get one more times than not–no armchair hunter could do that–but on this day there just wasn’t one to be seen.

    Then suddenly, as the fog cleared a bit, a big monster buck raised up from his bed in the ferns and salal, not more than thirty-five yards in front of me. He had a big rocking chair on his head–seven points on one side, six on the other.

    This was seldom seen in the Coast Range. But, while I could admire a good rack, what I was after was meat.

    The buck stood perfectly still as I raised the .30-30 and took a bead between his eyes. An easy shot. My finger began to gently squeeze the trigger.

    The buck looked me in the eye–I had early-on learned to shoot with both eyes open so I wouldn’t miss anything.

    Then he said, very quietly and with dignity, “Do you really want to do this?”

    I slowly lowered the rifle, keeping eye contact. Then I slipped back into the brush and started my four-hour trek back to the barn to do the evening milking.
    Disclosure: This is co-authored with my father Warren Vanderburg, who went to the Happy Hunting Ground in 1996–although he would have preferred to go back to the hunting grounds of his youth. The story is mine, but I plucked a few descriptions from his book of hunting stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m running a little late, mostly because I’ve spent so much of my time these last few days dealing with home repairs and then a computer that has stopped working and looks like it will need to be replaced (runs some legacy software I still need, but can’t run on my main box).

    My response is now up at my LiveJournal at https://starshipcat.livejournal.com/703723.html. It’s part of a novel I want to write one of these days, from which I’ve been doing bits and pieces off and on for various writing challenges.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s