Week 21 of Odd Prompts

It’s time to kick those brains into gear with your Odd Prompts! This week we have a day of memorial coming up, and for some of us that’s a three day weekend. More time to write or art, or…

So grab your prompt, or pick a spare, and let’s go. Speaking of spare prompts, shall I pull all of them out as we’ve passed them and put them in a repository for other times when you need a little gentle mental kick in the pants?

Prompter Prompt Prompted
Leigh Kimmel You discover that behind a seemingly modern website there is an ancient IBM System/360 handling important data.
Cedar Sanderson
nother Mike Flipping through the channels on tv, you happen to notice a strange masked figure being arrested… in your bedroom… Leigh Kimmel
Fiona Grey I looked down, and my legs were covered with thousands of tiny feathers. Kat Ross
Cedar Sanderson The vibrations of the plucked notes ring through flesh and bone Becky Jones
Becky Jones You come home from a long day at work and plop down on the couch with a beer. The cat looks up and says, “Hey, can I have one too?” nother Mike
Kat Ross H.G. Wells’ Time machine is found. It works. Fiona Grey
Visual Spare!
Buzzard in a tree (photo by Cedar Sanderson taken near Dayton OH)

spare The T-Rex looked silly with a birthday cake sitting on its nose…
spare Some author out there, please, write a YA series involving dragons in which the poor oppressed kid who is so desperately determined to be a dragonrider DOESN’T GET CHOSEN and has to figure out something else to do with his or her life. Just for a bit of variety, ya’know. (Virginia DeMarce)
spare It wasn’t a tidal wave, nor a kracken. No, what came out of the sea that day was…
Spare Your shoes go for a walk. Without you

Reading the prompt responses every week is fun, and fascinating to see what the little prompt seeds grow up into.

If you’d like to take part in the prompt challenge, or submit a spare prompt, send an email to oddprompts@gmail.com and if it’s a spare, indicate that in the subject line. Many thanks! See you next week!

(Header Image: street cat, photo by Cedar Sanderson)

29 comments

  1. The kids know the odds, of course, but deep down inside they don’t believe in them.

    This year we had a big clutch, sixteen eggs. Seventy potential riders had gone through the tests to be here today, standing on the cold, dark, damp hillside, waiting for the sun. They weren’t stupid–they wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t passed the tests on chimurgic theory and basic runes as well as the physical tests of agility and endurance.

    They knew how many eggs there were, and how many of them. They could do the math. They just couldn’t believe that it applied to them. After all, here they were, standing on the Wyrm Heights at dawn on Midsummer. This was the day that they had dreamed of.

    And it would be. For sixteen of them.

    It always feels so cruel to do it this way, but it’s the only way that works, The riders have to bond with the dragons at hatching. And the dragons choose their mounts.

    We still didn’t know how riders were chosen. The tests and the training could ensure a pool of potential riders who would be able to handle the stresses, but we couldn’t know in advance who a dragon would choose.

    So we gathered them together on the hillside to wait for dawn and the hatching.

    Everyone else was watching the eggs for signs of movement. I was watching the kids, the pool of potential riders. They were all wire-tight, hardly breathing. I could see their thoughts written across their faces–“It’s going to be me, I know it’s going to be me.”

    The first crack was loud in the stillness, like a bone splintering. Excitement ran through the crowd, both the potentials and the experienced riders who were waiting to take the new recruits off to begin their training.

    You could hear the crowd react, an indrawn breath shared through seventy open mouths. Then someone pointed and everyone began moving, trying to see the hatchling as it struggled out of its egg.

    Then another egg cracked, and another, and they were all breaking out of the shells.

    The kids were quivering with excitement and the riders had to calm them. “Wait,” they said. “Wait until they are all out of their shells.”

    The infant dragons were the size of horses, their scales iridescent in the dawn light. I watched the heads of the kids watching the dragons emerge from their shells, and I waited.

    At last the trainers began leading the young people to meet the young dragons. I could see it when one bonded, the connection being made.

    As always, it was over all too soon. The young dragons made their choices and the sixteen new riders were welcomed into the elite number. Dragons stood on shaking legs, rubbing their scaly heads against their human partners.

    And then the shock began to sink in. It starts with disbelief. The unchosen kids always want to make one more circuit around the enclosure, hoping against hope that there is, somehow, an egg that was overlooked, the dragon with their name on it.

    That’s when I and the other guards go to work. The kids don’t fight, nothing like that. Mostly the stand like zombies until we lead them away from the enclosure, back out of the gates of Wyrm Heights and point them in the direction of the town.

    Sometimes they cry, but mostly they just stare, open-mouthed, unbelieving.

    One girl just dropped, sat down on the ground, unable to go on.

    I grabbed her by the arm and hauled her back to her feet. “Get moving,” I said roughly. “Just keep walking until you get home. You can fall apart there, where no one’s watching.”

    She glared murder at me. “You don’t know what this is like,” she whispered.

    “Yes, I do.” I told her softly. “I know exactly what you’re going through. Trust me. It will pass.”

    She blinked at me, putting the pieces together. “How can you work here?”

    I shrugged. “It’s not flying,” I said, “but at least I can still be around them.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have another prompt that will be up tomorrow, but I saw the dragon post and read it to husband…he came up with this (and he is NOT a fiction reader).

    *****

    “But…but…why?” the boy was staring at the backs of the departing chosen new riders and their dragon partners. Disbelief was plain on his face. “I worked so hard…”

    “I know son. But, you knew the odds were against getting chosen. There were twice as many potential riders as dragons,” Mikhail said softly. “But there might be something else…” he paused.

    The boy looked up at him. “What?”

    “Well, there’s a sub-assistant stable manager position open. Work hard and in about five years you can be assistant stable manager, and then maybe someday, manager! Best part is, since you were a potential rider you can start at sub-assistant manager which means no poop scooping! Trust me…you don’t wanna scoop dragon poop!”

    ******
    I like Misha’s take…but the silly side just hit hubby and I ran with it… πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My prompt this week was

    You come home from a long day at work and plop down on the couch with a beer. The cat looks up and says, β€œHey, can I have one too?”

    Definitely not finished, but… it’s a beginning, right? Comments welcome!

    Hold My Beer (800 words)
    by Mike Barker

    Harold stepped through the doorway of his apartment, dropped his briefcase, and leaned back against the door, slamming it. He reached over his shoulder and flipped the lock closed. Then he picked up the chain and slid it into place. Then he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and just shuddered.

    “E gads, I hate Mondays!”

    When he opened his eyes, he felt a little better.

    That’s when Mr. Dibs walked out of the kitchen into the hallway, put his front paws out and stretched luxuriously, then stood up and gave a piteous meow.

    Harold had to chuckle.

    “Yes, it’s time for your dinner. All right, let me take care of that.”

    He straightened up and walked into the kitchen. Mr. Dibs, the cat, followed him, then sat down inside the doorway. Harold got out a can of cat food, picked up the bowl from the floor and rinsed it out, then popped the top on the cat food. He got a spoon and carefully cleaned the can out, breaking it up into a number of pieces. Mr. Dibs wouldn’t eat it if you just dumped the lump of cat food in the bowl. He set the bowl down, then checked the water fountain to make sure there was water in the reservoir and that the water in the base was clean.

    Then he opened the refrigerator, grabbed a can of beer, and walked back out into the living room. He sprawled across the sofa, and blinked a little.

    Mr. Dibs had followed him back into the living room. Maybe he wasn’t hungry for dinner yet?

    Harold leaned over and popped the top on the beer. He started to salute Mr. Dibs with the can.

    That’s when Mr. Dibs walked over and put his paw on Harold’s knee. Then he gave Harold a little cat smile, with those sharp teeth glittering. And Mr. Dibs said, “Why don’t you get me one of those?”

    You can read the rest at https://mbarker.dreamwidth.org/235029.html

    Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you! Yes, that one had me stumped – I thought I’d have to do something else like I did with the 3d printed spaceship. But then it clicked into place, and brought a murder along with it!

        Like

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