Week 2 of Odd Prompts

Pushing forward into the New Year with bright and eager eyes… I don’t know who is doing that. It’s not me. I need more coffee and about twenty hours of sleep. I want to write about living in interesting times, not actually experience them again for myself.

Well, can’t be helped. At least I can amuse and divert my mind with a prompt chew toy…

AC YoungI’m going to need the spider.Kat Ross
Fiona GreyBroken yellow and black caution tape fluttered abandoned in the wind.AC Young
nother MikeWhen he walked into the kitchen, his wife and child were cooking dinner, wearing complete cosplay outfits… (Based on a scene in a commercial)Becky Jones
Cedar Sanderson“Not particularly evil, just… not quite right.”Fiona Grey
Misha BurnettTomorrow’s headline reads “Alien Spaceship Lands In [Name Of Your Town]” but you don’t see any evidence of it and neither does anyone you talk to.nother Mike
Kat Ross“I feel like my brain has been scooped out with a melon baller, mashed up like baby food and then poured back in my skull.”Cedar Sanderson
Becky JonesThe sleeping dragon filled the small back yard.Misha Burnett

If you didn’t get a prompt in this week, or you aren’t ready for that kind of commitment, we cast no stones around here. Instead, we have plenty of spare prompts for you! In fact, if you email us a prompt to oddprompts at gmail dot com, and you put spare in the subject line, this is where it will wind up. Who knows, someone might choose yours this next week! Wouldn’t that be fun?

SpareWorking on the robo-cat test team was exciting, to say the least…
SpareYou’ve enjoyed growing up in the village, but now you want to see the world that you’ve read about and experienced in VR so many times. Unfortunately, when you try to leave, you find a solid shell surrounding the village and outlying fields…
SpareEverything you can’t control
Spare“Uh, is that a real skeleton?” “Yeah, but don’t worry. Fred’s great. He’ll wake up soon and you’ll meet him for yourself.”

It’s like planting a row full of story seeds. You never know what kind of blooms you might get. Or what you might have to feed them…

Post your responses in the comments and don’t forget to send in your prompts for week 3!

30 comments

  1. Darn! I put my prompt in the grid, but it looks like it didn’t save. I think I’ll just go back to the old way and e-mail it, since there’s no clear indication that yes, it’s saved my entry.

    I know, I can use one of the spares, but at least for me, it takes all the fun out of it. And double when I actually sent a prompt, but it got lost in cyberspace.

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  2. Fiona Grey supplied the prompt: Broken yellow and black caution tape fluttered abandoned in the wind.

    Abandoned caution tape – perhaps an abandoned building renovation…

    A couple hiked along the road. They were trying to complete the local Trail by the end of the week, and intended to make it to the youth hostel five miles further on by dark.

    Just ahead on their right was a gate, a run-down, rotten, very badly maintained gate. Attached to the posts on each side were scraps of yellow and black caution tape. At one time the tape had stretched tautly across the entrance to the driveway above the gate. Now the scraps fluttered in the wind, no-one being bothered enough either to replace or remove them.

    Many had passed along the road since the tape had first appeared, but none of them had taken much notice of the gate. This couple were different. Georgina barely gave the gate and the driveway beyond a second glance, but Thomas was much more adventurous. No sooner had he spotted the access track than he had the idea of exploring what he assumed was the abandoned property at its end.

    An excuse to enliven the monotony of the day’s hike was not to be missed, and Thomas wasted no time in trying to persuade Georgina to help him explore. It was not a quick discussion, but Thomas prevailed eventually.

    The pair clambered over the remains of the gate, causing more damage to the dilapidated structure in the process, and made their way down the drive. It was originally gravel, but was now overgrown with grass.

    Around the corner, hidden from the road by hedgerows, was a small two-storey building. It looked as if it had been in a state of redevelopment, but the process had been abandoned part-way through. The front door had been left open, and was hanging limply from its hinges, partly rotted. The windows were still glazed, but the paint was badly in need of another coat.

    Georgina wanted to go back to the road, now that curiosity had been satisfied, but Thomas was like a cat with a couple of lives left and insisted on them exploring the inside.

    Georgina let herself be persuaded and the couple headed inside. The ground floor matched the outward appearance. There was no furniture in any of the rooms, and in some of them the wallpapering or painting was only part done. Dust lay everywhere.

    There were stairs up to the first floor and stairs down to a cellar. Thomas was still a cat with a life or two to spare, and so they explored the first floor – much the same as the ground floor – and then headed down to the cellar.

    Surprisingly there were two sources of light. There was a pool of daylight from the stairwell that illuminated much of the floor of the small underground room. But whoever had been renovating the place had knocked a hole in one of the walls, and from that hole shone an unexpected beam of light.

    This time Thomas didn’t need to persuade Georgina to explore further. They passed through the hole in the cellar wall. They found themselves in a tunnel. The mysterious light was coming from their left-hand sides, so that was the way they headed.

    A short distance down the tunnel they came upon an arch. Neither of them noticed that the arch had writing carved into it above their heads. It wasn’t easy to read, being in the shadow cast by the light beyond, but with a little effort it could be interpreted as “Beware what lies within / For greed invites much sin.”

    Through the arch was a large chamber. There were many lamps within – how they were still alight was a mystery. Much of the space was filled with treasure: gold, jewels and silver. Turning around it could be seen that this side of the arch also had a verse carved into it. “Take for yourself and you pay the price. / To take for others is very nice.”

    The implication was sufficiently clear that the pair figured it out between themselves. If anyone took treasure from the chamber for selfish reasons they would have a cost to pay. However, removing treasure that another might benefit was permitted.

    The pair agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk, but as they left Thomas picked up a gem. If he sold it and gave the money to charity it would be alright, wouldn’t it? He was taking for others – the benefits of the associated publicity were an irrelevance surely, no matter how much he thirsted for fame? He considered a little longer, and made his final choice…

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  3. [Busy week, but I did end up with a couple snippets…]

    Misha Burnett prompted…

    Tomorrow’s headline reads “Alien Spaceship Lands In [Name Of Your Town]” but you don’t see any evidence of it and neither does anyone you talk to.

    First take…

    The tv stations were screaming about it, the social networks had plenty of news about it. “Aliens land in Richwood.” The maps all showed the landing site, and… it was just down the road from the Fetrow farm. I mean, we lived over by the crossroads, but when I saw all the fuss and fury, I called the Fetrows. Neighbors, you know?

    They were grumpy about it. Said nearly everyone in town had called, and they didn’t know what the fuss was about. Said they didn’t see anything.

    So, it was a nice day, I took a walk over there. There’s the Fetrow farm, sitting back from the road a bit. And a little curve, a dip down to the creek, some willows there. But nothing strange. I mean, I was expecting one of those shining metal towers or something, probably as big as a grain tower. But all I saw was a big hay bale. One of those big round balls, like someone tried to roll up a field of hay on a roller. I didn’t know the Fetrows had one of those gadgets.

    And another slice at the notion…

    Partial Transcript of Debriefing Interview

    “Yes, sir, I was part of the team sent to respond to the alien landing in Smallville. However, sir, when we arrived, there was no evidence of a landing. We searched the area quite extensively, and talked with the farmers and cows in the area.”

    “Wait, you talked with the cows?”

    “Yes, sir. They said they had not seen anything unusual recently.”

    “And you don’t think it’s unusual to talk with the cows?”

    “No, sir. They actually were quite responsive. Better than some new recruits.”

    “So, you searched the area, and talked with the farmers and cows. And found no evidence of an alien landing?”

    “Yes, sir. We did bring one of the cows back with us. She said she wanted to talk with our leaders, so we thought you might like to visit. But right now, she’s in the White House. She insisted that we just leave her there, and you know, the guards took her right in when she started talking to them.”

    “You… you took a cow to the White House, and left her there?”

    “Yes, sir. She insisted. We offered to swing back and pick her up later, but she seemed to think they’d take care of her. So we left her there.”

    [At this point, the interview was terminated…]

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  4. This week’s prompt was fun, but not in the usual way. Earlier in the week I’d been playing around with a throw-away scene, and had what I thought was a hilarious line. Too late, I realized that I was late submitting my prompt for the week. Luck favored me in that we got a few extra hours, so I decided to use a variation of that line as a prompt. Cedar got that draw. I got “I’m going to need the spider” From A.C. Young. With a bit of thought I saw not only a way to continue the scene and work in the prompt. Yay.

    https://undomesticatedfeline.wordpress.com/2021/01/20/odd-prompts-21-week-2/

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