Week 8 of Odd Prompts

We are solidly into 2021, or, as I’ve been thinking of it, month 14 of 2020. At least there is still imagination left in the world, and that is a comfort.

We invite you to join us! There are spare prompts, and if you’ll send in a prompt to oddprompts at gmail dot com, then you too can be in the challenge next week. We try to make it low-key: no word counts, heck, it doesn’t have to be words. You could do visual arts, music, photography. Mostly, we write, though.

PrompterPromptPromptee
AC YoungEveryone in the warren was getting very excited. Easter Bunny Productions had announced that they were going to hold their next auditions in the main chamber all next weekend.Cedar Sanderson
Nother MikeThe kids were carrying moonbeams in a jar…Fiona Grey
Fiona GreyIn retrospect, the arrow through the calf shouldn’t have been the first clue.Leigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelThe north side of my town was facing east, and the east was facing south (from “Substitute” by The Who)Nother Mike
Cedar SandersonFunny how these giant ferns look like claws ripped through them.’ He looked from her, to the shurbbery. ‘They aren’t ferns, and claws have ripped through them…’AC Young

And then there are the spare prompts, for those who can’t or won’t commit. We don’t judge. Some weeks, you just don’t know what life is throwing at you. Week? We still don’t know what this last year threw at us!

SpareValhalla awaits. Except…
Sparehe didn’t have any extra spoons this week.
SpareThe butterfly lamp slowly opened and closed it’s wings
SpareThe unicorn trotting down the city alley looked spectacularly out of place

Come back and read the comments! It’s worth your time. Don’t you want to see what hatches out of the prompts? And send in a prompt! Even if it’s a spare (put that in the subject line) we appreciate the help.

17 comments

  1. Cedar Sanderson supplied the prompt for this week: ‘Funny how these giant ferns look like claws ripped through them.’ He looked from her, to the shrubbery. ‘They aren’t ferns, and claws have ripped through them…’

    The setting proved a little easier to figure out than the story. I eventually went with the plant suggesting the cause…

    I think I’ll have to try to figure out the next chapter at some point. The ending is really only the end of a movement rather than the end of the concerto.

    Hightree Hall was not in the best of shapes. The family that had owned it for the past few hundred years, the FitzRobert-Smyths, had struggled to maintain it for a while and had finally given up after the death of the latest head of the family. The death duties on the estate had forced them to sell the property to avoid bankruptcy.

    Stuart and Sandra Simson were looking to buy the place. Stuart was what the upper classes in a previous time had termed nouveau riche, and was looking for a place in the country where he and his wife could spend their weekends. Hightree Hall was not the size of Blenheim or Chatsworth or Pemberley, nowhere near, but it was large enough for their purposes. The run-down nature of the place was not too much of a problem to him. Firstly it could be used to negotiate the asking price down. Secondly he had enough money in the bank to renovate the place back to its former glory, or whatever else he and Sandra felt it should look like.

    The couple had already been taken around the house by the FitzRobert-Smyths’ Estate Agent. Now they were exploring the gardens, which had been kept in surprisingly good shape by the only gardener the current owners could still afford to employ.

    They were wandering around the bushes when something caught Sandra’s eye. She made her way across to a large plant with large pale-green leaves, leaves with multiple fronds. After a few seconds of staring she called her husband over. “Funny how these giant ferns look like claws ripped through them.”

    He looked from her, to the shrubbery, “They aren’t ferns, and claws have ripped through them… ” Sandra didn’t look convinced. “Look, you can see the trunk and branches through the leaves. Ferns don’t have those. And bushes don’t have leaves that look like that, some claws have shredded every single one.”

    The gardener was doing some work in a flower bed on the other side of the lawn. Stuart called him over. “What type of bush is this?”

    “I don’t know the proper name the scientists down in London call it. The common name is a Moonglow Shrub, but locally we call it a Werebane.”

    “Does it have any special properties?”

    “The old wives’ tale is that the leaves are poisonous to werewolves – which is why most of the older properties around here have at least one werebane in their gardens. Other than that, the leaves seem to glow after every full moon. Unfortunately not these – whoever the vandal was who ripped them apart destroyed that effect. It’ll be years before this plant replaces enough of its leaves for you to notice.”

    The gardener, having said all that he knew, went back to his work.

    “He expects us to believe in werewolves?” Sandra was incredulous.

    “I’m not sure. Clearly the locals did once upon a time. On the other hand, I’m trying to think what claws did this. I can’t think of any animal that could shred the leaves in this pattern so consistently.”

    “I think we need to get the gardener to replace this bush with an undamaged one. I like the idea of glowing leaves.”

    Stuart smiled. “We haven’t bought the property yet.”

    “Fine. Once we move in we’ll arrange the swap. And if there is a werewolf around it’ll be better protection than this false fern.”

    “Have you swallowed the idea of werewolves now?”

    “No. But it makes more sense than a Yeti in the English countryside. Better safe than sorry after all.”

    Stuart chuckled. “Fine. We’ll keep an open mind until nothing happens next full moon.”

    The couple finished their tour of the garden, and left determined to purchase the Hall for themselves.

    Two nights later, on the full moon, a werewolf made his way through the garden. Upon seeing the werebane the gardener remembered the searing pain caused by brushing against one of the leaves a few months back (just after his first transforming). He loped over and slashed the leaves over and over. Never again! He wouldn’t remember any of it come the morning…

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  2. Leigh Kimmel prompted…

    The north side of my town was facing east, and the east was facing south (from “Substitute” by The Who)

    Hum, should I go listen to the Who? (And probably have to remember more songs…) or just go wild with the magnetic poles flipping? Hum…

    First rough cut…

    The year the magnetic poles shifted, everything was confusing. Migratory birds, depending on their magnetic sense, kept trying to fly into the sunset or sunrise. After all, the north side of my town was facing east, and the east was facing south, at least according to the old compass rose that someone had engraved in stone in the town square. So the birds were doing their best to go where their instincts told them to go, only it was the wrong direction.

    At first, most people thought it wouldn’t really affect them. After all, how many people use a compass during their daily life? But along with the birds getting confused, there were other ripples. Mostly, because while the poles were shifting, the magnetic sheath that normally protects the whole world from cosmic rays and solar radiation was disrupted, so the whole world got a dose of radiation. That’s what led to the rise of the mutants, and the massive changes in vegetation and species of animals. I mean, who would have expected turtles to grow wings and fly? Or what about the darned jump minnows, migrating across country?

    Still, we didn’t know that first year just how bad things were going to get. So we just laughed at the poor birds, flying the wrong way.

    [bleep… to be continued?]

    Like

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