Week 9 of Odd Prompts

Some cultures think owls are wise, or bring power and prophecy. Others think owls are evil harbingers of death or doom. When I was young, I had a children’s book about an owl that created such noise, a homeowner no longer noticed the annoying creaks and bangs his house made by comparison.

Sometimes 2021 kinda feels like that last owl.

But that’s why we have creative prompt distractions!

Here’s how to odd prompt (but seriously, just join in with this easygoing bunch): Submit a prompt idea to oddprompts@gmail.com, and receive one in turn.

Cedar SandersonThe little child reached for the treasure she’d seen glimmering in the bottom of the tide pool. Behind her, her mother…AC Young
Fiona GreyThe alien invasion was different than anyone expected. It began with dreams, and then the madness began…Becky Jones
AC YoungThe Shadow President laid his plans with care.Fiona Grey
Becky JonesWhy are the birds flying upside down?nother Mike
nother MikeThe robot pirates sailed out of the sunset…Leigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelBoth The Who and Twisted Sister recorded songs with the title “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The secret connections behind them…Cedar Sanderson

Don’t like your prompt? Forgot to submit one? Scared of commitment? Don’t want to trade? Submit with “spare” in the subject line of your email, or grab a new option below. Spares are the delight of the world, and don’t see near enough love in return.

SpareHow did a jigsaw puzzle help solve the murder?
SpareThe zombies are still intelligent and self-aware after they turn. It’s the virus that hinders their ability to articulate beyond “braaaaiiins.” Tell a story from the newly turned zombie’s perspective.
SpareFrom the tower overlooking the courtyard, she spotted something unusual in the moat.
SpareAlexander Bunny was having a little difficulty with the hopstacle course.
SpareThe book of fairy tales had illustrations that moved when you touched them…
SpareHe looked at the screen in disbelief. Somehow, he had wandered into the mean tweets, and the trolls and hard keyers were out tonight!
SpareThat was the year Heaven started offering visiting hours…
SpareVisual Prompt! (See below)
Visual spare prompt! Our fancy antlered friend has nice digs, don’t you think?

That’s all, folks. Drop your art (links only, it’s a WordPress thing), comments, stories, tales, baked goods, filk, photography, and other odes to creativity below. Check it out next week, before we turn this creative crank once more.

It’s a hooting good time. *ducks under table to avoid thrown objects*

Header image Fiona Grey, Orlando.



  1. This week I had Cedar Sanderson’s prompt: The little child reached for the treasure she’d seen glimmering in the bottom of the tide pool. Behind her, her mother…

    The setting is the seashore, two of the characters are a young girl and her mother. What if the treasure had been lost by a mermaid?

    Undine loved playing on the rocks at the beach, climbing over ridges and exploring the rock pools left by the outgoing tide. The pools were especially attractive as she would occasionally find crabs or other creatures.

    Her mother, Selina, kept a close eye on her, worried that Undine would wander too far or slip and hurt herself.

    As noon approached Undine spotted something shiny in a pool. Kneeling down she reached in, and found something resting on the rock bottom. She grabbed it and brought it up to the light.

    Her mother wasn’t looking. She was distracted. She was sure that she had just seen a mermaid in the bay. She kept scanning the surface of the sea, and then a woman’s head popped out of the water, followed by long flowing locks and her torso, terminating in a line of scales. She was wearing a necklace but no other jewellery.

    Before Selina recovered from her surprise, the mermaid spoke: “You found it!”

    Now Undine noticed the mermaid, and was rendered speechless at the sight. Her mother was shocked that the creature could speak, and had no idea who had found what.

    “You’ve found my bracelet! I’ve been searching all morning for it.”

    Now Undine looked more closely at what she’d brought up from the depths of the pool. It was a series of inch-square engraved silver panels, hinged one to another. It looked nothing like the bracelets her mother owned.

    Her mother looked over her shoulder. Unlike Undine, Selina recognised it for an old-fashioned bracelet whose clasp had either come loose or snapped. “This is yours? It’s exquisite.”

    The mermaid smiled. “My parents gave it me when I came of age. They commissioned it from Poseidon’s own forges. It would break their hearts if I lost it.”

    “You’re sure it’s yours?”

    “One of the panels has a scene of mermaids crowning Poseidon, another has a scene of mermaids swimming alongside his chariot.”

    Selina looked at the bracelet, and two of the squares were engraved as described. She spoke to her daughter. “I’m sorry my darling. I think you’ll need to give it back to the mermaid.”

    “But I found it!” Undine was very upset at the prospect of losing her new treasure. But Selina didn’t think they had a choice given that it was lost property.

    The mermaid reached behind her neck, and unclasped her necklace. “Perhaps a swap. You can have this, in exchange for that?”

    Undine thought for a bit, then nodded. She held out her hand with the bracelet. The mermaid took it, and handed over the necklace in exchange.

    Selina looked at the necklace. It had a silver chain, with a main setting containing a large number of jewels. Each was small, but they were of varying shades, covering the entire rainbow, and ordered accordingly. “This must be very valuable.”

    “To me the bracelet is much more valuable. Besides, the finder of a treasure deserves some reward.” The mermaid snapped the bracelet back onto her wrist, waved in farewell, and slipped back beneath the waves, with one final salute of her tail.

    “Well,” said Selina, “shall we put it on?”

    Undine nodded, and so Selina took the necklace from her daughter’s hand and clasped it around her neck.

    Undine felt so proud when the pair made their way home. The mermaid’s necklace became her most treasured possession, worn on every special occasion. It was the ‘something blue’ at her wedding. In time she would pass it down to her own daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Becky Jones asked…

    Why are the birds flying upside down?

    Which reminded me of old jokes about ducks being cracked up… but let’s not go there, okay?

    Hum, an obvious twist might be that the POV character thinks they are flying upside down, when in fact it is the POV that is upside down?

    One quick take…

    Harry looked out his office window and grimaced. Darn it, the birds were flying upside down again. Which of the students did it this time? He knew giving them that exercise with magical influences on the gravitational field was a bit advanced, but he wished they would keep the signs straight! Darn it, canceling that spell over the area of the school was always hard to get right, and the other teachers made such a fuss when they found themselves walking on the ceilings, or falling back to the floor when he canceled the spell.

    Oh, well, better get started. He stood up, and shook his head as he fell to the ceiling. He should have expected that. It was going to be a long afternoon…

    (more sooner or later, probably…)

    Liked by 1 person

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