Week 13 of Odd Prompts

Life reawakens in the northern hemisphere, and sunlight seems to help with creativity. And if you’re looking for a creative challenge, read on!

Want to trade prompts and get new ideas? Send in a prompt to oddprompts@gmail.com and see what comes your way. Will it be magical creatures? Plumbing disasters? A riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped inside a Christmas cracked and waiting to explode?

PrompterPromptPromptee
AC YoungThe shield on his coat of arms was divided into quarters. In each of these quarters was an animal/beast: a lion, a unicorn, a dragon and an eagle.Leigh Kimmel
Nother MikeThe fish heads stared up at him from the grocery store bin. Then they blinked at him. (see photo below)Cedar Sanderson
Cedar SandersonA thud, a bang, and the crash of the door flying open…AC Young
Becky JonesThe cat and the squirrel curled up together. “Long day,” the squirrel sighed. “Yes,” the cat replied. “Let’s get some sleep.”Fiona Grey
Leigh KimmelPaul Simon “You Can Call Me Al”Nother Mike
Fiona Grey“I have a lot of work travel coming up and wanted shells in place,”Becky Jones
(photo by Mike Barker)

If you have an idea, want to try it commitment free, or forgot to send one in…add “spare” to the subject line when you send the email. Or just grab a sample from below!

SPARES

SpareThe teacher had set the class to finding out how many squares there were in a quarter of a chessboard. The pupils were discovering that it varied depending on how the board was quartered.
SpareAs she drove through the traffic that evening, suddenly the taillights in front of her, the streetlights overhead, even the signal lights acquired colorful halos of light, with evil streaks seeming to crawl along the edges.
SpareThe horses ran across the field, and up the rainbow into the sky.
SpareLaborious, Prompting, Stretching, Tall…
SpareThe hedgehog stood up as far as he could, and painstakingly rearranged the drying rowan berries.

That’s all for now…see you in the comments.

Header image by Fiona Grey, Wartinger Park, Ohio.

14 comments

  1. This week I got the prompt supplied by Cedar Sanderson: A thud, a bang, and the crash of the door flying open…

    It could be anywhere, but it seemed to be easiest to insert the prompt in an assault on a building of some sort. Who were the primary characters, were they the assault team or the defenders? I considered a few options before choosing a pair of characters I’ve only really outlined so far, but from what little I’ve created of their backgrounds there might be a reason for them to be the defenders. This could give me the opportunity to flesh them out a bit more.

    It worked, so I’ve now got a couple more characters to potentially write about – but I don’t think I’ll be wanting the below to become canonical somehow…

    Grace woke from her sleep, instantly alert. Something or someone had made a noise outside. Normally she wouldn’t be able to hear sounds as quiet as that, but she had chosen to spend the night in her panther form.

    She didn’t think that it was an innocent noise. She hoped that it was just some neighbourhood cat – even though there wasn’t another property for miles – or a passing wild animal, but the alternative explanation was too dangerous to ignore. She hesitated, before gently nudging her boyfriend with her front paw.

    He awoke and looked around in temporary disorientation (he still wasn’t used to this safe house). Then, seeing that Grace was on high alert Graham shifted himself into his wolf form.

    Seeing his animal form Grace wished once again that they had had plenty of time to explore the wilds together, but it was not to be. It was only a week ago that her grandmother had been murdered. From the ritualistic elements of the deed it was clear that it had been witchhunters, not that the police took much notice of the implications. The old lady wasn’t a witch.

    Only Grace of her extended family knew that her grandmother could shift into a beautiful tabby cat. On Grace’s eighteenth birthday her grandmother had taken her down into her cellar and guided Grace through her first transformations – transformations plural for Grace was a rare double-shifter, she had both vixen and panther forms. Initially she had shifted to one form, then the other, then back again, with no control whatsoever of her form until she shifted back to a woman. Occasionally she would shift back to a human without intending to, or would shift from human to animal without intent – fortunately only in private! It had taken months of careful practice before Grace could reliably shift between her normal human state and her two animalistic forms. It was only because of that practice that she was able to sleep as a panther or a vixen if need arose.

    But Grace’s grandmother had taught her other things as well. She taught Grace about the birthmark that denotes a shifter, and she taught Grace that during the witch-hunts of the middle ages some ignorant fools had lumped shifting in with witchcraft. The witchhunters of the time had nearly wiped the shifters out. Ever since shifters had tried to keep as low a profile as they could.

    It was clear from her grandmother’s death that the witchhunters hadn’t given up. As a shifter relative Grace’s life was now in grave danger, and if the witchhunters found out about her it might not take them long to find out about Graham. He had had the major disadvantage of having no living shifter relatives, so it wasn’t until the couple had got together and Grace had spotted his birthmark that he found out what he was. Once her grandmother heard about it, she insisted on training Graham too – the older the first shift, the more likely it is to be uncontrolled, and the harder it is to bring shifting under control.

    Less than a day after Grace’s grandmother’s death, she and Graham had left their homes and had headed into the wilds. It had taken them three days to reach the cottage owned by a mutual friend who had agreed to lend it to them for an indefinite period.

    It didn’t look as if they had been followed by the witchhunters, but Grace wasn’t willing to take the risk. Since she could sleep in animalistic form it was agreed that her doing so was the best way for both of them to get a decent amount of sleep without sacrificing alertness for intruders.

    There were still noises outside. They were getting closer to the house.

    Grace padded out of the bedroom onto the landing, followed by Graham. The couple had reluctantly agreed that as she had the more powerful form then she should take the lead in defending them. Graham was still upset about this – he firmly believed that he should put his life on the line for his wife/girlfriend, not the other way around.

    The cottage was small, two floors. On the ground floor was a living room and a kitchen. The front door opened into the living room, the back door into the kitchen. On the first floor were a bedroom and a bathroom. The stairs were on the side of the living room, and connected to a landing that spanned the entire width of the cottage. Anyone standing on the landing could see down into the living room and the front door. There was a railing all along the landing for protection.

    The sounds continued. Then there was a thud from the back door – someone had tried to kick it open. This was followed by the bang of a gun outside the front door. After that the front door flew open and smashed into the wall at speed. It rebounded and the first intruder had to throw out an arm to protect himself.

    He was followed by a second intruder. Both were armed with pistols, but had daggers in scabbards by their sides for the rituals associated with a witch kill. In their other hands they carried torches so that they could see. Pity, in the dark of night the superior night vision of the panther and the wolf would give Grace and Graham a significant advantage. It looked like they were all for the time being.

    Grace tensed her muscles, and leapt over the railing, falling silently on top of the first intruder. Neither man had shone their torches upwards, so had no idea of the dark beast approaching.

    Her leap was true, she landed front paws on the man’s shoulders. He fell swiftly to the ground, bones cracking, muscles and ligaments tearing as he fell, unable to support the sudden addition of her weight.

    Grace reacted more swiftly than his colleague, and lashed out with her left forepaw as soon as she had all four paws on stable ground. His legs were taken out from under him and he fell.

    He tried to bring his gun to bear, but his wrist found itself in the vice grip of a wolf’s jaws. Graham had padded softly down the stairs and had leapt to Grace’s defence. Grace took advantage of the opportunity to smash his head in with her right forepaw.

    She turned her attention to the other intruder. He was groaning in severe pain, but she didn’t feel particularly gracious towards the attempted murderer, and smashed his head in too.

    There were still noises at the back door. Grace took the risk of heading out the front door. There were no further witchhunters awaiting her arrival. She went around the side of the cottage, and saw that there were two further intruders trying to bash down the back door.

    Taking advantage of their distraction, Grace padded closer, silent and nearly invisible against the dark background of the night-time scenery. She hesitated as she reached pounce-range. Two against a panther hadn’t gone brilliantly when she’d had the advantage of height. It might not be a good idea to try these odds again.

    Before she could make up her mind the back door failed against their determined assault. Grace waited for the first man to make his way through the doorway before pouncing on the second. He wasn’t expecting an attack from the side, and Grace swiftly had him lying on the ground. With what was now practiced ease she smashed his head in too.

    Grace then turned her attention to what was going on inside the cottage. Graham was on top of the last attacker with his jaws around the man’s neck. The man was steadily chocking to death. Grace stood back and let Graham have his kill.

    The assault over Grace made one final reconnoitre of the cottage to confirm that there were no further witchhunters around. Then she padded her way back up the stairs, into the bedroom and shifted back into human form. She put on her robe before picking up another and heading back down stairs.

    Graham waited until she was within touching distance before transforming himself. He swiftly put on the robe that Grace had carried downstairs for him.

    Grace took one deep breath. “I think we need to move again.”

    “The police aren’t going to be too difficult surely. All of these men look like they’ve been killed by some form of wild animal.” Grace could see that Graham didn’t quite understand the situation.

    “It isn’t the police we need to worry about,” she explained. “If other witchhunters hear about this, they’ll put two and two together – and they won’t make three.”

    Graham acquiesced, and the pair got properly dressed before packing what little they had left for their next attempt to stay one step ahead of their hunters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leigh Kimmel prompted

    Paul Simon “You Can Call Me Al”

    Hum, I had to go look that one up. “Why am I soft in the middle, now?… I want a shot at redemption… Why am I short of attention… where’s my wife and family? … who’ll be my role model, now that my role model is gone, gone?… a street in a strange world…surrounded by the sound…angels in the architecture spinning in infinity…” And background discussion, about a midlife crisis and Simon visiting South Africa…

    Okay, here’s a wandering verse, quite terse…

    Into every life there comes,
    A day of dread, a day of sorrow,
    When life seems to bend and break.
    As the promise of tomorrow
    Turns into hard memories,
    And the belly grows,
    Even as the attention wanders,
    And family and friends and roles all fade
    Into the grey of another day.

    But wait, and watch,
    For angels on high
    Spin their wings for you,
    And even in that strange world,
    You can call me Al…
    And I will answer.
    For redemption comes to every one.
    Even you and I.

    Liked by 1 person

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