Week 16 of Odd Prompts

In the midwest US, it is currently both snowing and shining bright sunlight. So that’s the dichotomy of this week: What unexpected things are revealed during writing and other forms of creativity? For instance, the beauty revealed by the interplay of light and shadow, or the meditative quality of knitting metal to create certain chainmail patterns that inspires insight and solutions. Does the flow of writing ever surprise you?

How about some prompts for a surprise? Here are this week’s trades:

AC YoungA traveller wakes up to find a unicorn and a pegasus looking at him/her.nother Mike
Becky JonesCleaning out boxes of stuff from your deceased mother, you find a set of letters to her from somebody whose name you’ve never heard before. You read through them and realize that they make no sense whatsoever. Your spouse suggests that the letters are coded.Leigh Kimmel
nother MikeHe/she wasn’t quite sure what it meant when the little anime figure beside the computer monitor started talking, but it probably wasn’t a good sign.Fiona Grey
Fiona GreyThe man on the motorcycle looked normal. In the sidecar, however, was an orangutan.AC Young
Leigh KimmelIn the backyard stars shone brighter than the others / That I rarely see through the smog through the haze that covers / The home that I used to live in (from “Rescue” by Eve6Becky Jones

Want in on the fun? Email oddprompts@gmail.com, and if you’re commitment shy or just have an idea you’d like to share with the world, put “spare” in the subject line. Oh, and if you just want to grab and idea and play along? That’s what spares are designed for!

SparesThe pair entered the crucible…
SparesWhen they turned the corner, the world changed…
SparesWhen you wear SmartGoggles ™, you can see what is really happening! (SmartGoggles is not responsible for demons or other infestations that may occur)
SparesHe looked at the hook in the middle of the sandwich laying on the park bench, and tugged gently on the line running into the bushes…
SparesA voice spoke out of the burning bush by the side of the path…
SparesA river of mist and a submarine duck

That’s all for now for this week, and may your cognitive dissonance be as peaceful as possible. Until we see each other in the comments, adieu!



  1. This week I got the prompt from Fiona Grey: The man on the motorcycle looked normal. In the sidecar, however, was an orangutan.

    Transporting an ape in a sidecar is highly unusual, so the subject of the prompt could be anyone they come across. The unusual nature of the sight suggests someone with a lax understanding of the relevant laws (even if the practice is legal – which it might be in some jurisdictions), so perhaps they could have been stopped by police for another reason.

    I did think at one point of writing a murder mystery – I still might – and got far enough to create a DC Kowal. So perhaps this prompt relates to an incident that took place earlier in her career, while she was a PC.

    Technical point: So that I had a little freedom with the communications I created a police force. The real-life force covering the area is the West Midlands Police.

    PC Annabelle Kowal and Sgt Clive Kelvin (both of the Birmingham and Black Country Constabulary) were cruising down the M5. Clive had been with the Traffic Patrol team for years, while Annabelle had only completed her basic police training the previous month. They were on the Evening Patrol, and being a fine summer’s eve it was still light. Traffic was reasonably light, but up ahead was a motorbike and sidecar in the outside lane. Being an unusual vehicle on the motorway they were both paying it a certain amount of interest.

    Suddenly Annabelle went “Sarge!”. At almost the same time Clive turned on the flashing lights and siren in their patrol car. They had both spotted that the rider of the motorbike wasn’t wearing a helmet.

    Before too long the motorbike and sidecar was parked in the Hard Shoulder, with the patrol car, lights still flashing, parked in front. Annabelle got out from the passenger side – straight onto the grass verge, for Clive had deliberately parked the car as far across as he could in order to permit him to safely exit from the driver’s side. She turned around to approach the motorbike, and stopped dead in her tracks.

    The rider was a bearded man with short blond locks, wearing a black biker’s jacket and blue jeans. But he was, to all appearances, normal. His passenger was not. In the sidecar was an orangutan.

    Annabelle glanced across the roof of the car. Clive was similarly shocked at the sight.

    Clive jerked back into motion. Approaching the motorbike he addressed the rider “Sgt Kelvin and PC Kowal of the Birmingham and Black Country Constabulary. Could you please explain what is going on here?”

    “Certainly, Officer. I’m transporting this beast between zoos.”

    “Are you familiar with the relevant laws for transporting wild animals?”

    “My employers are, and they tell me this is legal.”

    “Your employers?”

    “Yes, Officer. Convenient Animal Transportation, Ltd.”

    “Annabelle, please radio for assistance. We need an expert in animal welfare and transportation laws.”

    “Yes, Sarge.” Annabelle made her way back into the passenger seat. “Patrol 2235 to Control. Specialist assistance required. We have an orangutan in a sidecar.”

    “Control to 2235. Please repeat.”

    “2235 to Control. We have an orangutan in a sidecar. Specialist assistance in animal welfare and transportation laws is required.”

    “Control to 2235. Please hold while we find the right team.”

    “2235 to Control. Understood.” Annabelle looked in the wing mirror. Clive was having some sort of conversation with the rider, who had now dismounted.

    A few minutes later the radio came back to life. “Control to 2235.”

    “2235 to Control. Receiving.”

    “Control to 2235. Specialist Officers will be at your location within the hour. Dudley Zoo are sending a team to pick up the orangutan and look after it until it can be legally transported to its owner. The RSPCA are sending an Investigator to assist with the animal welfare aspects of the case.”

    “2235 to Control. Understood.” Annabelle got back out of the vehicle and made her way back to the motorbike, where Clive was still chatting with the rider. “Sarge, Control say it may be the best part of an hour.”

    Clive grimaced. “Understood.”

    The rider started. “I can’t stay here for an hour! If I don’t make my delivery time I get my pay docked!”

    “Until we get the situation with the orangutan sorted out I can’t let you proceed. In any case, I’m not letting you ride on without a helmet.”

    “I need to contact my employers.”

    “Please do. Just make sure to inform them that both you and the orangutan are staying here until we decide otherwise.”

    The rider got out his mobile phone, and set about informing CAT, Ltd of the situation. The police officers settled in for the wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AC Young prompted…

    A traveller wakes up to find a unicorn and a pegasus looking at him/her.

    A traveler? On a quest, just a trip, or… and why are these characters looking at him/her? Hum…

    First cut…

    Harry shook his head. Man, he loved the convenience of magic portal travel, but the effects on his sleep were so bad. So, where was he now?

    He opened his eyes, and looked up. Eeek.

    There was a unicorn and a pegasus looking down at him. What had he done now?

    He blinked, and looked past the two staring at him. Okay, that looks like the standard decor of Haliday’s Inn, a nice forested glen. But what were the horse with the horn and the horse with wings doing here?

    That’s when the pegasus gently pushed him with its hoof.

    “What are you doing in our glen? We reserved this room, you know?”

    Second slice…

    The new game was out! With promises that you wouldn’t believe the virtual reality effects built into this version.

    Harry grabbed a copy, plugged it in, and put on his smart goggles. Then he started playing. And they were right! Wow! His avatar pushed through the jungle, fighting off the strange monsters with blasts of magic fire. He felt as if his whole body was pushing through, swinging to fight off the attacks, and otherwise reacting. Incredible!

    After a while, he decided to take a rest. He sat his avatar down in a glade by a stream, and… somehow, he fell asleep.

    When he woke up, he blinked twice. There was a unicorn and a Pegasus looking at him. He tried to say the words that would shut down the game and the virtual reality, but somehow, nothing happened. Then he tried to take off the goggles. But… his hands raised, he brushed the side of his head, but it was here.

    The unicorn laughed.

    “You just tried to get out of the game, didn’t you? I already found out there’s no way home…”

    The Pegasus nodded.

    Third slice…

    Harry opened his eyes and looked around. There was a unicorn and a Pegasus looking back at him.

    He closed his eyes, hard, and grimaced. What had he been drinking last night? He remembered getting off the plane, taking a taxi to the hotel, and grabbing some kind of food and a quick beer before going to bed. But…

    He opened his eyes again. The unicorn and the winged horse were still looking at him. In fact, the winged horse pulled back its lip and snickered as he shook his head.

    That’s when he realized that he was in a forest, not in the hotel room he remembered. What?

    And probably other fun that might spring from that prompt. Sorry, no time to finish this week… so you get three possible beginnings, instead?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And I now have mine up on my LiveJournal at https://starshipcat.livejournal.com/945945.html. It was an interesting one, but it’s pretty clearly the beginning of a much larger work — and just to be annoying, there are several other novels that need to be written first. I’ll probably make some notes so that I know where I was planning to go with it, and then file ti for when I get back to that ‘verse.

    Why does my subconscious have to be annoying like that?

    Liked by 2 people

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