Week 27 of Odd Prompts

Encouraging creatives is not a little like herding cats. In other words, the minute you pull out the can opener and start on the tin of tuna, you have performed summon cat and however many can reach you are twined around your ankles in soft supplication. For writers? We’ve got prompts for you. Please don’t bite our ankles.

Want to keep the Odd Prompts going? Play along with us! Send in your prompt to oddprompts at gmail dot com, and if you can’t commit to the weekly challenge (no word count, heck, doesn’t even have to be words, although posting images is tricky) then just put ‘spare’ in the subject line.

AC YoungThe colonists at Colony Base Ares One had been restricted to one (small, non-useful) personal item when they were transported from Earth. Martha had chosen to bring along her ‘Selene vase’ (originally produced to celebrate the first permanent lunar base). This morning her sons had accidently broken it…Cal Pomes
Cal PomesAnother rosebush had died. In the distance, she could hear soft laughter.Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeThe monster in the kitchen roared, then held the cellphone out. “They want to talk to you.”nother Mike
Becky JonesThe Loch Ness monster broke the water’s surface, looked around, and nodded at me.AC Young
Leigh KimmelOn a distant world is a single city with people remarkably human, and astonishingly friendly. Yet when asked about their society and history, they give evasive answers.Becky Jones
Cedar SandersonHe carefully fitted the antique flashbulb, then looked down into the viewfinder. As he drepressed the shutter…Leigh Kimmel

Looking for that spark to get your mental image warmed up and purring? Try a spare prompt! They don’t bite. Much.

SpareThe squirrel in the purse sniffed at the grapes, and shook its head. Then it said, “No, those aren’t really fresh. Try another bunch.”
SpareThe purse someone left in the bus stop was full of pictures. Of mythological creatures, like centaurs, taking a sightseeing tour of a nearby locale…
SpareThe cat stared at the blank wall. The demon glared back, wishing it would quit looking at it…

Header image by Fiona Grey, Florida



  1. Becky Jones supplied this week’s challenge: The Loch Ness monster broke the water’s surface, looked around, and nodded at me.

    I went somewhat literally with this one. And if Nessie exists there must be some group trying to prove it.

    Keith Lachlan MacNeil was feeling a little seasick. He was a little embarrassed about this. The cruise he was on wasn’t on the open ocean but was instead sailing Loch Ness. Yet even the shallow waves caused by the north-easterly wind were enough to set him off.

    The cruise itself had been hired by the Aberdeen Bureau of Cryptid Discovery, Evidence Finding Group – nicknamed the ‘A minors’ by some musically-minded wag some time back. It was their annual Nessie Hunt Cruise.

    Despite its name, the ABCD wasn’t associated with any university, but it prided itself on being the premier cryptid investigation organisation in Scotland. When Keith passed his biology degree, having developed a fascination for cryptids – much to the dismay of his lecturers – the EFG was the obvious choice for Keith to apply to join.

    The cruise itself had started at Fort Augustus at the extreme south-western end of the loch. It was going to take the group all the way up the loch to near Lochend and back again. It would take all day, so the various members of the EFG had taken packed lunches with them.

    A guide had been included with the cruise. In part this was to mitigate against the boredom of constantly looking out for the tell-tale signs of the Loch Ness Monster. It also provided cover – as long as the group looked as if they were a strange bunch of history buffs they could sneak their Nessie hunts under the radar.

    The cruise was currently passing Urquhart Castle, the ruins on the western bank about two-thirds up the loch. The guide was explaining the history of the ruins to most of the members of the EFG, who were pretending to pay close attention. Keith wasn’t one of them. Not feeling too well, Keith had stationed himself on the other side of the boat, half-over the side, still not sure if he’d throw up or not.

    Then something broke the surface only a short distance to the east of the boat. It was a head, then a neck. Finally! He’d seen the Loch Ness Monster! It looked around, then nodded at Keith before sinking slowly below the surface once more.

    Keith was stunned. Half of his life he’d dreamed of seeing the mythical Nessie with his own eyes, and now he had. It wasn’t until the creature started to drop out of sight that he realised that no-one else was around. While the other members of the EFG believed that Nessie existed they wouldn’t believe that he’d seen it without proof. He fumbled for his mobile phone, switched on the camera, and pointed it over the side of the boat. He’d fumbled for too long, Nessie was gone.

    He was very annoyed at himself, but as the cruise continued that annoyance dissipated. He’d seen Nessie! The others wouldn’t believe him, his family and friends wouldn’t believe him, but he had. He knew that he had. Nothing and no-one could take that away from him.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not really something I’d considered. The lack of any decent photos or other evidence does suggest that if Nessie exists then the monster is somewhat camera-shy. How it manages to avoid photographic notice is something I’ll need to have a think about.


    • Love it! Ages ago I took a tour out of Inverness to Loch Ness. We got a boat ride on the loch in a small open boat, water almost to the gunwales. Let me tell you, you start to believe when you’re bobbing along the HUGE loch in a verytiny boat!


  2. nother Mike prompted…

    The monster in the kitchen roared, then held the cellphone out. “They want to talk to you.”

    Hum, okay, what monster? An obvious one, like Schlock or Jabba the Hutt? Or a less obvious one, Dracula or some such? And, of course, who are they? Aha, whose kitchen is this? For that matter, whose cellphone is it? Decisions, decisions…

    A Call for You?
    By Mike Barker

    The kitchen team was all standing outside in the hall, and a fire squad was kneeling by the door to the cafeteria. The leader of the squad waved him forward.

    “I know it doesn’t make sense, but it’s asking for you, by name.”

    Gil bit his lip.

    “Okay. Let me go ahead and see what it wants.”

    He stepped forward into the cafeteria. The lights along the arch flashed white, as they usually did for a human, then settled back to red, warning that some kind of dangerous non-human had gone past the scanners. The doorway to the kitchen was also framed in red.

    Sitting in the middle of the kitchen was the monster. Almost human, except for the fangs that belonged on a muzzle, not crushed into a more or less human mouth. When he stepped inside the door, it looked at him. It blinked, one eye, then the other, then the first again.

    Then the monster in the kitchen roared, and held a cellphone out. “They want to talk to you.”

    Gil reached out and took the phone. He held it near his ear, but kept his eyes on the monster. It didn’t look too bad.


    “Who is this?”

    “I’m Gil, the head chef. Who is this?”

    “Let’s just say I’m the puppet master behind the fellow sitting in front of you. Look, I don’t want him hurt, but he needs help.”

    Gil blinked. Then he shook his head.

    “Okay. So you sent him into a monster hunting center, where they are likely to kill him, to ask for help?”

    “Hey, you have doctors and all that, right? And he’s sick. So… we decided to take a chance.”

    (Nuts, that’s not going anywhere…)


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