Week 28 of Odd Prompts

It’s that time of the week. Time for new growth, time to pick up the prompt and then spend a day or three mulling it over. I recommend a long hot shower, or a walk, or standing with your hands in soapy dishwater… things like that help me think because I can’t write while I’m doing them.

Becky JonesThe cat was twitching and snoring quietly, while the fairies clustered around it.AC Young
Cedar SandersonShe opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.nother Mike
AC YoungThe terraforming on Pelagus VI hadn’t gone entirely to plan. When the winds came from the sea it always rained heavily in the morning.Becky Jones
nother MikeAfter the auction, when you were cleaning the ming vase you bought, you found a bloody knife inside…Cedar Sanderson
Fiona GreyThe stuffed toy astronaut was clearly a warning.Leigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelUnder the bonsai oak tree is a tiny house, with footprints coming in and out the door.Fiona Grey

If you forgot to send in a prompt (hey, we don’t judge around here. Not that, and not the writing when you post a response, either) then there are always spares to go around! As a matter of fact, there are 18 months of weekly prompts you could mine. That’s about 72 weeks! With an average of, say, 5 spares a week, you’ve got 360 prompts you could use. And you can always use a prompt challenge. Whatever works.

SpareThere was a bloody eyeball on a pencil grilling over the campfire…
SpareThe PI was surprised when the zoo wanted to hire him to explain why the king cobra in the reptile building was guarding a large emerald…
SpareYou’d think the explosion would have deterred futher progress, but it turns out you can’t stop a determined herd of spaceships.
SpareWhat they found in the abandoned house changed everything
SpareAt the edge of the cliff, they could see a hand, holding hard by its fingertips…

Finally, send us a prompt! You can send it by email to oddprompts at gmail dot com, formatted as you would. If you don’t feel up to the challenge, put ‘spare’ in the subject line, so we know not to assign you randomly to a prompter.

Don’t forget to come back to see the responses! See you in the comments.



  1. In this week’s triple-swap Becky Jones gave me: The cat was twitching and snoring quietly, while the fairies clustered around it.

    A visit to the fairies’ world seemed called for.

    The silvery light of dawn gradually lit the small village. As the light grew it illuminated a creature. A human would have recognised it instantly as a cat. A smallish tabby cat in various shades of brown.

    But there were no humans in the village. This was the land of faerie, and the cat had wandered through a portal from the world of men before falling asleep.

    The first fairy made her way out of her cottage and into the outside world. She looked around, and then her bright blue butterfly wings fluttered in agitation – there was a strange monster just outside the village boundary, a monster approaching twice her height lying down, and probably significantly more when standing. She squealed, attracting more fairies out of their cottages.

    Emboldened by numbers the flutter of fairies approached the monster with care. The monster didn’t react, just making a strange noise at it breathed in and out, and occasionally twitching at random intervals.

    Gradually the group flared out and surrounded the cat on all sides, bright wings of all colours fluttering in the silver light of the sun.

    The flutter got more and more bold as they continued to circle the unknown creature with no consequences. The fairies started to touch the cat, to stroke its fur.

    Then the cat awoke. It yawned, it opened its eyes, it aimed a lazy swipe with one of its forepaws at the fairies in front of it – the fairies dodged with ease. Then it turned around and made its way back through the portal it had found, passing back into the land of men.

    The portal closed behind the cat, not to open again for who knew how long.

    Behind him the fairies told tales about the monster they’d discovered that morning. Over time as the story spread the cat became a mythical creature in the land of faerie. The cat became more dangerous as the story mutated. Eventually unicorn herders who were less than vigilant against the known dangers of dragons were warned that the cat would magically appear to kill their herd.

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  2. Cedar Sanderson prompted…

    She opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    [Helter-skelter week… Semi-random splinters follow…

    First quick response]

    She opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    Then she slammed the cover shut again, and read the title. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea? Well, it sounded like a good book, but… she got the mop out, and cleaned up the water. Meanwhile, she planned. Okay, next time, she would read this one in a realie booth, like most people. And she’d wear her diving suit, too. She should know better than to open any old book outside the booth. She laughed, remembering the buffaloes that had gotten loose in the house when she tried reading that old Western last year. She should have remembered that one…

    [Hum. I like that, but it is pretty short.

    She opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    Water, wind, fire, landslide?

    Ah, an apprentice learning magic? Okay, let’s see…]

    Harriet rubbed her forehead. This morning’s magic lesson from her master had been confusing. Let your imagination shape the world, and your magic flow with it? He had shown her so much, and yet, she felt as if it was just beginning. And she had a headache, on top of everything. Well, maybe a little reading would let her relax.

    She opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    She slammed the book shut, and stared at it in horror.

    That’s when her master walked in. He was chuckling.

    “Let me see what you are reading?”

    He pried the book out of her hands, and looked at the title.

    “Oh, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? That’s a good old story, but right now, you may find your imagination makes some stories hard to take.”

    She blinked, and stared at him.

    “What do you mean?”

    He smiled.

    “Well, your magic took in this morning’s lesson quite well, and clearly, your imagination seems willing to turn your thoughts into reality. Which means books like this will be a bit damp for reading…” He squeezed the book, and water ran off it.

    She stared at him in horror.

    “You mean… whatever I imagine is going to become real? But…”

    He held up his hand.

    “Relax! Your next lesson, which we will start very soon, is how to stop the magic from turning your imagination into reality. Just… take a deep breath, and we’ll get started!”

    The book in his hand started to drip a little more as she relaxed…

    [Another splinter…]

    She opened the book and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    She slammed the cover shut, and shook off the last of the flood. Then she shook her head, pushed that book back into the shelves, and pulled another one out.

    When she opened this one, a strong wind pushed out, shoving her hair back.

    Again, she slammed the book cover shut. The wind stopped. She pushed that book back into the shelves, and looked along the rows of books.

    When she started to open the next one, all it took was a quick flicker of flame, and she slammed the cover shut again.

    [not quite…]

    She put the book back, and nodded. Her master had warned her that the library was not for beginners, but she thought he meant the books were too hard, not that they were dangerous themselves. Still, water, wind, fire… clearly the books had elementals bound up in them, so until she could control the elements of magic, she couldn’t use the books.

    [Or maybe…]

    Heather had become well-known among those who preferred mystical private eyes, all due to her library. Bring her a case, a mystery, and she would pick up a book. Which revealed the clues needed to solve it. But this last one…

    She picked up the book. She opened the book, and a gush of water poured out of the pages.

    She slammed the book shut, and looked at the waiting pair.

    “I’m sorry to say, your father drowned. No question about it.”

    [That’s probably enough glittering facets for now…]

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