Week 37 of Odd Prompts

It is oft said that there can be no light without shadow, no monsters without heroes…no creativity without those who see past normal and into what might be.

So come on, then! Grab a prompt below, trade or spare, or jump in next week by emailing oddprompts@gmail.com.

AC YoungI’ve never believed the old stories about what was in the woods. This evening I went exploring.Becky Jones
Fiona GreyThe “basilisk crossing” sign was in fact less concerning than the “disintegrating mountain” alert twenty yards beyond it.Leigh Kimmel
Becky JonesThe squirrels were doing a conga line along the top of the fence.AC Young
Cedar SandersonThrough the walls, the voices sounded like muted trumpetsFiona Grey
nother MikeThe man ran into the hotel lobby, waving a large pair of shears in one hand. He looked around, then turned and ran back out.Cedar Sanderson
Leigh KimmelIn the gathering gloom you see a flash of distant lightning to the north.nother Mike

Don’t feel like a trade? Forget to send one in? Just finding this place? Give it a go below.

SpareOne of the benefits of being Ancient is that ‘fashion’ doesn’t really matter. Given enough time, it all cycles. ‘Outdated’ is really ‘pre-retro’.
SpareIt’d been three years since the criticality accident.
SpareWhen he was told ‘football’ he expected, well, football. Or maybe soccer. Or even rugby. But this ball was foot-shaped.
SpareThe countess was said to suffer from periodic delusions that she was made of glass. (from Lois McMaster Bujold)
SpareYou wouldn’t mind your pet running away from home if he didn’t talk so much… what’s he going to tell people!

Header image by Fiona Grey, Badlands, South Dakota

And remember, sometimes monster motivations are just a lot of fun. That’s the goal! Hope you had a good time, and let us know in the comments. See you there!

Header image Fiona Grey, South Dakota Badlands.



  1. This week I had a prompt exchange with Becky Jones: The squirrels were doing a conga line along the top of the fence.

    Henrietta looked out of the kitchen window. The garden outside was her pride and joy, and along the left-hand edge was a row of sunflowers. They were past their best now, but at least the squirrels hadn’t got to them. By this time last year every single flower had been beheaded by a raiding arboreal rodent.

    On the other side of the lawn were her rose bushes, two full rows of them. It would soon be time to prune them back, ready for next spring and summer’s growth and flowering.

    Then a movement in the corner of her eye. A squirrel appeared at the top of the right-hand fence. Then another, and another, and …

    “No! Oh, no!” Henrietta wailed. She knew from experience that once a squirrel set its mouth on her sunflower seeds there was nothing she could do.

    There were ten of them in total. They formed up, one behind another. Then they conga-ed all the way down the right-hand fence, along her back fence and back up the left-hand fence.

    In spite of her despair at the forthcoming loss of all her sunflowers, Henrietta couldn’t help smiling at the performance. Who’d been teaching them, she wondered.

    At the sunflowers the squirrel troupe broke apart, each picking their own flower to behead. They reached out with their forepaws and tried to snag the flower stalk, before biting the flower head off.

    Henrietta couldn’t help chuckling at their antics. One of them lost its balance and fell off the fence. It climbed back up, looking extremely bashful – Henrietta laughed out loud at the sight – before having another go.

    Once all the arboreal raiders had their poached head of nuts, they ran off along the fences, heading in all possible directions.

    Henrietta put her head in her hands. Despite her enjoyment of the squirrels’ antics, she couldn’t ignore the mess that they’d made of her sunflower patch. A mess that she now had to clear up. She’d make herself a large (very large) mug of tea, and enjoy that first.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Hmm, I think you nailed why I’m unsatisfied! I want more vignettes and more depth. And to do research on sirens. I thought it was because it was clashing with a short story in progress. No time this week for either, but maybe this weekend!


    • Yay! Oddly enough, I grabbed that prompt from a show we were watching, where some guy ran on stage, carrying a big pair of scissors, looked around, then ran off again. Totally unrelated to the show, and no one said anything about it. I thought it was probably some poor stagehand who had managed to blunder out during the show, but… ghosts would work, too! Great!


  2. And I finally have mine up on my LiveJournal at https://starshipcat.livejournal.com/1023807.html. I’m pushing that part of the Big Messy Project forward, although I’m going to have to see how it connects to the segment where she’s walking through the place that looks like Oz and is found by the elf on the motorcycle.

    And I finally got last week’s updated to have the actual text of that segment of the Big Messy Project. It’s certainly interesting to revisit old memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The big messy project is beginning to remind me of an RPG run wild… plenty of quests and side journeys, with a dab of randomness to make it all fun…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Leigh Kimmel insinuated…

    In the gathering gloom you see a flash of distant lightning to the north.

    A quick draft…

    In the gathering gloom, there was a flash of distant lightning in the north.

    In the evening light, the house had seemed small, but tall. Now it seemed to grow, gathering darkness around itself. Harold turned from the lightning, looked at it, and blinked. It almost looked as if there were candles flickering in the windows… no, it must just be a reflection of the lightning. Or maybe… he turned and looked at the small dark wood behind the overgrown garden. No, no, there was nothing there but darkness.

    He shrugged. He felt uneasy about the house, but it was the cheapest place he had found. So…

    He walked around the side of the house, and closed the gate on the fence. Then he walked out on the street in front, and looked at the house again. He shook his head. Darn it, in the evening gloom, the place seemed like a strange solid blot of darkness, with wings of grayish darkness spreading out from it. Well, some electric lights would fix that.

    He jumped a little when the real estate agent touched his arm. He knew the man had waited in the street when he went around back to look at the house, but…

    “Oh, there you are,” the agent said, “Have you made up your mind yet? I know you wanted to see it in the evening. Did you have any other questions about it?”

    Harold nodded. Then he looked at the man.

    “Yes. If you can bring the price down a bit, say another five thousand or so?”

    The agent smiled.

    “I can do that. But when will you be moving in? Halloween is coming…”

    Harold laughed. From the way the agent acted, you would think the place was haunted or something. But he sure agreed to shave the price easily.

    (Hum, that’s kind of intriguing…. Harold is buying a gothic house?)

    In the gathering gloom, there was a flash of distant lightning in the north.

    Harold shivered, and looked around the woods. He had gone camping this weekend, and set up his tent under a large pine, so he wasn’t too worried about rain. Lightning, now, that could be a problem, although he thought there were plenty of big trees nearby.

    The wind started to shriek around the trees. He had put out his fire after cooking his dinner, so he wasn’t worried about that. But he hoped it didn’t blow hard enough to knock the tent down, or blow something over on it. The wind sounded strange, whistling around the trees. He almost thought he could hear voices, wailing some kind of strange chorus. He chuckled, realizing that he was remembering the theme song from the Addams Family series. No, the wind couldn’t be playing that tune, could it?

    Then, of course, when the wind was whistling, and the rain was starting to mist down, something came crashing through the brush and pulled his tent open. Then it stepped inside, and pulled the tent closed again.

    Harold shook his head. Hairy, grey, big… he looked down the big leg in front of him, and there it was. Bigfoot, sure enough. But…

    Then its face turned to him, and its mouth opened.

    “Sorry to barge in like this, but it’s going to rain cats and dogs and cows and bulls out there!” There was a big smile on the hairy face, showing fangs.

    Harold gulped, and said, “Well, uh, you’re welcome to stay dry. I’m Harold.”

    “Nice to meet you. I’m… well, you folks just call all of us Bigfoot, but I’m Throgg.”

    Throgg reached out. After a moment, Harold realized Throgg wanted to shake hands, and he stuck his hand out and shook. Throgg’s hand was callused, and hairy on the back. It felt like shaking hands with an ape, at least what Harold imagined shaking hands with an ape would feel like.

    (Hum, now that’s odd)

    Liked by 2 people

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