Week 47 of Odd Prompts

Hello there, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, if you’re in the US! And if not, well, I promise it’s supposed to be about gratitude, not gluttony, and we’re all grateful you’re here. For what are tales without readers, art without viewers, and challenges without try-fail cycles, so that success can be all the more sweet?

Here’s how it works. Email an idea to oddprompts@gmail.com, and get put in for a direct trade. There’s no penalty for not completing it (but we all learned good habits during National Novel Writing Month, right? ….right?), but if that’s too much pressure, just put “spare” in the subject line, and it’s up for anyone to get inspired by. That’s it!

So here are your trades:

AC YoungThe Delarian Sapphire had been the cause of much bloodshed. Ancient lore said that whoever held it could command the (widely believed to be mythical) Blue Dragons.Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeIt was when the neighbor took his pet squid for a walk that the trouble began…Fiona Grey
Cedar SandersonThey are almost more work when teenagers than as toddlersLeigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelThe hozone is the place where socks go when they vanish in the wash. So where is the place all those receipts vanish off to when you desperately need them?nother Mike
Fiona Grey“And if ’twere true, then all as we know it were lost,” the old woman cackled to the tavern’s crowd. She did not fail to notice the gleam in one listener’s eye as he slipped off to try what she’d just warned against. But that’s exactly what she wanted.AC Young

And here are your spares, stoic and spartan, secretly longing for a home. They’re like kittens, really, you just have to make it past the steely façade.

SpareThe ad offered high pay for surrogate mothers…
SpareThe cat in the store was wearing a patch over one eye…
SpareThat night, an angel knocked on the door…
SpareThe gryphon queen needed just one more thing.

See you next week in the comments!

Header image by Fiona Grey, blurred fish



  1. In this week’s prompt cycle I received the gift of Fiona Grey: “And if ’twere true, then all as we know it were lost,” the old woman cackled to the tavern’s crowd. She did not fail to notice the gleam in one listener’s eye as he slipped off to try what she’d just warned against. But that’s exactly what she wanted.

    Hmmm. Sounds like revenge…

    The tavern in the village of Wotton Wawen was now known as the Four Spears. Above the main entrance were four crossed spears. Before the Disaster it had been known as the Scythe, with that farmers’ tool above the door. But following the Disaster the new Lords of the Realm had decreed that ordinary villagers were forbidden the use of spears, and as a gesture of defiance the scythe had been replaced by four spears, the blades of which were now rusting slowly.

    The Four Spears was full that evening, with nearly the whole village enjoying an ale. One of the revellers was an old crone, who was regaling as many as would listen with old lore.

    “… The great king was returning home after slaying the Demon when he and his guard were waylaid by the Demon’s Mother. The great king refused to apologise and pay weregeld, so she attacked, and slew them all.

    “The Demon’s Mother stripped the men of their helms, armour and swords, and retreated with her loot to her lair in a cave underneath Ullswater. There she lives still.

    “The armour and helm of the great king she added to her rich collection, and his sword she hung over her fireplace.

    “After her exertions she went into hibernation, leaving her many treasures unguarded. But legend says that if any were to swim into her cave and steal anything she will wake and take revenge. And if any were to sneak away unknown then she will slay many in the hope of killing the thief. And if ‘twere true, then all as we know it were lost.” The crone’s cackle came to an end as her tale reached its conclusion.

    It was an old tale, and many of the listeners had heard variants on the story all their lives, including many that placed the Demon’s Mother’s lair in a cave in far-off Dane-land – wherever that was. None of them expected Ullswater to have any treasure in a cave at the bottom of the lake.

    But there was one who had a twinkle in his eye as he slipped out of the tavern, leaving a half-drunk tankard of ale behind. It looked as if he was planning on going to Ullswater to search for the treasure.

    That was what the old crone desired. She had once had a husband and three sons, but all had been killed in the king’s service at the big battle down south, the battle that heralded the Disaster. Now she had only one daughter.

    The new king had replaced the local lords, handing the land over to Rollo de Rouen. His eldest son, Robert de Rouen, had paid the tavern a visit this night. The old woman had recognised him from seeing him ride through the village in his father’s retinue.

    Desiring revenge for the deaths of her husband and sons, she had adapted the well-known legend of the Demon’s Mother. To her secret delight, it looked like young Robert de Rouen was off to Ullswater, where he would hopefully drown – one death avenged, three to go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Neat. When I first started reading, I thought it was a post-apocalyptic story with technological and social regression to feudalism. But when I realized the Demon was Grendel from Beowulf, I realized the Disaster was the Norman Conquest.


  2. Leigh Kimmel projected…

    The hozone is the place where socks go when they vanish in the wash. So where is the place all those receipts vanish off to when you desperately need them?

    [A very scattered response…]

    A first quick draft…

    The hozone was introduced into the world by the inventor of the washing machine, which has a multidimensional quirk matching holes in socks to a slowly increasing black hole where the socks vanish from human comprehension. Thus, the hozone. Receipts that one needs, of course, simply scurry off into the edges of the red carpet, which has led accountants to tell clients that we are in the red…

    Burp. Second shot?

    Let’s see. At one time, at the edges of maps, one might find the notation that here there be monsters. Or at least, unknown dangers. Then, as man thought they conquered the world, those edges gradually vanished, but they do still entangle clothes in washing machines, which leads to the oft noted phenomenon of vanishing socks. They do disappear into the hozone. Now, receipts that are needed also tend to vanish, which causes folks to wonder where they went. After extensive research, we are able to say with a certain degree of certainty, that they actually are incorporated in red carpets. Yes, those red carpets that one sees from time to time at openings or festivals of some kind are actually composed of receipts hiding from recognition. They are red faced because they have vanished just when you need them most, which contributes to their ability to hide in the red carpets. Incidentally, don’t be fooled, the level of certainty of this explanation is not very high…

    And then, reality intruded…

    Bog. Saturday, eating a salad for lunch, I suddenly had a chunk rolling around in my mouth. And a gap in my upper left teeth, where apparently the chunk had fallen out. Pull it out of the greens, wash it off, and look at the ceramic over metal, and a little post sticking out the back. No pain, but… what? Apparently I had lost the top of this tooth some years ago, and had this replacement put in. And now it popped off!

    Called the dentist, and got an appointment for Monday morning. Okay… spent the time in between kind of wondering. What is that gap in my teeth? Does my cheek feel funny? Huh…

    At the dentist, he checked the other teeth, and did the magic X-ray. Then he explained. Apparently the nerve in this case was killed and pulled before, and that funny little post was where the false tooth rooted in the empty core. However, bacteria and time have worked on it, and loosened it, which is why it popped off. And, of course, the hole where the nerve was has collected bacteria. Which he cleaned out, filled with germicide, and capped the whole mess with a temporary cover. And tells me three or four visits should fix it up.

    So, Wednesday, I’ll be going back for the next step. But… somehow, hozone, red carpet receipts, and all that have kind of faded into the background.

    All because that tooth popped off in the middle of chewing my salad!

    Next thing you know, my socks won’t match, and those receipts will just disappear…

    Wandering off into the mists…

    I asked the hypo potamuses (or maybe they are potamii?)
    In the Jee Oh Metric land where those re seats went,
    They said it was obtuse, or maybe that was just an angle they had?
    So the missing socks are in the hozone, and the reseats are in the rezone?
    Where they are refiled until they disappear?


    • More than six legs, multiple eyes, pedipalps… The “Leggy Blonde” wouldn’t be a giant spider by any chance?

      It reads like the opening to a fun adventure.


      • Indeed she is. She’s talking to a black Orc who may be a head taller than she is, so he’s not terribly uncomfortable with her.

        I’ve been trying to figure out how to start this one off for a while, so I was happy when it popped out of my fingers!


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