Week 32 of Odd Prompts

Welcome back to another week of prompts. You can write, make art, compose music… anything you like, just choose a prompt if you didn’t send one in for the challenge, and leave us a link in the comments to what you did with it. It’s all good. I mean that, doesn’t matter what you think of your creation, the fact that you did it? It’s good.

SenderSmoke SignalTo Whom it May Concern
Fiona GreyA laugh like a drunken llamaBecky Jones
nother MikeIn the middle of the bush, a golden bird stood and sang…Leigh Kimmel
AC Young“Let the Blue Hippocampus fly!”Padre
PadreThe waves rolled slowly up the beachFiona Grey
Becky JonesThe clouds danced in the meadow.Cedar Sanderson
Leigh KimmelAs twilight gives way to night, the full moon rises — and the road ahead of you rises to meet it.nother Mike
Cedar SandersonThe sharp grin of the unicorn betrayed himAC Young

And if you hadn’t thrown your hat over the fire to send out a smoke signal, there’s always the spare prompts. No one here is judging anyone, so join in with the odds. There are more of us than there are finished projects where we could write ‘the end’ on them.

SpareHow can you trust him?
SpareRed dragons dislike both red and white roses.
SpareThe robot revolution was more like the tide, slowly but surely rising…
SpareSometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but keep playing, the fun is in the game.
SpareI’d like to teach the world to sing…

See you in the comments, and remember, prompts come around every Wednesday morning!

(Header image is generated from MidJourney using last week’s prompt of ‘When the boy fell into the cave he looked up and saw’ to give an example of what happens when you let an artificial intelligence play along)

22 comments

  1. This week I received Cedar Sanderson’s smoke signal: The sharp grin of the unicorn betrayed him

    This fitted neatly into my paired universe from Weeks 21 and 26, as in my planning I’d come up with a secondary character with a unicorn pair. The resultant episode will probably fit into William Smith’s 2nd or 3rd year as a teacher.

    William Smith left the Staff Room much earlier than was his norm this Friday, heading down to his car only twenty minutes after the final bell. Before he’d left, he had picked up the bouquet of flowers he’d bought on his lunch break. Spitfire, his gryphon pair, transformed into his small form and flew after him. (He had never been able to find any reference book on so-called mythical creatures that said gryphons had the ability to transform into a small winged cat and back again – but Spitfire could.)

    His first stop was home. He wasn’t intending on staying there very long. The first thing he did was let Spitfire into the back garden. Then he put the flowers into water before heading upstairs to change out of his suit and tie into something a little more suitable for his plans that evening.

    Once attired in what he hoped was suitable dress, he got a small box out from a bedside drawer. A quick glance inside confirmed that the ring was still there. He’d fetched it only the previous Saturday, having had it specially made to his own specifications at a jeweller in the Jewellery Quarter.

    A diamond was expected for this type of ring, he’d had it surrounded by six rubies of similar (small) size. The central setting was shaped to make the cluster look like the petals of a flower. On either side of these were a single (smaller) emerald on an extension of the setting shaped like a leaf. The entire flower setting was set on a gold band that, according to Sapphire’s sister, was the right size for her finger.

    He’d chosen the gems because he’d observed that when she wore earrings with gemstones they were normally rubies, with the occasional emerald.

    All checked, he put the box into his pocket. When he made his way back downstairs he opened the back door and called Spitfire back in. Collecting the flowers he headed back out to his car.

    His destination this time was a farm just outside of town. He would normally park just outside of the stables, but not today. Today he parked on one of the roads that passed by the farm, out of sight of the stables, and hiked along the public footpaths to the stables, carrying the flowers.

    As William and Spitfire approached the stables a unicorn came into view, grazing in the paddock. Her name was Blanche, and she was Sapphire’s pair.

    William bowed in greeting, “Good afternoon, Blanche.”

    The unicorn nodded back, “Good afternoon, William. Nice to see you Spitfire. I’m afraid Sapphire won’t be here for about half an hour.”

    William had expected this, for he knew that Sapphire came here every day after work to spend time with Blanche, and to help look after her. He had tried to time his arrival so that he was here before her.

    “Would you mind if we waited for her in the stable, out of sight, so I can surprise her?”

    “If you want.” Blanche went back to her grazing.

    William and Spitfire headed into the stable, made sure that they couldn’t be seen from outside, and settled in to wait.

    After about twenty minutes a beautiful woman with long dark hair, kept out of her face with a bright red headband, approached the stable. “Good afternoon, Blanche.”

    “Good afternoon, Sapphire. How was today?”

    “Same as ever. Anything interesting happen here?”

    “Not really.” But the unicorn had an obvious grin on her face.

    Sapphire wasn’t sure what was going on, but she knew that Blanche wasn’t saying something. Someone else was probably here, and Blanche was trying (and failing as usual) to keep it a secret. She didn’t see anyone, and the only place anyone could hide around here was the stable – she headed in.

    William had been alerted to Sapphire’s arrival by her exchange with Blanche. As he saw her come through the door, he stepped forwards and presented her with the bouquet.

    Sapphire was sure something was going on. “You don’t normally get me flowers on a Friday night.”

    “I needed something to distract you while I extracted this.” William held out the open ring box, which he’d removed from his pocket and opened while Sapphire was examining the flowers he’d bought her.

    William went down on one knee. “Sapphire Georgia Rea, will you marry me?”

    “You have remembered that I come with a hornèd beast?”

    “Yes, I have remembered that my pair plus your pair make four.”

    Sapphire put a look of concentration on her face. “Let me consider the pros and the cons…”

    William got very worried, and a sense of dread filled him.

    Sapphire must have spotted his facial expression change, for she suddenly broke into laughter, and a broad smile shone on her face. “It’s ‘yes!’ Of course it’s ‘yes!’”

    William didn’t have time to smile before Sapphire dropped the flowers, flung herself forward and gave him a hug with all her might. His heart was suddenly lighter than a feather. If the metaphor had had any impact on reality he’d already be climbing towards the roof.

    When they finally parted, William put the ring on Sapphire’s left ring finger. Her sister had got the sizing about right, it slipped on smoothly and seemed to be securely in place.

    “It’s beautiful.”

    “Not as beautiful as the woman wearing it.”

    “Flatterer.”

    “It’s not flattery if it’s true.”

    Sapphire chuckled. “A warning for the future: Most of the time Little Miss Transparent back there can’t keep a secret to save her life.”

    “Excuse me!” came Blanche’s voice from outside.

    “It’s true. You gave away William’s presence by your grinning.”

    Sapphire chuckled again, then bent down to pick the flowers back up. “Could you hold these for me please?”

    William took the bouquet back, and held them while Sapphire did the necessary to look after her pair, the woman and unicorn mare talking softly to one another as she did so. Afterwards William handed the flowers back, and the couple hugged once more. They kissed.

    “I’ll be spending the entire evening giving the family the good news.”

    William smiled, “And I’ll be doing the same.”

    They parted. Sapphire headed to her car to head home. William headed across the fields to his car, Spitfire flying alongside him. He was also heading home for the evening.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s been a while, but I wrote something!

    Red dragons disliked both red and white roses. Yellow roses they ignored, white roses annoyed them, and red roses–no one knew why–made them so angry they would incinerate the bush. Which is why, when Isnelda heard the distant sound of music, she bolted into her house to find a sheet.

    Her neighbor Eliza, who was bent over mulching the base of her(safely yellow!) desert rose rambler, looked over the picket fence and laughed. Everyone had warned Isnelda about the red dragon, but she had stuck her nose in the air and talked about winning the rose show this year. Eliza, a three-time winner, simply smiled and waited for the inevitable.

    The music intensified. All through the village, people were coming out of their houses and gathering by the side of the lane. Now you could hear the instruments, the hornpipe and fiddle, the crumhorn, flute, and tabor, all playing a sprightly tune.

    A heavy thud-thud punctuated the music. Isnelda, a floral sheet flapping in her hands, ran back out of her house and threw it over her precious rose bush just as the first dragon came into sight, marching down the lane to the beat of the music.

    First was the black dragon, a being of onyx and crystal, whose steps rattled the windows and knocked china off the shelf. Its massive head bobbed to the music, and it would put down its clawed feet to the beat, making the ground itself into a huge kettle drum.

    After the black dragon was the yellow. Smaller, with feathered wings of gold and a dandelion-fluff body, it danced lightly. Then the lavender, with scales of the palest lilac and wings of mist. Then the emerald, with a gemstone body and wings that fractured light and sent rainbows dancing.

    Dragon after dragon of all colors and shapes marched through the village. Massive heads bobbed to the music, scales ruffled, and wings rose and fell. Adults joined hands and danced, children screeched, and the dogs barked. Not hysterically, as though they sensed danger, but out of excitement. The dragons understood and ignored them graciously.

    Isnelda stood by her front picket fence, as close as she could get without being buffeted by a wing or poked with a leg spur. The music stirred nothing in her, her feet stayed anchored to the ground. She was waiting for the red dragon. Would it pass safely? Would she finally have a chance at winning? For years she had submitted every color of rose except for red and white, and for years, she had lost.

    She touched the bush through the sheet. The root stock had come from a far land without dragons and had cost far more than she could afford. She had tended it carefully, pruning and mulching and delicately applying fertilizer, and her reward was a display of deep-red beauty.

    The procession was almost past. She peered down the lane and finally spotted the red dragon, steaming slightly in the sun, bringing up the rear, after the brindle dragon and the leaf dragon.

    As the end of the procession came near, the music was rising and speeding up. In response to the tempo change, the brindle dragon raised its serpentine body and danced on its hind legs, and the small, excitable leaf dragon buzzed its multiple wings.

    Almost, almost … She could see the glowing gold lines that spiraled all over the red dragon’s body. Her roses were almost safe.

    Until the leaf dragon, so demented by the music its wings were a blur of motion, stirred up enough wind that the sheet blew away. Isnelda cried out, snatching at it, but it flew out of her reach, a flapping floral bird taking off into the sky.

    Eliza laughed. The red dragon marched forward, following the music. Then stopped, its head darting toward Isnelda and her red-rose bush.

    Isnelda stood still, eyes confused. This couldn’t be happening. Her roses. So much work, so many dreams. She couldn’t lose them. She couldn’t. The dragon, its eyes turning white-hot, drew in a deep breath and opened its jaws.

    Eliza wasn’t laughing any more. “Isnelda, you fool, get away,” she cried, but Isnelda didn’t move. “No,” she said, and falling to her knees next to the bush, bent her arms over it in a futile attempt to protect it. Against the molten breath of the red dragon.

    There was a gust of hot breath against her back. A sound that resembled a sigh. She risked looking up and caught the red dragon’s white-hot eyes as they slowly bled back to gold. When they were their usual golden plates, the red dragon shook its head at her in a chiding way. Then it moved on, leaving her with her prized bushes.

    Isnelda didn’t submit her roses to the competition. Instead, she uprooted the bush, bought a golden grandiflora with pink veins, and patiently tried again. And when the music started, and the dragons marched, once again she joined in the dance.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Second try at posting. Thank you, Cedar!

    Red dragons disliked both red and white roses. Yellow roses they ignored, white roses annoyed them, and red roses–no one knew why–made them so angry they would incinerate the bush. Which is why, when Isnelda heard the distant sound of music, she bolted into her house to find a sheet.

    Her neighbor Eliza, who was bent over mulching the base of her(safely yellow!) desert rose rambler, looked over the picket fence and laughed. Everyone had warned Isnelda about the red dragon, but she had stuck her nose in the air and talked about winning the rose show this year. Eliza, a three-time winner, simply smiled and waited for the inevitable.

    The music intensified. All through the village, people were coming out of their houses and gathering by the side of the lane. Now you could hear the instruments, the hornpipe and fiddle, the crumhorn, flute, and tabor, all playing a sprightly tune.

    A heavy thud-thud punctuated the music. Isnelda, a floral sheet flapping in her hands, ran back out of her house and threw it over her precious rose bush just as the first dragon came into sight, marching down the lane to the beat of the music.

    First was the black dragon, a being of onyx and crystal, whose steps rattled the windows and knocked china off the shelf. Its massive head bobbed to the music, and it would put down its clawed feet to the beat, making the ground itself into a huge kettle drum.

    After the black dragon was the yellow. Smaller, with feathered wings of gold and a dandelion-fluff body, it danced lightly. Then the lavender, with scales of the palest lilac and wings of mist. Then the emerald, with a gemstone body and wings that fractured light and sent rainbows dancing.

    Dragon after dragon of all colors and shapes marched through the village. Massive heads bobbed to the music, scales ruffled, and wings rose and fell. Adults tapped their toes and clapped, children screeched, and dogs barked. Not hysterically, as though they sensed danger, but out of excitement. The dragons understood and ignored them graciously.

    Isnelda stood by her front picket fence, as close as she could get without being buffeted by a wing or poked by a leg spur. It had been years since the music had stirred in her, and her feet stayed anchored to the ground. Would the red dragon pass her by? Would she finally have a chance at winning? All those years she had submitted every color of rose except for red and white, and all those years, she had lost.

    She touched the bush through the sheet. The root stock had come from a far land without dragons and had cost far more than she could afford. She had tended it carefully, pruning and mulching and delicately applying fertilizer, and her reward was a display of deep-red beauty.

    The procession was almost past. She peered down the lane and finally spotted the red dragon, steaming slightly in the sun, bringing up the rear, after the brindle dragon and the leaf dragon.

    As the end of the procession came near, the music was rising and speeding up. In response to the tempo change, the brindle dragon raised its serpentine body and danced on its hind legs, and the small, excitable leaf dragon buzzed its multiple wings.

    Almost, almost … She could see the glowing gold lines that spiraled all over the red dragon’s body. Her roses were almost safe.

    Until the leaf dragon, so demented by the music its wings were a blur of motion, stirred up enough wind that the sheet blew away. Isnelda cried out, snatching at it, but it flew out of her reach, a flapping floral bird taking off into the sky.

    Eliza laughed. The red dragon marched forward, following the music. Then stopped, its head darting toward Isnelda and her red-rose bush.

    Isnelda stood still, eyes confused. This couldn’t be happening. Her roses. So much work, so many dreams. She couldn’t lose them. She couldn’t. The dragon, its eyes turning white-hot, drew in a deep breath and opened its jaws.

    Eliza wasn’t laughing any more. “Isnelda, you fool, get away,” she cried, but Isnelda didn’t move. “No,” she said, and falling to her knees next to the bush, bent her arms over it in a futile attempt to protect it. Against the molten breath of the red dragon.

    There was a gust of hot breath against her back. A sound that resembled a sigh. She risked looking up and caught the red dragon’s white-hot eyes as they slowly bled back to gold. When they were their usual golden plates, the red dragon slowly closed one giant eye and winked at her. Then it moved on, leaving her with her prized bushes.

    Isnelda won the competition.

    After her win, though, the judges changed the rules to explicitly ban red and white roses. After all, they said, they just meant more fools and more annoyed dragons and who needed that?

    Although Isnelda never won again, never again did she miss the chance to join in when the dragons danced.

    Like

    • Leigh Kimmel sent out the code…

      As twilight gives way to night, the full moon rises — and the road ahead of you rises to meet it.

      [up, up, and away…]

      Henry sighed, and put the old black Stingray in first gear. Somehow he had to get through this evening. One more evening at the old stand. As he took his foot off the brake and let the car drift forward, he looked ahead. That’s when it happened.

      As twilight gives way to night, the full moon rises — and the road ahead of you rises to meet it.

      Hank took his foot off the gas and hit the clutch, and stared out at the night. Then he laughed, and turned on the radio. Of course! Born to be Wild blasted out of the speakers.

      Hank hit the extra pedal, and the Stingray wriggled as the tires lifted off the ground and folded into the fuselage. The hulk crackled as several adornments and extras added over the years fell away, and the skin pulled itself tight. The license plates clattered onto the road. The black craft shook for a moment, then floated above the rising road, ready for action.

      Then Hank pressed the go pedal to the metal, and the spycraft soared along the rising road, headed out into the stars and beyond!

      Hank was going home at last!

      [hum, that might do the job…]

      Liked by 2 people

  4. AC Young prompted me this week with “Let the Blue Hippocampus fly!” After a quick double check of wikipedia to remind myself of what a Hippocampus was (I remembered it as a mythological creature, but not which one), I had an idea. This is what came out.

    “Are you sure you’re able to handle them?”
    “Yeah, I’ve got this.”
    “Biggest race of the season. And so much is on the line here.”
    “I know. We’re in a tight race with Blue for the overall cup, the sea laurel wreath, and, most importantly, dominance and bragging rights over our rivals. Until next year.”
    “Which is why I ask. Are you sure you can handle the dolphins, Nerites?”
    “Yes. We’ve been training hard and I’m the best there is. And I’ll take my dolphins any day over the new creatures that they are harnessing.”
    “You specialize in them, which is a big part of why we pay you so much. That reminds me, I’m hearing you are going retire if you win this year.”
    “I’m thinking about it. I said the same thing last year. And the year before, Paulus. Whichever team hires me, I give them my best for the year, then I’ll hang up my reigns and let the younger ones vie for glory.”
    “So, why are you back?”
    “Honestly? I don’t know. It gets into your blood. I sit around for a couple days after the season ends and I miss it. But I know that one of these years, it’s not going to be worth it anymore. I’ll quit for the last time and sit down and write my memoirs.”
    “Just let me know, Nerites. You are the best, you know.”
    “I know.”

    The day of the great race dawned bright and clear. The race course sparkled beneath the waves, clear water over ten miles of white sand winding through the great coral reef that had been chosen for this year’s spectacular. The stands were filled with mermaids and mermen, sea gods and sea goddesses out to watch the spectacle of the greatest race under the ocean. Queen Amphitrite sat regally in the royal box, next to her husband, Poseidon, ready to start the race.
    The charioteers stepped out from under the shadow of the overhanging rock where they had been sheltering to the cheers of the crowd. Each was announced and waved to the crowd, greeted by the redoubled cheers of their adoring fans. Nerites, representing Green, waved to his supporters as he stepped into the half-clamshell that served as his chariot. He picked up his reins and felt the dolphins flit slightly as they waited for the signal to begin swimming.
    His rival, the Blue charioteer, stepped out next. His sea horses were powerful and ready to swim. His supporters cheered still louder as he climbed into his chariot. Nerites smiled tightly as he overheard a young mermaid pray, “Great Neptune. Let the Blue Hippocampus fly!” He thought to himself, “The gods help those who help themselves, lass. They can’t fly fast if they aren’t driven well.”
    Red stepped out and mounted up behind his squid. It was almost time. Then, the queen stepped to the front of the box, lifted her handkerchief, and dropped it.
    The charioteers snapped their reins and they were off. The initial straightaway flashed past as they jostled for position. Blue was slightly in the lead as they entered the first turn, but Nerites was close on his heels. His clamshell chariot was skimming the top of the sand on the sea floor, his dolphins responding to his directions, swimming hard and coasting through the turns with subtle, deceptively easy flicks of their tails. He was sure he could be in the lead, but it was easier on the dolphins to let Blue tire his steeds out while he drafted behind him. Red was trailing, but not out of it either. He’d have to keep an eye on him.
    The ten miles of the course passed quickly. They had to complete the loop three times and Nerites was still holding his own as they passed through the crowded grandstands a second time, then a third. He was jostling hard for position with Blue, fending off his hippocampi as they lunged for him, bouncing across the seabed, then swinging a little wider to push Red and his squid back into the trail position again. This was what he lived for- the rush of racing.
    Nerites knew in a way that he could never describe that the moment was right. Racing neck and neck with Blue, the chariots almost touching as they came round the last corner and into the grandstands for the last time, he flicked his reins slightly and let his dolphins do what they did best- lunge forward in that final sprint to the finish line and pull him and his clamshell chariot across to victory.

    “Well done, Nerites! You did it! You won the cup for the third straight year. Well done!”
    “Did the crowd enjoy the spectacle?”
    “They did. They are still cheering your name. Can you hear them?”
    “I can. It was a tough race, but I’m glad I could pull it out.”
    “So, now what? Are you actually going to retire?”
    “I think so. I’ve set a standard that the rest can aspire to. And now I’m going to sit back, enjoy myself, and write my memoirs.”
    “What do you think you’re going to call them?”
    “My memoirs? Hmm. Well, I’ve spent my entire career driving dolphins, so I think I’ll have to call them The Porpoise Driven Life.”

    Considering it involves, racing chariots made of clam shells across sand without wheels, I thought of trying to make a drag racing joke, but couldn’t figure out how to work it in.

    Liked by 1 person

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