Week 40 of Odd Prompts

Time doesn’t stop, and neither does the world. All we can do is work on getting better a day at a time, at being aware of where we’ve been, anticipating what comes next, and how we can get there from where we are next. Why bother? Well, for one thing, there’s the prompt challenge. If you throw your hat into the ring, you don’t want to let your partner down. Some weeks? That’s enough to keep you going to the next week, and it’ll look better from that perspective looking back.

Cedar SandersonA mudlarking dreamLeigh Kimmel
Fiona GreyThe sea dragons protected the ship. Including from its passengers.AC Young
AC YoungThe annual autumn clean was back.Becky Jones
Padre“The morning mist kissed the flower petals.”Cedar Sanderson
Becky JonesThe blueprints of the house didn’t show the room behind the fireplace.nother Mike
Leigh Kimmel“A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley
Original version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KThbNtVCFs4
Junkie XL remix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx1_6F-nCaw
nother MikeThere was something waiting at the head of the stairs…Fiona Grey

If you didn’t join in the challenge, for whatever reason, there are spares for you to tickle your fancy. Take one. Take two! Then make what you will of them.

SpareThe hippo’s inquiry was valid.
SpareIt was the loudest yawn in the competition.
SpareAn antique key, found inside a lake.
SpareHow to U-turn without U-turning
SpareThe time traveler blew it when he called it ‘World War One’…in 1914.

See you in the comments, with your new and improved creation sparked by a prompt. It’s always better, week to week, and next week? Will be best yet.

(Header image: Space Whale, a MidJourney render by Cedar Sanderson)



  1. Fiona Grey supplied this week’s challenge: The sea dragons protected the ship. Including from its passengers.

    This has some interesting constraints, with passengers being thought of as untrustworthy.

    The Great Serpent slipped its mooring. The crew worked like a well-oiled machine. The sails were raised, and the first-rate warship – one of the finest ships in the Cathese Navy – headed out of the harbour and out to sea.

    On board were two ambassadors and their staffs. Only one of them was in the same service as the Great Serpent – for Formon had paid to have their embassy to Borsen transported through the pirate-infested waters of the Southern Archipelago.

    The pirates were always a threat in these waters, so the 4th Marine Company, the “sea dragons”, were assigned to the ship.

    The sea dragons were in practice split into two groups. The larger of the two was assigned to external protection, to defend the ship should it be boarded by pirates and/or to board any pirate vessels that came within boarding range. The smaller was assigned to internal protection, for the cathese didn’t trust Formon, and automatically assumed that the formose passengers were intending to seize the vessel unless events proved otherwise.

    It would be about a week before the Great Serpent sailed into port once more, depending on the winds.

    The first few days were quiet. Various islands passed by the ship on both the port and starboard.

    Then an unknown ship appeared from behind an island. As it approached it became clear that it was flying a black standard. The alarm was swiftly raised, and the sea dragons prepared.

    The Great Serpent didn’t have much room for manoeuvre in the channels through the Southern Archipelago. The pirate vessel sailed alongside and tied up.

    The pirates leapt aboard, and the sea dragons engaged them.

    It was a tough battle, for while the pirates weren’t as highly trained as the marines, there were more of them. But eventually it became clear to the pirates that they had bitten off more than they could chew, and they disconnected and sailed off. The wounded they left behind, for the Cathese forces to capture and imprison.

    But below decks there had also been conflict. For the fears of the cathese about the formose had proven correct. No sooner had the sounds of battle been heard from above, than the formose bodyguards had drawn swords and attempted to seize the vessel from below.

    The sea dragons had engaged the formose forces, and had already prevailed by the time the pirates retreated.

    The Captain of the Great Serpent had limited options given normal diplomatic conventions, so settled for placing the Formose Ambassador to Borsen under cabin arrest, and ordered all formose citizens disarmed.

    The crew set about cleaning their ship of the spilled blood.

    There was no further trouble before the Great Serpent pulled into port in Borsen, and both ambassadors and staff disembarked.


  2. Becky Jones blew in the draft…

    The blueprints of the house didn’t show the room behind the fireplace.

    [Ho, ho! And what was in the room behind the fireplace…]

    [drat. Thinking about the little man who wasn’t there…

    Last night I saw upon the stair,
    A little man who wasn’t there,
    He wasn’t there again today
    Oh, how I wish he’d go away….

    From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigonish_(poem) ]

    The blueprints of the house didn’t show the room behind the fireplace.

    Uncle Alfred had paid a pretty penny to make that happen, too. Of course, no one was quite sure what he wanted the room for. Some said he practiced black magic, while others swore it must be strange sexual practices. There were even a few who joked about his secret library!

    The truth, of course, was known to only a few. But the family thought letting Uncle Alfred have a place to change into his other self and relax for a time every month was well worth the price.

    That was before Jennifer, the youngest, started changing. Her mother was shocked when she went into the bedroom and found a small dog sitting in the baby bassinet where she had left Jennifer.

    That was when the whole family had a conference. To try to figure out what to do next.

    [sorry, running late this week. But I kind of like that snippet…]


  3. I’m very late on this and it’s shorter than I wanted, but I wanted to get it posted. Work has been pretty busy of late.

    Leigh Kimmel hit me with another of her song prompts this week, A Little Less Conversation by Elvis. It struck me as a song about moving from conversation to action and I felt that the last couple weeks worth of work with Father Michael fit it.

    “Excuse me, Father?”
    Father Michael looked up from his reminiscences as his secretary knocked on his door. Mrs. Johnson never interrupted if it wasn’t important. She was a very good door warden as well as the keeper of the calendar and chief herder of the cats that was his schedule. Whatever this was, it was going to be important. “Yes?”
    “Mrs. Rodriguez is here. She says it’s something of an emergency.”
    Father Michael frowned inwardly. Mrs. Consuela Rodriguez was one of his regular parishioners. A widow, she was one of the indispensable ladies of his congregation. Her husband had died five years ago from a heart attack and she was raising three of her grandchildren by herself, but still found time to serve on the church in a myriad ways. Her posole had graced many a gathering at the church. She was also completely unflappable in the way of one who had seen far too many emergencies in her life. If she felt it was an emergency, then something must be going on.
    He composed himself in his armchair. “Please. Send her in.”
    Mrs. Rodriguez came in the door and Father Michael’s eyes widened briefly. She was normally a very neat and tidy person. Today, her hair was hanging loose around her shoulders, rather than in its normal tight bun and she was dressed in loose sweats rather than the simple, print dresses she normally favored. It was obvious that she had rushed out of the house to come here.
    Father Michael gave her as genuine as smile as he could find. “Mrs. Rodriguez! Come in! Please, sit. You seem harried today. What is it?”
    As she stepped into the office and a little more into the light, he could see the tears standing in her eyes, red from crying and she was wringing a handkerchief in her rough, worn hands. He rose, guided her to the chair opposite his, then passed her a box of tissues that he kept handy for just these occasions.
    As he sat opposite her and plastered a look of caring concern on his face, she burst out with “It’s my Roberto…” before dissolving into sobs again.
    A couple seconds later, she took a deep breath and started again.
    “It’s my Roberto. My youngest grandson. He didn’t come home until late last night. And has been coming home later and later every night over the last couple weeks. I was worried, but I try not to push too hard. You have to have the right touch with kids.”
    “Well, I asked him if it was a girl or something, but he said no. I asked if he was on drugs, like his mother. But he told me no. It was his business and to stay out of it. So, this morning. While he was in school. I am sorry, Father, forgive me. But I snooped in his room.”
    Father Michael gave her a reassuring nod. “I know you mean it for good. Go on.”
    “If it were drugs. Or a girl. Or something like that, I could deal with it. I could. I wouldn’t bring this to you.”
    Father Michael smiled. “Sister Consuela. I assure I’m no innocent young priest who has not seen the world. And I know you care for your grandchildren deeply. If you are concerned, then it is enough for me.”
    She smiled slightly through her tears. “Father. I’m concerned for his soul in this.” She reached into her pocket, pulled out a book, and handed it to him.
    It didn’t feel right. A slight feeling flowed down his spine as he touched it and the greasy paperback seemed to squirm as he gripped it a little tighter, then turned it over. A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Spirits.
    Father Michael looked up at her and nodded gravely. “I can see why you’re concerned. Come on. Let’s go look around his room together. I’ve heard enough.”


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