Week 42 of Odd Prompts

The year has slid by like the river under a bridge, and unlike a river it is about to end. Which is as imaginary and arbitrary an ending as any story is. Time is unending, relative to your lifespan. The river glides under the bridge, and you can see it moving if you’ll throw a stick in from one side of the bridge and run to the other side (not all rivers are like this. Some will beat you in that race every time).

PrompterPromptPromptee
Cedar SandersonNever say neverCedar Sanderson
Fiona GreyThe intergalactic mafiaPadre
AC Young“It was once believed that the Ice Dragons left ice crystal trails in the sky in order to mark their territories.”Becky Jones
Padre“The game board was set.”AC Young
nother MikeThe new generation of cell phones had a special feature — you could call dead people, and they answered!Leigh Kimmel
Leigh KimmelThe Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuknother Mike
Becky JonesThe empty house stood waiting.Fiona Grey

Didn’t send in a prompt? No fuss, no bother, grab a spare and carry on.

SpareA tattoo of thorns and roses
SpareDetermining future decisions becomes easy with the Vahoo 100 by your side!
SpareA lonely bridge, in the middle of nowhere.
SpareThe label on the jar actually read “Vicki’s Vampire Rub”
SpareI’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle…

And remember, this isn’t a punishment detail. It’s meant to help spark the mind into thinking about emotions, expressions, all the humanity that makes up art. Provoke, not painfully, creative movement forward.

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18 comments

  1. I was challenged by Padre this week with: “The game board was set.”

    What game was the first question. But then I went rogue, and asked myself what it meant for a game board to be set. That led to the following:

    The four youngsters sat around the table, discussing what characters they were going to play in their next role-playing game.

    John was going to play a paladin, strong with a high constitution for the fighter portion of the role, wise for the priest of light portion. He didn’t fancy playing an idiot, so his paladin had slightly better than medium intelligence, and he couldn’t have lower than medium dexterity, but that forced him to have terrible charisma – ugly and very unpersuasive.

    Mary was planning on playing a sorcerer, extremely intelligent, not particularly strong but a high constitution since that came with more spell points. Medium wisdom and lower than average dexterity and charisma finished off the list.

    Kevin had his heart set on playing a ranger, skilled with the longbow. High strength and dexterity were a necessity. High wisdom was going to be a help in tracking, and medium constitution went with the role, but that meant low intelligence and charisma.

    Lucy was planning on playing a rogue. High dexterity and charisma making her a skilled and beautiful thief, and simultaneously a natural leader for the group. Low strength and constitution was a risk, but combined with the high dexterity it made her lithe and flexible. She had high intelligence, but low wisdom.

    Lucy got up from the table and went into the kitchen. She swiftly called the remaining three through. The game board had set.

    The board was unique every game. It was formed by pouring a hot blue jelly-like liquid over plastic polygons of various colours. As the jelly cooled and set, the less dense plastic rose through the liquid. Now that it had set fully the board was ready.

    Some of the polygons had only just poked a corner above the level of the blue jelly sea. Those were the small islands. Larger islands were formed of polygons that had raised themselves out of the sea on their own. Continents were formed where polygons had appeared above the sea in near contiguous arrangements. The gaps between were interpreted as lakes and rivers as needed.

    Now the physical geography of the game world was in place, but it still needed to be populated with cities, temples and everything else that was required for their questing.

    The deck of cards containing the possible locations was shuffled and a selection dealt out.

    John turned over his first card. The Temple of the Rising Sun. It had to be located on a yellow polygon on the eastern edge of a continent or on an island formed of a yellow polygon. He selected a yellow icosahedron, and the appropriate marker was assigned.

    Mary turned over the city of Alcastra with its Great Library. That went on a green dodecahedron near the middle of a continent.

    Kevin started with the Mines of Lestor. Not much choice for that one. Only one of the grey tetrahedra had poked a vertex above the sea high enough for it to be chosen.

    Lucy had the Dark Forest. She placed that marker on a green cube.

    They continued around, locating cities, ports, mines, forests, and so on.

    Then came the first quest. A random draw of the cards, and their party were starting in Alcastra, and had to make their way to the Mines of Lestor. There they were to reclaim the Great Jewel of Kestrin from the dragon that had conquered the mines, and return it to its owner in the city of Opherin.

    They sat down and started to play.

    Lucy’s rogue wanted to start out as quickly as possible. She wanted to test her skills against the dragon. John’s paladin and Kevin’s ranger were both vehemently opposed to the scheme, wanting to obtain the necessary supplies first. Mary’s sorcerer was on the fence, seeing the wisdom of obtaining the supplies for the others, but confident in her abilities to survive without them.

    But the rogue had the charisma, so she won the debate. The group headed out with no tent, no firewood, and what little food the paladin and ranger had managed to purchase on the way out of the city.

    They played on.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Leigh Kimmel harmonized with…

    The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv6tuzHUuuk

    [oh, those lyrics… those ancient Egyptians on the walls of the tombs, and plenty of others, too! Hum… get your arm up, bent at the joints, and walk like an Egyptian?]

    When Greg tried to join the gang, they insisted that he needed to join them on a job as his initiation. Then they explained that they were going to break into the mall. He shook his head, and reminded them that the mall was protected by the latest in surveillance cameras. They just laughed, and told him all they had to do was walk like an Egyptian.

    At first, Greg thought they must be kidding. Walk like an Egyptian? But the other members of the gang assured him that the new tech the cops were using to keep track of things on the ubiquitous survey cameras really didn’t know how to handle it, and apparently discarded the strange walk as some kind of mistake.

    So the entire gang had one hand up and leveled, elbow bent, arm in front of their body, and the other arm in back, similarly bent and twisted, as they shuffled across the parking lot and inside the mall, well after closing. There must have been something to the idea, because there were no alarms or flashing lights.

    So they walked like an Egyptian, right off the walls of the tombs. Even if their clothing was blue jeans and t-shirts. He almost laughed, as he watched them all parade across the lot. But he did it too, and it worked.

    Inside the entrance, they stood, still posed like Egyptian murals. One of the gang quickly forced the doors open, and they shuffled inside…

    [hum, that almost feels right]

    [boggle, I seem to have Niagara Falls running through my nose… so I think that snippet is going to have to be it this week.]

    By the way, Leigh and I traded prompts this week. I can’t wait to see what she did with cell phones calling the dead!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This week Fiona Grey prompted me with “The intergalactic mafia.”

    The sci-fi aspect was going to be difficult as I’m not writing sci-fi currently. But then, I remembered the suggestion that aliens and UFOs are probably demonic in origin and the pieces fell into place. Here is another follow on to the Father Michael story from a couple weeks ago.

    “Father, I am so worried.”
    “Be at peace, daughter. I know you are worried about your grandson. But God is greater than this and His will will be done in all things.”
    Father Michael followed Mrs. Rodriguez into her grandson’s room. The curtains were drawn tight and only a vague grey light seeped in from the outside. But he could feel the unease in his soul as he entered. Whatever was here did not welcome him and… the best way he could describe it was that he was a strange cat that had walked into a room with other cats. He was not welcome and whatever was here was on very high alert, which put his own soul on guard.
    He smiled tightly to himself. “Hmm. Let’s see if we can shed a little more light on what is going on here.” He stepped across the room and swept the curtains open wide, letting the bright spring sunshine flood into the room.
    He looked around, cataloguing the contents. A simple altar sat on the boy’s desk, crystals at the four corners, a small idol in the back center, and a knife laid carefully parallel along the closest edge. A Ouija board sat on the bookshelf, one of the newer ones with the Stranger Things logo on the box. Several familiar texts sat next to it, mostly introductory texts on witchcraft and the occult like the one his grandmother had brought to him.
    Father Michael nodded gravely to himself, put the book back on the bookshelf in the open spot she had pulled it from, then closed the curtains. “Come, sister. I’ve seen enough.”
    She led him out to the dining room table and busied herself pulling out tea and pastries and setting coffee brewing, while he sat and thought.
    After she brought the food and drinks over, Consuela sat down herself. She was calmer now, settled by the familiar routine of being the hostess. “What can we do, Father?”
    “First, we pray.”
    “Hail, Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death. We pray also for Roberto and his soul. Protect him, Lord, in his ignorance, and lead him to true repentance and to reject the evil that is attempting to ensnare him. Amen.”
    “Amen,” she echoed, the she sighed. “Thank you, Father. Are there any other prayers we can pray?”
    “I’ll have to think on it. But I think praying Saint Patrick’s Breastplate for your grandson would be a good start.”
    “I don’t know that one.”
    “I’ll get you a copy. Perhaps praying a Novena for him, using the Breastplate as part of the Rosary would help.”
    “I can do that, Father. If there is nothing else, I can pray.”
    “That is not nothing, sister. It is the most important part of this battle.”
    She nodded silently and bowed her head over the worn wooden table in her dining room.
    She sighed. “What else do I need to know, Father?”
    “Don’t lose hope. This is not our battle. The saints, the angels, and the archangels join us in this fight. And we will be victorious; God has already defeated Satan and his demons. We just have to rescue as many as we can before the end.”
    “You sound like you know a bit about this.”
    “This is not my first encounter with the supernatural. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
    “Think of demons as almost an intergalactic mafia, a cartel. Those who are tempted to deal with them think they are going to be bargaining with beings of incredible power who will deal honorably. The problem is, they won’t. They lie and keep the letter of every deal they make. Every time you try to get deeper in, to get more from them, they turn around and ensnare you more, then convince you that you don’t have enough, until you are in so deep that you can’t get out and it is too late.”
    “Fortunately, your grandson is only in the shallows, currently. And, no matter how deep you are, God is more powerful than all the demonic forces and will answer if the person just calls out to him for help. Remember the story of the Gerasene demoniac. Though he was possessed by a legion of demons, they could not keep him from falling at the feet of Jesus and asking for help. And Jesus was able to cast them out with just a word. Then, he gave that power to the saints and to us. That is where our hope lies.”
    “I don’t know anything about this, but I will pray a novena for him, Father. That I can do.”
    “I will get you St. Patrick’s Breastplate as soon as I get back to the office. Also, if he is willing, I will talk to your grandson. Under the seal of the confessional if need be, or just man to man.”
    “Would you, Father?”
    Father Michael laughed. “I was young once, myself. I understand more than he probably realizes.” He thought for a second. “Actually, I’m just glad none of you knew me in the Army. Something about a prophet not being without honor, except in his hometown…”
    After a bit more conversation, sampling the dainties she had served him, and drinking some tea, Father Michael left Mrs. Rodriguez’s house and headed back to his office. He needed to get her a prayer and to prepare his soul for combat. He suspected there were things coming that he couldn’t see yet. It was best to be ready.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. […] I prompted myself. I’ve been feeling like I’ll never be able to write again. These last two years have played merry havoc with my ability to write. There are days I say to myself ‘never again.’ I should just hang it all up. And then… then I see a lovely review on a book. I have someone comment on how the art makes them smile every day. I hear from a fan who wants more of the Tanager crew, or Lom, or… I can’t say never. Not that I’d be doing this for those who encourage me. Not really. They just remind me of why I do what I do in public. I mean, I could absolutely write and then save the file and move on with my life. Nothing says I need to put in the time and effort to format, to market. To try and learn how Amazon ads work, so I can reach new fans who don’t know I exist yet. I don’t have to publish.  […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My prompt came from AC Young. I went back to my elf family for this one.

    It was once believed that the Ice Dragons left ice crystal trails in the sky in order to mark their territories.

    “Momma? Will you read me the Ice Dragon story again?” Lyrien’s asked, his voice cloudy with impending sleep.

    “Of course, sweetheart. Let’s see… You remember that Ice Dragons fly like other dragons, right? Well, let me tell you how elves and our land got snow…” Myzrielle let her voice drop into a soft murmur. “When Ice Dragons fly, they leave ice crystal trails in the sky. A long time ago we elves thought that each dragon flew around his own territory, leaving the ice crystals so that the other dragons will know where they are.”

    “Do they do that so their friends can find them?” Lyrien asked.

    “Yes, sweetheart, they do. They also do it in case a strange dragon comes by or just in case there’s an unfriendly dragon around,” Myzrielle told him.

    “You mean like Akkar and Volodar? They’re not very nice,” Lyrien murmured.
    Myzrielle raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. She’d have Taenaran talk to the boy about it.

    “Perhaps so. For the ice dragons, though, it turned out we were wrong. It wasn’t about marking their territories, or leaving a trail for their friends to follow… it was about making snow for the winter time. You see, the ice crystals fell among the clouds and made more water freeze. Then the ice dragons blew their icy breath into the clouds and snow fell. And that’s how we got snow.” Myzrielle paused and smiled down at her youngest child. His eyes had closed and he was sound asleep. She tucked the covers around him, kissed him on the forehead, and silently left the room.

    Back in the main room of the house she sat down beside Taenaran and leaned her head against his shoulder.

    “Is our boy finally asleep?” he asked, kissing her hair.

    “Yes, he is. The Ice Dragons did it. But he said something about two of the boys at school… that they were mean. I think you should talk to him about it. It might be time for him to learn to defend himself,” Myzrielle told him.

    Taenaran sighed. “Yes, it probably is. I will talk with him in the morning,” he promised his wife.

    “Maybe we can find an Ice Dragon for him.” Mzyrielle smiled.

    Like

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