Week 45 of Odd Prompts

Prompts are interesting things. I mean that most sincerely, not in the casual sense where “interesting” has become the thing you say when you don’t know what to say. You know, like when your boss decides to tell you about his sock collection. Or when you discover your sibling still harbors his childhood desire for shapeshifting powers, and uses it to motivate his workouts.

No, prompts wiggle. They show up, all quiet-like and unsuspecting. It’s the pondering that starts the wiggle, and the what-ifs, and the worldbuilding. It grows and gets noisy in the storytelling, hammering to be let out, increasing in volume, plink, plunk, kerchunk. The prompts are swarming the walls, the cannon are firing, the roar of conflict ringing in your ears, all while smoke stings your throat.

Padre“Shall we gather at the river”Becky Jones
Fiona GreyThe sky suited the day, with bruised-peach coloration and a red-tinged moon.nother Mike
Cedar SandersonShe lay in the water stiff as a board, as though she could refuse to sink.Padre
AC YoungIn the dry season ‘Long Lake Valley’ was a bit of a misnomer. But in the wet season, water flowed into the valley at a faster rate than it could get out the far end, and the Long Lake formed.Cedar Sanderson
Becky JonesIt seemed that breaking things was becoming a habit for her.Fiona Grey
Leigh KimmelAmidst the snow, bright golden flowers were blooming.AC Young
nother MikeThere was an eagle flying overhead, with sunglasses…Leigh Kimmel

So claim a prompt, before it claims you, even if you forgot to send one in. Or find the spare that speaks to you, that clamors to be told.

SpareSlightly intoxicated at this moment. That helps.
SpareThe jaguar leaped over the rosebush.
SpareThe aftermath of the magical massacre
SpareAs long as the vehicle was spaceworthy, nothing could stop the runaway pioneer bride.
Spare“This is not a drill.”

And let it out, so the rest of us can read it. We’ll see you in the comments.

Header image by Fiona Grey, Fort Ticonderoga



  1. Leigh Kimmel supplied my prompt this week: Amidst the snow, bright golden flowers were blooming.

    That sounded like just the sort of thing the SSAE would be interested in.

    Arthur awoke, and realised that there was someone lying in the bed next to him. Then his brain clicked into gear. He’d got married two days ago, and it was his new wife, Lauren, who was sharing his bed with him.

    Lauren and Arthur were members of the Society for the Study of Atlasian Ecology (SSAE). They had met through the group, and had first spent significant time together on the society’s first expedition to the temperate woodlands of the eastern seaboard of Themis.

    The couple’s fascination with the unique ecology of Atlas IV had extended to their honeymoon destination. Rather than go somewhere traditional they had instead gone north, to the snow-covered foothills of the Mercator Range. The SSAE had just built a small cabin for long-term observation of that ecosystem. Arthur and Lauren had volunteered to be the first observers.

    So, no sooner had they vacated the hotel room in which they had spent their first night as husband and wife, than they’d packed their borrowed van with cold weather gear, and headed out. On the way they’d picked up the camping gear and food supplies that the society were supplying.

    It was just after midday when Arthur parked their vehicle. They had a pair of sandwiches each as a midday meal. This was as far as they could drive.

    But it was still a three-mile hike to the cabin. It took the couple an hour and a half to trek through the snow laden with supplies. Then they’d had to trek back, and return with another load. Even that wasn’t enough – but neither of them thought they’d enough daylight left to return for another load of supplies, and they’d carried enough to last them the night and the next morning.

    After Lauren had scraped together an evening meal, the couple cleared up, unpacked what they could, and headed to bed. There they kept each other warm as married couples sometimes do.

    The light was already coming in through the cabin’s windows. Arthur kissed Lauren, and as she came slowly awake, he got out of bed and made his way to the window. What he saw caused him to call his wife over to see.

    On the rolling snow-covered slopes, where there had been nothing the previous night, spring’s first flowers had arrived. Amidst the snow, bright golden flowers were blooming.

    “Snow candles!” came Laura’s joyous cry. Then, “And look! They’re only on the south-facing slopes.”

    Arthur looked again. And yes, the snow candles had only bloomed on some of the slopes. No-one had seen this before – all the photos showed snow candles blooming through the snow wherever the eye could see.

    All the south-facing slopes had dense clusters of the golden flowers. But the other sides of the hills had only a few flowers.

    “Perhaps they only bloom once the soil temperature reaches a certain value,” Arthur mused. “The sun heats up the south-facing slopes more than the others.”

    “Perhaps. We’ll need to keep observing. Hopefully we’ll get some evidence either way.”

    Arthur turned away from the scene. He needed to record this morning’s observations.

    After this the couple would have breakfast. Then they’d need to hump the rest of their supplies from the vehicle to the cabin.

    It already looked like it would be a very productive honeymoon.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cedar prompted me with “She lay in the water stiff as a board, as though she could refuse to sink.”

    The light of the full moon cast odd shadows all around him as Drak picked his way through the wood’s stunted trees. Its cold illumination made it easy to pick up the signs that the people he was following had left.
    They didn’t expect to be followed, so they weren’t disguising their track at all. No one went deep into these woods on nights like this when the borders were thin and the spirit world imposed itself on the natural. No one, except those who dared to traffic with the spirits and those who hunted the traffickers.
    Drak swore silently to himself. He did not want to be here. He had grown leery of these nights when he was a child. The elders had warned him not to go abroad on them, but to stay behind a threshold and rest.
    Of course, here in the southlands, they were not worried about these nights. They had lost touch with their past and all nights were seen as the same. Unless, of course, they were involved in dark deeds and experimenting with the types of magic that would have gotten them staked in the empire.
    Here in the south, though… It seemed like the law didn’t apply to you if you had enough money. Do what you will, as long as you harm no one, at least, no one of your class. What you did with your slaves was your own business.
    He paused for a moment in the shade of a tree that spread its leaves overhead. It was much darker here and his black cloak hid him from any eyes that might have been looking for him. He reached under and checked for the short sword that was riding with familiar comfort on his left hip, then reached over his shoulder and pulled his bow from where it rode with the quiver of arrows across his back.
    He briefly checked the curves for any damage, then strung it. He was getting close and didn’t know how soon he’d need it.
    It was a horseman’s bow, made by one of the master bowyers of the plains south and east of his homeland, its multiple curves capable of shooting an arrow with more force than a bow of its size should be capable of. The chanting which had been distant before was beginning to get louder and he began to quickly, but quietly, stalk towards the clearing it was coming from.
    Still masked by the dark, sheltering trees, he paused just inside the woodline to take stock of the scene before him.
    The grassy meadow was bisected by a fast running stream that dropped noisily into a clear pool of water before lipping up and over the edge on the far side and continuing on down and out of the clearing. There was a fire lit beyond the far side of the pool, next to a rough stone altar. It was unoccupied, but waited for tonight’s sacrifice.
    Ten men in black robes, hoods, and masks surrounded the pool, spaced equidistant around its perimeter, chanting in an ancient tongue. And in the pool, wearing nothing but a simple white shift was the sacrifice, her hair fanning out behind her and her face barely above water.
    She lay in the water, stiff as a board, as though she could refuse to sink. Or, perhaps it was sorcery. The look of terror on her face seemed to imply the lack of control that came from those dark rites.
    Drak knew only one way to stop this evil. He nocked an arrow and let fly.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Good question. I’m not sure. He goes to her rescue because she might be his long-lost younger sister, one of only a couple possible survivors of his clan. (She isn’t.) She may come with him for a bit, she may go back to the north to find her people, or both. We’ll have to see as I write more.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fiona Grey colored in the lines with…

    The sky suited the day, with bruised-peach coloration and a red-tinged moon.

    [well, let’s see. Is that the pathetic fallacy, where weather and such matches mood? Ah, yes, that’s it. Still…]

    [wait a minute, Cedar colored the horizon blue with sage just a while ago, and now we’ve got a bruised peach sky and red moon? Sounds like a country and western song somehow? No, no, let’s not go there…]

    John Carter pulled up on the reins of his throat, and stared across the land. Then he looked up, and sighed. The sky suited the day, with bruised-peach coloration and a red-tinged moon. There was just something about the sky of Barsoom that made a person want to sit and look at it for hours. Still, he wasn’t going to find the green hordes just sitting around looking at the sky.

    He turned his eyes toward the ground, and looked carefully for the small traces, the rocks turned over, the occasional dig of a hoof, that showed where they had gone. Then he started to track them again. With an occasional look up, to watch the moons racing across the sky.

    [hum, a bit rustic, but…]

    [ and with a bit of inspiration from Cederlili https://www.facebook.com/groups/290543872385601/permalink/853561926083790/ ]

    Their vacation was a blast. The trailer worked fine, although at first they were worried about how it would attach to the rocket ship. But it all worked out, and they found a great hideaway down a small canyon. So they could sit in their folding chairs and just enjoy the time alone.

    The sky suited the day, with bruised-peach coloration and a red-tinged moon. Of course, that’s when the small Interstellar Park Services cruiser dropped in and announced, “You are trespassing in a nature reserve!”

    [hum, that might work…]

    [odds and ends, but I suppose I should post something…]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! It’s a nice little piece of settling into a new state, with that added bit of concern about did I really leave the prejudice behind or not?


  4. [ y’a know, I was looking at those spares, and realized they almost told a story. So…]

    She was slightly intoxicated at that moment. That helped when the jaguar leaped over the rosebush. It was one part of the aftermath of the magical massacre, when they had forced wildlife from different continents to invade London. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my, and jaguars lurking in the formal gardens. But a little alcoholic buzz made it all seem vaguely comical, even the streams of blood flowing into the street side grates.

    Which is why she was looking at the flying saucer. As long as the vehicle was spaceworthy, nothing could stop the runaway pioneer bride from getting out of there. So she hit the buttons, and the AI announced, “This is not a drill.” Then, wobbling and wavering, they lifted off. Next stop, a quiet orbital station…

    Liked by 2 people

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