Week 47: Odd Prompts

Why, hello there! There’s nothing like nature for inspiring writing – the stillness of a forest, the rush of a thundering waterfall, the chirping of birds and chattering of squirrels. Need the solution to a tricky plot problem? Take a walk and get inspired…though our Australian friends may have an advantage to those of us in the northern hemisphere, this time of year.

Which is part of why there are writing prompts. Get unstuck, get inspired.

PrompterPromptPrompted
Cedar SandersonThey lifted off with the rocket’s assistanceFiona Grey
Fiona GreyThe zombie had just enough brains left to determine he would fight the death curse this year.AC Young
AC YoungThere was a lion between me and the cliff edge.Becky Jones
Becky JonesThere was no wind, yet the trees swayed as if getting hit by the outer bands of a hurricane.Cedar Sanderson
PadreThe dance meant more than those watching knew.nother Mike
Leigh KimmelShe meant well, but instead made things even worse.Padre
nother MikeThey had a pumpkin pie with mashed potato topping…Leigh Kimmel

Need a boost, but not into commitment? Grab a spare and play along.

SpareThe cranberry sauce was jiggling merrily
SpareAretha Franklin’s Respect..mashed with Pantera’s song of the same title.
SpareThe turkey had eight legs that Thanksgiving…
SpareThe necropsy discovered that the dragon had been slain by a bullet fired from a pistol.
SpareThe cat sat in the corner, grinning at them…

Don’t forget to post your ideas and stories in the comments. See you next week!

Header image by Fiona Grey, Hocking Hills, Ohio

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17 comments

  1. Fiona Grey supplied my challenge this week: The zombie had just enough brains left to determine he would fight the death curse this year.

    It took me a while to figure out what the death curse might be in the context of a being that was already dead, that had been subject to what might be described as a seventh-rate resurrection. Once I had everything fell into place.

    When I first heard about the death curse, I scoffed. Everyone with even a mediocre education knew that curses were just a silly superstition – just words and actions with no power save that which the “victim” chooses to imbue it with.

    I’d just moved to a new town in a new country for work. It seemed as though everyone I met was intent on warning me of the death curse, and advising me to take steps to prevent me becoming one of its victims.

    Then as I started to put the pieces together, things became even more ludicrous. Zombies! Seriously, they expected me to believe in zombies! Supposedly there was a ritual that turned a dead body into a zombie, who would then have its will enslaved to that of its creator. Utter nonsense!

    I even had people knocking at my front door trying to persuade me that converting to their beliefs would make me zombijamais – a local word that referred to someone who couldn’t be turned into a zombie – a zombijamais could be killed, but the ritual that turned the corpse into a zombie wouldn’t work. But anyone who believed in zombies wasn’t credible. Even if I had been tempted to convert, I would have needed to speak to someone who didn’t believe in the existence of zombies first.

    In time things quietened down. The locals seemed to have accepted that I wasn’t going to accept their weird beliefs.

    Then a small group broke in to my house one evening. I’d just finished washing up after my evening meal. They overpowered me, tied me up and blindfolded me. They carried me out of the house, and transported me I knew not where.

    I won’t describe the ritual that then took place. I don’t want to give anyone enough information that they could create their own zombies. It is sufficient to write that I was slain and immediately brought back as a zombie.

    I was then allowed to leave. It made little sense.

    But by the time I had found my way back home I had remembered enough. Restraining me would have been potentially counterproductive, and I’d return of my own accord eventually – or so my murderer believed.

    Zombies, according to the local beliefs didn’t need to breathe, to eat or to drink, and they didn’t fall ill, but their bodies were unable to repair any damage done to them. Any injuries done to a zombie were permanent, and if my killer wanted me to be his slave in the best possible shape it was best not to risk injuring me. Letting me go freely avoided all such risk.

    And then there was the death curse. According to local lore, a zombie’s body might not decay, but its mind does. A zombie will, over time, lose its free will, and become a slave of its creator. The fresher the corpse when the zombie was created, the longer it took for the death curse to strike, but long-dead corpses weren’t supposed to be that effective as slaves.

    I soon confirmed that I wasn’t breathing – the entire action now felt unnatural. A glass of water just went straight through me. I didn’t try eating anything.

    But I wasn’t a slave. I had no intention of ever becoming one. And as the day progressed, I started to hear a faint whisper in the back of my mind: “Come back to me. Come back to me.”

    It kept repeating, ever present. It wasn’t particularly forceful, but it has got more persuasive with time.

    I could have committed suicide – although being already dead it might not be classed as such – but I have too much stubbornness to give up that easily.

    Instead I grabbed my passport, resigned from work, and flew home.

    It didn’t work. I may have been many, many more miles away from my killer, but his will kept working away in my mind. Even crossing the continent didn’t diminish its pull.

    I still feel it in my mind. I think I can resist for another year or so. But the death curse will defeat me eventually.

    So I did my research, and found a location that was suitable. I found a little place and rented it.

    I intend to resist long enough that I won’t have the sense to do anything but walk straight towards my killer. I’ve moved so that there is a gorge not that far away in that direction. If I’m successful, what is left of me will walk over the edge. I expect I’ll still have to crawl to my new master – but my body will already be useless to him.

    I will leave this testimony behind in the hope that it will be discovered. The truth of my fate needs to be known – even if many will, like me once upon a time, refuse to believe what I’ve written.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. […] Week 47 at More Odds Than Ends… wow! Another year of prompts almost done. Doesn’t seem possible. I missed last weeks challenge and found myself missing the creative push I get from these prompt challenges. This week’s prompt came from AC Young: There was a lion between me and the cliff edge. My challenge went to Cedar Sanderson. Mosey on over to More Odds Than Ends to see what everybody came up with! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leigh Kimmel offered me “She meant well, but instead made things even worse.” I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but realized while thinking through a creative writing session I was supposed to lead on Anglo-Saxon Poetry, that it fit with an idea I had back in college that had lain fallow for some 20+ years.

    We lay in our lines Whether limbless or hacked
    Winnowed like wheat By our enemies warriors
    The brutalized dead With their bodies unburied
    Lay beside their swords Under a merciless sky
    We’d fought with the foe From dawn until dusk
    And struggled in the spear clash Until the sun had ceased.
    Around me there rippled The moans of the mangled
    Those too hurt for the hale To help to the healers

    How long I lay there I never will know
    Until radiant ripples And ribbons of light
    Split the sky Like waves on the seashore
    And women on white wolves Rode among the wounded.
    The best and the bravest Of the souls of the slain
    The valiant and victorious The Valkyries chose

    The one of the women The warriors of Woden
    Came to give the gift Of the gods to me
    But said to her sister As she stood beside me
    In the lands of the living He will linger still longer
    Though bold and brave In battle he be.

    Then the Valkyries vanished With the slain they had summoned
    Leaving a remnant damned Ere the dawn of the day.

    And I… I have to heal If I hope for Valhalla
    When next in the night I meet those maidens.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I like it! I can just imagine the cook trying so hard to make those strange dishes, and not quite getting it right. And, of course, the person who inspired all this effort has to smile and eat it all…

      Like

  4. Padre ad libbed…

    The dance meant more than those watching knew.

    [hum. Prom, square, lots of dances. And who sees the meaning that those watching don’t? Hum…]

    The ballet troupe swirled and leaped across the stage, showing off the endless training and hard work that they had put into their practice. The gathered audience, the members of the Party who had been selected to attend this show, sighed and clapped. The international media had even been invited to broadcast this show, and they did their part.

    Little did anyone in that audience know, this dance meant more than those watching knew.

    In the basement of the brick building outside the Beltway, they recorded the broadcast ballet, and they watched it. Some of them could almost follow the code being sent, carefully worked into those flying feet and thundering musical runs. They realized that the observers had gotten the information they needed, and sent it. Now, it would be carefully transcribed, and passed to the general staff, who would decide what to do next.

    And the dance went on.

    [well, maybe]

    The sun was setting, casting a golden red glow across the water in the rice paddies, when the flight of dragonflies settled. Then the leaders rose again, and began their dance. The humans, watching, admired the flashing wings and complex patterns. But the dance meant more than those watching knew. Because as they flew, the dragonflies spread their pheromones, a pattern that led those settled on the water to lay their eggs, starting a cycle of growth that enriched the paddies for the next year. Without that glistening dance of the dragonflies, the rice would grow poorly, and the harvest would be scant.

    Still, for the humans clustered around the paddies, it was enough to admire the flight of the dragonflies, and watch those glittering jewels in the fading sunlight of the setting sun.

    [oh, that’s kind of cute…]

    [drat, there was that stray thought about the Milky Way galactic dance, and what it might mean to the other galaxies who were/are/will be watching with a rather long timeframe? But no time, no time… maybe another day!]

    Liked by 1 person

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