Prompt for January 21: The Dump


[Prompt from . I had some prompts saved in an email from one of my class days that I’m just now getting around to posting. Sorry. Story from a story idea of mine entitled Iron Maiden.]

The night air was cold; icy fingers kept stroking the bare skin of my shoulders. I should have brought that cloak with me after all.

Too much clothing would be a waist where I was going. The lower streets were so caked with filth that I would most likely have to resole the boots I was wearing after. Any cloak of mine, even the shortest, would have to be discarded shortly after my visit. There was no return from the stench of waste and death.

As an added safeguard, I bustled the back of my skirt higher than normal. I hoped I would not have to discard that as well. Keeping this in mind, I kept an eye out for any puddles on the cobblestones while I glanced around for signs of life.

Those you do not wish to find in a dark alley were typically the only souls awake at that ungodly hour.


Prompt for January 19: Skipped


[Prompt from . I have some prompts saved in an email from one of my class days that I’m just now getting around to posting. Sorry.]

It came as a great shock to her when she reviewed her document folder for the month that she somehow missed a date. It was a busy month, after all. The new job, the dog, the new relationship that had her flying on clouds; there was a lot to keep her from updating her followers on her crazily brilliant fan theories and random musings. But to miss a day? Never!

She could have simply saved it with another day’s work. It wouldn’t have been the first time Annie did something like that in either a moment of forgetfulness or of overthinking.

However, a quick glance at the surrounding days’ entries told her this was not the case.

Had she really broken her vow of updating her blog every day?

Annie was appalled with herself. Disgusted, even. Her poor fans were left without even so much as an explanation why they had to live over twenty four hours without her words and ideas.

Prompt for January 16: Four Lines of Prose about Chickens


[Prompt from .]

They were all gathered neatly in the corner of the pen, right next to the trough where we put the food. Though there beady black eyes were shifting all around the pen, they continued to rest on Jim and me far too often for it to be random. They were cooking up a plan in those feathered heads of theirs.

And even though I had an inkling, the uprising the next day still took us all by surprise.

Prompt for January 15: Fancy


[Prompt from . Characters and story from a novel idea entitled Alkemic Maiden.]

I took a small bite of the pile of brown before me, expecting to taste only the blandness of quickly made, mass produced food. The mush in the bowel did lack many of the complex flavors of the cuisine within the palace walls, and the squishy texture left much to be desired. Yet, the food was oddly satisfying as it left my mouth and traveled to my stomach. It left a pleasant warmth in my core and actually lifted my spirits a bit.

I took another bite.

Syn’s head leaned in close to me. “Stop eating like that,” he muttered around his own mouthful. “People are staring.”

My spoon was poised in front of my eager mouth. “Eating like what?”

He gestured to me. “You’re back is too straight, your elbows are neatly tucked in at your sides, you’re bites are too small. You are acting like you’re better than everyone else in the saloon, Cow Maid.”

I sent a mental check through my body. Yes, my back was straight, but that was how I was always taught to sit. Any slouching was instantly disciplined out of me as a child. The same with how I placed my arms and how much food I allowed on my eating utensil. How else was a princess supposed to eat?

“I worked in the palace,” I said eventually. “I was taught to eat this way so to honor the royal family.”

Syn chucked. “A cow maid eating like a princess. I never thought I would ever see such a sight.”

The very opposite of my nature, I felt my blood boil throughout my body. “And what could a barbaric hunter such as yourself know about etiquette and social mores?”

His glare forced me to bite my lip. True, his words were unfounded and, had he known who I really was, were worthy of severe punishment. I, however, could not afford to snap at the only person in my kingdom willing to help me, my unknown identity notwithstanding.

Syn suddenly sat up straight, his back like that of the ruler that my teachers used to tie around my body. His arms were tucked neatly at his sides, his hand lightly grasped the spoon it was holding. He barely dipped the spoon into the slush and brought it elegantly to his lips, gently taking the small amount into his mouth and chewing before swallowing.

He gave me a look. “Just because I spend my days in the woods does not mean I am a stranger to etiquette, Cow Maid.”

Prompt for January 14: Disjointed


[Prompt from .]

She walked out of the room, right as I was taking my very first bite of the hard-boiled egg. Karen wore only a T-shirt and underwear, a very different apparel than my business attire.

“Hot again?” I asked, confused with her reaction to the cold January air.

“Yes.” A grumble, nothing more.

I took a sip of coffee. Pumpkin flavor. Positively delicious. It was a shame that the Aldi in town stopped selling the flavor after November. I was running low and wasn’t quite ready to go back to my normal hazelnut.

“My parents are bringing the dog Thor over this afternoon,” I ventured. “I was wondering if you could watch him for me tomorrow while I’m in training.”

Karen set her mug on the counter a little too forceful. “I can’t. Too much work.”

She poured her tea and left for her room, closing the door loudly behind her.

So much for helping me out, I couldn’t help but think. I wanted to tell her that she should’ve been doing all that work instead of watching hours of TV episodes on her computer the day before but it was already 7:10, I wanted to walk to work, and it was far too early to have her mad at me.

Prompt for January 12: The Coach


[Prompt from .]

“Come on, now! Give me one more!”


“Don’t say ‘can’t.’ Never say ‘can’t.’ That word should not be part of your vocabulary.”

“But it is. I can’t do it.”

“Just last week you ‘couldn’t’ do a lot of things. Now? You’re doing planks, and sit-ups, and a whole lot of manly push-ups. Now go!”

“If it’ll get you to shut up…”

“See? Told you?”

Prompt for January 11: House of Mercy, Part I


[Prompt from . This is part of a year long prompt so it might not make sense in future installments.]

The rest of the day followed that morning. Julie continued to see things that, in all honesty, shouldn’t be there.

Why would a large, black rabbit in a white coat, who sounded suspiciously like Babs, hand out medication? She should be handing out carrots if anything. Or maybe she should be eating all the carrots? No, not a rabbit, then.

Julie hoped the brightly colored pills the rabbit gave her would calm her strange, otherworldly visions, but they seemed to only make matters worse.

The white walls of the hospital swirled in sparking tide pools whenever she walked from her room to the common room. Chairs void of everything save air suddenly grew voice boxes, proclaiming their inner thoughts and desires to the world around them. There was one woman-Lucky? Lily?—whose head was three sizes too big. Another man—Adam? Aaron?—who had two faces! Just like the theatrical masks hanging on Anne’s bedroom wall, one face was always in the midst of weeping while the other was elated almost to the point of bursting.

But walls were solid—they were incapable of swallowing her up. Chairs were just objects and couldn’t think or want much less voice anything at all. Heads came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but never that big, and people could only have one face.

She knew there was something wrong with her, she truly did. Julie just wished it would all go away, that she could simply blink her eyes and the hospital’s stark walls would magically fade into the light beige of her apartment, with her and Anne watching The Big Bang Theory on their brown, lumpy sofa.

Julie even tried to slowly blink, hoping she could will her dreams into reality. But, just like the talking chairs and guy with two faces, she could tell it wasn’t real and couldn’t possibly happen.