Drabble Prompt: “Well, that’s tragic.”

Isha stared at the brown rubber that would never be scrambled eggs. “Well, that’s tragic.”

He heard Arona’s footsteps and stirred the pan with his spoon, hoping it would look somewhat edible. (It didn’t.)

“I have to do everything, yes?” she asked, wagging a finger as she nudged him aside.

“I understood that!” Gleeful, Isha splayed his arms wide and nearly knocked over the cream.

Arona finished scraping the eggs off the cast iron and handed it back, pointing at the sink in the back corner. “Salt, not soap,” she instructed, but he couldn’t fail to notice her small smile.

Writing this made me realize that it’s very painful to have to cut crap-ton of your words because you went waaaay over the limit of 100 words for a traditional drabble prompt. Ah well. These kids are fun to write about.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman from Pexels


Descriptive writing prompt: Planets

In response to: If you were a planet, what it be like? What would it look like, sound like, smell of, feel like, taste of? (from this prompt blog)

It’s a strange place, for sure, this world that has so much restlessness. There is a large range of mountains to the north that quiver now and again, tumbling piles of slate downhill as herds of deer flee. A volcano lies at the core, grumbling and groaning and occasionally spewing fire and rocks into the air before it quiets again. When it rumbles with dark clouds, shocks of bright lightning fly and crack against granite cliffs. Sometimes, if you peer into the clouds at the right moment in the early morning, you might see a red dragon curled up in the center of the lava, her translucent wings tucked against her scales.

An ocean floods the west and south, iceberg blue and so cold that a wind gusting from it makes the skin prickle with goosebumps. Overhead, the sky is a moving blanket of stratus clouds that glow pink and gold at sunrise and purple and orange at sunset. When they part, the sky glows blue with scattered stars and thick clusters of galaxies.

Pine forests lift their branches towards the constellations and whisper secrets while crows and magpies flutter, cawing to their young. The earth is soft and dark with loam and smells of the decay of last year’s leaves and leavings. Although the air feels fresh, you can still taste the ashes of old fires. Columbine, fireweed, and lupin fill sweet-smelling meadows where bees and hummingbirds buzz as they feed.

Near the center of the ocean, the water bubbles and shivers as new land begins to push itself to the surface. Dipping a hand beneath the surface, you can feel a warmth that contrasts the frigid tides crashing against coastal sands. Dark shadows of marine animals drift in the currents; at night their multitudes of eyes glow fluorescent green.

Across the ocean, more life awaits: a mudflat teems with scrabbling crabs and pockets of sea hares and mussels hidden among swathes of salt-scented mermaid’s hair. Black-tipped gulls swoop overhead, waiting for signs of their next meal.

Red dunes of sand lie to the east, continuously reshaping themselves with every gust of wind. Sometimes, the winds wear away so much of a dune that hidden things reveal themselves: a marble statue of a child, a teddy bear, dropped pens and pencils, a brown coat with brass buttons, a plane ticket dated for the first of September, and polka-dot ribbons, to name a few.

Oddly, the only building on this world is a small, weather-beaten cottage surrounded by rose-and-cream azalea bushes. A pot in the kitchen holds a spicy-smelling soup while whatever awaits in the oven strongly smells of vanilla and orange. You pick up a cup of tea that’s cooling on a counter and find that it tastes of apples and cinnamon. Bookshelves line almost every wall, filled with new and musty titles alike: fiction novels arranged to form a glossy rainbow, thick volumes of medicine and chemistry haphazardly grouped together along the lower shelves, poetry and art timidly spaced along the top. A rough, wooden box holds speed cubes, stacks of tarot cards, and stress balls next to a second box topped to the brim with worn notebooks, so full of ink and thoughts that the covers have begun to rip. Wherever you wander in the house, songs composed of drums and violins play in the background from hidden speakers, the rhythm just fast enough to encourage foot-tapping. Although you can barely hear it over the music, a creek burbles and splashes behind the house, dappled with the shadows of overhanging oak leaves.

(Cross-post from my other writing-focused blog)

Written to the Atlas: Space album by Sleeping At Last (which explains why I kinda got carried away by this prompt)

Image credit: Matheus Bertelli

Vuori Drabble #2

“Go on without me,” Suvi told Hana, leaning over the fallen man and rummaging through her bag for a syringe, alcohol, and the vials of precious medicine. “Kaisa needs you more.”

She didn’t see Hana move, but felt her hand brush against her headscarf, like a blessing, and heard her footsteps echo down the hallway.

The man groaned again and Suvi lifted his sleeve, following the network of his veins until she found the same spot on his shoulder as Kaisa had marked on the cadavers only hours before.

(Crosspost from my other writing-focused blog and based on this list of prompts)

Image credit: Pexels

Descriptive writing prompt: Autumn

Prompt: Capture a moment of utter peace in the autumn afternoon.

A flock of Canadian geese angles across the sky, honking loudly and startling a pair of dogs out for a walk with their families. One dog, a sand-colored Shi Tzu, starts barking loudly while its playmate, an Australian Shepherd mix, looks on stoically. From her window, an old woman in a leaf-patterned apron watches the V-like flight pattern as she stirs a bowl of batter. The sky is a startling, pollution-free blue, except for a few clouds scuttling low from the tops of the mountains in the west.

Down the road, cars move slowly through the intersection like a lethargic bloodstream. Children on their bikes with brightly colored hoodies hoot and holler as they fly down the street, glad for a day of good weather and no school to keep them cooped up indoors. A man holding a paper bag of groceries precariously in one hand jiggles a small key to open his mailbox with the other, frowning slightly when he realizes the box is empty. He locks his mailbox again, uses another key to open the door, and miraculously arrives at his apartment without spilling any apples that were rolling at the top.

At a small hospital that afternoon, no emergency calls have been made and the EMTs enjoy a rare chance to chat in the cafeteria over Styrofoam cups of warm apple cider and sugar cookies. In a nearby corner, a nurse wearing teddy-bear patterned scrubs naps in a chair with a bright pink neck pillow. Upstairs, a doctor wraps up his notes about his pregnant patient, confirming that all is well and the parents are well-prepared for the babies due to arrive by New Years. A text message on his phone buzzes, telling him that his brother has safely arrived at the local airport.

Originally written for Writober 2017.

Image credit: Pexels

Vuori Drabble #1

The moment Jouni saw how much blood Hannele had withdrawn with the needle, he turned an astonishing shade of snow, pale as an early spring blizzard, and then his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he slumped down over the table.

“Oops,” Hannele said as she carefully stored the filled syringe within the icebox. “I don’t think he’s ever given blood before.”

“You don’t say?” commented Suvi, poking him on the nose with a finger and getting no response. “I hope the Suojelija don’t mind the blood of fainters too much.”

Hannele snorted. “They’ll be fine. Remember when Arvo and Lauri drank an entire cask of that southern ale and then decided to donate in the same night?”

That night was far in the past, but Suvi still had vivid memories. The Suojelija, post-feeding, had lost their normal stoicism and had actually tried to nuzzle her before they trundled off into a deep, rumbling slumber. The herbalists and city council had raised quite a fuss about that, giving Arvo and Lauri a stern talking-to for accidentally getting the mainstay of the city’s defense drunk. Notably, after this event, the would-be donators who were known partakers of green blossom were conspicuously absent. Perhaps, Suvi mused, they felt guilty for the sensory abnormalities they might have previously given the Suojelija.

“Well,” said Hannele, washing her hands in the room’s solitary basin, “We can’t keep him down here. He’ll freeze.”

Suvi eyed the bulk of the man, which normally served him well during guard duty or games of strength but was not so manageable for two teenaged girls. Years of hauling her younger siblings around hadn’t prepared her for this. “I suppose we’ll have to make the best of it,” she told Hannele. “How about you take one arm and I’ll take the other?” (Or, you could stop being stubborn and ask Kaisa for help, an internal thought whispered to her, and she shushed it up. She couldn’t even look Kaisa in the eyes these days, much less ask her to haul a blood donor who had fainted on her watch.)

Hannele and Suvi managed to move Jouni at least off of his resting spot on the table but then he toppled backward from the bench to the floor with a groan, but still wouldn’t wake up.

Unless Suvi started thinking rather creatively, then preventing Jouni from freezing or avoiding Kaisa’s sharp tongue had turned into mutually exclusive scenarios.

Originally written for a Writober 2017 prompt.

Image credit: Pexels

Dial Tone

Nothing is more horrifying than hearing the breaking voice of your self-destructive parent on the other end of the line, a parent who has repeatedly lied and cheated and run and stolen so much from you and those you care about. That same shaky voice, minutes from possibly being so destroyed that it will no longer return asking, “And why do you need me?”

There is a second, colder horror when you hear a voice in your head whispering, “I don’t need you; I haven’t needed you for a long time. When you were needed, you weren’t there, and I had to scrabble up the cliff without you. Yet here you are, at the end of your rope and speaking as though I’m your final rock to cling to. But let me be clear: No matter what happens, I will survive and become stronger than ever before.”

So you experience a third horror, perhaps the kindest one of all, as you lie to your parent and say, “I need you for so much.”

Because it’s too hard to be honest and say, “I love you. Please don’t go.”

WIP Drabble #1

“I’ll go if you want me to, but I don’t want to leave you here alone,” Opal said. She clenched her hands around the folds of her skirt. Asa still refused to look at her, his bandaged head curled out of sight into his pillow.

Opal couldn’t bear it.

Rage flooded her veins, hot and threatening to burst. She hated this; she hated that Asa wouldn’t speak, that the bullet had taken his eye, that he had been hit in the first place by a shot that should have been hers. War Tramp. Battle Harlot. Death Witch. It was her magic and her gunpowder that had blown up Pine Village. By all rights, that untoward bullet should have been hers.

They had attacked Asa, the favored healer, and it was all Opal’s fault.

Shame and guilt rumbled within her. Opal didn’t know how to heal or mix medicines; she couldn’t give him back his eye or remove the scar that would mark his features. Her hands were weapons, stained in the eyes of the gods by years of blood and gunpowder. Instead, she did what he had done for her so many months ago. Gently, she took his hands between hers and offered a quiet prayer to his healing god, asking for peace and a swift recovery.

Asa said nothing in response, but didn’t pull his hands away.

Photo by George Hodan