Posts tagged ‘Writing prompt’

Writing Prompt: Department Store Blues

Setting: Write a story set in a department stores (think big commercial companies like Sears or J.C. Penny). It’s a relatively boring setting, what can yo do to spice it up? Is it that last haven for a group of terrified shoppers being chased by zombie dinosaurs? Is it Christmas and full of cranky shoppers? Is it completely deserted for no reason? How do the employees act? Around customers? Around each other?

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Writing Prompt: Dictionary Challenge

Remember that older-than-the-dawn-of-time, bound-in-red-canvas-that-might-be-human-skin edition of the Webster’s Dictionary that’s probably sitting in a box somewhere? Perhaps it’s out on a shelf so your friends will be impressed by how many words you can look up with a lot of swearing and squinting at the tiny text, while they look things up on their smart phones. Well bust that puppy out. 

Prompt: Flip to a page in the dictionary at random, then go to the tenth word down. Use it in a paragraph. I generally use sets of three words at a time, but that’s just my OCD showing. Things always have to be in sets…. Anyway, this isn’t really a prompt so much as an exercise. 

The human mind works in funny ways. Once you get thinking about your “prompt word”, your mind will probably wander, or it might remind you of an idea buried in the dusty recesses of your imagination. Once, I started with the word “rubenesque” and ended up with a 20k word story about a hedgehog that was visited by fairies. Surprisingly entertaining, I had it bound and gave it as a gift to one of the kiddos I babysit because she liked it so much. 

Writing Prompt: Reunion

I’ve never been one to do mushy, feelings-on-your-sleeve romance scenes, but sometimes, it just needs to be written. 

Prompt: Write about a reunion. Is it between lovers? Friends? Estranged relatives? What kept the characters apart? Tell that story maybe. Are there any lingering grievances or effects from the separation? 

Example:  Desina sat motionless in a back seat of the bus. Despite the rattling, cranking pandemonium that came from the beat up metal hull around them, the woman slept lightly, one hand resting lightly on the coiled whip attached to her belt, though most of the remaining passengers knew not to approach her simply because of her appearance. Dressed in worn leather pants and a short black shirt under her long trench coat, the tattoos of a Drifter marked what little exposed skin there was- chest and neck, wrists, and the slice of flat belly between shirt and pants. A patched knapsack rested in her lap.

The bus rattled to a halt, and Desina’s mud brown eyes flicked open. Shoving her equally bland brown hair out of her face, she rocked her lithe frame into movement, standing and moving to the front of the bus in fluid movements. Stepping down, she waited for the dust kicked up by the bus passing to clear before she turned, facing a small, dilapidated settlement. The air was hot and dry, making her tongue flick out across her lips as she strode across the small, cracked road, and into town. It was nameless as far as she was concerned, one stop among many that dotted the vast, dry plain of this part of the continent. The dying sun painted everything a rich red-orange color, silhouetting her as she stepped into the diner, one of a handful of worn down buildings. The woman behind the counter narrowed her eyes suspiciously, and drew a rifle out from under it.

“I thought I made it clear last time, your kind ain’t welcome here.” she said slowly in the silence, all patrons staring between the woman and the Drifter. Desina cocked her head a little, and a smile slowly curved her lips up.

“So I’m on the right track.” she murmured in a husky, almost masculine voice. “When was the last time you saw someone with tattoos like mine?” The woman at the counter didn’t reply for a minute, not removing the rifle from her shoulder.

“What’s it to you?”

“Nothing.” Desina shrugged. “I’m trying to track him down, is all. We’ve got…business, to discuss.” One tattooed hand stroked the handle of her whip, and she saw the woman relax just a little, though she still held the rifle steady.

“He went North.” a man at the counter spoke up, earning a glare from the woman with the gun. “Aw hell Dottie what is this one gonna do that’s worse’n what he did?” he scoffed, then approached Desina, who gave him a grateful look as she followed him out of the diner again. He pointed up the hill behind the diner, where a long shadow was cast. “That way. About six hours ago, you could prob’ly catch him if you wanted…if it weren’t so close to dark.” The man shook his head with a wary glance at the last sliver of light falling behind the horizon. “You best stay down low when night hits.”

“I’ll take my chances.” Desina replied confidently, rooting around in her pack for a minute before dropping a handful of polished stones into his weathered hand, more currency than he’d ever seen, if the astonished look on his face was anything to go by. “Though if you had a place I could refill my rations, that would be appreciated.”

After a brief stop at the man’s house to fill her water supply, she was off again, long legs propelling her into the gloom. Behind her, the man shook his head, thinking she’d be dead within hours and marking her direction so he could go loot her body when the sun rose again. Then he sealed his home up tight, and retreated to the safe room in his cellar where he spent every night so the predators didn’t get him.

Around one in the morning, Desina became aware she was being followed. Hunted. She was walking along the top of a sandy hill now, covered in scrub brush just thick enough to hide one of the large scorpions that hunted at night. Perhaps it was something larger, she mused as she heard soft scraping behind her. Whatever it was had slipped a foot, sending a small cascade of rocks down the hill. The implant in her head allowed her eyes to adapt to the darkness easily, but even so when she turned around, there was nothing visible. With a blink, her vision flickered to infrared, showing a glowing shape several feet away, crouched behind a bush. Desina grasped her whip handle, allowing the thin metal length to uncoil beside her. Thumbing a button brought the weapon to life, sending crackles of blue electricity down it’s cord with a soft crackling. “Come on then.” she said softly. The shape told her it was some sort of mammal, and that meant it was likely a mutated cougar or coyote. She’d faced them before, but it was still unnerving when the beast came charging at her, eyes glowing red. She snapped her whip out, catching it around the throat and singing all the way to flesh as she swung it to one side, taking a defensive stance. The cougar’s mate came slinking out of the darkness as well, and they began to circle her, low growls filling the air. Desina made sure her back was never facing either predator, pressing the dial on her whip handle upwards, taking the voltage from stunning to lethal. The first jolt obviously wasn’t going to scare them off, and now things were getting serious enough for her to take another life.

The first cougar lunged again, and this time as the whip coiled around its throat, the beast screamed once, and went still, yanking her weapon right out of her hands. Desina swore as the second one leaped at her, raking razor sharp claws down her belly- barely missing the chance to gut her as she threw herself out oft he way. Drawing her belt knife, Desina tackled the cat while it was still out of balance, stabbing it repeatedly in the side until the thing stopped yowling.

In the silence that followed, filled only by her heavy breathing, Desina staggered to her feet. Retrieving her whip, she wiped her knife blade off on the creature’s coat, and sheathed it. Pain overwhelmed her, threatening to suck her under, but she wouldn’t allow herself to become unconscious. Instead she dug her fingers cruelly into the wounds across her belly, pain lancing through her brain with startling clarity. That cleared her head enough that she could wind her torso in bandage from her pack, then quickly move on, knowing something would be along shortly, drawn to the smell of fresh blood.

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Up on a nearby bluff, a man tracked her progress through a small scope in his hands. He watched as she staggered on, occasionally stopping and swaying a little. Several times he saw her knees almost buckle. The dizziness would always pass, though, and soon she had disappeared over the hill. He snapped the instrument closed, and stowed it in his pocket. Desina wasn’t a little girl anymore, he’d been expecting that much, but to see the angular, haggard looking woman she had turned into sent chills down his spine. What had happened to her?

Lux waited until morning to move out, dozing lightly until he felt the still-unfamiliar warmth of sun on his face. After so long in a prison box, it was still a startling thing to be able to look at the sun. Much like Desina, he dressed in Drifter clothing, complete with a long coat and gloves to hide his tattoos, denim pants tucked into boots, and he wore a dark handkerchief tied across his mouth to shield the lower part of his face from prying eyes- not that there were many out in the middle of the Dirt Plains. Shouldering his pack, he climbed easily down the rock bluff he’d been camping on, and headed out in the direction he’d seen her go. Lux had escaped from a prison transport two months ago, and in those short weeks, Desina had picked up his trail like a bloodhound. Through the grapevine, he’d heard that after he was taken away, she’d dropped off the grid. Nobody had seen or heard from her in ten years, until one night, she just appeared. Now, she seemed intent on tracking him down. One of his contacts had warned him that she might be taking a job as a bounty hunter, so he kept low to the ground as he slowly worked his way towards the nearest space port, Tremont Space Dock.

As he went along, Lux discovered that Desina had obviously found someone to train with while she was gone, because he was having more and more trouble picking up her trail. Soon his only clues were the tiny spots of blood she left, leading him down the hill towards a forest of stone outcroppings. He followed the trail slowly, until the cool shade of the stones touched his body, giving relief from the heat of the sun. Here he picked up a line of steps again, uneven in the shifting sand and loose pebbles underfoot. The blood was more evident, she had probably bled through her bandages. Crouching down in the loose gravel, Lux picked up a stone with a splash of red drying on it, rubbing his thumb over the slightly sticky surface as he peered around. She couldn’t have gotten far, not the way she was bleeding now. His keen hazel eyes picked up a hand print several feet away, drying blood, and traced it’s ascent to a shadowed nook high above him. Just then, a thin cord of metal snaked around his neck, and he froze as he felt a soft crackle of electricity run its length, pricking at his skin in light spurts of static that didn’t hurt…yet.

“Hi Desi.” he said quietly.

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Overwhelming emotion flood through her as she heard his deep, familiar voice, and Desina had to swallow hard as she blinked tears away rapidly. For a minute she couldn’t move, but then she flicked her whip off, and he pulled it gently away from his throat, standing and turning to face her.

“Lux.” she whispered, as the world tilted under her. She collapsed into his arms, and let the blackness come, sweeping everything away in a rush of darkness.

When she woke again, it was late afternoon. She was cocooned in blankets, naked except for her panties and the thin cotton bra she wore, and the pain in her wounds was down to a dull throb, confusing her for a minute. Then she realized the crackling sound she heard was that of a fire, and her head snapped up as her body jerked upright. Lux was sitting within arm’s reach, staring at her. For a minute their eyes met, then Desina scowled and looked away, shifting to her knees even though when her core muscles tightened it hurt enough to make her crumple down to her arms as well, pressing her forehead against her fists with a low moan. Then she was up again, groping for her pants as she looked around. They were much deeper into the rocks now, in a small, naturally formed cavern that instinct told her was very high up, safely out of reach of most predators. She slipped into her pants, fastening them and locating her whip, though she left it in favor of checking under her bandages. Neat lines of stitches closed her skin, explaining the tightness she felt.

“Don’t poke at them Desi.” he finally spoke to her, and Desina looked up at him.

“You’ve lost the right to call me that.” she said softly, and he winced a little as he prodded the fire with a stick.

“That’s fair, I guess.”

“Fair- fuck you Lux!” she burst out. “You abandoned me! Morgan told me all about what you guys were up to the night you got arrested.” Now that she was talking she couldn’t seem to stop, emotions pouring out along with her words. “What were you thinking, breaking into an Embassy? You knew you were going to get caught or even killed, but you deliberately put yourself in that situation!” To her irritation tears trickled down her cheeks, and Desina scrubbed angrily at her eyes. “I missed you SO much. You don’t know how hard it got without you there. The things I had to do just to survive! I was never as good as you were at stealing things, they caught me so many times and it was horrible. Why did you leave me, Lux? Was…whatever it was you were after- was that more important to you than I was?” His jaw shifted, and he couldn’t seem to meet her eyes.

“Nothing is more important to me than you.” he said, and she felt anger flare inside her as pain engulfed her at his words.

“Go to hell, you liar.” she spat, shoving her feet into her boots and pulling her trench coat on.

“Desina. Stop…please.” She ignored his pleading words as she buckled her weapons belt on again, stalking to the edge of the platform to look for the easiest way down. “I did it for you.” She paused, but didn’t turn to face him until she felt his solid presence fill the air behind her. Lux cupped her shoulders, though he didn’t bother trying to turn her around. “When I broke into the Embassy, it was stupid. I’ve had a long time to kick myself in the ass for that, believe me, but I did it for a reason. What we were after was worth a whole lot of money. Morgan and I were going to split the profit down the middle. I wanted you to have something better than fighting to survive. We were going to go away, start over- I swear I was going clean after that one last heist. It went wrong though, badly, and Morgan ran off, leaving me to take the blame.” Desina felt him shift her hair and kiss the back of her neck gently. “I never should have left you. I’m sorry Desina, so sorry.” A light shudder rippled down her frame, and in one smooth movement she whirled, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist and burying her face in his chest, filling her nose with the familiar scent of gun oil and smoke. Her hands fisted in the back of his shirt, and a muffled sob wrenched brokenly from her. Lux held her just as tightly, hands moving slowly over her back as he pressed his mouth to the top of her head.

“I thought I was never going to see you again.” she finally whispered as she looked up at him. “And I’ve been so angry for so long, I’m not sure I know how to forgive you.”

“I’d rather be with you and have you hate me than to not have you in my life at all.” he shook his head slightly, cupping her face and bringing her up to kiss her gently. “They locked me in the dark for weeks at a time, until I thought they’d forgotten me, or left me there to die. You were what kept me alive, Desi. The thought of not getting to explain, put us to rights again, was worse than anything those guards could have done to me.” Desina leaned against him, taking strength from the contact of his lean body against hers, and shook her head.

“We’ll be okay Lux.” she said. “It’s going to take a long time, but I will trust you again.”

Writing Prompt: Describe Your Favorite Color

So I’ll just dive right in. When I was in school, my English teacher gave us an assignment that drove the entire class absolutely crazy. “Tell me about your favorite color,” she said, and we all grinned. Easy A. “but I want you to describe it as if I’m blind. I’ve never seen colors before.” I think you could have heard a pin drop. How on Earth do you do that? It’s pretty simple once you think about it, sight is only one of our senses.

Prompt: Pick a color. Fix it in your mind. Now write about it, how it tastes, how it might smell, how it feels. Let your adjectives flow!