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Burnt Offerings (Writing Prompts)

Writing Prompts

Loaded phrases. The ones offered in white on these writing prompts.They're a bit harder to come up with than you'd think. My favourite so far has been black water, maybe because it just sounds creepy-cool, or because I, like you, are mostly water and the phrase calls to some swimmy, old part of us down deep.

Anyway, what I was saying is the sayings…they're tough. Maybe you've no desire to fill this writing prompt but maybe you have something that sounds…creepy-cool? Two to four words for the white bit there? Inspire me won't you?

Burnt Offerings (Writing Prompts)

Be Careful Writer…and Write Us Something

Things were opulent last week, they had glory and were careful. Last week brought baleful warnings and banged heads, honeypot boys and syrupy drawls. But don't believe me…read on.

The fey honeyed boy drew the flies, but also the bee, a lad sumptuously large, striped black and golden, full of the solemn hum of life, heavy with a rich nectar. Where the fey boy cackled, the sumptuous boy smiled, his solemn hum lilting lighter. The fey boy burrowed into the dark loam of him, turned it upside down into the light. The gold inside one glinted in the burning sun of the other.


As I watched the emperor parade through our town on his dragon, her scales iridescent in the sunlight, her wings quivering as if she was about to leap up and carry him wherever he wanted to go, his hand resting firmly but gently on her shoulder, I saw the beauty of them together and I wanted that.
Be careful what you wish for, my brother used to say.


“Be careful,” the voice said. It was a voice that came from everywhere and nowhere all at once. It oozed into your mind and clanged around, ricocheting off of nothing. Slowed now to a syrupy drawl, again the warning came, “Be careful”.
Of what? Nothing here would require such an ominous and dire warning. This tranquil cottage is yours; you created it and you are in control of what goes on here. It’s safe here.


A narrow safe passage was marked by the bright red and yellow buoys bobbing on the grey waves. Cheerful stewards when heading out but on the approach, with the dismal fug of Bay’s Bray ahead, and the looming mountains behind, those buoys were jaundiced and bloody omens, baleful warnings urging all who passed to turn back. Bug was on full alert. Her ears caught the distant peal of the harbour bells, shouts and creaks from dark ships as they passed alongside…


“Have you ever seen something so gloriously beautiful it takes your breathe away? Like someone spun gold so fine it became the very DNA in the heart of a molecule, so it could walk out into the world and straight into your heart?”
The paramedic looked up from his injured patient to the man standing awkwardly huddled in an oversized parka. “Are you sure he didn’t bang his head when the car hit him?”

Okay, your turn and by your turn I mean kindly look up above. Clock those words, kinda evocative aren't they. Mmmm, khol…piercing…tattoo and burnt offering. I'm getting a visual already.

Are you?

Share it below, whatever you write it's all yours, you own it to the moon and back. Maybe it'll inspire a bigger story, a tall tale, a couple minutes quiet for your brain.

What's your visual?

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  • Ali Coyle on

    I’m jerked from sleep by a piercing screech.

    Dazed for seconds, dizzy from leaping up, hands clapped over ears, I stumble for the back door and wrench it open praying that the grey fog in the kitchen dissipates fast into the rain that beats a never-ending tattoo on the metal patio table outside. I unlatch the windows and push them wide, heavy splashes soaking the sills, and beg for the shrieking alarm to stop.

    Then I turn off the oven. When I open it, black clouds billow out to irritate my eyes. I rub although I shouldn’t, and leave smudges and smears on my face like a child playing with kohl.

    There’s not much left. Not even a burnt offering to trim and serve with a laugh and a shrug and a what-did-you-expect. I fill the sink with water and lift the dish out, fingers protected by four tea-towels, and it is not enough. I yelp across the room and the hot, heavy ceramic slips from my grip and sloshes into the sink. There’s a held breath, a hope, a bud of relief, then the sharp crack-thump of thermal shock crazing the glaze and crumbling the brittle stoneware.

    With one last squeal the alarm silences. I survey the kitchen and walk out into the rectangle of light that spills from the back door onto the crazy-paving. She’ll be home soon.
    “Hey, sweetie,” I say when my call is answered. “You want takeout tonight?”

  • Jamie Ashbird on

    Thunder over the hill. Of course! She was outdoors without a coat, her car at least fifteen minutes away. Of course it was about to storm.
    Aliki scrambled down the dry, grassy bank to the creek, eager to get to cover before her thin t-shirt was soaked.
    On the trail above the bank, far from the incline was The Spot. Okay, so it was just a rock Aliki had kicked there years ago to mark where to leave the path. She didn’t need the rock anymore. She knew The Spot by feel. The trees, the dip in the path, the way the creek sounded just so from there.
    One drop. Two. The rain was slow. For now. But the moss on the partly submerged rocks didn’t care for speed. One wrong step as she crossed the creek and Aliki would be doing the wet jean waddle.
    Her sure, steady feet had made it over halfway. Past The Gatekeeper, a small pointy bastard known for piercing the soles of badly chosen footwear. Hard on the foot but unyielding to weight. The Gatekeeper’s roots ran deep and strong. Next came Her, she of the emerald dome. Slippery as a car-salesperson and just as smug. There was no way across Her but confidence and hope. Then came The Expanse. Two soggy little steps on pretty pebbles. They shifted and played, splashed socks and ankles but, The Expanse was merely the path to Death’s Catch. Nasty. Cruel. Three strides long if it allowed striding. It did not. A sheer shard, angled for optimal slide-age. Smooth and unforgiving. The choices were a waist-deep wade below, a shin-shallow wade above, or a chance at dry victory. Aliki chose victory on Death’s Catch.
    The rain was now beating a slow tattoo on the leaf littered forest floor. Summer drops that fell with a crash, shouting loud above the lazy trickle of the creek.
    Aliki took a deep breath, muttered a prayer to the naiads, and stepped one steady foot after another to jump victoriously un-soaked on the far bank.
    The Sanctuary—her sanctuary—was around the bend. A cave-like overhang in the rock, deep enough to sit hidden in, tall enough to kneel in almost-dry gravel.
    Aliki unpacked her supplies. Her little clay pot, black with years of flame and sacrifice. Bread, wine, a feather she found on the walk, the tinderbox her grandfather had gifted her before he died in that freak sky-diving accident, and a pile of tax returns and bank statements.
    Aliki dragged her forefinger along the inside of her pot. She blew at the black dust, then dragged it across her cheekbones. She was Hunter now, secret, invisible. She dragged her finger in the soot again and painted, black kohl rings around her eyes. She was Gatherer now, all-seeing, all knowing. She cackled, throwing her head back to laugh at the rock above.
    Then she started thinking about erosion and rock fall and being crushed under here and her body never being found because this was not something normal sane adults did… and then she shrugged. How terribly sad for normal sane adults that they missed out on all this!
    A few curls of torn paper, some dry twiglets, her tinder caught and sparked and smoked inside her little pot.
    Outside the thunder cracked. The rain, no longer lazy, poured down in a sheet.
    Aliki scrunched up the first sheet of paper and laid it gently on the newborn fire. The first martyr. Her burnt offerings sending their tendrils of smoke direct to the gods of identity theft.
    She took a swig of wine from the bottle, gnawed at a hunk of her bread. Then as she absentmindedly placed another paper on her growing pile of charred sacrifices, Aliki scrolled through the online Officeworks catalogue for a cheap paper shredder.

  • Wendy / Atlin on

    Did I make some sort of list?
    Surely I must have done

    Then left it lying around, forgotten
    Where you lot found it

    Yes, I’m pointing to you and you
    In this fandom, and in that

    How else to explain
    What you’ve done

    Writing delicious story
    Upon delicious story

    Featuring delectable kinks
    A feast of fine debauchery

    A man’s kohl-rimmed eyes here
    His pierced nipples there

    Tattooed treasure trails
    Jeweled and nail varnished fingers

    All of these like burnt offerings
    Sacred gifts you lustily share

    Write dearest author
    O fic away for me

    I will do the same for you
    Remember to forget your list…

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