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Dead Mountain (Writing Prompts)

Writing Challenges Writing Prompts

Dead Mountain (Writing Challenges)

Here's a little idea for NaNoWriMo, if you're going to do it:

Let it mean anything. I know it stands for National Novel Writing Month but it can also stand for taking those same hours to copy all your digital files onto an external hard drive. Or weeding out old magazines. Or sending out job applications (every cover letter can be part of your word count if you still want to track things that way).

What I'm suggesting is don't break yourself this month because you make the rules. So you can change them. And right now things are so difficult for so many of us that I ask you – don't make it more so. Don't be part of your own burdening, okay?

Anywho, I hope you're well and if you want to have a writing prompt, here one is. I hope you enjoy it.

Write or Don't Write: Sometimes the Broken Instrument is Us

Here's wee tastes of what was inspired by the last challenge: a broken instrument.

We are, both of us, an orchestra and also the symphony. We are the conductor and the first violin and the one who hits the triangle; we are brass and wood and wind and wire. We change as we play the music of our lives – the same song never sounds the same twice; the same instruments make different music over and over. We’re the silence between notes, too.
The workshop is a huge mess. The spell book is covered with dirty fingerprints and droplets of candle wax, on the table there are shards of molten glass from previous tries, spilled liquids and powders in blue and purple, singed pieces of paper and three dead mice.
There is grit in this broken instrument of mine
Sand and rust and decay
What used to be clear is now blurry
What had been obvious is now obscure
Words don’t flow quickly onto the page anymore
Once-nimble thoughts languish in the brown study of resistance
I am human and strong
Sharp and crystalline like
A diamond.
One single piece of the larger
I am not a broken instrument.
But I am frightened.
The glass is clouded,
I can’t see what’s next.

I hope you're well. I know it's hard to write right now, and NaNoWriMo is coming and just……do the best for you right now. What's best for you.

Take care.

More Writing Challenges
A Broken Instrument
If Time Stood Still

The Burning Sea

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  • Anarion on

    Kaliope climbs the steep mountain slope in front of me with even, measured steps. I’m huffing and puffing whereas she looks like she just got up from the couch.

    Kaliope is an earth mage and a scientist, which is a rare enough combination that she gets calls from all over the world. Volcanoes and mountains, earthquakes and landslides, that’s the stuff that gets her exited. Me? Not so much. But I’m her go-to gal for everything explosive, so here I am.

    Where exactly ‘here’ is? I’m really not sure. A dead mountain in the middle of a country 9 flight hours from where I live, that’s about to spew fire and ash. Our job is to combine her mage powers and my explosives skills to direct that towards the back of mountain, away from the city at its foot.

    We reach a point close to the top of the mountain and Kaliope stops. She presses both hands and her right ear against the rock and listens. Or feels? Maybe it’s both. She tried to explain it, once, but I guess it’s a process non-mages like me can’t grasp.

    Whatever she heard or felt makes her go left and follow a cliff till we reach the mouth of a small cave. The cavern is narrow and I manage to bang my head several times, which is not improving my mood.

    After walking for ten minutes, Kaliope goes to her knees and presses her hands against the ground. She gasps. “Oh, I can feel her! Her blood is boiling and it’s much closer to the surface than they thought. But there is something else, something cool and serene… I… I have never felt anything like it!”

    Her hands start to glow as she focuses on the rock. Suddenly there is a loud crack and the ground splits under our feet. I stumble and almost fall, expecting hot lava to erupt from beneath. Instead there is a faint blue glow.

    I kneel to get a better look. It’s scales. Scales the size of my bed. They are sparkling like blue gems, even in the faint light of our torches.

    “What the fuck is that?”

    “I think it’s a dragon!”

    “Excuse me?”

    “A dragon!”

    “Dragons have been extinct for millennia.”

    “There are people who think they were captured and put into a deep sleep by powerful mages. Clearly those people were right.”

    “So, um, this is not really a mountain?”

    “I guess not. Or not all of it, anyway.”

    “What do we do now?” I sit down on the ground heavily.

    “You are going to place your explosives and we are going to free her.”

    “Freeing her will bring done the whole mountain. There’s no way to control any of that. No way to save the city.”

    “I’ll use my magic to direct the mother’s blood away from the city. The rest we’ll have to leave in the hands of the universe.”

    An hour later, amidst explosions and chaos, the dragon erupts from the mountain, rocks and dust flying everywhere. Kaliope keeps us safe with her magic, but after redirecting the lava I can see her get weaker by the minute.

    “We are going to die here, do you realise that?” I am surprised at how calm I am. I just helped rebirth a gorgeous blue dragon, that is now circling over our heads.

    “Yeah,” she says and smiles at me. She looks utterly at peace as she takes me hand. “But look at the wonder that we returned to the world.”

  • Atlin Merrick on

    Tricks and swindles and swaps. Freebies and donuts and booze.

    There are all sorts of things people use to capture other people, to lure them in but here the thing that works no matter who or where, no matter gender or religion, no matter age or mood:


    Joyous, raucous, giggling, ridiculous laughter of two or three or four or more people. It will get anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    Just saying.

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