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Escape the Maze (Writing Prompts)

Writing Challenge Writing Prompts

Escape the Maze (Writing Prompts)

Hey, is there anything about these prompts that'd make 'em more interesting to you? Bigger? Plainer? A single photo? No words? Ten words? Dancing boys?

Sometimes we get a flurry of prompt fills, sometimes we don't, and I wonder where the flurry is from and can it be repeated?

Probably it's that thing which makes a restaurant super busy one day, dead the next but the week after those days reverse and who the heck knows, you know?

Still and all, I thought I'd ask.

Write On, Challenge Ahoy!

I liked last week's responses to the Room No. 4 writing prompt because they were all over the vampire-cryptid-shimmery being map and I love me some o' that, oh yeah. Like so:


Now Jake looked like he was mentally going through all the immortals he knew, trying to figure out if he’d heard of one that functioned without a brain. Then he shrugged and slapped me on the back.

“Come on, I’m gonna buy you a beer and fill you in. No, wait, there are at least two immortals that explode when they drink beer. Better be safe!”

“I thought the whole idea of being immortal is to, you know, not die?”

He grinned and said, “Everybody has a weakness. Let’s hope yours isn’t alcohol!”


Room 4 contained: a pile of mats as tall as me, with decades worth of teenage grime on them; tubs full of skipping ropes, lacrosse sticks, softball gloves—sweaty inside despite not seeing a human hand for months; a stack of unmatched witches hats; one tall, shimmering, blurry, beautiful immortal; and a me.

So what now? No, really. That’s what I asked it. We’d been standing there in awkward silence, me gaping like a carp, it doing its whole shimmery thing.
Oh? Is that where some immortal cryptid lives? Feeding on bats and room service?”
The person who pointed room no. 4 out would laugh and tell you some story about an eccentric inventor who’d jumped out the window when she learned her boyfriend’s airplane was shot down over the Antarctic or something.
“Oh that’s sad,” you’d say.
“She didn’t die or anything. Just broke her leg. I mean it’s room number four, it’s only six feet above the sidewalk.”
“I came here when it first opened, booked myself into room #4 because it was nice and accessible to the streets below—one shouldn’t fly too high on a full stomach, it’s like you humans and swimming. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, when it opened there was a lovely young man on the desk, and the bellboys had such wonderful taste, haha. But you sleep for a decade or two and everything has changed while staying just the same…

Looking forward to seeing what you see with this week's prompt!

More Writing Prompts
Room No. 4
A Box for Wishes
Dead Mountain

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  • Anarion on

    The darkness around me seems endless. In the far distance I can hear the clear sound of the trumpets. It has begun.

    Knight and monster have entered the maze and only one will emerge again, as it is tradition on King’s Day since the princess has reached marriageability.

    I don’t want to be here. I shouldn’t have to be here. The princess and I have found each other, why does there have to be killing before we can be together?

    The stone wall is cold and damp under my fingers. I can hear footsteps, heavy and slow. My skin crawls. Will I be strong enough? Seven knights entered the maze last year, before the king declared that the princess would stay unmarried another year.

    My heart sang, then, and even more when she threw herself into my arms the following night. Unmarried and mine for another year.

    She came to talk to me, like she talked to all the contestants, speaking words of encouragement and praise. She told me that if I didn’t win, we’d never be together, that she’d have to marry the knight who slew the monster.

    Those are the words she used. The monster.

    Each year I enter the maze and I kill her knights, and I hope. But deep down I already know that she’ll never give up her position to be with me.

    I run my fingers over the wall and my claws leave deep grooves in the soft stone. She keeps dragging me along, giving me false hope of a happy ending every year and not for the first time I wonder, of the two of us, is it not her who is the monster?

  • Sarah Tollok on

    Your question about what makes a prompt work was a really good question. I have absolutely no answer for you, but good question! I think it either immediately grabs me and a quick association comes about, fully formed, like Dionysus leaping from Zeus’s thigh, or the prompt just drops a seed that won’t let me forget about it over the course of a few days.

    So here’s my seed that has been growing the last few days:

    The women brought forth a girl, a little slip of a red-headed girl, to run the labyrinth. The men thought they were mad. Big strong men were devoured in the labyrinth, or came out missing limbs, or came out mad. None of them came out with so much as one coin from the hoard of gold in its center.

    The women knew they would be laughed at. They smiled in return. The one that was good with words, a skills that she honed while bargaining the price of her own body night after night, laughed with them, then turned the shared laughter into a deal. If the girl returned with a coin, she could buy her own freedom. She would be treated like any man in the kingdom. She could own land. She could choose a husband. She could choose a wife. She could be as loud as she wanted and as crass as she wanted and as wise as she wanted and no one would mock her or beat her or burn her.

    The men roared in even greater laughter at the prospect, shook hands in agreement over the foolish deal. The woman stopped laughing then.

    The girl blindfolded herself and ran into the labyrinth with no fanfare and no goodbyes. She didn’t need either.

    Because the women of the kingdom cared for the wounds of the men who came out torn apart. They listened and they learned from the wounds. They listened to the ravings of the men who came out mad. It was the women who studied what each man did to prepare before he entered. They learned what worked to get them farther, and what skills got them killed.

    Also, someone needed to tend to the labyrinth. Men were too important to send be sent to the slaughter. They sent the women in, blindfolded and attached to a rope, to prune the hedges. They had to memorize the path, counting their steps. They had to tug the rope and be pulled out if they felt the beasts breathing down their necks.

    They stood outside the hedges and sang to the beasts inside. They knew which ones would sing back to them. They learned that singing allowed them to get further in, the rope taught, it’s distance spent.

    They learned that the parts of the hedge that had poison in the thorns had fragrant flowers. They learned that the poison made you go mad. They learned and they learned, quietly, for years and years.

    The girl felt the map that was embroidered onto her sleeve. She sang as she ran. She walked more carefully when she smelled a scent so sweet it made her dizzy with want to get closer. And when she reached a part of the maze so deep that no rope would ever reach, she supplicated herself. She asked nicely.

    The men never asked, and they were never nice,

    The girl walked out of the maze without a scratch. She let go of her gathered skirts. The coins scattered across the ground, an impossible number for how small she was. There was exactly enough for every woman in the kingdom.

  • GV Pearce on

    At the centre of the hedge maze stand a tower made of logs and stainless steel bolts. It’s not too tall—twenty feet at most—just tall enough, he thinks, for the children who run screaming through the maze to feel a thrill of victory when they climb the dark spiral stairs to look out over the garden centre below.

    Most of them don’t make it that far, they’re too busy playing tag and spys and whatever kids play these days. They get distracted by the convoluted corners & funny statues. They don’t realise the path is simple.
    “How the hell did you get here first?” Aiden gasped as he trip-trapped up the last few steps.
    “Magic,” Ty said with a smile that was supposed to be mysterious, but probably came out goofy.
    Aiden rolled his eyes and pulled him down for a kiss. “Liar. Nice view from up here though.”
    “A rare experience for you, isn’t it? Being taller than everyone else?” Ty dodged the friendly punch he knew would be heading for his ribs. He stepped into the jab that came from the other side instead. “Ow.”
    “Serves you right,” Aiden said lightly, but rubbed Ty’s side all the same.
    “Do you see it yet?”
    “See what?”
    Ty wrapped an arm around his boyfriends shoulders and gestured towards the window. “How simple it all is?”
    “If this is one of your philosophy things I won’t pull my punches next time,” Aiden grumbled, then blinked. “Oh my god. There’s a coloured rope along the top of the maze leading right to the exit.”
    Aiden looked up at him with narrowed eyes. “So your 6’7” giraffe-necked arse could see that the whole time?”
    “Yep,” Ty grinned. “and now you have to say yes to whatever I ask next. That was the bet, right?”
    “Right,” sighed Aiden as he reached into his pocket. “But if you’re going to ask me to marry you because this is where we first met I need you to know I had the exact same idea.”
    Ty pulled out his own ring box at more or less the same time as Aiden, though Aiden would have said he was quicker. The boxes were from the same store. “You can’t let me win anything can you?”
    “Maybe if you didn’t cheat for once,” Aiden shrugged. “Maybe.”
    “Hmmm… too big a risk,” Ty laughed, and leaned in for another kiss.

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