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Take Courage (Writing Prompts)

Writing Challenges Writing Prompts

Take Courage (weekly writing challenge with Improble Press)

Another week, another writing challenge for you. Yes this is woeful late but here it is, with unbalanced bees (maybe) and courage, and a fake lawn to make you think real words about…what? Those of you who come to write for these wee prompts, each week do you have an idea already bubbling, or do you look at what I've shared here and think, "I got nuthin"?

Me, that's what I'm always thinking. Nuthin'. There's no there, there. No mystery, no fantasy, no story about space aliens or river goddesses or martyrs. I look at what I myself have made and think, "Well I'll have to sit this one out."

Except usually I don't. Because if I put my fingers on the keyboard and I just make them stay…they start moving even as my brain stays sluggish. I don't know how to explain how I'll have a story in my fingers before it's in my mind but that's what it feels like and it only feels like that if I sit there and put them on the keyboard and just…let there be nuthin'.

Until there isn't.

Did I Say Space Aliens, Mysteries, and Fantasy Stories?

…because with the last fill that's what we got. As well as horror and romance, and the most prompt fills ever. Ten I think. I love that. Ten people came, they saw, and they let their fingers tell tales about A Trick of the Eye:


“Mads? Maddy?”……More careful now, she lifts her hand, a bundle of heatless fire gathered, energy made visible, and with an easy push of will sends it towards the corner. The shadow coalesces, just a little, as her sparks catch its edges. The hint of mist becoming more like fog. Sarah sits down with a thud.
Don’t be fooled. Heat shimmers are meant to trick the eye. They make you think there is water and shade and rest, blessed rest. That smudge on the horizon, that vague outline of maybe-walls and could-be-buildings? A sign of life, a reason for hope?
Echoing out from the residence halls of memory, the sounds of Pink Floyd wishing you were here, asking you to shine on, you crazy diamond. Leaves turning, falling, foggy mornings, brisk walks to overheated classrooms…Blink. A trick of the eye, early morning late summer light.
Had he bothered to ask me what I wanted I’d be sipping a nice bourbon. Neat. No ice. No need to water down the oaky, cherry flavor. I have always relished the burn, welcomed the fire in the pit of my stomach. It was the second-best thing to make me feel alive. At this moment, I’m feeling anything but…
…Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
You can feel it, darlin’
It’s for you the moon was hung.
Shine on, shine on
Little darlin’
Night is comin’ soon
Don’t let shadows
On your shoulder
Keep you from your moon
I wade a bit deeper into the water and pick up a shell, just the size of my palm. I turn it around and whenever it catches the light of the moon it glistens in all shades of the universe. It’s so beautiful it touches something inside of me that I thought long dead. I take it with me…
“Yup, you’re definitely seeing a gigantic mosaic mural of an orgy, because I can see it too. I can see at least five different species, and that Aqualish has an enormous… something” Kl’yd cut her off by pulling her bathing suit-clad bottom snug-tight against his front and growling in her ear, “I have an enormous something too.”
She glanced at the dark square of safety glass set into the scuffed wooden door and shivered. “Why does it feel colder when it’s dark?” she asked the empty rows of benches, turning to walk to the door where the last pre-teen out flicked the classroom lights off. Then she saw her.
The ghosts are never in the house when the moon is shining bright—then they’re out on the lawn or running through the overgrown parkland with rest of our kind. They don’t have to worry about snagging their beautiful dresses or avoid the grass stains anymore. They’re dead, so they are free. And so are we…
“Hey, coffee’s hot.” I always get that out fast because Fel accidentally (she said) punched that visiting colonel in the stomach that time he was blocking the coffee machine. I followed up with the bad news. “So, we’ve been switched from doing the EVA on the aft solar cells. Uh, we have to take that weird ass general on a tour of the—JEEZUS FEL!”

Your turn now, like it is with every writing prompt. Ready to put your fingers to the keyboard and see what comes out this time?

More Writing Challenges
A Trick of the Eye
Get Up Now
Broken by Kindness

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  • The Honeyed Moon on

    ‘Be brave now,’ Ell’a thought to herself. Now is the time to take courage in both hands and be there for her granddaughter. Ell’a had received an inter-system holocall from the authorities on Ladarra saying her daughter and son-in-law had been killed in a speeder accident. ”Killed instantly, but there’s a girl, their daughter, who survived. We are terribly sorry for your loss, blah blah blah…” Ell’a had stopped listening.

    She needed to go and get her granddaughter, and bring her to Yavin IV. Be brave.

    To say that Ladarra was hot would be an understatement. The sun beat down on her so relentlessly, it made her skin feel as if it had shrunk. She squinted up at the ugly, dun-colored building, reading the sign bolted above the door: Ladarra Port Authority.

    So, her granddaughter was in the custody of the local constabulary. Kriff, the poor girl was probably terrified.

    That would make two of them. Ell’a hadn’t had to take care of anyone but herself since her daughter left home at eighteen. Twenty-nine years ago. She’d gotten used to her own routine and schedule and habits. How would a 7 year-old fit into that picture? Be brave.

    “Stop karking around out here in the sun, you’re going to give yourself a heatstroke. Get your old ass in gear, go in there and get your girl.” Her girl.

    Her girl was sitting on a bench next to a Rhodian that was cuffed to the bench and was either black-out drunk, or dead. He jerked, snorted and slid over until he was nearly resting his green head in Kelar’s lap. So, definitely not dead. Kelar looked horrified; her dark eyes were starting to brim over with tears, and seemed to take up most of her face. There was a scrape on her left cheek and left shoulder. All her worldly possessions were stuffed into a bulging duffel bag at her feet.

    Ell’a stepped toward the bench, opened her arms wide, and Kelar leapt into her grandmother’s embrace.

    “Here’s my brave girl.” Ell’a squeezed Kelar. Kelar squeezed right back.

    “They’re gone,” little Kelar sniffled into the front of Ell’a’s dress. “They’re gone.” She began to sob. Judging from the gut-wrenching sound, Ell’a thought this was the first time the little girl had cried since the accident. It was like a storm.

    “Oh, my girl.” Ell’a petted Kelar’s unruly grey hair, so much like her own, she thought. I’ll have my work cut out for me there as well. “We need to get you out of this nasty place. Get you back home with me on Yavin.”

    “I’m going to live with you on Yavin?” Kelar looked at Ell’a like this idea hadn’t crossed her mind. She wiped her snotty face with her arm. Ell’s wiped the girl’s face, and arm, with a hankie she’d fished out of her pocket.

    “Of course you are. I wasn’t going to let just anybody take in my only granddaughter. We are family and we are going to stick together.” Ell’a smiled down at Kelar’s little face. “We’ll be there before you know it. It’s just a quick jump from here to there. My little ship – ‘Honey Bug’ – will get us home before dinner time.”

    Kelar brightened at the mention of the ship. “Grandma? You can fly?”

    “Sure can, and I’ll teach you how. When you’re big enough to see over the flight controls, that is.” Ell’a took her granddaughter by the hand and began to lead her out of the Port Authority building. No one even questioned them to make sure the girl was in the right custody.

    Ell’a hooked the strap of the duffel over her shoulder on their way out the door. “I’m not going to lie to you Kelar, not ever. So here’s the thing,” she took in a big breath, “You’re going to have some sad days ahead of you. Really kriffing bad ones. Me? I’m going to be sad too. But we will get through them together. We will be brave together.”

    Kelar started to cry again, but this time it was just a little cloudburst. She got herself under control, and gripped her grandmother’s hand a little more tightly. Ell’a watched as the little girl closed some mental compartment and stood up straighter.

    “Okay. I’m ready.”

    Ell’a took courage from her granddaughter’s resolve. She thought, ‘We’re going to be just fine’.

  • Anarion on

    I arrive at the usual hangout and it is already buzzing.

    Two elderly solitary bees are slowly drifting by, searching for the best spot to settle down. Their voices fade in and out.

    “Did you hear about Humbert? No? The idiot managed to get trapped in one of the huge boxes with the invisible windows and had to be rescued by a human. A human!I’d be sooo embarrassed!”

    Two young honey bees zip by, always in a hurry, these.

    “We are always late because of you. Hurry up, the best spots will already be taken. Oh, great! Bromilla is already here. I’ll not hear the end of it!”

    I drop down next to my folks and look around.

    “Why the hell is Howard here?”

    Emory scoffs. “He’s my cousin, what do you want me to say?”

    “He’s a fucking wasp!”

    “Yeah, well, he’s adopted.”

    Howard’s focus is elsewhere, though. “There she is!” He takes off.

    “She’ll never look at him.” Ellery rolls her eyes. “She’s perfect. Chubby and fuzzy and that soft buzzing!”

    “You’re probably right, but the world has seen stranger things. And if you’re not, that’s a tale we’ll be telling our grand-generation!”

    “True.” Emory drops his voice, mock-aged. “Gather round, young ones, I will tell you the story of how one wasp’s love was returned by a bumblebee.”

    An: Atlin said she wanted people to give names to the bees, so I did. 😉 Also, this is of course a 221bee!

  • Narrelle Harris on

    It is spring and we bees work, we fly, we gather pollen for our colony, for our queen. We nourish, we protect, we select and serve our queen.

    Our Keeper is away and in his stead, his own worker-drone-queen protects the colony.

    The wingless four-limbs are nothing like the hive; and our Keeper and the Other are sometimes like a bee, sometimes like the flowers. We know, from springs and summers and some sunny autumn days that they have stamens, and pollen, which they gather or sometimes let fall to earth (though no new flower ever grows from this seed).

    Our Keeper and His Other are not like bees at all, and for many turns of the sun now, our Keeper has been gone.

    Soon, soon, His Other will come to tell us. He will keep the tradition.

    He will tell the bees that our Keeper is dead.

    We are puzzled that he has not already done so. His Other sits wilted among us, many days. He Keeps us as our Keeper would, with faith though less skill. He sighs our Keeper’s name among the hives.

    “Sherlock misses you.”

    The Other means that he misses our Keeper too. We know this. He sighs. He wilts. Sometimes he leaks, wet salt on his face. This leaking he shares not with other wingless ones, but only with his fellow workers (fellow drones, fellow Queen; our Keeper mates with him, so the Other is maybe a Queen; or maybe our Keeper is the Queen of his colony-of-two. As we say, the four-limbs are peculiar and will not succumb to correct roles).

    We the bees know that far away is danger. Dances waggled from the unfathomable distance tell us. The dances come from the colonies near the stone hive, which is clustered by the river up north and filled with four-limb drones and workers (and a male Queen; we will never fathom them at all). The stone hive is smashed by falling black clouds, and the air is filled with dust and great cries. Such danger!

    Our Keeper is in the danger, further even than the stone hive; across the Great Salt Wet. He told us before he left, that he would fly far, so far, to gather strange pollens, to waggle the dance of its knowledge to his Male Queen and the Drones and Workers of the stone hive.

    We miss our Keeper. His Other misses him. We wait for the telling. For word that it is time to Farewell the Keeper with the solemn, grave dance of goodbye.

    Here he comes today, the Other. Today he comes to tell us, and become our new Keeper.

    Take courage, Dear New Keeper.

    He walks on his two back limbs (so ungainly, more than ever today, poor unbalanced drone-worker-queen without his Keeper. He will Keep us now our First Keeper is gone, but who will Keep him now?)
    His Sorrowing Other comes to wilt and sigh and leak among us today.

    But no! The Other sorrows not, though he leaks and sighs. He does not wilt. He stands tall as a tree, that little hedge upon his face stretches happy with his mouthpart.

    “He’s coming home. The war is over and he’s done his part, and Sherlock is coming home. Today, tonight, soon! By God, he’s coming back to me. To us. Sherlock is coming home!”

    He sits among the hives, a flower waiting for the sun to shine on him; waiting for his drone-worker-queen to gather his pollen; waiting to be whole with his colony-of-two once more.

    Around him, we bees dance, we waggle the news to all our kin and to our queen: Our Keeper returns!

    No need for the Goodbye dance now, no. Today we dance a greeting, and rise up in a cloud as we see him arrive through the garden gate. His Other rises with us, and walks, then runs (unbalanced still, his hind limbs stiff with age and with sitting) to his Keeper.

    Like bee to pollen, like flower to sun, like the colony to the hive he goes, they go, and embrace, and we dance, we dance, for our Hive is whole again.

  • GV Pearce on

    Matt’s hand was a warm and very unexpected presence as it slipped scandalously around Declan’s inner thigh.
    “I… I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Declan hissed, trying to keep his balance on the ladder despite the provocation hand. “We really need to get these Halloween lights up before it rains. Besides, what if the neighbours see?”
    “Forget the neighbours, babe, I’m gonna need you to be brave for a minute.”
    “Why?! What the hell are you planning to do.”
    “Don’t freak out…” Matt said with an unreassuring pause. “but there’s some bees on you.”
    “How many is SOME?!” Declan asked, immediately turning to look and unbalancing them both into the flowerbed.

  • Chocolamousse on

    Atlin, it’s lovely! It gives me a feeling of gentleness, kind magic and sweet fragrance. (This sentence makes no sense at all but you know what I mean.)

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