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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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  • Atlin Merrick on

    I built my first bee when I was…sheesh, maybe thirteen? On my belly on the back lawn, tinkering and honing and striving because even then I sought small, you know? I wanted them to be right, which meant chubby things with glassine wings, awkward and unbalanced and perfect.

    Even though the interviewers hate this answer I really and truly don’t know when the first one moved or the second one buzzed or the third took flight. It all just happened so slowly, so…naturally. By then I had some old jewelers tools, tiny pliers and wire cutters and while I used them I’d whisper “Sorry sweetie,” if I slipped and nicked a tiny limb, or I’d murmur “Hold still baby,” while seating a glass wing and you know what?

    I think that’s what did it. I think our souls wake when someone comes close and soft-breathes kindness into our ear. Awareness where there was none is the product of endearments and love. Maybe some soft breezes sending the scent of the rosemary, too.

    Anyway, the bees took it from there. Have you ever opened the hive of clockwork bees? Amazing. I could never build as small as they do. So I do the next best thing.

    I’ve started to build some flowers. I hope they like the snapdragons.

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