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The Burning Sea (Writing Prompts)

Writing Challenges Writing Prompts

The burning sea (writing challenge)

Y'know, if you ever wanted to make a prompt for a future Thursday, I'd love to see what you'd create in this approximate style to inspire us.

There are no rules on what you should do with these words and images, remember that. If they prompt you to write about a pencil falling in love with a piece of paper, if you never use the word concussion, sea, or coffee, you met the writing challenge anywho, cause here you came and here you wrote.

So you do you, I'll do me, and hopefully you're as regularly surprised by what you write as I am.

I hope you're faring well and that when you're not, you find a way back.

Seems Bees Bring Out Our Inner Children's Stories…

Some weeks there are themes, some weeks not so much. With last week's take courage, many of us were inspired by the bees. I do wonder if we'll all see something similar in this week's prompt. After you?

“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?”
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.
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.
“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.
I’d whisper “Sorry sweetie,” if I slipped and nicked a tiny limb, or 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 soft breezes sending the scent of the rosemary, too.

Okay, your turn…what do you see in the burning sea?

More Writing Challenge
Take Courage
A Trick of the Eye
Get Up Now

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  • Anarion on

    Four wake-cycles before we reach Sidne I start to feel her pull, a longing in my bones calling me home. It leaves me restless and edgy and like always I offer to take the least favourite shifts because I won’t be sleeping much anyway.

    When the planet finally starts filling the screen, the oceans glowing orange in the middle of the vast emptiness of space, Matt comes into the control room. He puts his coffee down on the console next to me because he knows how much I like the smell. It’s one of the reasons I bother with human crewmates, the smell of their burned beans. It reminds me of her.

    “Sorry we didn’t manage to come off-season,” he says. It’s not his fault, just one of the conditions working on a trading ship, but he knows I prefer to visit when the seas are not burning.

    He sits down opposite me and blinks at me sleepily.

    “You think this was your last trip?”

    “You know it’s not up to me.”

    “Wouldn’t you like life to be predictable?”

    “Nothing in life is predictable, Matt, you know that. Ship gets hit by a tiny piece of space rock and we’re all gone.”

    He sips his coffee and says nothing. We’ve had this discussion before.

    In about half a cycle I will put my feet on the ground of my home planet and like always I will walk down to the ocean. Usually she likes to meet me in the water but since I arrived mid-burning-season this won’t be possible.

    Like always I will fear that this was my last trip, that she won’t be willing to let me go one more time, but as always all that will be forgotten as soon as her fingers touch my skin. We will burn together, as hot as the ocean and only after will I know what my future holds.

    That is the price you pay when you are in love with the Goddess of the Burning Sea.

  • Atlin Merrick on

    Gunter was surprised but serene to find that he could walk on water.

    Which was on fire.

    The fire didn’t burn and the water was brown and smelled like coffee beans, and all of it was incredibly comforting instead of disconcerting. He was slightly worried that he couldn’t see the other side of this burning sea and so had no idea as to his destination, but he just so happened to have a clam shell in his hand and he assuaged his worry by scooping up some of the sea water and taking a sip.


    A double-shot extra hot Americano.

    A school jellyfish blooped by, shaped like sugar cubes. The sea continued to steam gently and Gunter sipped and walked and was at peace.

    “Hey! No sleeping.”

    Gunter made a muddled mouth noise of surprise and peeled open one eye.


    It… Oh yeah. He was in hospital. Cause he’d gone and bounced his head off the pavement like a ping pong ball after falling off his bike.

    Wow. No one told him concussions came with a free side order of hallucination. Speaking of order…


    His boyfriend leaned close. “What?”


    Asher nodded, “Okay lovey, you stay here and stay awake.” He was nearly to the door when Gunter grunted. “With three jellyfish please!”


  • Caroline on

    “Did you get the bread?”

    I struggle to focus on his face but when I finally do there’s that look. The one his father always gave me.

    “No, I forgot but I got…. HARIBO!”

    Three years ago, that would have placated him, he’d have toddled off to watch telly with his sweeties and his dad. The bread would have been there because I could both afford and remember it.

    The carrier clinks more than I’d like as I set it on the kitchen counter.

    “I’m trying, flower,” I say, pulling out the bottles.

    “I know, Mam.”

    He turns away.

  • Narrelle Harris on

    The sea was on fire.

    No, wait.

    Hang on.

    The rolling waves of flame, sparks flickering like sea spray, lapped against a shore made of ice which, despite the heat, didn’t melt.

    That left Marnie with four options. The burning sea, or the illusion thereof, was the result of too much caffeine, too much poppy seed cake, the concussion, or a combination of the three.

    Marnie probed her forehead with long, slender fingers. The bump, big as an egg, was still there. Still sore to the touch. She wished she could remember how it came to be there. Flashes of memory cascaded through her mind as she touched it, fragmented and unsatisfactory. A blue sky; the scent of salt water; the serrating cry of seagulls; a hulking shape rising from the waves…


    Marnie sipped her coffee, still piping hot after all these hours on the icy shore. She took a bite of seedcake, moist and delicious. She tongued the little seeds between her front teeth and bit down. She had been eating cake, popping seeds, watching the flames and the ice, prodding at the lump on her forehead for a long time now.

    A very long time.

    Or no time at all.

    The sky was no longer blue but a silvery grey, pulsing with a hidden light. The scent of the sea had been replaced with that of flames that crackled and whispered, a sound much lonelier than the gulls.

    The hulking shape flashed in her mind’s eye again.

    She had watched hippopotamuses – hippopotami? – rising up from rivers in Kenya, their comical roundness hiding the danger that lurked in their jealously territorial hearts. The shape from the sea had made her think of hippos. Grey. Wet. Soft. Tentacled.

    No wait.

    Hang on.
    Marnie had seen octopuses – octupi? – in tanks at aquariums. The Giant Pacific Octopus at Monterey Bay, roiling sinuously across the rocks, limbs curling and unfurling, suckers twitching, till the animal pulsed upwards. Reached out of the tank. Hulked out of the water, baring sharp teeth.

    No wait.

    Hang on.

    Marnie gulped coffee, scalding hot, then soothed the burn with cake, then ran her fingers over the bump.

    The sea burned, and Marnie hoped it was because of one of four options. Coffee. Poppy seeds. Concussion. A combination.

    She looked down at her feet, melting into the ice, becoming stone and dissolving into the sand underneath.

    Option five. Probably it was option five.

    The crackling flames whispered the names.


    The Old Ones.

    Madness everlasting in the last moments of the world.

    Marnie, concussed, sipped coffee. Ate cake. Became stone.

    Became ice.

    Became flame.

  • altocello on

    The sea breathes.
    In. Out.
    The sky flames.
    I breathe.
    In. Out.

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