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They Are Coming… (Writing Prompts)

Writing Prompts

They are coming (writing prompts)

Do you use the colours or the images when you build your stories? I always wonder what inspired who. For me it's nearly always the words, though once in awhile the images lend a hand.

Last week's no lights prompt it was one single word shining out—bones. Somehow bones are elemental, like fire and water and sky. Everyone has something to say about bones. Scarpering right after bones was the prompt of light, and suddenly I knew what I wanted to write.

Writing Bare Bones and Angry Oceans

A sampling of last week's wonderful wee stories. Click the link above (or below) to read each story in full and then do, do, do add your own?

The ocean floor is made of bones. The earth’s great rocky bones of quartz, mainly, but others too. The calcium of shells and skeletons, the structures of coral and whales and clams and the great ichthyosaurs. And soon, too soon, my own…
Hi, I’m the girl who grew up with a skeleton in her closet. Well, in her parent’s closet anyway……It was bones. Real, actual human bones. It hung from the hanger rod in my parents closet, suspended from a hook connected to the wire strung through his skull. Dusty was family. But not actual family, if you take my meaning.
The harder the wind blew, the further the waves came, almost as if they were reaching for the small house on the dunes, trying to claw it back into the sea. She hated storms, not because of the waves or the wind, but because you never knew what it would drag up from the depth, be it wreckage, dead fish, or dead people. She’d made a deal with the sea, a lifetime ago, but…
“Watson.” I felt him pull the empty glass from my fingers and take my hand in his. I could hold out against his autocratic mien, it seems, but not his tender one. “It doesn’t end, Holmes. More wounded are brought to us every day. We do what we can, but—” “Oh, my dear fellow.” Holmes’ arms pulled me to him, and I found myself held in a fierce embrace, my head pressed firmly against his chest.
I turn the lights off every morning, because I sleep with them on every night. It's funny what people fear, you can't _decide_ can you? Some people are afraid of mirrors or peanut butter or school, so why can't I be afraid of my own bones?

Your turn. I'll ask every week for those that are shy…try to write a story this week. For this prompt. Just a paragraph. Maybe a sentence.

I promise that if you let your fingers start before you start to think, something left-of-centre will come out. And then more, and more.

Try it. This week. Come on?

More prompts
No Lights…
Walk Away

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  • Narrelle Harris on

    Nobody survives Chrysalis. That is to say, no body does. Everyone who ingests the tricky little amoeba responsible for Chrysalis emerges from it different to what they were before.

    It doesn’t affect the other animals, only the primates. Monkeys, apes, and us. Enough of a dose of the little single-celled animals, and our bodies alter. We grow sleepy and sluggish, we grow cold and stiff. We grow little crystals all over our skin.

    We hibernate.

    Some awful things happened at first, when loved ones and medical professionals tried to remove the crystals, to peel the sleepers within out of the shell. A lot of people bled and died, and the ones that didn’t were horribly scarred and never properly woke up.

    When people first found out what was happening, they put all kinds of measures in place to identify where the amoeba was breeding, though maybe breeding isn’t the word. Fluoride in the water wasn’t touching it, so everyone boiled their water or drank it bottled. Then it turned out it was in the bottled stuff, and in soft drink and any manufactured beverage, so ubiquitous that the bottled drinks industry collapsed overnight.

    Entamoeba histomorphia, they’re called. Single-celled agents of change.

    Most mutagens are cancerous, but not these little creatures. They change everything, but if left to their lifecycle, they don’t’ kill everything. It’s human intervention that does that.

    The people who emerge from Chrysalis have slower hearts and stronger muscles. They have tougher bones and softer skin. Their altruistic impulse is more highly developed and their sense of self is more robust. They speak more but shout less; they sing more, do more art, too.

    The biologists and behaviourists are still discussing how histomorphosis acts on the brain. They don’t argue about it, except in a purely debate-team sense.

    Oddly, aggression hasn’t disappeared entirely. But with our new soft skin and greater sense of community, it’s directed differently. Righteous anger fights for the community, though not for conformity.

    Post-Chrysalis people are sort of like the better angels of our nature.

    A few conspiracy theorists try to sell the idea that Entamoeba histomorphia were developed in a leftist lab by snowflake hippies. E. histomorphosis resulting in the kind of thing snowflake hippies like, apparently. Others think it evolved from the cell-eating Entamoeba histolytica. Most scientists have concluded it was an accident of circumstance, because of how we’ve changed the climate on the planet, and all the chemicals we pumped into it.

    Generally, climate change and poisoning the environment were meant to bring an end to humanity, so I guess it did that, though in the ways we were expecting. Those little critters coat us and imbue us and change us, and we emerge from Chrysalis a new species.

    I have crystals on my throat today, on my cheeks and eyelashes. They are coming in little pretty waves over my shoulders and inner elbow and the soles of my feet.

    About time. I drank three litres of unboiled, unfiltered water yesterday, inviting them in. All the best monsters have to be invited in, and all the best monsters are just the heroes of their own stories too, and that’s what we’re truly becoming.

    The term Human 2.0 was first bandied about on Twitter, but the Science Side of Tumblr stole a march on that with Pan narrans. They borrowed the name from Terry Pratchett. The story-telling ape.

    And now, today, into the future, Pan narransis telling a new story.

  • hardboiledbaby on

    It’s funny, when the doctors put Hutch and me in quarantine together, we could joke about stuff—the stupid yellow gowns, the bad food, the vampire nurses who kept taking our blood. It kept us sane, kept the fear at bay. The two of us together, as always.

    There’s nothing funny about the situation now. The fucking plague, now it’s coming for Hutch. Now it’s about survival.

    He hands me his gun and calmly gets into the wheelchair.

    “I’m gonna find Callendar,” I promise. Doc called him the walking cure. I find him, they can save my partner.

    “Well, do it buddy, ‘cause I plan to be around for 148 years,” is what he says, but the look he gives me says a whole lot more.

    Then he’s gone. They’re putting him in isolation, separating us. And I’ve got 48 hours to catch a man who doesn’t want to be caught.

    There’s nothing to hold back the fear now.

    [A/N: Scene from Starsky & Hutch, “The Plague.” Slightly left of the prompt set, but I promise I was thinking about amoebas 😊]

  • Anarion on

    „They have reached the neighbouring system.”

    Ma-Ra enters, looking worried. I echo their feeling.

    We should’ve never gone that far into unknown territory, should never have landed on that small blue planet. But we were young and we thought the universes were ours to play with.

    We considered them amoeba, funny little things to amuse us for a while. We were so young. Our ability to shapeshift scared them but also made them look at us in awe. We each picked one of their animals as a dominant persona and they turned us into Gods. We taught them things and they built beautiful statues and temples for us.

    But it turned out that humans are a fierce species. They battled and murdered and would stop at nothing to gain profit. We felt that sooner or later they would turn against their Gods too, so we left.

    And we forgot about them, a plaything from our youth, millennia ago.

    Not many of my companions from back then are left. We are the old ones now. We never thought this day would come, but somehow some of us survived long enough to see humanity reach for the stars. Maybe even search for those old Gods of theirs?


    A star-turn later more news arrive. Ma-Ra and I have been conversing. Should we warn our leaders that we know the species that is making its way into our territory? That we should fear them, for they are not peaceful as we?

    We also wonder if it was our interference that turned humans into what they were then? Or maybe what made them want to walk the paths of the Gods too? Will the downfall of our system be on us? On the errors we made as youths?

    But the news that arrive are unexpected. It is not an army coming, but ships with the purpose of research and they are solely crewed by women, sent from a planet lead by women. For the first time in a long while I have hope. Not only for us, but for humanity as well.

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    Ugh. Why was this so hard? Kel had never had this much trouble with words before. Putting her thoughts and feelings down in a data document was something she had been doing since she was just a kid. Her grandmother had given her her first data journal for her 8th birthday; the first birthday after her parents had been killed in a speeder accident. “Write it down, Kelar, all of it. Even if you don’t think it’ll make sense, it’ll help. I promise.” Her grandmother was right, of course.

    But right now? She was stuck. This shouldn’t be this hard. She loved Kl’yd, and had no problem telling him so. It must be the pressure to get the words just right.

    A tiny amoeba of a thought wriggled its way into her mind: ”Lost heart”. Hmm… Okay, that’s a start, follow that and see where it goes.

    The amoeba divided and became two thoughts: “I thought I’d lost my heart, but it turns out that you were holding it.” Yeah, that’s pretty good. Keep that up.

    The amorphous blob of thoughts divided again and now it was four things – they are coming easier now – “I thought I’d lost my heart, but it turns out I gave it to you the second I met you, and you gave it a proper home. My heart lives with you now.” That was pretty sappy, but Kl’yd kinda liked sappy – he was big and looked intimidating, but he was squishy on the inside.

    “Keep writing”, Kel’s internal grandmother whispered, “Get it all down, and then see what survives the final cut”.

    Another linguistic fission occurred and the thoughts were now eight. “I thought I’d lost my heart, but I gave it to you willingly almost the first moment I met you. You smiled at my frustration and brought me noodles. You gave me a job when I felt unmoored. You gave me an anchor to halt my wandering. With you, I have a proper home for the first time in longer than I care to dwell on. You are holding my heart. Will you marry me?”

    Without realizing it Kel had begun to cry a bit; tears welling up and making the images on the data journal’s screen swim and sparkle.

    Yeah, this was just right. Sappy and as sweet as an overripe jogan fruit. All Kel has to do now is work up the nerve to ask.

  • Atlin Merrick on

    They’re always saying the ravening hordes are always on their way, always, and Amoeba still doesn’t get it. That’s not her real name and she isn’t even the littlest one in their drove but whatever.

    Anyways, someone’s always on about ’you’ve got to be tough,’ and ‘only the strong’ll survive’ as if some invasion force is comin’ and whatever-whatever, Amoeba’s heard it all before and doesn’t much listen anymore.

    Cause somehow they make it through despite all the fuss, don’t they? They’re out the other side intact and they even get some time to rest before it all starts again.

    So she has no idea what they’re on about but if it makes them happy Amoeba will let them say whatever-whatever.

    But frankly, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” just sounds dumb.

    (This is me, a native New Yorker, vague blogging about that pointless NY phrase above. New Yorkers like to make sure to make it hard. They take pride in that weird crap.)

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