Just when you thought I wouldn’t have any more content for you this month, I pop out of the ether like a zombie hand breaking through a grave! All month long I’ve been taking part in the Writing Community’s daily word prompt game #vss365. There are a bunch of different hashtags with prompts of different themes, but this was the one I decided to follow. Bert Edens is the host for the month, and he’s chosen all the prompts this month from quotes from horror films and literature.
I don’t know how other writers approach these little micro stories, I haven’t really asked around, but for myself I read the prompt at some point before or during work, and usually on my way home a line would stick in my head using the prompt and then I would frantically tap out my 280-character story once I was home. I didn’t spend much time actively thinking on or writing these, they just came about in fifteen or twenty minutes. Most are one-offs, seeds to suit the prompt. Some took inspiration from content here on the blog, but not many. Almost all have given me new ideas or characters to potentially develop in the future. Who knows? Anyway, here’s what I’ve written over the past three weeks, additional commentary as I feel like it. (Stay tuned to the end for a small announcement!)
October 1st – Night
The sun dips below the horizon for the last time. “What happens now?” Zara asks, voice quavering.
I take her trembling hand and squeeze it tight. “We live with the Dark.”
Shadows stretch across the valley below, racing toward the ridge.
The night rises to claim us.
This world intrigues me. Why is the sun never coming up again? Who is Zara? What is the Dark? So many questions!
October 2nd -Murder
“You’re an idiot.”
“I’m serious. This is the murder weapon!”
“This is an empty pie dish.”
“It was poisoned pie!”
“The victim was executed by a shot to the back of the head.”
“It was so tasty it blew their mind?”
“… Get out of my crime scene.”
I had this silly little dialogue in my head for this one. I didn’t feel like going dark for the murder prompt.
October 3rd – Blood
“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” Roman chants as he sharpens a sacrificial dagger. He offers it to his best friend, my twin sister. “Kill your double and join us,” he hisses.
“Kali, no!” My voice cannot reach her through my gag.
October 4th – Organ
A solemn melody fills the sanctuary from the rusted old organ behind the pulpit.
The song’s breath cannot even stir the dust in the pews.
The pipes weep for their lost congregation.
The church has been empty for decades.
There are no people left.
Lotta people went with internal organs for their micro stories, but a decent number also went the musical instrument way. Some utilized both definitions and that was cool!
October 5th – Away
“Where did they go?” she whispers.
“Away.” he answers.
He peers through the crack in the window up the empty street. Three houses down, a streetlamp flickers. He holds his breath but nothing appears. “I don’t think we’ll be that lucky.”
October 6th – Demon
We were 12 when my best friend was stolen by a soft word and a charming smile. They found her body two weeks later, floating in the reservoir. That day I knew. Demons were real, and they look just like you and me.
October 7th – Music
Mama always said true love was “the song, the harmony, you find in someone else” but oh, I’d never known the feel of music until I saw your hands fly across a canvas, painting worlds I knew of only in dreams. I knew you’d heard them singing, too.
October 8th – Perfume
I knew my wife had been replaced as soon as she welcomed me home. Her perfume was wrong for a Tuesday. While I tried to sort out what was missing, I saw her reflection as she passed the hallway mirror. The reflection had no eyes.
October 9th – Bones
She smiled as she placed the SOLD sign on the post in the overgrown yard of the dilapidated chalet. It was just as she remembered from Nana’s stories. It needed a lot of work before it could be lived in again, but the bones of the old home were still good.
Another one I tried to go a less obvious route, a lighter path. They don’t all have to be dark, after all.
October 10th – Lovers
The crunch of snow beneath my feet. The scent of crackling fires in hearths up and down the street. Christmas lights bring color to the night. Snowflakes kiss my lashes and melt into the tears on my cheeks. Nights like this always remind me of when we were lovers.
This one inspired my blog post that night. Was feeling very Christmas-heartbreak-y apparently.
October 11th – Skin / October 12th – Monster
His breath is hot at my neck. Claws meant for rending flesh tenderly caress mine instead. My body trembles as he slowly brushes across my skin. My heart is pounding in my ears as a song plays in my head:
“I’m in love with the monster that’s under my bed.”
I had company come the night of the 11th and never got around to writing a post for “skin” but then the next day was “monster” and the two merged in my head so I just wrote one prompt for both. It also got this song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
October 13th – Pearl
“What’s wrong? I thought you’d be excited to see all the old ships!”
“I’m just a little disappointed.”
“…This is about The Black Pearl isn’t it.”
“No! … yes.”
“Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t real, Amelia!”
“Don’t laugh at my dreams, Daniel!”
October 14th – Worse
It was not just his imagination, Kyr realized. His headache was definitely getting worse. He looked to the moondark sky, expecting to see Vel flying straight toward him on wings of night. The unnatural wind rose in the branches. The stone in his sword hilt began to glow.
For some reason this prompt put this character back in my head. Maybe one day I’ll explore his story further.
October 15th – Alone
The empty house creaks and moans as the gale rages outside. Flashes of lightning cast eerie shadows on the peeling wallpaper.
The voices in my head scream in terror as I pull the hammer back on the shiny revolver in my hand.
Finally, I will be alone.
October 16th – Chunk
Lise held her breath as she listened to the steady chunk, chunk, chunk, growing closer, ever closer. The death machine’s blade took a bite out of every tree it passed. She prayed it would not find her and do the same to her.
October 17th – Darkness
Blanketed in black, he makes not a sound.
Nestled in the night, he moves like water.
Secure in the shadows, he fears no monsters.
In the darkness, he is devout.
Was feeling some alliteration with this one, and wanted to go for more a “darkness is where the monsters can’t get you” feel.
October 18th – Ghost
The collective intake of breath around the table reminded Mika she had altered her appearance. Were they so shocked that Ali’s ghost hadn’t walked out of Mika’s room for once? A flicker of anger burned in her belly. She was more than just her mother’s daughter.
Oh hey, it’s my favorite fire-wolf demon child, the walking catastrophe. Also, I guess I already wrote a scene like this for a prompt way back when? Damn, I’ve forgotten half the stuff I write on here.
October 19th – Devour
The people looked on in despair as Skye marched on the castle. Alone, Ava stood, firm with her resolve. Someone had to try. “I’ll stop her! I’ll win!”
“Oh honey,” Risa laughed darkly behind her, her smirking gaze becoming sinister, “she’ll devour you, body and soul.”
October 20th – Dirt
The small dirt mound was proof of his failure. If only he’d sensed the danger sooner. If only he’d been there to protect her. If only he’d never given her a child to lose. Vengeance wouldn’t bring their son back, but it might bring them peace. That monster would pay.
The “small dirt mound” was the phrase that popped into my head with this one and it invoked an image of a child’s grave. Then I remembered Ali and Hiei suffer a terrible loss in the second story and his thoughts came out for it.
October 21st – Oblivion
Spike strained against the torrent to scry the battlefield, searching for his partner. The screams of the damned wailed inside his skull, but Felix’s voice was not among them. Where? He couldn’t be gone. Oblivion would be preferable to this.
Obviously, the month isn’t over yet, and I will continue to write these up until November. Haven’t decided yet if I’m gonna follow the November host and carry on through NaNo. It might be a good distraction/break from the novelling though. We’ll see. Anyway, I’ll have at least one more post for you this week before I start posting Ali’s story. Chapter 1 of Awakening goes up on Saturday! Non-stop content through November 30th is comin at you fast! See you soon!
Taking a quick break from NaNo-ing to add the last 10 prompts from October.
October 22nd – Soul
I nodded to the sentries on either side of the heavenly scanner. Only a pure, white soul could pass through to Paradise. I stepped inside and heard a cheerful chime. I moved on. Once I was out of the sentries sights, I grinned a devil’s grin. The inversion spell worked.
October 23rd – Invincible
The townspeople gaped at Yash as she climbed off the broken, bloodied body of their so-called god.
“No one is invincible,” she sighed.
“But you just killed a god!”
“And there are others who could destroy me.” She looked towards the sky. “There is always another.”
October 24th – Cellar
“Get to the cellar!” Pa shouted. Deena frowned. The town’s sirens weren’t blaring. The sky was crystal clear, azure blue. As she opened her mouth to ask him “whatever for?” she saw the storm in his eyes. He always knew. She ran for the cellar door immediately.
October 25th – Alive
A sinister grin alighted on his lips as he burned the report. She was still alive. He would have been disappointed if she had perished after everything he had done to break her. There was just one more obstacle to make her his again. The hunt went on.
Fun fact, this one ties into the blurb I did for the “dirt” prompt a few days before. Ali’s nemesis is a very sick dude and he puts her through a lot of pain before their story is over.
October 26th – Horror
“What’s wrong with Irene?”
“Remember how much time she spent deliberating over which dress to buy for the gala?”
“Didn’t she agonize over three colors of the same dress for days?”
“And Ada is wearing that very same dress and color.”
I couldn’t bear to write an actual spoopy prompt for “horror” so this dialogues exchange happened instead.
October 27th – Shriek
David covered his ears to block out the wailing shriek from upstairs, to little avail. He glowered at George’s snickering. At least HE had noise cancelling headphones. One of them was going to have to be honest with Beth. Her singing lessons were not paying off.
October 28th – Grave / October 29th – Eternal
There is a weathered, alabaster marker, deep in the woods. It bears no inscription, no name nor date nor epithet. The people have forgotten whose grave lies beneath it, but the forest remembers. The forest will protect it, eternal.
I 100% intended to write these separately, but “eternal” wanted to go here after I wrote the line with “grave.” And since I was already playing catch-up at this point, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to combine them.
October 30th – Warm
She sat in the tub until the water could not even generously be called warm. Her fingers shriveled and her teeth chattered but she would not get out. The world beyond the bathroom door was far colder than her bath and bleaker than she could face.
October 31st – Raven
The old tales tell of the omens a raven might bring. It was said that death followed on their wings. All I know is, since the ravens all vanished a century ago, people stopped dying. And I just found a feather, black as night.
So many prompts about raven colored hair and ravens at the window and riffs off Poe. I wanted to go a different route. I think this was one of the best I did all month. Certainly top 5.
Ok now for real that’s the end. Now go forth and check out the fanfiction novel I’m posting throughout the month of November! Prompts will be back in December!
PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!