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A Trick of the Eye (Writing Prompts)

Writing Challenges Writing Prompts

One thing I've learned from writing small – wonderful surprises can lurk round the corner, like linguistic sharks ready to bite with their brilliance.

Writing prompts & challenges: A trick of the eye

So it goes this week, and I've found it necessary to go to the Twitter of several of last week's writers and SHOUT AT THEM. It's a justified response to delight and surprise, I feel, and if not I have done it all the same.

I hope you join the writers one of these times, I really do. I like shouting nice things and I'm anxiously wanting to shout them at you.

Spoilers, Surprises, Stories That Thrill

In answer to the get up now writing challenge last week – I really encourage you to go read them all – may I present wee snippets from the fuller stories shared? I may.

Get up. C’mon, on your feet. The house is burning… It’s a nice home, all things considered. It’s worth saving. As are most of its occupants—seven and a half billion, give or take. Plus the countless non-human denizens, too.
So, yeah. It’s on you, on all of us. And time is running out.
Get up now.
“Darling.” Callie frowned and shook her head as if to clear it as she thought. “Are there… No. Of course there are. Darling, how many subroutines have you written for yourself?”
The first few bars of the prelude of Bach’s first cello concerto grace the air before Callie yells.
“One thousand, two hundred and fifty four.”
Robbi never got to Bright or Öpik, instead she found herself on Palace, prospecting on one of the planets gem mountains. If a sentient was tough enough, they could make their fortune on the steep sides of one of those arid peaks and she was double tough.
Funny it took her so long to realise that, for a sentient who needed little oxygen, she damn well couldn’t breathe.
One thing she’s grateful for: she got rich before she fell.
Someone is kneeling before me, their face swimming into view, blurred and out of focus. I feel like I have seen the man before.
I think I might be dying and maybe the man needs to know.
“I think I’m dying.”
“Seriously, Kyle, you ridiculous drama llama. You had one beer and were in bed by 11:30. Class starts in 45 minutes. Get up!”
“What if the kids make fun of me?” Kel stepped into the coverall and zipped up the front.
“Why in stars would they do that?” Ell’a was holding out a pair of shoes for Kel.
“I dunno… because I’m an orphan? Because I’m half Miralan and I’m all green?” Kel took the shoes and put them on.
Ell’a put her arm around her granddaughter, “You think you’re the first orphan to go to school here on Yavin? Sadly, not even close. And so what if you’re half Miralan. And all green? You’re all perfect just as you are.”
Warm sleeping bag snuggles. Unzipping the tent, reveling in the green, the crispness of the air, the mist on the water of the lake. It’s time to get up now, but. Lingering. Existing. Breathing. Treasuring.
“Get up now, the days a-wasting!”
He threw the blanket over his eyes, the flashlight beam seemed to drill directly until his head.
“Get up now. The boat’s gonna leave without you.”
She took his hand, and kicked as he pulled. Together they maneuvered her over the side.
“Get up now, you don’t want to miss this. The ladder is over there.” 

As ever, it's your turn now. What do you say?

Get Up Now
Broken by Kindness
Falling Ashes…

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  • Narrelle Harris on

    Sooo… this week a song lyric happened. I’m thinking a lot about werewolves lately, so this is really about a werewolf, though it might apply as well to vampires.

    New Moon

    Shine on, shine on
    Little darlin’
    Night is comin’ soon

    Don’t let shadows
    On your shoulder
    Take away the moon

    Darlin’ do not hunger for the sun
    Let me tell you, darlin’
    It’s for you the moon was hung

    Lift your head up
    Little darlin’
    Sing to the starry sky

    It is only a
    Trick of vision
    To see through the lie

    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

  • Anarion on

    The sun is slowly setting on my right as I walk down the beach. The lights of the nearest small coastal town shine in the distance, beckoning me closer. But I chose this loneliness for a reason, thus I never walk that far.

    I sit down on my favourite rock and watch the sky turn red and pink and purple before it finally decides on today’s shades of dark blue. I sit there in the darkness, listening to the waves swoosh over the beach, until the moon has risen far enough to illuminate my walk back.

    I take my time, enjoying the way my naked feet sink into the wet sand when suddenly something catches my eye. 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 because I want to be able to look at it every day to remember this feeling.

    The next morning, my first thought is the shell, but when I come down, the shell sits on my kitchen table, dull and hueless. I try wetting it with water, I even try a bit of oil, but it stays that way, pretending it was never anything else but bland.

    That evening, on my usual walk, I return the shell to the ocean and before it sinks into the depth, it catches the light of the moon and shines for me one last time.

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    After a short hop to the next system, Kel and Kl’yd had checked into the resort on Tanzar-Bunt at a little past noon. They were there to spend their honeymoon: two weeks of lying on the beach, going for walks in the cloud forests, eating food from around the galaxy, and having lots and lots (and lots) of sex. No bar, no work, no customers. Just them.

    On the way to their room, Kl’yd swept Kel up into his arms and was determined to carry her and their bags all the way to the private bungalow they’d reserved. The walkway was bordered on the right by a high wall that was covered in tiny tiles – thousands of them. Hell, maybe millions. Who knew? It was a karking long walkway. Kl’yd’s arms never quivered under his burden. “I got ya darlin’, don’t worry.”

    “I’m not worried. At work I’ve seen you carry two kegs at once. I’m in good hands.” Kelar was hanging on tight anyway.

    On their left, there was a stone balustrade that gave the people strolling on the walkway a magnificent view of the rolling hills where the cloud forest hovered.

    Kel sighed happily and commented, “Tomorrow, if we feel up to it, let’s go down to the beach, yes? See?” She tried to point with her chin, “It’s right down there.”

    “Sure, could do that I ‘spose. We could go down there and take a nap.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, “I plan on keepin you up real late tonight.”

    The pathway was narrowing and branching off in different directions. The keyfob for their room pulsed in Kel’s had to get her attention. “We’re getting close to our bungalow. Look.” She pointed at a color coded light that pulsed in time with the fob. “Follow the lights. Ours is the purple one.”

    The bungalow was everything Kel had hoped for, right down to the sheets made from Bogue worm silk that Kl’yd had ordered especially for the occasion. A little card was resting on one of the pillows on the ridiculously large bed. It read:

    “Mrs & Mr. Logh-Ahnn”

    Kl’yd did, in fact, keep Kel up very late that evening, but honored her request to go to the beach the next day. The sand was pale orange and as soft as a Lothcat kitten’s fur. Kel was asleep before the first round of appetizers and drinks were brought round.

    After a long nap, a nice swim, and some aquatic activity of the stop-splashing-so-much-we’ll-get-caught variety, they decided to head back to their rooms and get ready for dinner.

    From their vantage point on the sand, they could see the wall that they had passed by the day before. The tiles that seemed to be random arrangements of color yesterday were now refined into clearer images. As the sun was setting, it lit up the wall, glittering off of the tiles.

    Kl’yd maneuvered Kel around in front of him so that she was facing away, and tilted her face up in the direction of the wall above. “What am I lookin’ at?”

    Kel’s eyes went wide, “Oh my stars. It’s like a trick of the eye. Up close, you can’t see it, you’ve got to be far enough away.”

    “Yeah, I got that bit. But am I seein’ what I think I’m seein’?” The hinge that normally kept Kl’yd’s mouth shut seemed to have broken, and it was hanging open while he stared up at the tiled wall.

    “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.”

    “Well, then. Mr. Logh-Ahnn. What are we going to do about that?” Kel turned around in the circle of her husband’s arms and he lifted her so that she could wrap her legs around his middle.

    “I dunno Mrs. Logh-Ahnn, what do you suggest? I’m at your mercy.”

    They didn’t really need to worry about getting caught; all the other beachgoers had left to get ready for dinner. The water was warm and the sand was soft, so they stayed on the beach until dessert was being served in the dining room.

  • Ali Coyle on

    Miss McAllister wound the last flex around the last microscope and banged it down on the trolley, then looked around in case the biology technician might’ve heard his precious (and rather battered) equipment being mistreated. Safe from another scolding she walked to the smart board, still glowing with the textbook-perfect, mosaic-like pattern of cells, cleared her scribbled nucleus and cell wall and cytoplasm labels, then turned the board off.

    As its eye-saver glare dimmed and died, something else flickered.

    Miss whirled around, expecting Geordie to be barging in for his trolley, but the door was as closed as before and the lights outside in the corridor were just as bright as usual and the dark December afternoon outside her windows was still blocked from view by grubby blackout blinds, except for the far right window where the chain snagged with the blind halfway and gave her a truncated view of the pebble-dashed admin block and let in yellow light from the reprographics office windows.

    Huffing at herself, Miss turned back to the board, wiped off a set of finger-smears and—

    There it was again. That flicker at the very edge of her vision. Miss whirled again and put on her best stern voice. “Hello? Who’s there? It’s half past three. Don’t you lot have homes to go to?”
    Nothing. She laughed. “If that’s one of you teachers arsing about, I should warn you that I do not have a sense of humour after a practical lesson with 7H.”

    The flicker happened again and this time she noticed that it was darker, the corridor lights have timed off for want of movement. 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. A girl in geometric-patterned, pastel coloured clothes sitting in the back row, in front of the window that looked like a half-lidded eye.
    “Oh! Hello, you’re not in 7H. I don’t know you. Science club was yesterday. You’ll have to go.”
    A pale moon face looked up at Miss with eyes almost completely black in the shadows of her brow. Her mouth opened and closed and opened again, and the child frowned.
    “You can see me.”
    “Of course I can see you. You’re not invisible. If you’re waiting for someone to pick you up, you’d better go to reception.”
    The girl shook her head. “I can’t go. I’ve tried, I just can’t. I think I’m stuck in this classroom forever.”
    Miss laughed and scoffed. “Believe me, I know how that feels. But you have to go. You can’t hang around here.”

    The girl sighed and slid off her stool, reached down and stood up again with a sports bag slung over her shoulder, and pointed to the desk surface. “That was me.”
    “If you wrote graffiti on my benches, you’ll have to come back and fix it. What’s your name?”
    But the girl just shrugged and walked towards the door. She paused a few feet from her target and looked back. “You’ll see.”

    Miss glared at the girl then at the desk surface where a rectangle of pale yellow slanted across it. Carved into the surface was the phrase:

    Ashley Wilson 7D died of boredom here in 1982 RIP

    There was a flicker. Miss looked up and there was the girl, back in her seat. “See?” she said, pointing to her name, still lit up from the window despite her head blocking the light. “I. Can’t. Leave.”
    “Well, that’s ridiculous,” Miss said with impatience. “If you won’t leave of your own accord then I’ll have to find someone to escort you out.” With that, Miss McAllister turned around and walked towards the door. Ashley watched with her chin on her hand and her eyebrows raised.

    Miss McAllister was picking up the last microscope, winding the flex around it and banging it down on the trolley. She winced, then looked around in case Geordie the technician might come in to tell her off. Her gaze met the dark eyes of a girl sitting in the back row.

    “See?” The girl said. Then her smug smirk melted into something closer to compassion. “Never mind Miss,” she said softly. “You’ll get used to it.”

  • GV Pearce on

    They say this house is haunted. They say that if you stray here when the moon is full you can see them, the ghosts, loitering at the corners of your vision. As if they’re too shy to look you in the eye.
    That isn’t true.
    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, the ones who watch from the trees and hedgerows, from shadows behind your chair, from the space beneath your bed.
    No you won’t ever see us when the moon is full. We’ve better things to do.
    It’s when the moon is dark that we get bored. Perhaps you should leave a light on?

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