Improbable Press
Cart 0

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


Older Post Newer Post


  • 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.

    Nice.

    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.

    Hu?

    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…

    “Chhff?”

    His boyfriend leaned close. “What?”

    “Cffee?”

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

    Asher…nodded.

  • 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…

    Oh.

    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.

    Cthulu.

    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.

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    Ugh. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Another night out too late with too much to drink, and why the fuck do I eat spicy stuff late; was it a dare or a bet? My stomach is a burning sea of acid and my head feels as if I’ve got a concussion. I’m going to need a bucket of caf, at the very least, to be able to climb on top of the boulder that’s trying to run me over.

    Okay, up you go. You got this. Now, if the room would just stop swirling around so much, I could get to the ‘fresher before I eject the awful cargo churning in my poor, abused stomach. Juuust a little bit more, there, two more steps. Yeah.

    Yuuuuurk!

    That’s soooo much better, and isn’t this tile floor nice and cool? I’ll live here for a while now. Maybe take a little nap. That’ll be just fine.

    Except for all the banging. Had the cantina hired a Bantha to stomp up and down the corridor? But Banthas couldn’t talk, last time I checked.

    “KEL! Get up and get out here or I’m leaving your sorry ass here!” Oh, kriff, now there’s shouting to go with the banging.

    Not a Bantha then. It’s Arko. My current employer. Ugh. He will not help my recovery. At. All.

    I can probably crawl to the door and tell him to kark-off. Sure, I can make it that far. Right hand, left knee. Left hand, right knee. Repeat. But why is the carpet so sharp? I don’t wanna know. More banging. More shouting.

    Grab the knob, turn, crack the door open. Oh! My! Gods! The sunlight is so loud it’s going to melt my poor brains. “Hey, Arko.Yeah, just give me a minute. Please?” It felt as if a baby krayt dragon had used my mouth as a potty chair. “And caf. Get me the biggest caf you can find. Take it outta my pay.”

    “You bet your pretty green ass I will. I’m not paying you a single damn credit till this job is done.” Good old Arko, always with the words of encouragement. Ugh.

    “Where are we going again?” I’ve no idea, honestly. The booze wiped my memory.

    “Boone’s Planet.”

    That sounds nice. I hope they have caf there.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published