February’s Prompt

Okay fellow writers! It’s time for February’s short story prompt:

It began as a practical joke. But by the end of the day, nobody was laughing. It seemed innocent enough at first, because Jerry and I have a history of playing practical jokes on one another. He was the one to start the whole thing, if I’m not mistaken. He….

Happy writing and reading this month!

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December’s Prompt

It’s time for my final short story prompt of 2018! 

If you want to write a short story too, here is the prompt for this month:

The music drifted out of the club like a vibrating pulse. I could feel it in my bones. The night was alive with possibility. I could even imagine myself…

Happy writing and reading this month!! 

Skip, my lovely assistant wishes you and yours Happy Writing and Reading this month! 

No Where to Hide

*This is my November short story. I am running behind because of Nanowrimo, but did I mention I wrote 50,000 words last month?*

Until that day, fear had been an idea, a concept. Now it was real: a feeling I would carry inside me for the rest of my life. The day began innocently enough, with my father and I going through our normal daily routine. We barely spoke. We ate breakfast. And we drove to the bookstore in quiet.

This is how pretty much every day of my life had started since I can remember. And most days ended with the two of us closing the shop in quiet and returning home without saying a word. Ever since my mother passed, my dad didn’t talk much, not that he’d said much before.

Tonight, though, I wouldn’t be riding home with my dad. Tonight, I was being held captive in the high school gymnasium with every other person in town; well, maybe not every person, just those who hadn’t been killed already.

In the morning when we arrived at the shop, my dad went to the office in the back and shut the door. He and I were the only employees, but he always said he was doing manager duties. I didn’t really care. It was his store.

I set about making coffee and turning on lights. After turning the chairs over and taking them off the tables, I went to the counter at the front to open the pile of mail that had been waiting since yesterday. There wasn’t anything important in the stack, so I recycled what I could. Then I just took my seat behind the counter and dreamed of something more interesting than this life I was stuck in.

The first explosion shook the store, but to be honest, I didn’t even know that’s what it was because I’d never experienced anything like it before. The second explosion rattled the big window in the front so much, I thought it might break, but it held.

I stood there doing nothing for what felt like several minutes but in hind sight was probably only a matter of seconds. Then I saw people running down the streets.They all looked terrified. I looked out the window.

As I looked at the alien, it looked back at me. It was at least seven feet tall and covered in scales that appeared metallic. It had two large eyes that took up most of its face. Its appendages were humanoid but elongated. Each finger was at least six inches.

As I stood there gaping like an idiot, it made a sound that shattered the glass. I shielded my face with my hands and arms, and in that moment, it reached in and grabbed me.

Having extra long and slender limbs didn’t mean the creature wasn’t strong. It grabbed me with one hand and didn’t even bother placing the second one on me. I couldn’t get out of its grip no matter how I flailed.

It held onto me until a hovering vehicle of some sort pulled up along side it. It casually tossed me and I was pulled in by some sort of tractor beam. Inside the ship were people I knew.

After that,we were all dumped in the high school gymnasium. Now we are all just sitting here. If we make a sound other than breathing, they just kill us.  

Image result for alien invasion

Zak: The Unicorn Hunter

What happened to our world?

A few years ago, the veil failed. All the mythical beings that we were so sure were fictional turned out to be real. They have lived alongside us all along. In the past, they would show themselves to someone on rare occasions and another story would be born.

What the stories also got wrong was that most of the mythical creatures only crossed the veil that hid them from us so that they could go hunting. Most of them live on flesh, not necessarily humans, but they found it easier to gather food when they were fully in our realm. Now all that has changed.

Now they live in our realm, and they hunt us all the time. Most people have moved into walled cities. It’s really the only way we can survive. Our society has been plunged backwards in time; there is magic in our world now, but we have suffered for it.

***********

Zak: The Unicorn Hunter

The darkness was thick and suffocating, like a heavy blanket had been thrown on the world. He had to get over the wall, had to get across the border before night fell completely and the guards started their rounds. After dark things came alive across the wall. All the magical beings came out to hunt in the dark.

Zak wanted to go hunting too. He wanted the fame that went with it. He wanted people to know his name. He wanted to be one of the rockstars of this age – a unicorn hunter. He needed to start small though.

He was thinking maybe a fairy or leprechaun first. They were notoriously hard to catch, but nabbing one would earn him the respect of the hunter’s guild.

They sanctioned hunting the bigger creatures like dragons. And you didn’t go after a unicorn without their permission.

Zak looked very quickly up and down the street to check for the guards one last time. He made his way to a section of the wall that looked stable but was actually loose. If the town council knew, they would flip their lids.

Joining the hunter’s guild was worth the risk.

The one’s who actually bagged dragons or unicorns lived liked gods. They had the best of everything, but what’s more, people listened to them. Their opinion mattered.

unicorn

 

Prepping for NANOWRIMO

How is October going for everyone else? I feel like it has FLOWN by. I have been using some of my free time this month to prep for Nanowrimo. Most of you who are reading this probably know what that is, but for the few who don’t, I will explain briefly.

NANOWRIMO = National Novel Writing Month.

During November, people from all over the world dedicate themselves to writing 50,000 words in one month. Most people try to write a fiction novel of some sort, though there are certainly others who write non-fiction, short story collections, and other things.

The idea behind this is simply that the hardest part about writing something is getting the first draft done. For me, this is definitely true… I get easily distracted.

For my novel, I am continuing one that I started as a short story on this very blog from earlier this year – UNICORNS ARE REALLY VAMPIRES. So, you may be wondering, what have I been doing to prepare for writing an entire novel in a month?

ready-set-novel-small

Some things that have helped me prepare:

  1. Resources
  • In particular, the book Ready Set Novel
  • Worksheets from other writers that I found on Pinterest. Here is my pinterest board with some of the writing links I’ve found helpful: https://pin.it/d6dn4e73z666vm.
  1. Write-Ins
  • I attended two of the prep season get togethers, which are called write-ins. I didn’t do much writing at either, but I met some of the people who run things in my region.  Plus, I was able to ask questions about the process from real life people. (Some of them have been participating in NANOWRIMO for more than a decade!)
  1. Revising
  • I have already started this project, but I haven’t worked on it since July, so I dusted it off and reread what I’ve already written. It’s surprising after time has passed that I didn’t remember writing some of the scenes. I am actually funny on occasion.
  • I looked through for small errors and large plot holes so I have a pretty good idea of where I want to start in November.

Now after all that prep, I feel ready. I can’t wait for November 1st.

Happy writing and reading this month!

Quiet

Present Day — St. Louis 

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe she would finally get away from this place. She was tired of being lonely and isolated. She was tired of talking to herself.

Even an alien encounter would be more exciting than her life. No matter what the outcome.

***********

20 years ago

Lucy woke up late — again. Her boss would be furious. She quickly dressed and headed out the door. Her new job was exhausting. It was all the interacting with people that was wearing her out.

This was her third job this year — and it was only April. So far this one was lasting longer but she could feel the toll is was taking.

“Have a nice day.”

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

“Here’s a map.”

She said those three things so many times every day. Why couldn’t a recording do it?

The one redeeming factor for her new job was break time. On her breaks she would sit and watch the hippos. She wanted to watch them all day.

It was odd because before starting at the zoo, she’d never even seen a hippo. Her parents never took her places. They’d both worked so much on their rare days off, they just wanted to be home.

Perhaps that’s why all her jobs were places that families tended to visit together.

If she had a therapist, she might have asked her that.

**********

Present

Lucy walked through the grocery store selecting what foods she might eat this week.

After she’d collected enough, she went back to her house.

Two years ago she’d finally gotten up the nerve to move from her old apartment into an abandoned house.

She’d picked one in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of a grocery store, a home depot, and several clothing stores.

**********

20 years ago

It was already turning into another typical day.

“Thanks for visiting the zoo.”

She’d gotten lucky though. Her boss was out sick so she didn’t get yelled at for being late.

She tried to focus on that to get her through the day.

On her break, she put a hoodie over her zoo uniform. She’d learned to cover up as much khaki as possible or people would ask her a thousand questions. Her first two days she’d spent her breaks answering inane questions.

As she sat by the hippo habitat, she longed for quiet.

She tried to ignore the sounds of children and families. She tuned out the city noise in the background.

She longed for silence.

As she sat there, she watched the hippos. One female hippo waddled towards the water and dove in.

Lucy caught her breath.

hippo swim

This was her favorite part. Hippos were amazingly graceful in the water.

If she’d ever seen Fantasia, she might have imagined them wearing tutus.

Her alarm beeped reminding her it was time to return to work. As she stood up and stretched, she noticed how quiet it was.

She looked around. She was utterly alone. Not a single person was in sight.

All she could hear was the animals in the zoo. No cars. No airplanes. No people. Nothing.

**********

Present

20 years of quiet. 20 years of being alone. As far as Lucy knew, no one was left but her.

Was that even possible? Who knew? It’s not like she could ask anyone.

It was better to focus on what she did know.

She’d seen something in the sky. She should get to higher ground and watch for it.

Maybe she could signal it.

As she sat in her house, she heard something outside in the yard.

She looked out the window and couldn’t help herself. Her laughter startled it away.

It was a flamingo — in St. Louis.

After the first few days of being alone, Lucy had gone to the zoo and set the animals free and then never returned. She didn’t want to know which had survived and which sat in their cages without the will to seek freedom.

Freedom.

She had that in spades. She wanted someone, anyone, to talk to.

Make a signal. Right. She could do that.

September Writing Prompt

Short story of the month club continues, and without further ado, here is this month’s prompt:

It flashed through the sky and then was gone. Lucy was sure she had seen a UFO and was equally sure aliens were here to secretly make contact with a human being. Maybe they would choose her. Maybe she would get to visit their ship. Maybe…

I think this is a great prompt. As you know if you have read any of my stories, I do tend to have sci-fi bent in many of my stories.

Happy reading and writing this month!

ufo