Prompt: A Ghost Story

First off I’d like to apologize for taking so long between prompts and just overall posting in this blog. I hope to not go that long again, but no promises. Anyway, here’s a new prompt! It was tilted A Ghost Story and these are the words that I had to use for it:

  • Tango
  • Diversify
  • Blog
  • Invisible
  • Missile
  • Glitter
  • Scuff
  • Balloon
  • Birdcage
  • Grizzly Bear

I alternate between first and third person in this prompt and you will figure out why fairly soon. Anyway, this is a fun (for me and hopefully you too!) twist on a ghost story. Please enjoy!


A Ghost Story

There is a ghost in my house. They seem like a friendly ghost; I think. It isn’t like they are actively spooking me or anything. They just… or well, the idea of them spooks me. At first I thought it was just that I live in an old house. I started to hear noises. I have heard people talk about houses settling. Houses creaking. Their old bones doing something. But the noises sounded a little different. Stranger. More moan-like.


Y’all. Remember when I first bought this house? How excited I was? How I showed as many pictures of it as I could? And most of you commented with something akin to: “lol, looks haunted.” “Damn, that house is old.” “ARE THERE GHOSTS?” And I in my naivety scoffed off such concerns and only spoke about the merits of the house being old and unique and not a damn cookie cutter like everything else. Someone commented with “You will regret this. All that work!” So far all you commenters are right. None of y’all were fucking trolling me.


Izzy pushed away from her desk, her chair flying back. She stared at the blog post she had finished. Chewing on her lower lip as she reread the words. Her heart racing as it always did before she hit publish. It didn’t matter how often she published posts; it didn’t matter that she apparently had people who regularly read her words and the adventures she painted with those words. Versions of her truth. There was something terrifying about exposing yourself to the masses. Even if the masses were relatively small.


She stood up. Stretching her body. She glanced at the small clock in the corner of her monitor, squinting her eyes. Likely, she needed new glasses. She sighed, noting the time. Then, without sitting back down, she bent over her desk and published the post. Her shoulders sagging with relief before the dread kicked in.


It was decidedly off brand of her to talk about ghosts. But there really was a ghost living with her. She needed to work up the courage to talk with them.


Y’all. I want to thank both the skeptics and my true believers. Seriously. I tried to take a picture of the ghost. I wasn’t expecting a great shot. We all know that ghosts often come up as blurry things in photos. If they show up at all! It makes proving the existence of them difficult. Neigh on impossible, if you will. I got a picture. It was not blurry! Wee—ell… not blurry in the traditional sense.


What showed up is a mess of glitter. I know. It makes no sense, but it’s true! I’ve uploaded a picture and you will see it at the bottom of this post. There will be the original photo and one I did edit ONLY so that y’all can see the outline of the ghost more clearly. I don’t understand it.


Yes. I did some research. So far no one else has ever had a situation where their ghostly roommates come up as glitter blobs in photos. Just mine!


Izzy needed to gain some confidence. She needed to stroll into the third bedroom, where the ghost liked to hang out. There was a perfectly good, and spooky, attic for the ghost to live in, but of course, they wanted the bedroom that Izzy would have preferred for an office space. It had a wonderful view of her small property, all the trees looking big and beautiful from it. She was glad she hadn’t moved all her stuff into the room. Glad she had planned to paint and fix things first. She figured it would be awkward blogging about her ghost roommate if they shared a space.


But she paid the mortgage! She ought to have dibs on any room in the house! She sighed and tried to clean off a scuff mark on the wall. Her feet stopping of their own accord outside of the room the ghost liked.


Izzy could not believe that she was too shy to talk to a GHOST. She groaned in her head and just barely resisted the urge to bash her head against the wall.


Why had she thought it would be possible to own a house on her own? At least if she had a partner or friend living with her, she could send them into the room to befriend the ghost. Izzy added another tally to her mental list of ways she failed at life.


The ghost’s name is Fredrick. He sounds kind of nasally, which surprised me. I didn’t realize a ghost could be nasally. It isn’t like they have functioning nasal passages, is it? Anyway, Fredrick is nice. My original assessment of him being a friendly ghost seems to still stand. He is obsessed with this birdcage that occupies one corner of the room. I took a picture of it when I first moved in, it’s actually on the blog! Remember how I wanted to do something crafty with it? Now I’m not so sure that it is a good idea.


Fredrick seems too attached to it. I asked if him if he had a pet bird when he was alive. He stared me dead in the eyes (I wonder if that is offensive to say in this situation?) and stated that HE was the living one and I was the ghost. I’ll admit my face must have done something. It turns out he was joking. Apparently, conveying jokes is difficult with a somewhat transparent face. Translucent? I don’t know what word to use. Anyway, he saw the fear in my eyes and hastily tried to reassure me he was kidding.


The bird cage never had a bird in it. The owner just before me brought the cage in (the ghost does not know why the cage was purchased). Fredrick never spoke with that family, he said. They didn’t want to believe in him. I asked him what that meant, and apparently, if you disbelief hard enough then you won’t see a ghost. Ghosts derive their power—power is not exactly the right word—from belief.


My believing makes it so I can see Fredrick. Makes it so I can talk to him. It’s… interesting. It also made me wonder if I’m a little crazy. No, I won’t make a poll on whether y’all think I am crazy. I’ll need to do some more research on ghosts, it appears


Izzy brought the sweaty bottle of beer to her lips. She was seated on the floor with her legs stretched out in front of her. Her back pressed against the wall of the bedroom, she still wanted to turn into her office. Fredrick the Ghost was floating a little way away from her, watching her with an intense expression. She wondered what color eyes he had when he had been living.


“It…” Izzy paused. She took another sip of the beer, her nose wrinkling. She set the beer down. “It tastes better than the other stuff you had me try. But it still tastes like garbage.”


Fredrick’s ghostly shoulders slumped down.


“You really need to diversify your taste buds.”


Izzy rolled her eyes. Of course he would be dramatic about it. And of course her ghostly roommate would be a craft beer enthusiast. She wished he could drink the stuff himself. She had no problems buying him the beer. It was just a pain that he then wanted her to taste it for him and to explain the experience to him.


“They didn’t have all these choices when I was alive,” Fredrick said, and he always said that. She sighed.


“I’m sorry that the way I describe this beer is a disappointment to you. But mostly, I’m sorry for my taste buds.”


I know it has been awhile since I’ve talked about my not-quite-invisible-ghostly-roommate. But this blog is foremost all about my adventures in life! Not necessarily in death, right? Plus, there were some questions y’all had. A lot of you are apparently on the path to homeownership and I would be remiss in my duties as your favorite blogger (and most modest one too!) if I didn’t answer those pressing questions.


Besides, it seems rude to gossip about Fredrick. Even if he isn’t living and breathing, he is still a roommate. I think it is time that I explain to him about this blog and maybe tell him how much I want that third bedroom back. It really would make for a pleasant office. Most of you liked the pictures of it. Remember that massive tree by it? It has flowers on it right now! I’ll need to take a picture. Perhaps one of you readers is a botanist. Or… do I need an arborist? What really is the difference? Don’t slay me for asking that question! Remember, it isn’t a crime to ask questions on this blog.


Izzy was staring out the window of the third bedroom. Her eyes squinting at the large tree. She had her phone in her hand, and she was trying to angle the camera on it to take a decent photo of the flower. She had a sweaty mug of cold brew on the windowsill beside her. Fredrick was nowhere to be seen. It made her wonder where the ghost went when he wasn’t in the room. She was wondering if she should grab one of her other cameras when she heard Fredrick clear his non-existent throat. How did ghosts do that?


“Excuse me, but don’t you have other cameras you could use? I’ve seen them.”


Izzy turned away from the window and shrugged her shoulder. She shoved her phone into her back pocket and picked up her mug of caffeinated necessity. She sipped it. Fredrick was watching her intently.


“I have better cameras, sure.” She squinted at him. “Do you know what a cellphone is?”
“Yes,” Fredrick said in that huffy way he had.


“Were you…?” Here Izzy did a complicated shrugging motion, coupled with a wave. She was trying to convey living. Alive. Without saying the words. A sudden fear that voicing that would be offensive to the dead.


“Was I?” Fredrick asked, wholly confused from what Izzy could read of his ghostly facial expression. She sighed. She seemed to always be sighing these days. Maybe her entire life was just built around sighing.


“Were you living when cellphones were invented?” Izzy spat out. Her face burning with shame. She couldn’t explain it. Why she felt so much shame.


“No,” Fredrick said, simply. He, too, shrugged his shoulders. “You know, talking about being dead or my living past. It doesn’t offend me. You can use those words. But, I’ve seen those phones.” He grew quiet before adding, “technology has advanced a lot in recent years.”


“You are telling me.” Izzy said, mirroring him with her quietness.


She was still embarrassed. Stupidly so.


I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve never been very good at the DIY stuff. And it feels even more difficult to try now that I have an audience of one actually watching me. It is one thing to talk about and show my failed attempts on this blog, but it is an entirely different thing to have someone watching me. Fredrick claims he does not judge me, but still. I don’t like people seeing me fail. You can see the result of the failure, but not the process!


Balloons are the bane of my fucking existence. How do people tie them up with ease? My fingers must not be nimble enough because all they do, all I do, is get them tangled up and stuck as I try to knot the ends. Which is a bummer because I think these lamps will look cool whenever I finish them. They will be the finishing touches to the office space. Anyway, here are some photos of the attempt. Fredrick says I look like an idiot in a lot of them. He is such an uplifting roommate, eh?


“Do you miss eating?”
“All the time.”
“What was your favorite food?”
“Grizzly bear.”


“Gri… Grizzly bear?” Izzy can’t help the disbelief in her voice. She won’t believe what Fredrick just said. Refuses to!


“I was a mountain man when I was a living one.”


“There aren’t any mountains around here,” Izzy pointed out.


“Who said I always lived here?”


“Fredrick!” She glowered at him.


He laughed and held up his hands. “Down, girl, I am teasing. No, my palette when I was alive was rather plain. Much like yours.”


Izzy glared at the dead man. But there was no heat to it.


Fredrick laughed at her. His laugh, though not quite the same as a living person, was still a sound that Izzy enjoyed. She didn’t want to say that she went out of her way to make him laugh, but maybe, maybe she did.


Y’all. My best friend has betrayed me. She wants me to learn the damn tango for her wedding. She has never been the type to do what everyone else does. I remember the two of us making fun of weddings that had choreographed dancing from the wedding party. But she had to fall in love with a dancer. Then fall in love WITH dancing. We were two nonrhythmic souls who met in middle school, awkward bodies and minds, melding into one.


I am happy for her, and I adore her partner. Fredrick thinks I’m being ridiculous. I tell him I’m not. Besides, it isn’t like I’ll boycott the wedding or the dance. She’s signed me up for lessons with her. I have no choice.


It might be fun. I guess. She is my best friend and I love her more than anyone else in the world. She has always dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. Into new experiences that broadened my horizons. Without her, I do not think I would be doing what I am do now.


I didn’t mean to become sentimental trash. Any advice on how to force my body to learn some rhythm? Help a girl out!


It was late when Izzy stumbled into her house. Her feet tired and sore from dancing the night away at her friend’s wedding. She had taken a cab to the venue at six in the morning for hair, makeup, and other pre-wedding shenanigans. It was now well past midnight. Probably nearing three in the morning. She was still drunk and knew that come the morning (the later morning at any rate) she would regret the decision to keep drinking.


But she had fun.


She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed this much with people who were alive, of flesh and blood. No offense to Freddy or anything, she blithely thought. And there had been a guy she had met. She hated the cliche, meeting someone at a goddamn wedding, but there had been sparks. Especially the more she drank. It loosened her up to the idea that maybe flirting was something she could do.


“Wild night?” Fredrick’s voice startled her in the dark.


Her eyes widened, her heart racing. She blushed. Not quiet able to make eye contact with the dead man. She felt almost as if she were a teenager being caught doing something naughty by their parents. It was foolish. She was an adult! And Fredrick, a dead person who lived rent free in her house.


“Perhaps,” she said, her mouth thick with alcohol and sullen sounding.


“Good, you deserve it.” Fredrick said, a hint of laughter in his voice.


Izzy relaxed at those words. She sank down onto the couch and Fredrick floated close to to it. She leaned her head back and sighed.


“I’m going to regret being up this late. And this drunk.”


“You aren’t that old,” Fredrick pointed out, reasonably, but Izzy shook her head.


“Did you meet anyone?” Fredrick asked, his voice light.


She looked at him. Squinted through her drunkenness. And it hit her like a missile. If she brought someone into her life, how was she supposed to introduce her newest best friend? The dead one who lived with her, who supported her with his words, who drove her crazy? It wasn’t love in the traditional sense that she felt for Fredrick, but there was something there.


He was important to her. Anyone who came into her life would need to accept Fredrick. He was more than just part of the house.


“I think so,” she said, quietly. Her throat tightening. Constricting on feelings, she wasn’t quite ready to name.
“You think so?” he asked.


“I did, but I don’t know.. You know, whoever I like, has to like you too?” Her mind was a jumbled mess. She wasn’t sure she was in the right state of mind to talk about this. Didn’t even know what to say. What she wanted to say.
Fredrick smiled. A sad thing, but a smile all the same.


“Few living people do, but I think if this person is someone you think can be important to you… I think they might more than tolerate me.”


“Thank you…” Izzy said, quietly. And then she curled up on the couch. Too drunk and lazy to make the journey up to her room. She could deal with these heavy thoughts in the morning.

prompt: a camping trip in which no one has been camping before

a camping trip in which no one has been camping before

howdy! remember when I messed up the very first prompt I posted from my prompt book (the piano bar)? welp, this new prompt I may have muddled up a little bit. technically, all of the characters featured in it have never gone camping before, but that seems to be mostly background information. so, please enjoy! I am not exactly pleased with how this one turned out, but here it is. the words I had to use were:

  • constellation
  • ketchup
  • royal
  • gear
  • atmosphere
  • expand
  • livid
  • example
  • luminous
  • moonlit

Cadence looked at all the gear that lined her small living room. She was trying to keep her cool. The last thing she wanted to do was see Trevor’s hurt face. He had this way of looking like he was going to cry, but he never quite did. His eyes got watery, and there would be something akin to a pout in his expression. She didn’t want to dash his hopes or dreams. Didn’t want to be accused of holding him back, or belittling him. Trevor never said those words to her. He never expressed it like that, but his friends did. Cadence was running out of fingers to count the number of times they accused her of something like that.


She wanted to yell back at his friends that she wasn’t doing any of that. But she also wouldn’t lie to his face and tell him that everything he wanted and everything he dreamed up would happen. She built him up, she really did. But she didn’t do so on false hope. False hope was a weak foundation.


“What is all of this?” She asked, attempting to keep her voice pleasant.


“Griffin wants to go camping so that he can propose to Sarah,” Trevor said, as if that explained why their living room was filled to the bursting point with camping equipment.


“So we are holding onto Griffin’s camping stuff until then?” She asked, with more hope than dread. She still thought it was obnoxious that their living space held the stuff. She also hoped that Griffin wasn’t surprising Sarah with a camping trip. Sarah was probably the nicest person Cadence had ever met. The kind of nice that made her seem fake at first until you realized it was all real. That was Sarah. She would be too nice to say anything, she wouldn’t hide her surprise, but she would look over at Griffin and say how excited she was. And maybe she would be. But maybe she didn’t know how to tell someone off when they needed it. Maybe Cadence needed to give her some lessons on that.


Trevor looked confused. That confusion made Cade nervous.


“No…” He said, and she could hear that almost quiver in his voice. She didn’t understand how it worked. He never actually cried. He just sounded like he was on the verge. “No,” he said, and this time his voice was a little sturdier. “This is for us.”


“For us?”


“Griffin invited us along.”


“He invited us to his proposal?” Cadence stopped trying to keep her voice neutral. She was sure she was also wearing her confusion mixed with something else on her face.


“No, not to the proposal itself. He’s planning a romantic hike the second day. But, he doesn’t want Sarah being suspicious. He wants her surprised.”


Cadence stared at Trevor, and she saw that hope had once more wriggled its way into his expression. She didn’t want to go camping. Didn’t think the atmosphere of it would suit her. She saw how hopeful Trevor looked. She could also imagine the expression on Griffin’s face if Trevor told him she decided not to go camping. She didn’t want to think about that, or what Griffin would say.


“Sounds fun,” she said, willing her voice not to sound sarcastic.

“When are we going?” She added, regret already wriggling its way in.


The four adults and all their camping gear were shoved into Griffin’s compact car. It surprised Cadence the trunk could close. She kept waiting for the thing to pop open, and for all their camping equipment to fly out. There was a cooler wedged between her and Trevor. Trevor, who was practically been bouncing with every step he took. Trevor, whose excitement was palpable.


Sarah turned to face them from the front seat. She had a royal blue knit cap pulled low on her head, partially obscuring the perfect waves of her equally perfect blond hair.


“Are you excited?” She asked with a smile. Her teeth white and straight, another example of her perfection.


“We sure are!” Trevor said, and Cadence wanted to reach over the cooler that served as a barrier between her and her boyfriend, and she wanted to grip his hand. Try to signal with that grip that he should cool it with his excitement. She worried Sarah would sniff out that there was a big surprise waiting for her in a day.


She didn’t seem to notice. Instead, Sarah looked away from Trevor and stared directly into Cadence’s eyes. She had a way of making eye contact, even with people who didn’t like it.


“I’m happy you could make it, Cade.” Sarah said.


“Yeah, me too.” Cadence replied, and she wasn’t entirely sure if she meant it or not.
Sarah wriggled underneath people’s skins and make things seem better than they actually were.


The campsite was pretty. They secured a location big enough for two tents, with some space between to give the illusion of privacy. There was a small path between the trees that led to a tiny river behind where the tents would be. And then another path led to the outhouses. The campgrounds had showers and toilets too, about a ten-minute walk from their site. Cadence watched as Trevor and Griffin grabbed the tents from the trunk and set to work on erecting them. Sarah startled her by bumping into her, gently.


“Let’s not watch this. Griff has been watching YouTube tutorials on how to put up a tent. He thinks he’s a pro. I think it might be a little painful to watch,” Cadence marveled at how Sarah said that. The words near the end sounded mean, but her tone of voice was pleasant. Friendly, even. Just a joke, but Cade knew if she had made the same joke, she would have delivered it wrong. Trevor would have pulled her off to the side to tell her to be nicer.


Cade followed Sarah to the picnic table that was at their site. Sarah began setting up what looked like the fixings for sandwiches. There were different deli meat and cheeses, a couple different loaves of bread, and condiments like ketchup and mustard.


The two men could not get the tents up without the help of Cadence and Sarah. Sarah, who seemed immeasurably more patient with everything that Griffin did. Cadence tried to channel some of that patience for herself. Trevor kept looking at her with a sheepish expression on his face. She and Trevor got their tent up, and kept it standing before Sarah and Griffin got theirs up.


Cadence knew it had not been a competition, and yet, she was proud of herself for it. Proud of Trevor, too.


It was dark, and Cadence did not know what time it was. Her phone had died a few hours ago, and she hadn’t wanted to ask Griffin to use that portable battery of his that he had brought. Sarah had told her that Griffin spent days googling which kind of battery was the best for charging phones while camping. The battery itself apparently charged when the car was running. But Cadence was well aware of the looks at Griffin gave her. They weren’t friendly. Maybe she would just spend the weekend with no phone.


Trevor grabbed her hand and asked if she wanted to go for a walk. She agreed and felt anxious. She didn’t like how dark it was at the campgrounds. Her heart thudding hard in her chest. Her palms a little sweaty, but Trevor said nothing about it. She didn’t know why she was so anxious. She wasn’t necessarily afraid of being hurt or anything. But there was fear within her all the same.


They reached a small moonlit beach. Trevor led the way to a picnic table and Cadence climbed it to sit on the table portion, her feet on the bench. Trevor let go of her hand, and she saw him wiping both his hands on his pants. Her cheeks warmed up and she was grateful now for the dark.


“Thanks for agreeing to come,” Trevor said, and she knew he was looking at her. She trained her gaze up to the sky.


The amount of stars she saw surprised her. She wasn’t used to seeing the sky so full. She pointed to a cluster of stars.


“Any idea what constellation that is?” She asked, remembering that Trevor had once taken an Astronomy class in college.


“No idea,” he said, and when she looked in his direction, she noticed he too was staring up at the sky. She looked away from him, and once more focused on the sky above them.
“We should make up our own constellations then,” she said.

Trevor slipped an arm over Cadence’s shoulder, and he pointed to a cluster of bright stars. Brighter than all the rest.


“What should we name that one?”


“Clownface,” Cadence suggested, and she did not know why she did. She felt a little goofy for it. Trevor was squinting at the luminous stars, and then he laughed. It was infectious enough that Cade laughed too.


“Clownface it is, you goof.”


Hearing him call her a goof made Cadence feel warm on the inside.


Cadence and Trevor finally settled down into their tent to sleep. It took Cadence awhile to get used to the noises of the surrounding woods. She was one of those people who slept with the fan on. She needed that kind of white noise. The noises made by nature were different, though. Somehow, it was both too loud and too quiet.


Eventually she fell asleep.


And then the tent collapsed on them.


Cadence yelped, and Trevor shouted. She found the flashlight she had put beside her sleeping bag, and flipped it on, accidentally shining it into Trevor’s eyes. He winced, and then the two of them laughed.


Griffin yelled at them to be quiet.


That only caused them to laugh louder.


Eventually, they settled down and were able to erect the tent once more. Was it possible to gain muscle memory for a task that they had only done once before? Cade didn’t know. But it impressed her they could do this in the dark, with only a flashlight as their guide.


Cadence woke up to a shout. Trevor ran out of the tent before she could stop him. She struggled out of her sleeping bag, her heart racing. She heard Griffin and Trevor talking, but she couldn’t make out the words until she left the tent.


An animal had scattered trash and food all over the camp. Cade ignored the men and made her way to the cooler. Thankfully, whatever had gotten into the trash and foodstuff that was carelessly left out on the table overnight, hadn’t been able to pry open the cooler. She spied Sarah crouched on the ground with a bag. She was picking up the trash.

Cadence looked back at Trevor and Griffin. Griffin was animatedly throwing his hands up into the air. Griffin was livid while Trevor was calm and placating. Cadence shook her head and found another bag. She helped Sarah clean up the mess.


Sarah flashed her a smile.


“Thanks,” she said.


“No problem, it’s the least I could do.” Cadence said, and she hoped the boys would notice the two of them cleaning up. She hoped Griffin would stop his railing against nature and calm down. Sarah didn’t look like she noticed how Griffin was behaving, but it unsettled Cadence. She wondered about Sarah and Griffin; and how their relationship worked.

That then made her wonder if others looked at her and Trevor with the same confusion.


Trevor eventually calmed Griffin down and soon everyone was cleaning up the mess.
Sarah made a comment, and Cadence forgot what it was almost as soon as she heard it, but she knew it was funny so she joined in with the laughter.


Sarah and Griffin went off for their hike. Cadence watched as Trevor gave his best friend an encouraging thumbs up. She thought Griffin looked like he was going to be sick. The campsite felt too quiet without the other couple. Cadence felt awkward around Trevor, in a way she hadn’t in a long time.


She hadn’t realized that a new location could trip her up like this. Or perhaps it was just the newness of the situation. She had never gone camping before, not even as a kid. Her parents had been city dwellers, and the closest they got to nature was the walk to the small park in the neighborhood. She wondered if that was why she was ill at ease. But, as far as she could remember, Trevor had never gone camping before. Neither had Griffin nor Sarah, at least not since adulthood. None of them seemed as ill at ease as her.


She watched as Trevor pulled out some drawing supplies of his. He settled down at the table and sketched the trees. Cadence studied him for a few minutes before she grabbed a book from the tent. She settled down next to him on the bench of the table. She could feel his body heat radiating. It was a comfort.


She relaxed into the moment.


Occasionally they would talk to each other, but mostly they kept quiet. They did their own thing, and it was nice. It was like being back at home, but now she had the sounds of nature playing in the background and not some TV show no one was paying any attention to. She felt her love of nature suddenly expand.


She lost track of time, and so did Trevor.


They were both startled by Sarah and Griffin returning from their hike. The two of them with matching smiles too big and vibrant for their faces. Cadence spied the ring on Sarah’s finger. Trevor gave Griffin a high-five and Sarah came to Cadence with a hug.


“Congratulations,” Cadence said.


And it felt like she meant those words. At least right in that moment.

Prompt: A Piano Bar

Prompt: Piano Bar

I got a book for Christmas from my Mom, filled with all kinds of writing prompts. This is the first prompt in the book. I kind of messed up on writing it as the prompt is actually: A Strange Request at a Piano Bar. I forgot all about the strange request part. Another thing about these prompts is that they include ten words you are supposed to use for them. I used all ten of them (that was my main focus and probably why I forgot about half of the actual prompt itself). Here are the ten words I had to use:

  • Carnival
  • Sprained
  • Mask
  • Oxidation
  • Awkward
  • Apple
  • Juvenile
  • Controversy
  • Twirl
  • Sassasfras

Anyway, look for the words in the prompt, and please let me know what you think of it!


The carnival is in town. Tents and rides are being set up as campers and trailers pull into the lot next to the site. It isn’t set to open until the following night, but there is a kind of hustle and bustle going on. Everyone working in that space knows what to do. They work in a forced harmony. The kind that comes from years of doing the same thing, over and over, in cities across the country. Sure, there are subtle differences in each city, quirks of the lots that they set up in, but overall, the setup and takedown are the same. 

“There’s a piano bar not too far from here,” Caleb explains, a half-eaten apple in his hand. 

Caleb runs one of the games that seems impossible to win. Oh, people get close enough to winning, but they rarely ever do. His prizes are getting old. Some stuffed animals that he has on display are likely older than him. He has been with the carnival his whole life. His parents met in a town just like this, his Dad running the very same game he is. His Mom, a recent and young widow. They fell in love during that week the carnival was in town and his Mom ended up leaving her old life behind, to travel with his Dad. Caleb was born a year later. He’s somewhere in his late twenties to mid-thirties. His age hard to pin down. Sometimes, you think you can guess it based on something he says. But usually, you can’t tell. It has become something of a game to him, one that his parents are in on. 

“A piano bar?” Jilly asks, her head tilting to the side. Her long and braided hair falling in front of her tattooed face. There probably isn’t a space on her body that is unmarked by ink. She has been traveling with this carnival for a couple years now, but before, she worked with another. She doesn’t talk much about her previous experiences. Jilly is another one whose age is difficult to tell. She looks young but the way she talks about her life when she does, it makes her sound older. 

“Fras you should come,” Jilly says, to the newest member of the carnival. 

Fras, or Sassafras, looks up from the task she was working on. She has heard Caleb bring up the piano bar before. He’s been talking about it, on and off, for a month, maybe more. Fras frowns before answering. She knows that Jilly is rolling her eyes at the frown, even if she can’t see her do it.

“We have so much work to do…” She says, trying to appeal to their tendencies towards working hard. 

“And we’ll finish it soon. You are nearly done anyway. Caleb, pick us up in an hour.”

Caleb flashes Jilly a grin, and then he bows low before he speaks up, a twinkle in his eyes.

“As you wish.”

He walks away, tossing that apple core in a trash bin.


“And then I stabbed him in the gut!” Jilly exclaims.

With a twirl that makes her braids whip around her head, she goes to face Fras with a frown.

“She isn’t even listening to us, Leb.” 

“I hate when you call me that, Illy.” Caleb retorts, but the nickname Illy has never bothered Jilly. Everyone knows that, even Caleb.

Fras sighs and looks over at her two companions. She is in a funk, and she knows it. She needs to pull her head out of it. But she feels an immense amount of guilt over what happened with Rigsby in the last town that they were in. She knows that a sprained ankle in the grand scheme of things isn’t  terrible. But Rigsby’s job requires him to be on his feet all the time, and he’s been out of commission. Even Rigsby himself has told Fras that it wasn’t her fault, but she doesn’t believe him. She knows she has been needlessly awkward around him. In Fras’ defense, she is an awkward person even in the best of times. 

“I am just thinking about Ri—….” 

“Stop thinking about that old man,” Jilly says. She slings an arm around Fras and pulls her tight against her. Fras can smell whatever perfume Jilly uses, a scent that she can’t readily recognize. Something that reminds her of flowers, but none that she can name.

“I—…”

“Jilly is right,” Caleb says, with a look back at the two of them. He has a kind of nervous energy, jittery tonight, that Fras isn’t sure she has ever seen from him before. “Besides, Rigsby is over it. I think he’s been enjoying bossing everyone around to help him out.”

Fras knew that Caleb had a point with that. Everyone has been grumbling about it, wondering if his sprain has improved and he is just milking now. Still, the guilt swirls around in Fras, but she tries to tamper it down.

“Okay,” she says.

“Okay what?” Caleb prompts while Jilly gives a one armed squeeze that Fras knows is supposed to be comforting and not suffocating.

“Okay, I will stop worrying about him.”

“Good!” Jilly and Caleb say at the same time.

It causes Fras to laugh, a true one, not one of her forced ones. 


“There are too many juveniles in this bar,” Caleb says aghast, as they enter. 

Fras gives a quick look around the place, and sure enough , there are a lot of kids in the place. Or maybe the more accurate description would be that there are too many families in the place. She doesn’t know what time it is, but it must be after dinner. It wasn’t dark on the walk to the bar, but it will be soon.

“Don’t cause a scene, Leb.” Jilly says, with that patent eye roll of hers. She tugs a mask over her face as she says this. The mask has been around her neck, and Fras originally thought it was a scarf or something she was wearing.

“Don’t cause a scene you say, as you pull a mask over your face?” Caleb asks, the tone of his voice fighting amusement. 

“You can still see my eyes,” Jilly replies, as if that matters any. 

Jilly moves away from them, heading towards the bar where a man in an ill-fitting suit is seated. She leans against the bar, catching the man’s attention. Fras can picture the look that Jilly is giving him. The man’s face is red, and Fras can’t remember if it was red from before he looked at Jilly, or after. Caleb lets out a groan as he watches all of this, and then he is tugging Fras towards an empty table not too far from the piano.

“Won’t it be too loud near the piano?” Fras asks, but Caleb ignores her.


Caleb stays in a dark kind of mood while they enjoy their first round of drinks. Others from the carnival make their way to the piano bar, and soon their small table is feeling a little cramped. Jilly is still talking to the man in the suit, she hasn’t bothered to look their way once. Fras feels a little like she is suffocating and extracts herself from the table with no one shouting drink orders at her.

She makes her to the bar and leans her elbows on it. She is next to Jilly and the mystery-ill-fitted-suit-man. She can just make out what he is saying to her through the din of voices. A lackluster stroke of a piano key sounds.

“And the oxidation of the wine…” 

Fras wonders how long Jilly has sat at this bar, listening to the man drone on and on about a drink he isn’t even drinking. His glass looks like it is full of some dark liquor, and she also wonders how many drinks Jilly has gotten out of him.

“Why are you wearing that mask, anyway?” The man asks, as if he suddenly just now noticed that Jilly was wearing one.

The bartender notices Fras, and she gives her order. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Jilly shrug of her shoulders. 

“Boredom,” Jilly replies.

“Oh,” the man says, a little uncertainly. 

“I work for the carnival,” Jilly continues.

“That makes some sense,” the man says, and then hurriedly he adds, “because I haven’t seen you around here before.” 

Fras gets her drink. She thinks for a moment about placing a hand on Jilly’s shoulder, making her presence known, interrupting this odd ritual of her friend’s, but she decides not to. She takes her drink, tips the bartender, and then wanders away. She doesn’t go back to the table.


The piano player has finally begun to play. Caleb seems to be in brighter spirits. He is sitting closest to the piano, his chair turned away from the rest of the table but no one seems to mind. No one even seems to notice. Fras wonders the last time she has seen Caleb look like that, and she doesn’t think she ever has. She doesn’t think it just has to do with the music, either. 

She stops studying Caleb, and instead, turns her focus to the man seated at the piano. He is wearing clothes that have seen better days, but he doesn’t look shabby for it. Maybe it is just all in the way he carries himself. He has an effortless sort of confidence, and he plays good. Probably better than is actually needed at a place full of drunks. She sees him stealing glances at Caleb, never once missing a key, never once making the piano sound discordant. He looks damn near as happy as Caleb. 

Fras stops watching the two of them, feeling suddenly like she is intruding on something. Rigsby gets her attention by asking for another drink. She feels guilty again, and offers to put it on her tab.


“He started talking about the controversy of wine, Fras. He doesn’t even work with wine or drink it. Says he can’t stand the taste, but he’s fascinated by it all the same. He said, life has cursed him. He should have been a sommelier, but he can’t be.”

Jilly is drunk. Drunker than Fras has seen her in a while. They are walking back to the lot with a group of other people from the carnival. Caleb isn’t with them.

“He shouldn’t be as attractive as he is, Sassy.” Jilly groans.

“I think you drank too much,” Fras says.

It wasn’t like the man was unattractive but Fras doesn’t know how Jilly spent so many hours talking to him. 

“He gave me his number,” Jilly continues. “Maybe I’ll call him in the morning.”

“See if he is still fascinating in the light of the morning, and with sobriety?” Fras asks, not necessarily unkindly, but the way Jilly reacts, it makes Fras think she should have watched her tone. 

“Yes,” Jilly says, stiffly. Embarrassed, even though embarrassment isn’t something Jilly usually exhibits. 

“Sorry, tell me more about your non-wine-drinking-sommelier,” Fras says, trying to undo whatever it was she just did. 

Jilly hesitates all of a fraction of a second, before going back to talking about the man in the ill-fitting suit. Fras wonders if she ever got his name.

December 2020 Prompt: Pots

Prompt: Pots

A prompt! Huzzah! I have missed writing these so much. Writing this one was a bit of a struggle at first. I knew I wanted to write from the point of view of the pots (and I went with cooking pots and not like plant pots) and I wrote about 500 words with a bunch of different pots before this idea came to me. It’s from one pot’s point of view, so please enjoy!

There was an odor wafting through the kitchen. Most people who could smell it would likely call it a bad odor. Not terrible, by any means, but not good. There was a young man standing in front of a stove, cooking… something. All kinds of things were being tossed into the concoction — a concoction that resembled food if you squinted — and nothing seemed to help the smell. It was a faintly burnt kind of smell, hadn’t quite crossed over into the stench category yet. The young man, arguably the chef of the evening, seem undeterred. He had a look of concentration on his face, and a hum leaving his lips. 

He seemed satisfied with what he was doing. 

The pot he was using, on the other hand, was an old one. It had been gifted to the young man as a graduation present, and it had sat in boxes throughout the young man’s college career. Mostly forgotten about until he found an apartment with a decent kitchen, and a woman to impress. The pot, it had missed being used for food. It had missed being in the thick of things, hanging from a rack in the kitchen, and always being around. Always knowing what the family was up to. Being used to make things that tasted good, according to the family. That smelled good, according to whoever was eating. Pots… they don’t have noses.  They don’t have mouths, either. It isn’t like they can taste what is being put in the them. Not… not in the traditional sense, at least. But, this pot, it had been around for awhile before its temporary retirement into an old box. It could remember when decent meals were cooked with it. It might not be able to taste a thing (or thankfully smell) but it knew that what it was being used for was… a monstrosity. 

The pot didn’t know whether to feel happy with finally being put to some use or not. Was it truly better to used for something like this than to waste away in a box?  The pot wasn’t sure. It liked to think that any culinary experience it provided was… was better than wasting away. 

“Are you almost done, Gavin?” A voice the pot didn’t recognize asked, entering the small kitchen space. Not like pots have ears to hear with — but they do hear all the same. 

“Almost, Cyn!” Gavin said, exuberantly.

“It… it smells interesting,” and then a head peeked over Gavin’s shoulders to peer into the mess in the pot. “Looks interesting too.”

Gavin seemed undeterred by the tone of voice. Nothing, apparently, could bring him down. The pot had always liked that about Gavin, it supposed. And it wished it could make the food taste better than it knew it would. 


Time doesn’t really mean much to a pot. All this pot knew was that it was being used, more and more often. Not always by Gavin, sometimes by Cyn and a few memorable experiences of being used by Gavin’s mother once more. The pot had really missed her cooking. The pot was happy, overall, to being used again and Gavin seemed to be turning into a better cook, each time he attempted a meal. 

“This is Cyn’s favorite,” Gavin said, and the pot knew that Gavin was speaking with the brand new puppy the couple had bought to match their brand new house and new kitchen. If anyone cared for the pot’s opinion, it really liked the new kitchen.

The puppy was sleeping on his bed that had been dragged into the kitchen. It didn’t respond to Gavin, and while the pot wished it could, it didn’t either. It also had some pointers it wanted to give to Gavin. Life would be much easier for cooking utensils if they could help their people out. Because the pot knew all about what recipe Gavin was attempting.

It was ambitious for him. The pot also knew Cyn by this point, and it knew that even if the food tasted like tar in her mouth, she would smile and say it was delicious. Gavin seemed nervous and the pot wondered if it had to do with the meal he was butchering, or something else. The pot could read and understand Gavin the best in the house. Probably since it had known Gavin from his childhood. 

“I hope she says yes,” Gavin said, and the pot felt like Gavin was telling it that instead of the puppy. 


It was a house, a couple of kids, and another dog later. The pot had long ago been joined by newer pots and pans, but Gavin always had a tendency to gravitate towards it. The pot was happy with that because none of the newer ones seemed to enjoy the creative license that he took when cooking.

No need to remind the pot that it too hadn’t really appreciated those odd little experiments and cooking shortcuts that Gavin took in the beginning. But, these days, it did. 

“We are going to make something special for Mom, okay?” Gavin was saying to the young children standing around the stove with him. The pot had no idea how old the kids were. All it knew was there was no longer a lot of crying, and spit up. The kids were mobile and sometimes the pot was used as a drum, being banged on by spoons and other silverware. It didn’t think it made good music but the kids seemed to enjoy it. 

“Okay!” said one of the small children. 

Gavin smiled at the excitement in the child’s voice, and he bent down to tweak their nose. Then, he began to explain what he was doing. The pot wanted to correct Gavin on occasion, but it wasn’t like it had a mouth to do so and besides, it seemed like the kids and Gavin were having fun with it… with whatever it was they were making. 


The pot had been placed back in a box. It had no idea how long it had been closed up in the box, jostled around occasionally as it moved. It wondered if now it was finally retired, a sad life of nothing but darkness and no interesting smells, no interesting food being made with it. The pot, it wasn’t ready to retire. It felt as sad as an inanimate object could feel. 

Suddenly, there was light, and a head peeking out at it.

“Hang on, Mar!” The head said, and then hands were picking the pot up, and placing it on a small stove top with only two burners. The pot was in a kitchen again, one that was small and cramped. The kitchen reminded it a lot of where Gavin had lived so long ago, but somehow, more cheerful.

“What are you going to be making, Darcy?” Asked a voice that the pot did not recognize. Darcy was a name the pot knew. Gavin’s oldest daughter and it looked as if she had grown up too. The pot, it felt happy, and a little anxious too as memories of Gavin’s first solo meal in it flashed through its mind. 

“My Dad’s favorite,” Darcy said, “only better.”

The pot wanted to laugh at that, and maybe even cry. Mostly, though, it was happy at being in a kitchen again. 

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

This prompt took me a bit to write, and I hope y’all enjoy it! It was a lot of fun to write once I got to writing it. So, enjoy!

His nose twitched as he took in the scent of illness all around him. His scrambled up the back of the human, perching on the human’s shoulder. The human tensed, but did not run. The rat nestled his nose against the human’s ear, breathing in for a moment. Trying to get a smell that was not illness. He was tired of that stink. Then he spoke—human language was difficult for him because his body wasn’t quite built for it—his words quiet, and his voice rough from lack of use.

“You are caring for these humans wrong. The sickness, it isn’t what you think it is. I can help you.” 

The human was tense. He could feel the tension in the their shoulders. Muscles that needed relaxing, but the rest of the human, smelled healthy. 

“You’re a talking rat,” the human said, voice high pitched with fear. The rat couldn’t really hear the fear in the voice, because the rat didn’t really understand the different cadences that human voices could have. But he could smell the fear, he could sense it, he could tell in a rat way, that fear was evident in the human’s voice and body.

“Sure, and I can help you. You need my help,” the rat said, trying to remember what it was that last human he had worked with had told him. A saying, or something. “You have nothing to lose,” the rat said, memories washing over him. Too many of them, and it made him sad, sad in a way he felt was more human than ratlike. 

The human sighed, and then nodded their head. 

“Okay, help me. What am I doing wrong. What is this sickness?”

The rat felt surprise. He had anticipated it taking more time to convince this human to accept his help. But, he supposed, as he looked around at the sick all around him that this human was desperate. He scrambled down from their back, his body not as spry as it had once been, and he jumped. He landed clumsily on a table, some tools clattering to the ground, and he heard the human gasp.

“Those were sterile! I’ll need to—…”

“You won’t be needing those,” the rat said, without looking back at the human.

“Come,” he said, and he led away from those useless human tools. Humans always used more things than they truly needed. They made things more complicated than they needed to be. The rat’s own life, his body even, had been overcomplicated by humans in that lab oh so long ago. He had rat friends, he supposed. But none that wanted or could make a family with him. He was lonely, and had been, for such a long time. He wondered if that loneliness was what had prompted him to finally come out of hiding.

He didn’t know. Didn’t really care to know the true answer. He hated that he thought abstractly like this. He had had so much time to think, and he was tired of it. He was grateful for this puzzle of human sickness. Grateful he had a reason to think outside of himself and of something else. 

“I’ve seen this illness before,” the rat explained. Still surprised, really, that he had this human’s attention. “You need old medicine.”

“We’ve tried all the medicine we can think of. Nothing we have works, and the new st—…”

“You aren’t thinking old enough,” the rat said.

“How old?” The human said after a beat and the rat gave a shrug of his shoulders. As much as a rat is capable of shrugging.

“Human time doesn’t make much sense to me. But, here is what you need.”

The rat sat down on his haunches, and began to explain. He pointed to items that looked familiar. That smelled familiar. He asked questions too because he knew that humans liked to change things. But he thought they had enough to help all these sick people around him. It took hours, and he was tired, but in a good way. In a way he hadn’t been tired like in so long. 

“Thank you,” the human said as the rat walked away, going back to his hideyhole.

“Do not thank me yet,” he said, before he disappeared. 


He didn’t know how much time had passed as he kept hidden in his little house in the walls of the hospital. This hospital wasn’t where he had been born or anything. No, he had been born of two rats in a lab some miles away. His own parents had had brains more advanced than other rats, but they were not quite like him. His brain had been more human-like, and some minor tweaks to the rest of his body. It had made it impossible for him to mate with other rats, and the humans hadn’t thought to make another like him. Or maybe they couldn’t. He didn’t know, and he stopped asking questions a long time ago. His parents had died, and once the humans realized just how special he was, he had been moved away from the rest of the rats in the lab. 

He thought of his past a lot. Especially in the quiet hours — not that hospitals really had too many quiet hours — and he both loved and hated that he thought of his past like this. His life… had been special. He had a lot of fond memories with the humans who had helped make him the way he was. He missed the lab sometimes, but he hadn’t missed the continual experiments. He was grateful that Emmy and Ellie had gotten him out of the lab. 

They were the ones who had brought him to this hospital. All because he had a theory on how to stop the illness that was spreading through humans like wildfire. That was a strange expression to come to him, and he knew he had gotten it from Emmy or Ellie. He had never seen a wildfire before. Hell, he hadn’t ever seen any kind of fire before. 

He thought more and more about Emmy and Ellie in the quiet moments. He knew humans cried when they felt like this. Sad, but he didn’t. Or maybe he just couldn’t. 

He didn’t know how long he sat in his hole, in what he called his little house, before he snuck out again.


“You are back,” a voice startled him. He knew it belonged to the human he had helped the last time he had shown himself.

“Yes,” he said, sitting on his haunches and watching them. 

“I wanted to thank you,” the human said, and they reached behind to pull out a block of cheese. The rat hadn’t had cheese in so long. He tried not to look too excited by the prospect. “I didn’t know what you would like, but…”

“You don’t need to thank me,” the rat said, finding that the more he spoke out loud, the easier it was to remember how to do it. The easier it was to get his voice working. 

“Yes, I do. What you suggested… no one would have thought… how did you know?” The human asked as they handed him the piece of cheese. He took the cheese and bit into it. He wanted to cry even though he couldn’t. He remembered Emmy and Ellie talking about how beautiful things sometimes made humans want to cry — and he felt like he finally understood that sentiment. 

“Who are you?” The human asked.

The rat shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m just a rat.” 


“You are old, Just A Rat.” 

“I am.” 

“I can’t find any records on you. That lab that you say you came from closed down about thirty years ago.” 

“Your human time means nothing to me, you know that.”

“I also know rats don’t live thirty years, and you are older than that.” 

“We should check on those patients of yours.”


“Why are you sad?”

“I hate that you won’t let me tell anyone about you, Rat. Or that you won’t give me a name. I know you must have had a name before.” 

“That name means nothing now, and you know how humans are, if you tell people about me…” 

“But I don’t deserve all this praise that I am getting.”

“Yes, you do. You helped all those people.”

“Only because you told me what to do.”

“You used the tools presented to you. You deserve credit for it.”

“So do you.”

“I don’t want human credit.”


The rat sighed. His human was getting old. He had refused to ask for a name from this new human. Refused to to allow himself to get to know this human outside of the hospital. But he knew that the human would be retiring soon, and that he would have years again, of being alone. He had tried to steel himself and protect himself. He had tried not to grow attached, but… of course he had. 

“This is your last day, isn’t it?” The rat said, nodding his head towards the balloon the human had attached to their wrist for some reason. The balloon said ‘Happy Retirement’ on it, but the rat hoped if he didn’t read those words too often, they wouldn’t turn out to be true. 

“It is,” the human said, and the rat could feel some nervous energy exuding off of them.

“What is it?” He asked.

The human sighed, “I want you to come with me, but I have a feeling you won’t.” 

“Leave the hospital?” The rat asked. 

The human nodded and in that moment they reminded him of that younger and uncertain human he had met so long ago. He had only known this hospital and before that the lab. He had never been to a human’s house before. Not even Emmy or Ellie had ever extended that invitation to him.

“You don’t have to. I’ll be around visiting still, the hospital can’t get rid of me that easily.”

He let the human ramble on for a little while as he thought. As he allowed himself to imagine a life outside of these walls. His heart ached in a way it had never ached before. 

“Okay,” he said.

“What?” The human asked, shocked.

“I’ll leave here with you.” 

He had lived a long life and would probably continue to live a longer life. Perhaps it was time he experienced it elsewhere. And, he liked this human. He could care for them as they grew older and older still. 

The human smiled.

“Hop into my bag then. Let’s get out of here.” 

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

Here’s a little prompt that seems more fitting for October. I had fun with it. To be honest, I have fun with all the prompts. I hope y’all enjoy my take on it!

‘The bitch is dead,” Claudia said, gazing out at the small gathering of people. The youngest of whom was eight and the oldest around sixty. The energy changed at that moment—after those words were pronounced. A low wailing began and it was slowly picked up by the rest of those who were gathered. Even the eight year old began to wail, her pitch not quite matching the cadence of the others. Claudia gazed out at the small crowd, her expression unreadable. She didn’t join in with the wailing but she watched for a few minutes, before she turned around and entered the house.

The crowd stayed outside and wailed for ten minutes, before they dispersed. Claudia watched them through the window of the door. Her shoulders tense. She waited by the window until everyone was gone, and then she allowed herself a moment to cry.


The day of the funeral was bright; the weather perfect. The sun bright, and nary a cloud to be seen. It was the kind of day that their pack leader would have loved. The kind of day where she would have gathered all the young pups up, and forced them to go on a hike through the property of the camp. Most of the time older folks would tag along too, and an impromptu picnic would happen. Everyone would enjoy one another’s company and the good food. 

Claudia wanted to match the energy of one of those better and happier days. She figured Pippa would have approved, but she was having such a hard time of it. She couldn’t even muster a smile. She hadn’t cried since that moment by the window. It was as if her body was frozen with grief. Her shoulders tensing with the responsibility that she knew the pack would want to place on her shoulders. The burden of leading she had always known would fall on her shoulders if something ever happened to Pippa. And with that illness, without anyone being able to heal her sister, she should have known that day was coming sooner rather than later.

She gripped the sides of the podium, knowing she needed to make a speech. Knowing it was customary of someone in her position. She had struggled and failed to write something down. Bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. She hadn’t been sleeping much those last few weeks of Pippa’s life, and Claudia could not remember if she had gotten any sleep at all in her grief of the last few days. She felt weak on her feet. It didn’t help matters that tonight was a full moon, her body already preparing for the transformation to come. 

“Pippa would not want us to mourn her for long,” Claudia said, her voice weak even to her own ears. She smiled sadly, surprised that her lips could even quirk in that direction but supposedly it took more muscles to frown and maybe she just didn’t have the strength to do it.

“She would want us to be outside, basking in the sun. She always said that a lot of sunlight was good for us on the night of the full moon. No one — especially not me — will be able to replace our Pippa. But, we all know, she would not want us crying over her for too long. She would want us to celebrate her life, celebrate what she and all of us, did for ourselves and the pack.” Here Claudia’s voice shook.

Pippa had changed things for the better with the pack. She had fought hard for the rights of werewolves, and for other people like them. Other folks who changed into creatures during the full moon. Pippa had helped the world realize just how human werecreatures were. How, most of the time, they were human. And when they weren’t, it wasn’t like their creature side was any less monstrous than some people who stayed human all the time. Pippa had encouraged the rest of the pack to stand up for themselves, to crawl out of the shadows, and to stop living in fear. 

And Claudia she had been there with her sister for every step of the way. But it had been easier, then for her to fight, because she had had Pippa’s passion and belief to fall back on. She knew though that she wouldn’t or couldn’t give up on the future her sister had envisioned. She would have to learn how to fight just as hard and passionately as Pippa had. Even while drowning in grief. 

“Tonight we will mourn and celebrate as only wolves know how to do. And tomorrow, we will begin again, the vision that Pippa dreamt for us all.”

There was a smattering of claps, and a sob or two from the audience, as Claudia stepped away from the podium. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the casket. She did cry again, tears wet and warm, sliding down her face.


Night was falling and everyone was spread out. Claudia could feel her bones and her body protesting the change that was about to begin. The moon didn’t need to be out fully before a transformation occurred. It started just as the sun was going down, before the moon was fully up, and it was painful. The human body preferred to stay in one shape. It didn’t like bones and limbs rearranging. Sprouting coarse fur out of fragile human skin hurt too. People yowl, cry, and scream during the transformation. It wasn’t any wonder the terrible rumors and stories of werecreatures persisted for so long. 

Eventually, the pack were all transformed, and gazing at Claudia with expectancy. She knew she was supposed to lead the pack in their romp through the forest, in their hunt for food for the night. She wasn’t ready to lead. But she also didn’t have an excuse.

Pippa always said that Claudia had it in her, and the bitch was dead. It was time for Claudia to take up that mantel. 

She tilted her head  back, and howled at the moon. Grateful that her fur hid the tendency of her skin to blush at such a stereotypical move. The rest of the pack picked up on the howling. It was mournful and beautiful even if it was a little cheesy.

And then she ran. And everyone followed her.

September Prompt: The Awakening

September Prompt: The Awakening

I really want to write a longer story based on this world. I am doing my best to keep my prompt responses under 1,500 words. But, anyway, I think the world I have created here would be fun to explore, so maybe I will write something a little longer! I hope y’all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Today is the Awakening. 

I adjust my white robes—they don’t fit properly, but I notice that most people are fidgeting with their own. Gathered around me are all kinds of people. Some distant relatives of the people who sleep, others family friends of those who passed on before the Awakening, and some look old enough to have possibly even known the individuals who sleep. I work in the facility, and I am tasked with being there for Isabella, no last name, who has no one left to greet her. That happens sometimes. Not everyone falls asleep and has loved ones to find them. According to Isabella’s records, it took a month for her to be found. 

It should not take anyone that long to be found these days — in ten days specifically — when the Sleeping occurs, thanks to GPS and smartphones. But I am getting ahead of myself. 

“When do we go into their rooms?” A woman named Regina according to the name tag affixed to her own ill-fitting white robes asks. 

I realize she is asking me. Everyone keeps asking me questions, and I suppose it is fair. They all know I work at the facility, that I have been tasked with keeping their loved ones or loved ones of dead loved ones alive. 

Not that it is hard keeping the Sleeping Ones alive. It isn’t like they can put themselves into any danger just lying there. But all these people in this room, they all seem to think I know things about their people. Like what their personalities really are like, even though I don’t. All I know of these people is their sleeping patterns, that some snore really loudly and others drool so much we have to swap out their pillows more frequently. 

I have never been to an Awakening before, though. And any information that I have these people have in packets they were supposed to study before coming. Still, I plant my customer service smile on my face.

“In about ten minutes,” I say, with a quick glance to the clock ticking in the room’s corner. My voice is higher-pitched than normal, a voice that I can only use when I am in the mode.

“Oh,” the woman says, and I find myself feeling guilty. She is nervous, I think. And I understand that too, because so am I. I have never met Isabella before—not really. Sure, I know her sleeping patterns. I know as much as her records tell us, which isn’t too much. Not much was known about Isabella. None of her neighbors at the time knew anything about her, or where she had come from. There were whispers of gentlemen (and some women too) callers coming late at night, but nothing  concrete. 

What am I supposed to say to this woman? Who fell asleep a hundred years ago? I suppose I will figure it out in less than ten minutes.


This isn’t the first time that I have been in Isabella’s room. Her body is still connected to all the wires that monitor her. The dull beep, beep, beep of machinery that tells all of us she is doing okay. She looks peaceful, the same as when she fell asleep, because that is one of the stranger things about those who fall asleep. They don’t age. Their bodies don’t decay. They seem immune to illness while they sleep, though we still give them vaccines for when they return to the world.

Return to the world. Even that phrasing is odd to me. 

They do not know the world anymore. Technology, it has advanced so much. Telephones and cars were relatively new when she fell asleep. I don’t think television existed and I wonder how you are supposed to explain computers and the internet to them. Oh, I know in that packet I studied, there were guided conversations. Suggestions of how I could breach the topic of all that has changed with Isabella, but none of it sounded natural to me, and why should she trust me?  She doesn’t know me.

I know her, though. I know how her face looks when she dreams. I can’t see what she is dreaming, but her monitors pick up on it. If the dream is pleasant, she has a tiny smile on her face. If the dream is unpleasant, she doesn’t frown. Her lips just fall into a neutral expression, but if you look close enough around her closed eyes, you can notice crinkles that aren’t normally there. She doesn’t talk in her sleep — some do—but she sighs occasionally. 

I have studied her file too. Even if there isn’t much in it. Her’s isn’t the only file I studied, and her sleep isn’t the only one, either. I have worked in this facility for years. I interned here in college, and once I graduated, they offered me a job. My bosses like my insight, apparently. They like how I treat the Sleepers. My curiosity, they say,  is at an appropriate level. 

I can’t really imagine working anywhere else, and I am going to be sad to see all these Sleepers leave. But I know, in ten days’ time, I will have new Sleepers to look over. 


I am seated in my favorite chair in  Isabella’s room. It came from her house and has withstood the test of time. We try to do that when we can, place items from the Sleeper’s lives, around their room. Usually people have albums and pictures, but not Isabella. All she has is this chair, and the dresser in the corner filled with knickknacks and clothing. 

The beeping on the monitor changes and I find my eyes daring towards Isabella. She sits up and stares with a confused expression at all the wires connected on her. Then her eyes land on me.

“I fell asleep, didn’t I?” she asks, her voice sounding rough from lack of use, but at least she still has a voice.

“You did,”  I say, suddenly forgetting everything that I am supposed to be saying to this woman. All the words of comfort and reassurance. At least she doesn’t seem like she wants to rip any of the wires out. She seems calm, and maybe a little too calm, but I will take it. 

Isabella’s eyes land on me, in her chair, and then drift away towards the rest of the room. Taking in the small television in the corner, the dresser that was in the room she was found in, and all the monitors that monitor her health.

“Things look mighty different,” she says, and I notice a hint of an accent. 

“I’ll bet,” I say, and I know that I should say other things. Asking how she is doing. Checking on her vitals and things like that. But she seems so calm, and not at all confused. I suppose by the time she fell asleep, we humans knew the routine. It had been happening for so long. I still think it would be a shock to fall asleep and then wake up a century later, but… not everyone is like me, I suppose. 

“Can I get something to eat?” Isabella asks.

The question makes me laugh.

“Technically, we aren’t supposed to let you eat right away.” I point out.

“I have had nothing to eat in a hundred years. It hardly seems fair to make me wait even longer.”

There’s a glint of amusement in Isabella’s eyes as she says this. I think I probably have five or ten minutes before she really puts up a fuss about food. I also decide that I like her, and maybe this won’t be so bad. Reintroducing her to the world.

September Prompt: The Coffin

September 2020 Prompt: The Coffin

This prompt is about a … coffin! Again, mostly written around 5am and 6am. As always, not much editing done, just a few rereads. I enjoy not really editing these things. Speaking of enjoy, I hope you enjoy the story!


The first time she saw the coffin she had been five years old and playing hide and seek with her cousins. It had been in the basement, not exactly hidden or anything. She had had no idea what it was, just that it looked like the perfect place to hide in. The top of the thing was up, exposing an opening plenty large enough for her to climb into. So, she had, and she scooted down into the thing, full of giggles. Then she heard her cousin come tromping down the stairs, and he looked everywhere but the coffin, before he ran back, and she giggled even more.

She couldn’t remember how long she laid, curled up in the foot of the wooden thing. She hadn’t been afraid of it, honestly. She hadn’t realized at five that a coffin was where dead people were put. She had actually felt safe in it, secure, and maybe a little warm after a while. 

Eventually, her cousin found her, with the help of her brothers, and the rest of her cousins who had been playing. Everyone had screeched when they had seen where she was at. Someone called her a weirdo, and another person a freak. She hadn’t really known the meaning of those words, just that the tone had implied they were making fun of her. That was when she began to cry.


She was ten when she finally asked her grandma about the coffin. The adults were in the process of moving Grandma out of her big house, the house with three levels and a basement. Except no one went up to the third level. All the kids knew the third level was haunted by ghosts. The adults just said there was no reason to climb all those stairs, but Maisie knew that that was just a cover. Grandma was seated in her favorite chair, a pair of sunglasses perched on her nose even though she was indoors. She had one of her adult drinks, a cocktail was what she always called them. It looked like juice but tasted something awful (Maisie may have tried a sip of it once when she was younger, on a dare from a brother, and all she could remember was the burn of the drink and how it had made her cough). 

“Sit and supervise with me, Maisie-bee,” Grandma had said, and Maisie had taken that invitation to climb into the chair with her grandmother. She snuggled close, and they sat together. Grandma occasionally sipped her cocktail, and barked out orders to Maisie’s aunts and uncles. 

“Grandma, what is going to happen with that coffin?” Maisie asked.

She found herself thinking about that coffin a lot. She was now grossed out with herself for having hidden in the thing when she was younger. Dead people lived in coffins! Had a dead person been in that coffin before? Maisie had never known a person who had died before, but she had had a pet cat by the name of Griffin. He had been gray and old most of her life and had died when she was six. Her best friend at school, Charlotte, had had an uncle who had died and she had gone to the funeral. She had told Maisie all about it. Charlotte was where Maisie got most of her information from these days. 

“It is coming with me,” Grandma explained. 

“Why?” 

Grandma didn’t answer the question right away. She just took a sip of her drink, most of the ice had melted by then, and the glass was slick with condensation. Maisie was beginning to wonder if perhaps Grandma hadn’t heard her. She was on the verge of repeating the question a little louder— Charlotte said that sometimes old people just couldn’t hear— when Grandma spoke up.

“It’s mine. I bought it a long time ago.” 

Maisie stared at her grandmother, a frown on her face.

“But you aren’t dead,” she said, puzzled. 

Sudden worry bubbled up within her though. What if her grandmother was dead. Or a vampire! She had seen a vampire movie before, and she knew that the movie was supposed to be fake, but what if it wasn’t?  Not all movies were about fake things. Her Dad liked to watch documentaries on wars, and he said, those battles actually happened. Except, vampires usually looked a lot younger than her Grandma did. But… Maisie realized that her Grandma was wearing sunglasses inside.

“Are you a vampire?” She whispered in awe. 

Her grandma laughed at that question and Maisie never found out the answer because her Mom called her away after that to help with moving some boxes. 


Maisie was fifteen years old when Grandma was buried in the coffin. The day of the funeral was cloudy and muddy. Maisie’s Mom cried a lot, and so did most of her older cousins and relatives. She couldn’t muster any tears at the funeral, or even after finding out that Grandma had died. She was sad about it, and she knew she would miss her grandma, she just couldn’t cry. 

She remembered the way the coffin was lowered into the ground and the speeches that people made. Maybe not the exact words, but the context. It was a lot of talk about how vibrant of a personality Grandma had had, right up until the moment she had none because death had taken it. 

No one talked about the coffin that Grandma had had with her. The one that had moved from house to house with her. Maisie had thought that was a little strange, how no one wanted to really bring up death even though they were at a funeral. She thought that her grandma might have liked it if someone had talked some about the coffin. If Maisie could speak in front of crowds like Charlotte, then maybe she would have given an ode to the coffin, but crowds even if it was a crowd of family, made her anxious. 

She did say a silent goodbye to both grandma and the coffin once they were buried beneath the earth. 


At twenty Maisie bought her own coffin. 

She had stared at rows and rows of the things. Half listening as the man (was he an undertaker?) explained about the different woods and things like that. He asked about her loved one, and Maisie had been confused for a half a second before she had smiled.

“This isn’t for a loved one. It’s for me.”

His eyes had gone wide for a moment and Maisie realized that he probably thought she was sick and dying. Technically, everyone was dying from the moment they were born. But she had every intention of living a long life like her Grandma had.

“I’m not sick or anything. It’s just… It’s a family tradition,” she explained.

It wasn’t, but Maisie was hoping to make it one. The rest of her family had used whatever money they received from Grandma after her passing to buy things like computers or help pay for cars. Things that they technically needed to make life a little easier. She had been fifteen then, and her parents had told her she had to wait until she was eighteen to spend the money.

At eighteen, she hadn’t wanted to. 

Now at twenty, she knew in her gut, just how to spend the money. She was pretty sure that her Grandma would approve.

September Prompt: Eggs & Roses

September 2020 Prompt: Eggs & Roses

The first prompt I have written for September. Here is my take on Eggs & Roses. It went in a direction I hadn’t expected from it. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write until I sat down before a blank document, and then with the magic of 5am (more accurately it was probably 5:30am when I started) words began to flow. This prompt is written in the first person, something I rarely do, but have been compelled to do twice for prompts, interesting! At least, interesting to me. Anyway, please enjoy the prompt. As always, very minimal editing (mostly a read through or two).


“He has been coming every day for the last two years,” May pointed out, with a nod to the older gentleman at one of the booths near the back of the restaurant. 

“He always orders the same meal too,” added April, who had been walking by with a stack of plates balanced precariously on her arms. She shot her twin a look just before she entered the kitchens. 

“She doesn’t like us gossiping about him. She thinks he’s sad,” May explained, pausing a beat before adding, “but you saw how quickly she jumped in to talk about him.” 

“Do you think he’s sad?” I asked, doing that held tilt that always made May laugh. She said it reminded her of her puppy. I liked to make people laugh, it was a compulsion of mine. It didn’t matter if people were laughing with or at me. 

May didn’t laugh but her lips quirked up into an amused smile before she shrugged her shoulders. She gave the old man one more look, and I couldn’t quite read the expression on her face as she studied him. 

“I don’t think that he’s just sad,” May said slowly, “there’s more to it.” 

I wanted to ask May what she meant by that, but April had come back out from the kitchens, and the withering look she had given the two of us, had been enough to spur us into action. There were tables to attend to.


I had been working at the diner for over a month now. It was my first waitressing gig. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the work, but it paid the bills. April and May were a few years older than me. Fraternal twins who looked nothing alike. April was tall with long blonde hair that was always pulled up into a tight bun. She was the more serious twin. May was shorter with hair so dark it looked black, she kept her hair short and buzzed at the back. She had been the one tasked with training me, but May was easily distracted and had a tendency to wander off mid-sentence or training. April seemed to have a sixth sense about that, though, and she would swoop in to save my ass by explaining what her sister had not.

It was a family-owned diner, and it was rare that they hired new staff. Everyone made me feel welcomed, my coworkers, and most of our customers too since they were regulars. I still felt a bit like an outsider, though. Accepted only on the surface level. I had no intention of staying at the diner for years and years like most of the wait staff, and maybe, that was why I felt like I did not quite belong. Maybe everyone else sensed it too, even if they were nice, I never quite felt a real connection with anyone there.

If I managed to make everyone laugh at least once a shift and I got decent tips, then I considered that shift a win. 


“What can I get you today, sir?” I asked, and as I looked up it dawned on me who I was finally waiting on. The older man who came in every day, and sat at this booth.  He was dressed nicely, way too nice for what the diner actually was. I  noticed, for the first time, that he had a bouquet of roses. He must have seen me looking at the roses because he smiled.

“These are for my daughter, she’ll be joining me. I’d like some scrambled eggs, and an orange juice, please.” 

“Should I leave a menu for your daughter, then?” 

“That would be nice.”

I left a menu with the man and walked back towards the kitchen. I did my best not to peek over my shoulder at him.  I couldn’t remember if I had seen him with roses before, but something told my gut, that he probably always came in with them I had just never noticed before. I had never gotten close enough. 

I was distracted for the rest of my shift. I kept glancing at the old man, his table, and the door. Other patrons made jokes with me because they were used to me joking back, but everything felt kind of flat to me. Every time I checked on the old man, to bring him his food and then refill his orange juice, he smiled and seemed happy. Excited even about the prospect of seeing his daughter. But after a few hours, he had gotten up and left. His daughter had never come. He left a decent tip and the roses behind.


“He’s always waiting for his daughter?” I asked May.

We were seated outside of the diner. May’s back against the wall, and an unlit cigarette perched in her lips. She was not actually smoking it, she never did. She just always kept one on her for smoke breaks. I was on my fifteen-minute break, timed just so I could bother May with my questions.

“Always,” May replied, pulling her cigarette out of her mouth and pretending to exhale. 

“And she never comes?” 

“Never,” May stuck the cigarette back between her lips and squinted at me.

“Does any—…” 

“No one knows anything, Bev. He just comes every day, and orders his scrambled eggs with orange juice. He gets exactly one refill of the orange juice and eats his eggs. He eats them slowly and after two or so hours, he leaves. Always leaving the roses and a nice tip behind. No one wants to ask, no one knows what to ask. April is right, you know?  It isn’t our business.” 

May then stood up as I said nothing. Mulling over everything she had just said. Wondering if maybe I should be the one to break protocol and just ask those questions. May studied me for a few minutes, her eyes narrowed like she could read my thoughts. I could feel my face beginning to grow warm under the scrutiny of her look. 

“Don’t forget about the trash,” was what she said instead, before walking back inside. She stuck her unlit cigarette into her apron pocket, next to all of her pens. 


I ended up working at that diner for just under a year. I waited on the old man with his eggs and roses a couple more times. His daughter never came into the diner and I never worked up the courage to ask him anything. I guess, I realized, it was not my place or my business to ask.  Or maybe I could always just feel April’s laser-like eyes boring into my back. I really did not want to deal with her quiet wrath. 

august 2020 prompts: rains

august prompt: rains

The old man had been right, the rains had come early. It had been raining for three days straight, and according to the weather reports, there was no letup in sight. It had started as a slow trickle, more a drizzle than anything else. The parched ground sucking whatever wetness up that it could get. There had still been work to do, prepping life for the rains. My family and I had gotten a headstart on that prep work, thanks to the old man.

He lived on the property nearest us. His house was more of a shack, really. One room with a roof that always looked like it was falling in, and windows that looked like they would leak but never did. His back was hunched with age, and he had wrinkles all over his face. He had been this old for as long as I could remember— even my parents could not remember him looking any younger. He had made the walk, knocked on our front door with his gnarled cane.

“Rains will be here early,” he had said, his voice gravely and rough.

“How early?” my father had asked, he had gotten up from the table where he was reading the weather reports.

“I suspect tomorrow the earliest, but pro’lly the next day.”

“Do you need any help?”

“Been doin’ this longer than you’ve been alive. I don’t feel up to fixin’ anyone’s mistakes, but thank you.”

And with a nod to the rest of the us, he had turned around. We watched as he made a left instead of a right at the end of the driveway, and we knew he was making the rounds. He would walk all day, knocking on doors to tell anyone who would listen to him that the rains were coming.

“We should get to prepping,” Father was saying.

I had picked up the discarded weather reports, looking them over with a frown on my face. The reports were saying no rains for a month. The reports were often wrong— off by a day or two— but never a month.

“But the reports sa—…”

“He’s been around longer than the people doing the reports. The worst that happens is we prep too early, and then can relax at the end of the month.”

“Yes sir,” I said, with a glance at my siblings. No one else said anything as we ate in a hurried silence.

Two weeks into the rain and what had started off as a drizzle had turned into a torrential downpour for five days, before letting up some into a drizzle once more. We had just finished our work before the hard rains had hit. My father and brothers were checking on the fields and barns, making sure that everything was still patched up and letting out the animals who would not mind standing around in a constant drip-drip-drip of rain.

My mother had stopped me short of going out to help. She had been cooking all morning in the kitchen, up before any of the rest of us had gotten up. The rain season meant we all could sleep in, and we took that chance. It had been the smell of the food she was making that had wafted through the floorboards and into my room, that had woken me up. I had drooled some on my pillow, my dreams had become haunted by food thanks to the smells.

“You need to make some deliveries today,” she had told me.

I had my boots on, the ones that went up past my knees. I had on pants designed to get wet and keep me dry. A raincoat, and some gloves that would help me keep a grip on packages of food I had to carry, and a hat.

“Take this one to the old man, it is his favorite.” My mother said, lightly tapping the package on top. “Then to the Maybells, Mrs. Rigsby, and the shop.”

I knew there would be an order to take home from the shop. I set the packages down on one of the wagons we had, designed specifically to not get stuck in the mud. Though, often, it did. I organized the food packages, making sure they would not spill or fall out of the wagon, and then began my journey.

The ground was flooded and I knew that in a week’s time, we would be stuck in the house until the floodwaters receded. Today, with the drizzle, was likely one of the last days to run these errands. The ground squelched under my feet, my boots sticking to the hungry mud. I shivered slightly in the wet and chilled rain, tugging my hat lower on my face. I decided to visit the old man first, as his house was the nearest but also in the opposite direction of everyone else.

The dog barked before I could knock on the door. The old man’s dog was large and barely moved past the man’s porch these days. I could vaguely remember when the dog had been a puppy. I had been a kid back then, and I remember the puppy would always run into our property to chase us around. Now the dog was old, slow, and crotchety. But he seemed to like me, and his bark of a greeting was not aggressive.

“What’s that?” the man said by greeting.

“Food. Mom made your favorite,” I explained as I held up the warm package of food.

“Oh, good. Come in and drink something warm before you go on,” the old man said.

I nodded my head even though he had turned his back to me. I bent down to pet the old dog, who let out a satisfied woof before I stepped into the house. I stood, dripping in what was the entryway of the one-room place. I stood on a mat, knowing it would not make much sense for me to remove all my rain clothes. There was a fire lit, and the place was warm. Cozy. The roof that looked like it should be leaking, just like the windows, did not leak. There was nothing wet in the shack house, except for the mat and that was only because of me.

“Looks can be deceivin’,” the old man said, as he noticed where I was looking.

I let out an awkward laugh. I have never been the best with small talk, even with all my neighbors that I have known all my life. I took the warm mug of tea that was offered to me.

“Thank you,” I said, instead of inquiring how he prepped for the rains.

He sat down on a chair near the fire, and I drank the tea as fast as I could without burning my tongue. It warmed me to my core and tasted sweet. I just had nothing to say to the old man outside of pleasantries, and he seemed to have nothing to say either. I finished the tea, and he nodded towards a small table.

“Set it there, and I’ll be seein’ you. Thank your mom for me.”

“Yessir,” I said and then I left.

I gave the old dog one last ear scratch and began the long, wet, and muddy walk to town.