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 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.

august prompt 2020: spinach heist

august prompt: spinach heist

Danica adjusted her mask as she glanced down at her wrist. Exposed, for the moment, was a wristwatch. Ticking, ticking, ticking away the time. She pulled the sleeves of her nondescript black shirt over it. Adjusting her gloves in the process. Each member of her team, and there five of them total, was dressed identically. Black cargo pants, with a ridiculous amount of pockets. Black boots tied tight. A black long-sleeved shirt, black gloves. A black cap to cover hair, and finally, a mask. Just eyes were exposed because they needed to see where they were going, and what was happening.

Her team had thought it was overkill but, they wanted the job and quickly stopped complaining about it. They could leave no hint of their identities behind. There would be a manhunt for them after this heist. Product of this quality would fetch a high price on the black market—on any market— and it meant that they would be set for a while. Bills could be paid, and savings begun. This would fix all of their lives if they succeeded. If not, then rotting away in jail would be all of their futures.

“Let’s move out,” Danica whispered, and her crew began to move.

First was Bailey, the youngest member. She had been trained as a gymnast in her youth. She had spent hours on the mat; flipping, jumping, stretching her body. And then, like the rest of the motley crew, she and her family had fallen onto hard times. Prepping her for the Olympics fell by the wayside. She still retained much of her skills, training on her own without the help of professionals. Keeping her body in shape as much as she could. She had even tried to teach the crew some. Learning how to fall, to land properly, was important. Danica’s body, though, could not bend and stretch quite the same way that Bailey’s could, but at least she could land now from certain heights without hurting herself.

Teaming up with Bailey was Ivy, the oldest member. No one quite knew how old Ivy was. Her skin was covered in tattoos. Her hair a bright white, too white to be as natural as she claimed it was. She was the joker of the crew, a boisterous and loud laugh, wherever she went. She made the young members blush sometimes, her humor borderline too crude. Ivy was the one who had found Danica when Danica first… well, Ivy was a lifesaver.

The twins came next. They were not identical, but near enough. Maci was the taller one, but only by half an inch. She kept her hair cropped short, pulled back in tight braids. She hardly ever spoke and if she did it was usually through her sister, Mari. Mari had her own hair in braids, but they were longer. Today, they were tucked up into her cap. Mari was quick-witted and acerbic with her tongue. Sweetness reserved just for the quiet Maci. No one could get out of either twin the true story of how they ended up where they were. Danica always snapped at Bailey for trying to ask. Stories of the past had every right to stay there.

She followed the shapes and shadows of her crew. Eyes having adjusted to the dim light provided by the lamps overhead. She could smell the river on the breeze as they ran towards the docks. They had a window of about ten minutes to do this successfully. They had run through this, over and over. They had practiced this run at docks similar to this, in all kinds of weather. They had planned and plotted for hours. Each member knew exactly what they were supposed to do to secure their bounty. Adrenaline ran through her body, and given the little jump that Bailey had just done, Danica could only assume adrenaline was coursing through her teammates’ bodies too.

Hiding spots were taken and within a few minutes, the truck pulled up. The barest of shadows moved, silently leaping onto the top of the truck, and moving towards the cab. Other shadows began to move and Danica only noticed because she knew where to look. She took a deep breath, and then cocking her gun at the ready, she moved out of the shadows.

Dull thuds of bodies dropping to the ground could be heard. She saw Maci scurry under the truck, looking for any tracking beacons on it. Mari was working on the sides of it. Ivy and Bailey continued to dispatch the crew members, leaving them unconscious. A set of keys were tossed to Danica. Passed down the line from Bailey to Ivy to Maci to Mari and finally, Danica herself. She used them to unlock the back door, her hands surprisingly steady.

Stacks and stacks of the best spinach grown in over a decade sat in the truck. It was better even than she had heard it would be. She was about to shut the door and lock everything up when a figure jumped out at her. Deftly, Danica sidestepped it.

The figure stood up and Danica’s heart lept to her throat as she recognized the man before her. Memories that were too vivid played before her eyes. Hands held in secret. Promises made that could never be kept and in the end, a betrayal that could never be forgiven. His eyes widened and she knew he recognized her. How many times had they stared into one another’s eyes?

“Da—…”

Danica shot him.

The noise rang out loud. Too loud. Her ears rang as he fell to the ground, and then the shouting from her team. She had shot him in the leg, in the same spot he had shot her all those years ago.

“Move out!” She hollered, over the shouts of everyone else around her. She jumped into the back of the truck, bracing herself. Mari climbed in after her and she did not look at the prone man bleeding on the ground. The truck roared to life and drove away.

Danica stared, watching as the bleeding man, grew smaller and smaller. Mari had to physically pull her away from the door so that it could be closed as the truck picked up speed. She could read the questions in Mari’s eyes, but they were dull to the press of memories that now haunted, and taunted, Danica.

august 2020 prompt: mug

august prompt: mug

The mug was her favorite and it was found at a secondhand shop. Ordinarily, she would be a little grossed out about buying cups, bowls, mugs, or silverware secondhand. Even if she knew they were cleaned before she bought them, even if she knew she could just wash it once more when she got home. Scour it clean by hand and then in her brand new dishwasher. If it had been a normal day or a normal mug, she would have look at it and moved on. Perhaps a little longingly, but she would not have pulled out her wallet to buy it. But there was something about this mug, it called to her.

It had a handle that was a bit too large for the body of the mug. Like whoever had been manufacturing the mug, had messed up. There was a painted image of a city she had never been to, on it. It was a city she had had no real desire to ever visit, either. At least, before she bought the thing. Now, as the years with the mug drifted by, she felt the itch to see that city. To see if the painting did it any justice or not. Perhaps it had changed since that city-scape had been painted. She wanted to bring her mug with her, and show the mug the city in real life. Inanimate though the thing was, she thought that it might enjoy it all the same.

The body of the mug, the parts not covered by the painted city, was an off white color. She had no idea if it was originally that color, or if it had aged so. Coffee stains were difficult to get out of the thing, but she managed it with a lot of scrubbing and hacks found on the internet. Perhaps, time had stained the thing, making it offwhite. She wondered, in the quiet of the night as she drank sleepy-time tea from it or maybe in the morning as she drank the strongest coffee she could brew if perhaps she bothered the mug by scrubbing it clean. Maybe it liked stains and who was she to remove them from it?

She drank from it a least once a day, but usually twice or sometimes three times. Her other mugs and cups, she knew, were getting jealous. She was grateful they were not capable of moving on their own. Images of all-out war among her drinkware would flash before her eyes. Not the war itself but the aftermath, of shattered ceramic and glass. Remains that she would have to sweep up, and maybe she would miss a piece. One with the painted city on it, and step on a shard of ceramic one day. Would her foot bleed, and if it did, would it bleed a lot? She had never stepped on a bit of ceramic before, and supplying that mental image, never quite stuck. But she could always almost feel the sharp, shocking pain, of it.

Her day never quite felt right on the rare occasion that she tried to spread a little love to her other mugs. If she decided to use that adorable cat-shaped one for her morning brew. Those mornings would stretch long, and she would feel a little restless. Something in the back of her mind, a nagging feeling like she had betrayed someone. Or like she had forgotten something. It always set a certain edge to the day, the kind of edge that was hard to name and even more difficult to shake off. Agitated was what she would be, and it was all the cat mug’s fault. And that broke her heart a little because she did love her other mugs still. Honest. They just. They were not the special one.

Sometimes she bought a new one, and she would show it to the city-scape one. Some voice in the back of her mind telling her that she was absolutely crazy, but it was a voice that was easy to ignore. It felt proper to introduce new ones to her favorite. Her mug could probably use some friends, friends who were not tainted with jealousy over the lack of use. Okay, so maybe she was a little crazy, but at least her brand of crazy only involved mugs and putting too many feelings into inanimate objects. A harmless crazy.

She loved City-Scape, as she named the mug. It stayed with her, the steadiest companion in her life. It survived moves even when every other glassware or ceramic ware in a box ended up shattered. It was there for the aftermath of children being born. So much coffee, tea, and miscellaneous drinks poured into it. And then one day, the woman’s daughter asked to take the mug with her to college, because her school was in that city. It seemed fitting, even if it was a little painful to say goodbye. But the mug was destined for new adventures, and so too, was the woman. A new life awaited them both, and at the very least, they would still be able to see each other.

august prompt: dread

august prompt: dread

It was not the dark that filled her up with dread, but the light. She liked the dark, enjoyed the quiet of it. Her house was old, the walls filled with memories, and most of them were not hers. There was history in the texture of the walls, the layers of old and peeling wallpaper. Stories of times forgotten because no one was around to share them. In one room of the house, the one she called the drawing-room (even though she had no real idea what a drawing-room really was), there was a large mannequin. It had come with the house, and it was old and made out of wood. She had found a slightly musky smelling hat in the attic, and it had reminded her of gangsters from the twenties, the ones who ran liquor during prohibition. She, herself, had not witnessed the 1920s but she had watched enough movies to make an educated guess, and that hat had seen illegal booze runs, she was certain of it. She had placed the hat at a cocked angle on the mannequin’s head and named it Jeb. At night, in the dark, Jeb leered at her with his hat, but it never bothered her.


No, it was not the dark that filled her up with dread. It was the light.


As sunlight began to bleed through her windows, windows that still needed curtains because the ones that had come with the house had been too ratty, too moth-eaten to salvage, her heart always caught in her throat. Sunlight showed all the imperfections of the house too clearly. Imperfections that she could dim a lot easier, weave into magic when darkness clouded them. Sunlight, more than the artificial light of lightbulbs, showed clearly what needed doing, what needed fixing. And often, it was too much.


That peeling wallpaper — layers and layers of it — foretold hours of work to come. Fingers getting sore from it because the tools she had bought, tools that were supposed to help with removing wallpaper never seemed to work. It was like a magic spell kept the paper on. And each time she felt a sense of victory, each time she removed on a layer, dread would pool in the pit of her stomach as a new layer was revealed. How many families had come through this house? Owners eager to make changes on the walls and the only way all of them seemed to know how to do that was to glue paper to them. In the dark, she could at least pretend like the layers did not exist. Pretend like she was actually making a dent in that work.


During the day, Old Jeb, in all his wooden glory leered at her. The hat looked less like something a gangster would wear in the day, and more like a cheap costume. She could not pretend the hat was nearing a hundred years old during then. No, she had to be reminded, as she gazed at it that the owners’ of the place just before her, liked to have themed costume parties once a month. That hat was a cheap imitation of the real booze running hats of the 1920s. Daylight made her realize the truth while in the dark, at night, she could romanticize Jeb and the fashion choice she had made for him.


During the day, as sunbeams streamed through the windows — dust falling like near-microscopic snow — she would see how worn and beaten her wooden floors were. Floors that the realtor had promised she could easily fix-up. Floors that were original to the house! But she noticed patches of newer wood, mixed in with the original. A hodgepodge that had been hidden under rugs during showings. Old and new mixing together, and maybe it could have been beautiful, but whoever had done the patching had done it quickly. Had not cared to match the wood properly, or maybe just had no idea how.


At night, as moonlight streamed through her windows, she could dance barefooted on the wooden floor and pretend they were fine. Every grain matching like it was supposed to. Each old, and original to the house. In the moonlight, the floor looked nice. Her feet pounding a beat that only she knew. The kitchen, oh she did not even like to think about having a kitchen during the day.

No. During the day dread filled her as she could no longer ignore the mounting bills to pay, the leaking pipes, and the roof too. That had begun to leak about a month ago, and the roofer kept canceling on her. Buckets were placed strategically around the house, anything to salvage an unsalvageable floor. Day time the pinging of rain in the buckets screamed to her what a money pit all this house was but at night? At night it was a soothing symphony, thunder shaking the house, and rain tinkling merrily in the buckets.


Moonlight meant magic to her while sunlight was nothing but dread.