Writing Prompt: Day 17

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Day 17 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your character is punished in a weird/funny way.

Shannon: “The only way we are ever going to go to breakfast tomorrow is if we have some kind of repercussion when we don’t want to get up,” Charlotte determined as I was climbing into my loft for the night.

“Yeah, but what repercussion can overcome morning brain?” The promise of a blanket’s warmth was my weakness whenever our alarms would go off and Charlotte would question if we were going or not. Then we’d get into a charade of “if you want to” and “I don’t care” and eventually fall back asleep.

“Ooo I’ve got an idea. How about whoever gets up first gets to slap the person who is still sleeping in the face,” she suggested and then giggled maniacally.

Even though it was dark I felt the need to lift my upper body to rest on my elbows and look over to her. It sounded like the worst possible way to wake up, but definitely effective. “Are you serious?”

“It will work, won’t it?”

“I mean yeah,” I agreed with a laugh, “But I’m terrified. How am I supposed to sleep?”

“You only lose if you fall back asleep. It’s not like I’m going to quietly wake up and slap you in the face. It’s only fair. Are you in?”

“Mmm,” I hummed. “Ok I’m in.”

Next Morning:

“Still want to get breakfast or do you want to go back to sleep,” Charlotte questioned.

“Are you going to slap me in the face if I go back to sleep?”

She paused, “No, I never honestly thought I could bring myself to do it anyway.”

“Ahhh, I think I’d rather sleep,” I decided, feeling less pressure to stay awake.

“Ok,” she yawned and that’s the last thing I remember before dozing off again.

Whack. I woke up to a sharp pain in my cheek, and saw Charlotte standing over my bed. “Ha ha, you lose.”

“Hey,” I rubbed my faced. “You said you wouldn’t.”

“You don’t know me at all,” she shook her head. “But hey, on the bright side we finally get a good breakfast,” she shrugged.

Erin: My mother has always been a fan of cruel and unusual punishment. In her defense, I have always been prone to cruel and unusual behavior. The punishment always fit the crime, to a terrifying degree. The first time I stole I had to anti-steal, and no, not give to charity like one would assume. I had to sneak my belongings into stores and leave them on the shelves, where they would most likely be forgotten or thrown out. It made the punishment that much worse.

The time my mother deemed a skirt inappropriate that I then wore the next day to school was a start of a long two months and the first ever double whammy. First, I had to go to church in it to be judged by God and Pastor Nicole. The following months I had to let my mother dress me. My mom had bad taste when she was happy. Angry mom would do great in outfitting haunted house workers. She even bought me some new clothing, so I would have a turtleneck appropriate for the 111-degree weather. I still cringe when I see my polka dot top, knowing I had once worn it with plaid pants.

When I spent the night with my boyfriend she kicked me out and said I would have to act like an adult if I thought I was one. Crashing in his house ended my relationship with that boy. I don’t know if mom knew back then we couldn’t make it if we got too close. I may have just pushed her past her limit. I used to think my mom was a little nuts, and now looking back as an adult I know she’s nuts. But then again, here I am putting a parental lock on every TV channel other than the learning one, so I have no place to judge. But I mean, I turned out okay, right?

How you get people to behave does not always involve behaving yourself… think on that, and think on this, and write on this!

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Writing Prompt: Day 16

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Day 16 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Let the three pictures inspire you.

Erin: I was taken from my home in the middle of one of my favorite memories. Dad says I need to start calling this my home, but I never will. The last day I was truly home I was out blowing bubbles with my father. I blew the biggest bubble I had yet. The bubble seemed indestructible. As it floated to a landing on the grass and rested I could swear it was a lawn ornament.

That all changed when the lady in pearls turned my orb into ice crystals. When the bubble froze past the tipping point it exploded into a glitter shield around her. Right before she disappeared the lady in pearls shouted, “It’s time Luke.”

Luke is my dad. Luke is now my teacher, my friend, my doctor, and my prison guard. Luke won’t tell me why we are here, or if we will ever get out. He is my only companion, but he refuses to admit what happened that day. He refuses to admit that we aren’t blowing bubbles anymore, but that we are trapped in one.

Shannon: I soon learned our lesson was in the woods today after decoding the note sitting on my teacher’s desk. I just needed to find a few more clues to lead me to him. The first one was hidden in a birch tree, the next under a well-studied stone, and finally I’d uncovered the red string that would lead me the rest of the way.

After a short distance, circling around a few trees and crossing one small stream, I’d reached my destination. He had his display board ready to go, and gestured for me to sit on a large tree stump. “Hey, I made it, don’t I get a prize,” I questioned, hopping onto the tree so I could squirm around until I was sitting pretzel-legged.

“You don’t get a prize unless you solve this riddle,” he corrected me.

“Boo,” I grumbled. “That’s not how this works.”

“How this works is I teach you to be a critical thinker. That’s why you’re in this class. Someone saw potential in you, and your prize is proving that they were right.”

“Well that’s no fun,” I folded my arms, trying to seem disinterested to get my way.

“You don’t find learning fun,” he asked, looking right through me.

“It’s a chore,” I lied, even though I secretly loved the challenge.

“Well that’s a pity,” he shrugged, “but you’re here, I might as well give you a problem anyway,” he waited for me to chime in, but I had nothing to add.  “So a woman with blonde hair, wearing pearls and a hat, is sitting in front of you. She presents you with three magical glass orbs, and says you may chose one as a gift and take on its power. One contains gold leaves, one contains rose petals, and the last one contains dandelion seeds. Which one do you choose?”

I thought for a few minutes, deducting what each one most likely symbolized. I figured gold symbolized wealth, the rose love, and the dandelion seeds power. Then again the gift could be deceiving.  Roses have thorns, dandelions are weeds, and gold can cause more trouble than it’s worth. There was too much risk in picking, and not enough information to deduct from. “I pick the pearls, if it’s an option,” I decided.

“I guess they are orbs,” my teacher smiled. “Sure you can have the pearls, but why not pick from the magic? What if one of the orbs had the power to made your life better?”

“You can’t miss what you never had. I couldn’t take the risk, because I couldn’t live with the regret. However, I am sure I could live with not choosing, and hopefully those gifts would come to me on their own.”

“Well, well. It looks like you don’t always need a prize after all.”

These picture ones are always fun, give it a go.

Writing Prompt: Day 15

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Day 15 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Pick a popular villain and write an untold backstory.

Shannon: Gaston age 10:

“What silly game are you girls playing now,” Gaston questioned the twins, peaking in from their shed’s window.

“Ugh,” they pouted in unison. “None of your business, leave us alone Gaston,” Laura shooed him away and shut the curtain.

He quickly hurried to the door before they could lock it. “Hey, I’m not asking to make fun of you. I was just out hunting with my dad, and we came back early. Maybe I could play too?”

“This game is only for girls,” Paula argued, sitting at the table pretending to drink from her teacup.

“You wouldn’t like it,” Claudia added, cradling her doll. “We are playing house, and doing girl things.”

He pondered how he could stay for only a moment before coming up with an idea, “Well, I could be the husband. I could come in after a long day of trading. You must need one of those.” He longed to stay. The twins were the most beautiful girls in the town, and he couldn’t understand why, but he wanted their attention more than he’d ever wanted anything in his life. He’d do anything to impress them.

“We don’t need a husband,” Laura laughed. “We want the prince,” Laura turned the chair to reveal a painting of the young prince that they belted to the backrest.

The sight of the young royalty made his fists clench, he teeth lock, and his nose flair. “Now what’s so great about him?”

“He has a castle,” Laura smiled.

“And servants,” Claudia chimed in.

“And we’d be princesses,” Paula cheered, “which means he would invite us to the ball.”

“Plus he is so gorgeous,” Laura swooned folding her hands together. The other two nodded.

“I’m better looking then him,” Gaston grumbled. “Anyway, the prince doesn’t even know you exist. I’m the best you’ve got.”

The twins broke out into a fit of laughter. “You don’t even compare to the Prince silly boy. You’re ugly, you’re weak, and you’re poor,” Laura listed. “Who could ever love you?”

“You’re wrong,” he shook his head backing away, feeling heartbreak for the first time, finally learning how they truly felt about him. His foot caught on the doorway and he fell to the grown.

“And clumsy,” Paula pointed at him, using her other hand to cover her laughter as the other girls joined her.

“Goodbye Gaston,” Laura waved before shutting the door.

Erin: “Sheldon, when do you think this need to be the best started,” my therapist asked from her upright position in her chair.

“When did your need to be sitting taller than your clients start,” I scoffed scrambling out of the indent I was slowly slipping into within the lounge chair. She wrote some notes that I would surely be able to find a way to see after our appointment. She was in for a long ride.

“This is the office I have been given. Would you prefer we switch chairs?”

“Yes,” I ordered, knowing that answer would make her life harder.

“Lovely,” she tried to smile like she didn’t care. When she tried to offer me a lift I swatted at her gesture.

“I can get up just fine,” I scoffed. After wrapping my arms around the chair and making a steady climb the tuna took her own seat.

“Is this more comfortable for you,” she asked making more notes in her book.

“If I didn’t have to be here that would be better,” I offered.

“This is a requirement of your probation,” she reminded. “Let’s do a word exercise. I will say a word and you say the first one that comes to your mind.”

“Grass”

“Blades”

“Teeth “

“Fangs”

“Sunshine”

“Fire”

“Money”

“Power”

“Krusty Krab”

“Challenge”

“Chum Bucket”

“Dead”

“Mr. Krabs”

“Giant”

“Sheldon”

“Small”

“Small”

“Weak”

“When was the first time you saw yourself as small,” she asked. Her pen was racing after that exercise.

“When I first went to school, that was the first time that I realized my family was different,” I remembered back to my first friend. I remembered the first time his clumsiness brought me to the hospital.

“How did being smaller than everyone else make you feel,” she continued to push.

“Vulnerable, looked down upon, underestimated,” I started listing.

“Was weakness something that you believed connected with size on your first day of school,” she asked looking at me with a soft smile. People thought I was insane.

“Being small is connected with weakness. When you look like me you have to take care of yourself. The world doesn’t owe me any favors and is not giving me any. If I want something I have to take it.” I grinned making plans then and her eyes finally showed some fear behind them.

How could he/she? Let us know.

Writing Prompt: Day 14

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Day 14 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your characters bond over something unique.

Shannon: I sat down at my usual table in the library to get an early start on my homework. After whizzing through two Spanish worksheets I moved onto my assigned math problems. I got through the first equation with help from my notes, mimicking the one we went through in class. However, the next word problem had me stuck on where to even start. I’d have to save this one for my tutor after school. As I skipped it I realized I’d have to do the same with next one, and then the one after that, and another, and who was I kidding there was no point in continuing.

Why sit and struggle when I could spend my time doing what I really enjoyed. I pulled out the full script of The Things I Hate About You that I tried to discreetly print off using the library’s printer the week before without success. The librarian gave me the stink eye the whole time, not sure what I was up too, but I tried to pass it off as a homework assignment. She wasn’t buying it.

In my English class last year we had a lesson plan on scripts, and I’ve been obsessed with reading them ever since I got my first glimpse. I wanted to write my own someday, but I knew there were so many hidden secrets and rules I had yet to discover. For now I’d stick to studying them, and stepping into the writer’s initial vision.

“Excuse me,” a guy interrupted me when I was halfway through Kat’s dialogue. “I’m sorry I don’t mean to bug you, but are you reading a script?”

I was a little taken off-guard at why he wanted to know, but he wasn’t wrong, “A…yes,” I nodded and he immediately sat down in the chair next to me.

“Cool, I’m James by the way,” he introduced himself quickly, and continued to speed talk through what he had come over to say, “I love screenplays, and no one I ever met understands what is so special about them, but they are amazing right? There is so much thought that goes into these movies that no one ever gets to see. It’s like behind the scenes access. What movie are you reading? I’m reading Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” he continued to ramble without giving me a chance to answer. I laughed at his ability to keep going as if the conversation involved both of us. “Oh no, this is just a homework assignment and I just ambushed you didn’t I,” he cringed. “I tend to do that I’m sorry.”

“No, no, no,” I stopped him from getting up, feeling the need to say it three times to slow him down. “I do read them for fun, I’m reading Ten Things I Hate About You, you are absolutely right about everything you said about screenplays, I loved reading the Monty Python script,” I continued to list, “And my name is Mia. I think that’s everything,” I smiled.

He looked a little embarrassed, but happy at the same time. “I guess I got a little excited. Tell me more.”

Erin: The first seven times I met my best friend we didn’t talk. We were both sat at a bench in the park. I was there every weekend and it was becoming abundantly clear he would be frequently aligning up with my visits. “I’m Kenneth,” I introduced myself one day.

He told me his name that day and that was the end of our conversation. He didn’t want to talk, and to be real, I didn’t when I was there either. A few weeks later as we both sat in silence. He invited me to get brunch with him. We did.

As we worked on our giant omelets we discussed our love of turning off our electronics and spending a few hours when we had a free chance people watching. As we slowly became closer it became abundantly clear we had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. We never talked at the park though. The park was for quiet, reflection, and judging.

Whoop, there it is. What weird things can you come up with that people could bond over?

Writing Prompt: Day 13

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Day 13 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story where someone gives someone else flowers for an unusual reason.

Shannon: I placed the flowers in front of him on the kitchen table. “Who gave you these,” he questioned.

“No one,” I explained, “Actually, they’re for you.”

He gave me a funny look, like I had lost my mind thinking this gift was something he could appreciate. “Why,” he tried to mask his disapproval.

“They’re called forget-me-nots,” I attempted to lead into the true reason.

“Ah,” he flashed a smile with an uncomfortable amount of force. “I like how blue they are,” he humored me. “My favorite color, is that why you picked them out?”

“No,” I sighed. They were a front for what I really wanted to say, the good news before the bad. “I picked them because I want to break up. I’m sorry. I don’t think this relationship is working for either of us anymore.”

He started staring at the petals, and I watched his mouth curve in a sad smirk. He looked blindsided. The one reaction I didn’t want see. “Mmm,” he hummed, “So you are another girl that hates me now?”

I shook my head, “No,” I argued, “Why would I give you flowers if I hated you?”

“I don’t know, I don’t understand you. Why would you give me flowers at all? This isn’t exactly a situation that can be brightened with flowers,” he placed his head in his hands.

I paused, surprised to see him so upset. I didn’t think he would give me the time to explain. “I didn’t buy them thinking they’d be your band-aid. I hate doing this. I can’t stand that just because I don’t want to date you anymore it means I am supposed to say goodbye forever,” my words caused his face to reappear. “I also don’t want your only memory of me to be how we broke up,” the word was harder to say than I expected. “We had some really good times didn’t we,” I smiled, as my eyes started to water.

He nodded.

I reached out to cover my hand over his and squeeze it tightly. “Than promise that when you think of me in the future you’ll remember the good times,” I begged.

He stared for a bit, but his eyes slowly lightened, “Of course. How could I not,” he gestured to the flowers in an attempt to lighten the mood for both of us.

Erin: Logan is my lab partner. He is the quite mysterious black haired kid in the back corner of the room. Sometimes when I look back at him our eyes lock for a moment and he blinks once holding the contact before going back to looking at the professor. I always feel like he knows something I don’t.

As we go through rewording our report to meet the template requirements we were given he slides my computer out of my reach. “What are you doing,” I question, a little skeptical of what my favorites and search history will reveal about me.

“It’s my turn to type,” he doesn’t even look up, just starts transferring our notes.

“Cool,” I oblige. My experience with male lab partners had been spotty. I know that I shouldn’t categorize the bad partners by their private parts. In my defense, at one point in time one of them told me he knew I would do the work if he didn’t, because I was a girl. That slightly justifies my sexism, right?

“You’re very intelligent,” he says in the middle of typing.

“Pardon,” I’m not sure how to react to his statement.

“I’m checking the grammar,” another thing other lab partners “trust me” to do. “How you write shows how smart you are.” He looks up. His eyes are a mix of gray and blue. The muddling of the blue suits him. He holds my eyes longer than he ever does in class.

“Thank you. The fact that you say that, makes you intelligent in my opinion.” He gifts me a chuckle. “I am absolutely famished. Do you want to meet me at the Pizza Pit?”

“You don’t have to invite me,” he offers as we both packed our bags.

“Every rational student has eaten by now. I can’t eat a whole pizza by myself. You’re coming.” Logan has his lip pierced, so when he smiles the metal flashes the light in my eye.

I order without him, because mysterious boy may have stood me up. The bacon chicken ranch pizza is placed on the table and not even seconds later flowers are placed next to them. I shoot my confused eyes to the culprit muddling up the perfect table of pizza. Logan. “Um, they’re just to thank you.” He seems confused by my confusion and the whole restaurant is flooded by discomfort.

“I have to be your lab partner,” I remind. Reaching to the bottom of the physics hat has resulted in me getting flowers from rose tattoo boy, Logan. Logan, is my lab partner. Logan’s flowers look like Logan’s tattoo. I’ve always been well aware of his presence in our class, but the name I learned from the hat of fate.

“Yeah, but you didn’t have to invite me to eat with you. I’ve never been invited to hang out with anyone outside of class,” the blue in his eyes intensifies in the light. His voice is like frosting, I find his statement hard to believe.

“Well oh boy, now that you brought me flowers this is a date,” I shrug.

The blush that overcomes his face gives his harsh appearance an innocence, “this doesn’t have to be…”

“Too late,” I enjoy the red being upped a shade at a time.

“I didn’t mean to make you feel obligated.”

“Hey idiot. I’m smart remember. You brought me flowers for being nice. I want this to be a date,” I take a bite of the pizza. “You’re not vegetarian are you Logan?”

“No,” once his lip ring escapes him pulling it into his mouth it sends off countless happy flashes.

I would give you flowers for reading this, but that seems like…impossible. The story is the only gift we have I guess.

Writing Prompt: Day 12

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Day 12 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story with a heavy focus on numbers.

Erin: At 4:02am I woke up. I ate 20 cheesy chips. After 42 minutes of flipping between 7 channels, I turned off the television. I climbed the 14 steps back to my room. I burrow under the 5 blankets I had piled on my bed.

I slept for exactly 7 minutes. The other 6 hours and 31 minutes were spent pinching my eyes shut and trying to pretend I could control the thrashing of my heart enough to lull into a sleep. My mother checked on me 4 times within the span. She had undoubtedly been up even longer than me. I imagined that pretending to sleep would make her more secure, but my actions may have had the opposite effect.

1/4 of a phone ring sounded. In a millisecond of the ring being cut short my mother’s voice said, “Hello.” My fingers sent out signals to my body telling me it was not the call. There were three more of those while my mother and I complete 5/16 of a puzzle. When the real call came, mom let it ring 4 times. We wanted to know, but then again, we might not have wanted to know. As the fifth ring started she picked up.

She took 20 breaths throughout the call. 2 of them were used on, “Just let me know if my baby girl is okay.” 1 smile spread across her face as she dropped the phone. I was in her arms in an instant and I was no longer concerned with how many happy tears were rolling down my back, just that there were a lot of them.

Shannon: “Number 765 you are in violation of Code 49, what do you think you’re doing in Area 100 at night,” the guard shouted from behind the fence as he pushed the button to light up the number label on my shirt. The new uniform was a permanent nametag to keep us unified and accountable. However, I thought the dress code was more than obnoxious.

“Do you really want an answer or do you just want me to get down,” I yelled back from the tree branch I was sitting on, and then took a deep breath of the fresh air.

He was unlocking the gate door that I had climbed earlier to gain access to my favorite secret spot. “No, I actually would like to know,” he explained once he was standing below me. He was young, somewhere around my age.

“Oh, so you’re not a stiff,” I teased. His number was 601. Not much older at all. “If you must know,” I leaded back into the bark, feeling more at ease. “I like to look at the stars from up here.”

“What is so special about stars that you feel the need to break the law to see them?”

The extra year he had over me hadn’t made him any wiser. “There are so many stars that no one ever takes the time to keep track of them.” I looked up to soak in their power. “They are never labeled with a number, or their place in the sky. They are free to be exactly as they are. I wish I was a star,” I looked down at him with a sigh, depressed at what he might soon take away for good.

His brow furrowed at my desire. “Numbers keep us visible. No one gets left behind anymore. How would you like to be forgotten?” He pointed up at me aggressively, because I was questioning something so engrained in his beliefs.

“I would love to be forgotten,” I hugged the tree in appreciation.

He released a growl. “Get down now 765.”

Numbers, numbers numbers… Most writers hate them. Learn to love them.

Writing Prompt: Day 11

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Day 11 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Better Man by Pearl Jam

Shannon: You need to tell him you’re leaving. You can do this. You are brave. You are important. Willow repeated her pep talk for the hundredth time. He can’t change your mind again. Not this time.

She heard his car pull into the driveway from the bedroom, and immediately her throat started to burn. As he opened the front door and dropped his keys on the table, her hands started to shake. What if I’m wrong? What if my life only gets worse without him? She made an attempt to steady her hands. She took in deep breaths as she counted his footsteps on the stairs. Five more steps, she closed her eyes and in one quiet movement laid back down and covered herself with the blanket. She couldn’t do it. She was a coward who wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

She decided to sleep, too depressed to do anything else. Not long after she heard him turn away to let her rest, she was transported to a different land. Finding herself in a cabin where she was cozying up to the fireplace, memorized by the flames. A man interrupted her with a gift of hot chocolate and she offered him the spot next to her. His eyes were crystal blue, a stark contrast from her husband’s deep brown.

“You’re beautiful,” he praised her as took her first sip. She smiled behind the cup. “Where have you been hiding,” he questioned, lighting up her heart. “Run away with me,” he tempted her.

She laughed. “I don’t know you,” she shook her head.

“You will,” he put out his hand.

That was all she needed. She took his hand and they started running through the building. He lead her outside into the snow, and somehow it wasn’t cold. He picked some up and tossed it in the air above her head letting it fall around her like white glitter. He did the same above his own head and grabbed her hand tightly. They began to float, making her weightless. She felt alive and happy for the first time in a long time. “Willow, Willow,” she heard her name trying to figure out where it was coming from. As it continued she finally realized she was dreaming and had no choice but to go back to her real life.

“I’m sorry about last night. I love you,” he kissed her forehead the second she opened her eyes.

“I love you too,” she lied, wishing he hadn’t woken her up, but she couldn’t live in her dreams forever.

“Are you going to make diner,” he asked with an encouraging smile.

She wanted to cry, but just nodded, finally getting up.

Erin: “You need to leave him,” Liza took a swig of her straight black coffee.

“He said he’s never done this before,” I continued to leave my latté untouched.

“He didn’t have to do it before. He did it last night,” Liza continued to be harsh.

“He’s my fiancé,” I reminded.

“Exactly, which means yours is the only action he should be getting. End of story,” she rolled her eyes.

“Be quiet,” I looked to make sure no one else in the coffee shop was listening. “He is going to be my husband.”

“Have a little respect for yourself, you don’t need to be with a jerk like him,” she let out a grunting scream. “You deserve someone great.”

“Do I deserve kids and my beautiful wedding,” I asked suddenly having a hard time breathing.

“Yes of course, you deserve the world,” she smiled a soft smile.

“I’m 34 he’s the only one who’s going to give me that,” a few tears dropped from my eyes as the realization hit me of what I had said. This was not how my life was supposed to go.

The little smile she had faded. Liza shook her head and stood up, “find a new maid of honor.”

When in doubt a song will help you whip an idea out. Agreed?