Writing Prompt: Day 182

182.jpgDay 182 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about outgrowing something.

Shannon: When I was little I had collection of stuffed animals that I slept with every night. They were a security blanket of some sort, and company as I traveled into my dreams alone. As I grew, more and more stuffed animals got kicked off the bed until one day I didn’t need any company from my squeezable friends. I was no longer afraid to be alone, not in my dreams and not in real world.

Erin: I literally could not stand living there anymore. I know most people who get to this point will say that their parents are driving them crazy, or they need privacy. That wasn’t it for me, I just outgrew the place. Quite literally. My body was too big for my bed. My head hit the doorways. Home was no longer a safe space for me, so I knew I needed to find my next one.

What’s being grown out of?

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 182

  1. There was a nervous energy as Dryad Society members passed each other in the hallways, flinching away when yellow-eyed students trailed too close, and the curious looks we could feel from the normal people. In all honesty, it was the people without powers, who were out of the loop and vulnerable, that I felt the most concern for; they weren’t even supposed to be at the campus, let alone directly in the line of fire. Every night I felt their horror and terror swimming through my dreams like unseemly creatures from the deepest depths of the ocean, making my stomache turn and a silent scream rise to my lips. Of course, their fears are just that, fears, but they made for amazing fodder when a society is trying to fuel the anxiety we already felt.
    Most nights lately, I felt myself drift in and out of deep sleep when the nightmares were too much; I couldn’t help an entire school to shake off their bad dreams. Sometimes I simply slept through the dark hours and rose with the brilliant sun, but others I would attempt to fix specific dreams. I would wander through the realm of dreams and find the worst nightmare on the block and tame it until the sleeper could sleep soundly again, even in this time of uncertainty and chaos. Lately that valley held some of the most horrifying reveries anyone could imagine, but I feared those were the innermost thoughts of the yellow-eyed dreamers, because I couldn’t find a soul to calm.
    Mira’s dreams were filled with nothing but whirling clouds and rivers of blood that travelled through a world where the dirt had been scorched by a thousand suns. Though they were a marvel to behold, from a distance, they made my skin crawl to think of and always left a tang of blood on my lips when I woke up. When I drew close enough to her mind, she felt my presence and an otherwise calm scene would turn into a roiling storm with yellow turtles raining from the sky or the smell of apple trees burning to the ground. If I hadn’t felt a painful mixture of horror and loathing toward Mira, I might have felt admiration at her fantastical dreams.
    As it was, though, I grimaced my way through the valley of dreams and tried my best to keep the anxiety at a sustainable level so that no students were burning out, but neither was I.

    Jogging around the corner toward the Dryad headquarters, I felt a brush of something ice cold tingle across my skin, catching my attention so much that I nearly fell over my own feet. Beside me was a girl with storms in her eyes and the merest glint of yellow that could have been lightning if I didn’t know any better. With a tense glance about us, I inclined to whisper in her ear, “What do you want, Audra?” Everyone was being very cool with the would-be spy; no one was absolutely certain where her loyalties lay, being that she claimed to both societies that she would go undercover for them. I was no exception to this rule, unless you counted the dream aid that I offered any member.
    “I need to talk to you and Elsa; I have a plan,” she growled back, pretending to check her phone absently. As soon as the words were uttered, she turned round and was stalking down the hall, through a gaggle of girls chatting about their history lessons in high-pitched voice, and was out of sight before I could comprehend her meaning. Clearly she wanted to speak with us in the headquarters, but I was wary of her reason. Plans were forever being thought up, partially crafted with intricate details, thrown together at the end, but not actually executed.
    Gently leaning against the wall behind me, I considered heading to the Dryad Society, which was where I’d been aiming to go anyway, but thought better of it. Even if Audra did need me for her plan, she could speak with Elsa first; if it had any merit at all, she would contact me for an official meeting. Otherwise, I didn’t want to be a part of it.
    Unhitching myself from the wood panelling without being too obvious, I started off toward my dorm room at a fair gait, not wanting to be caught by Audra again. Past the trees dripping with stale rainwater and into the lobby, I hurried, passing only a few people I knew by name, but not stopping to chat. When I was standing before my door, I could hear muffled voices on the other side that sounded terse and loud. The calm, quiet undertone was Karla clearly fighting to keep a hold of the moral high ground with her tone and thought-out arguments; all she really needed was a tune and she could win any disagreement, even if she didn’t know it. When the other voice got even louder, clearly shouting in our small room, I leaned against the thin wooden door to hear what they were saying.
    “-would they tell you if they were? I mean, they don’t need a normal chick like you learning about them, do they? Do they!?” she bellowed right through the door and into my head like a jackhammer. They must be talking about us; the White Rose Society, the Dryad group or both.
    When Karla murmured her reply, the other woman cut her off with a snarky sneer as she clicked something and jiggled something else nearby. The door swung open to reveal Karla’s petite frame slouched in her desk chair, looking defeated and a strange, dark-haired woman with nose ring practically growling at me.
    “Yeah, see, eavesdroppers, you must be with them, right?” she glared, her eyes growing darker by the minute.
    Letting out a tiny laugh, Karla stood up and peered around at me with her big brown eyes glistening with unshed tears. “Elle, that’s my roommate, Sophia. Sorry we were being so loud, Soph,” she apologised without taking her eyes away from mine in a silent plea. As I straightened myself up and stepped easily across the threshold, I dropped my bag on my bed and stood guarding my side of the room from the interloper.
    With a tentative gaze at my stance, Elle shut the door with a thud and locked it, turning back to her conversation. “So she’s cool?” she asked Karla with a pointed glance in my direction. Karla sat back down in the chair and nodded silently, sinking into her own thoughts. Grinning mischievously, Elle started at the beginning, “So, you’ve probably heard the rumours about there being these secret societies that have been at war for centuries, right?” Without waiting for any form of response, she continued energetically, “Well, see, one of them is apparently responsible for those illnesses and the departures, oh, and the deaths. There have been at the very least two so far. Anyway, Karla here figures if she knew any of the members of either group that they’d tell her.” At this she guffawed and rolled her eyes like a child. “Yeah, right, so I figure we oughd’a find where they meet and tell that other group to get off their arses and do somethin’ before this gets any more outta hand, right?” Eyebrows raised dangerously, she stood without moving or breathing, waiting for a positive response.
    “Uh, yeah, I agree?” I answered in a feeble voice, sweat prickling at my neck.
    When Elle didn’t move, I was about to repeat my reply when a toothy grin broke out wider and yellower that before and she clapped her hands loudly. “Well, o’ course you agree! I gotta go find that contact I was talkin’ to ya ‘bout, ‘kay, Karla? Bye now,” she yelled as she shut the door behind her, taking her overbearing presence with her.
    “Sorry,” was all Karla said in a monotonous, dejected tone as she turned back to her studying.
    I pretended to do work for a little while as Karla finished up some diagrams for a class before I could take the tension no longer. Packing my bag again, I sighed, “Hey, gotta head back to the library. Talk to you later, yeah?” When Karla looked up at me, I could see the deadness everyone else was feeling mirrored an amplified as though her face were a funhouse mirror. After a curt nod, she turned back to the boring work ahead of her and I headed out the door.
    Locking the dorm, I slipped my keys into the safety of my pocket and headed back along the winding trail to the building that housed the entrance to our headquarters. Back where I’d begun the days’ outing, I felt a sense of déjà vu settle on my stomache like a brick that sloshed around uncomfortably as I finally made my way to the secret door. Really, as far as secret entrances could go, ours was as boring as you could get; but obviously no one entered without permission, so I guess it did the job. Through the door I went and down into the warm, empty meeting room.
    Usually there were at least a couple students hanging around in the headquarters, but since the departure of a lot of our members, the room felt lonely and cold. As soon as I put my bag down, though, Elsa shot into the room from the next hallway with her brow furrowed and her airy attitude downtrodden. Even the phantom breeze that held up her skirts when she moved was still and the light in her eyes was dim. “Sophia, finally you’re here,” she breathed, leaning against one of the high-backed armchairs gratefully. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there was a third, mortal group that she needed to be aware of. “Audra has a great idea about how to use your powers to deter the Mira and her crew from attempting the rituals ever again. I’ll explain in the next room, come on.”

    I stepped unsteadily out into the center of the stage, my legs shaking and my breath coming in spurts that left me light-headed. Set up in front of me, through the pitch darkness, was a small carpet that was meant for me to sit on, though it wasn’t a requirement of the spell. When I felt the frayed edge with my toe, I bent to kneel on it, turning to sit cross-legged in the empty and dark theatre without a pinch of grace. Though I couldn’t see anything at all, I felt the eyes of my peers locked on to the place where they knew I’d be, concentrating on my presence as I prepared myself.
    It was simple enough; I was going to scare the entire White Rose group into not wanting to continue on with their ritual by showing them the death and destruction I’d seen in my own dream. If any of them had any scrap of decency in them, they’d realize that the senseless murder of innocent people wasn’t worth whatever they expected to get out of it. But as I dove into a meditative state, I had to first pass through my friends’ dreamscapes on the way to our enemies.
    Spread out before me were all the deepest fears they held in vivid, horrifying colour, but I passed them by without too much thought. As I stalked down one wing, I finally found Mira’s dream and prepared to complete the spell that would make her dream seem too real; there had been a disclaimer about the potential to kill the subject, which wouldn’t have been a mark on me. Speaking the words clearly in my mind, I concentrated on her yellow-shelled turtles and released them into her nightmare larger than life and out to kill her. But, as I stood looking through the window, I could see no giant turtles, nor Mira screaming and running for her life.
    I drummed my fingers irately on my knee and moved on to the next subject, having decided she was simply too powerful for my energies to affect as much as I’d hoped. Instead, I came upon Brennan, her second in command’s, dreams and watched them for a while. Shrieking through a landscape of stray lightning bolts and uncontrollable clouds, I watched him cowering like the weakling he was and laughed. This time, I concentrated on the clouds themselves and wished them to be more terrifying than even the master of mist could control. Again, the spell failed to work its magick, and I was beginning to get annoyed with myself. I knew I was more powerful than this, but I couldn’t make it work.
    For hours I flitted around to different dreams, feeling the weight of each one I visited drop on my metaphorical shoulders, but the enchantment never worked. Just as I was turning my back on a house that was burning down with a students’ finished homework and loved ones trapped inside, I felt something creaking in a faraway corner of my mind. Whatever it was, the noise was getting louder like the sound of glasses shattering on a tiles floor, but I couldn’t see it. Squinting into the distant end of the valley, I gasped as a murky cloud of deepest black moved as fast as lightning across the massive landscape. I breathed out and willed myself to wake up, expecting to be met with the same pressing darkness when I opened my eyes.
    Instead, I was greeted with the image of hundreds of horrible dream creatures crawling about the brightly-lit theatre and Elsa leading a pack of terrified Dryad members on a hunt to fight them back. The spell had gone wrong and instead of keeping the creatures trapped in their dreamers heads, larger than life, it had let them outgrow the realm of dreams entirely. Hopping to my feet, I joined the crew in fighting off the dreams until we could figure out what to do about them.


  2. In the morning, Susan came down the stairs to over half a dozen young adults. She watches from the stair base as Heather moves fluidly through the room, calling out to different people, asking questions, and keeping August two arms lengths away from the stove. Finn says something and Heather laughs.
    Susan smiles, then joins the kitchen crowd. “Hey Mom, what do you want?” Heather asks.
    “Morning to you. Eggs, thank you.” Susan looks around, “Where’s your grandmother?”
    “She’s sleeping. And grandpa’s out to work, doing something-” Heather slaps Josh’s hand as it gets close to the eggs, “Wait until it’s on your plate, please.”
    “Fine…” Josh sits at the kitchen table, mock pouting.
    “How is she so… awake?” Jacey asks.
    “Hospitality and a habit of racing the sun,” Susan says. Everyone stops and looks at her. She’s smiling at Heather, sighing sadly.
    When everyone is eating or out among the farm, Heather follows her mom to the laundry room in the basement. “Mom? What’s wrong?”
    “Nothing’s wrong,” Susan says.
    “Mom,” Heather pulls her hands away from the laundry basket. “Talk to me.”
    Susan looks at her daughter. Heather watches her face morph into what it looked like before. “You have friends. Each time you leave, you come back with skills I never thought I’d see. You are still so… so…”
    Susan brushes the hair away from Heather forehead and tucks it behind her ear.
    “So… you,” Susan smiles, “My little girl, your father’s princess, you’re still there, it’s just…”
    “I’m so proud of you,” Susan whispers, “so proud. You aren’t alone, you know what you want and you now have that.” Susan takes Heather’s hand, “But I understand. You don’t need me.”
    “No, Mom, you’re wrong. I do need you,” Heather insists.
    “Not to hold your hand,” Susan shakes her head, “not to show you what to do. I’m your mother, but I’ve done all I can to help you in this world.”
    “…And if I think otherwise?” Heather asks slowly.
    Susan moves Heather’s face to look her in the eye, “You are lying to yourself.”


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