Featured

First blog post

Well! I took a deep breath and jumped.

This is my very first blog. I’m kind of nervous and excited to get this started.

I’ve been writing stories on the Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts forum every week for the past two years. It’s been a wonderful learning experience to take their prompts, no matter how weird or specific, and turn them into two or three completely different stories. I’ve written stories on there that I normally wouldn’t have considered writing – science fiction stories, vampire stories, and so on. My fellow forumites, who are awesome writers, have helped me with their suggestions and comments to grow as a writer.

So, after much mental fidgeting and nail biting, I finally decided to create this blog to give my prompt stories a proper home.

Hope you enjoy them!

AK

Advertisements

The Last Bells

Isla’s parents had made a foolish mistake well before she was born. They had found themselves in a tight spot and they were desperate for help.

But no one could help them.

It was a matter of do or die and neither one wanted to die. There was one last hope. One last thing to do.

So, they did it. They called upon the Goblin King to help them. Just this one time.

He played around with his black leather gloves as they begged and pleaded for his help.

He smirked and arched a well-shaped eyebrow. “Will you give me anything I ask for?” he asked. His voice was smooth and pure mercenary.

“Yes! Anything you ask for. Just please help us!”

He pulled a small crystal ball out of the plain air and twirled it around his fingers. “What if I ask for the moon and the stars?”

“We’ll find a way to give it to you.”

He swooped the crystal ball onto his other hand. “And if I ask for your first child’s heart?”

“We are childless. You cannot ask for what we cannot give.”

He tossed the ball at the wife and she caught it. “Sleep with this under your pillow.”

She examined the object in her hand. It looked like a flat river rock.

“I’ll be back in nine months.”

“Wait!” the husband said. “You will give us a child only to steal it away again? That hardly seems fair.”

“Fair? Fair? You think I am unfair?” He strode over to the husband. “I am bending myself over backwards to help you muddling fools. But to even things out, I will wait until the tenth bell has rung. Then, I will come for the child.” He smirked again. “How’s that for fair?”

The husband opened his mouth to object, but it was too late. The Goblin King had disappeared.

***

The wife slept with the river rock under her pillow. She didn’t really believe that it would work. Goblin magic was very trick-oriented. If anything did come about, it would surely be a hideous goblin baby. It would not be her own flesh and blood.

All the same, she slept with the river rock under her pillow.

****

Time moved on as it did, as it always would.

Minutes became days. Days became weeks and months.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine months.

And she was very decidedly pregnant.

She was excited.

She was afraid.

She wanted to keep the child.

She wanted it to wither away.

She wanted it to live.

She wanted it to die.

Most of all, she wanted it to be hers. She wanted it to be the offspring of herself and her husband.

She did not want to give birth to a monster.

***

It was not a monster.

It was a baby as lovely and as perfect as any baby that’s been born. She hugged the baby and sang sweet music to her little girl.

Her little Isla.

Her husband loved his wife. He loved their child.

He feared the Goblin King’s promise.

Ten bells.

What kind of bells? Church bells? Starting when?

If only the Goblin King had stayed a little longer so they could hammer out the specifics. But, of course, the Goblin King was not like that. There was a good reason why the goblins had chosen him to be their king.

***

The couple kept all bells from entering their house. No toy bells. No Christmas bells. No bell-shaped flowers.

They took no chances.

“She will be safe.” the wife said. “Our little Isla will be safe.”

Despite their cautions, the husband worried.

How long could they keep it up? How long could they keep her safe? If bells rang outside their house, would that be the beginning of it all? Or did the bells have to be inside the house?

He cursed the Goblin King’s flippancy.

If only he had stayed long enough to explain! But really? That was too much to ask for.

***

Time passed them by and the curse was kept at bay.

The first year…No bells.

The second year….No bells.

The third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth…No bells.

The husband’s fears abated.

Maybe it would never happen.

Maybe she would be safe.

But the Goblin King never said when the first bell would ring. The husband wondered if it ever would.

***

It was Isla’s tenth birthday and her parents had big plans about how they were going to celebrate.

Isla ran into her parents’ room first thing in the morning to wake them. “Mom! Dad! Come on!” She jumped on the bed and shook her mom’s shoulder. “Coooome on! Let’s go!”

Her mother mumbled something in her sleep. She grabbed the corner of her pillow and rolled on her side, covering the side of her head with her pillow and exposing something unexpected.

A flat gray, river stone lay on the mattress right where the pillow had been. It wasn’t a particularly interesting stone, but Isla picked it up anyway.

She rolled the stone between her fingers: one, two, three, four, five, four, three, two, one.

She liked the way it felt against her skin.

Isla tossed the stone, intending to catch it with her other hand.

But the stone didn’t come down. It hovered in the air and transformed into a large bell.

Isla stood on the bed and reached for the pull rope. She couldn’t explain why, but she felt that it needed to be done.

She pulled the rope.

It rang once in a surprisingly quiet voice for a bell its size. It didn’t even wake her parents.

It disappeared and a slightly smaller bell appeared in its place.

She pulled the rope.

It sounded slightly louder, but barely.

Again, it disappeared. A still smaller bell took its place.

She rang it.

That one was just loud enough to make her mother turn over in her sleep. Her father tossed and turned. “Bells…” he muttered.

She rang the next bell that appeared and the next and the next and the next and the next. Each one grew progressively smaller and progressively louder.

She rang the next bell and her father woke. He sat up straight and glanced around. “What?” He gasped as the tenth bell appeared. “Isla! Get away from there!”

Her mother woke up. “What’s going—-Isla! No!”

The tenth bell was so small it looked like a toy. Or something that would be attached to a stuffed animal’s neck.

Isla smiled at it.

Her father frantically uncovered himself. “Isla! Don’t touch it!”

She wondered how loud this one would be.

Her mother and father tried to grab her.

She took hold of the very small pull rope and pulled it.

“NO!” They cried out in despair.

“What?” She looked back at her parents. “What’s wrong?”

The Goblin King appeared beside the bed. “That was the tenth bell ring.” He held out his hand to Isla. “Come, my child. Come home with me.”

“No! You can’t do this!” her father said. “It isn’t fair!”

“She’s our child!” her mother cried.

“There you go again, complaining to me about being unfair. We made a deal, an absolute bargain and you both agreed to it. Seems plenty fair to me.”

Isla got off the bed and approached the leather-clad man. He took her hand without another word.

They both disappeared.

June Writing Prompts

The Answer To Everything Too Late

On top of the pile was the answer to everything. And even then, there was nothing they could do.

Suzanne picked up the printout from the thick stack of papers near the printer.

She read it over.

She read it over.

She read it over.

Even as the world outside of the office burned, Suzanne read the printout. She smiled. “Look!” she told the empty office. “The answer is right there. The answer to everything. It was here the whole time. If only we had read it in time. We could have made a difference.”

So, I’ll read it over.

For everyone who failed to read it, I’ll read it.

I’ll read it over and over.

The glass windows in the front lobby warped and wobbled and melted into slog. The flames stole into the lobby and devoured everything in sight.

Suzanne didn’t move.

She kept reading the printout.

“The answer is right there. Look, everyone. The answer is right—-”

June Writing Prompts

The Daily Spur Presents…Packing Up

I didn’t think packing up his office would be this difficult. After all, what is an office? Papers and binders and business things.

He was more than all of that.

But as I sit on his office’s hardwood floor and sort through papers and things, I realize that this is something final. This is the last shovel of dirt dropped on his grave.

He will never come back to this office.

He will never sit in his back supporting chair.

He will never meet with his clients.

He will never do so many things.

He will never be here.

He will never be with me.

I will never be able to call him at work and…and hear his voice.

I will never…

And he will never…

I need to stop thinking like this.

I have to box up his things.

I need to remember that they are just things. They are not him. They are not the whole of his life.

I am not boxing him up…but it feels like I am.

I didn’t realize that this would be so hard.

But it is.

https://thedailyspur.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/photo-prompt-130/

First Kiss

Against a hazy backdrop, they kissed until they couldn’t breathe. It was his first kiss. It was her three thousandth, but it felt like her first. Goosebumps made her arm hair stand up straight.

They stared at each other, completely giddy-headed and breathless. They held onto each other’s arms as a balance and a support. “Whoa.” he said.

And she agreed.

They held onto each other, even after their sense of balance returned to normal.

June Writing Prompts

Erica’s Bodyguard

Erica hated having a bodyguard.

Oh, she understood the need for him, especially in her line of work. There was always someone gunning for her head and there always would be. It was unavoidable. It was expected.

She needed him.

That didn’t stop her from wishing she could sneak out of the house and go to a late night rave party. Or run away to the Himalayas. Or go so many other places without her constant shadow.

The trouble was, she had never been without him. She couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t there, standing silently at her side.

What would it be like to escape his continuous presence?

Would it feel like exhilarating freedom? Or gut-clenching fear?

Would she feel vulnerable and exposed?

Would she miss him?

Erica looked at the man standing next to her and she knew.

Without him, she would feel naked.

She would feel uncertain.

She would feel weak.

She would be unable to move.

***

Chris stood at her side as he did.

As he always did.

He would protect Erica.

He would always protect her. It was his job. Without her, he’d be back on the unemployment line.

Without her…

He tried to imagine a life without her.

Where would he go? Where would he live? Who would he be with if he weren’t with her around the clock?

The trouble was, he had been with her for so long. He couldn’t imagine being without her.

He couldn’t imagine a life where he was not protecting her and standing beside her.

Chris cast a furtive look at her.

He didn’t want to imagine a life without Erica, no matter how alluring it might be.

 

June Writing Prompts

She Finally Disappeared.

At the corner of 15th and 8th, she finally disappeared.

It was inevitable. It was bound to happen. It just had to happen and so it did.

But it didn’t happen by accident.

But it wasn’t intentional either.

It was a steady progression.

Over the days.

Weeks.

Months.

Years.

Seconds.

Minutes.

Hours and hours and hours.

She had faded.

The color leaked out of her hair and then it left her face.

Her eyes.

Her skin.

Her fingernails and toenails. She would put nailpolish on them, but the color never stayed.

But she didn’t fade into white or black or even gray. She faded into a nondescript color that wasn’t much of anything. It was too uninteresting to attach a color name to it.

People bypassed her.

People ignored her.

People interrupted her conversations without meaning to be rude.

Her cat ignored her.

Her dog sat at the door wondering when she’d come home, even though she was standing right next to him and patting his head.

Her husband sighed and gave up on ever seeing her again. He sold the house and moved with the dog and the cat to another city. She had packed her suitcases with him and put them in their car. The sight of the old pink suitcase sitting next to his scuffed up brown leather suitcase made him tear up. “I don’t know how it got in the car, but I can’t leave it behind.”

But he left her behind.

She’d run into the house to make sure that the back door light was left on. When she returned to the driveway, the car was gone.

Her cat and dog were gone.

Her husband was gone and she was left alone.

She stood still in a shocked state of mind.

She was all alone and homeless.

She took a step forward, but she couldn’t feel her feet on the ground. She took another step. Same lack of sensation.

But she kept walking.

She had no destination in mind.

No one noticed her.

No one saw her.

People bumped into her without apologizing.

People walked right through her without feeling as much as a cold chill.

She raised her hands in front of her face. She could see through them. The view was warped, like looking through rippled glass.

She put her hand above her heart and wondered when was the last time she felt her chest rise and fall.

She couldn’t remember.

She couldn’t remember what that even felt like, nor the beat of her heart.

She turned the corner of 15th and 8th and it happened.

She finally disappeared.

June Writing Prompts

 

The Shadows

The shadows crept along as the night grew old.
They crept in slithering tendrils with black centipede legs
Skittering and sneaking down the boulevard.

The moon was new and the stars were out cold.
No one saw the shadows creeping along.
No one heard the rushing sklrrr of the shadows’ many legs
As they scurried throughout the night.

June Writing Prompts