Sunday, July 29, 2012


Another 13 minute writing exercise. I find it interesting to look back and see two stories in a row with blood in them. Hmmm - I wonder what that says about me. 

Prompt: Wings

Seamus saw blood. It was dark and sticky and it covered the feathers on the back porch. He stooped to pick up a discarded wing, unfolding the feathers and holding them up to the light. It was nice to know they would have meat tonight, but he hoped Shanna didn't make it into stew. She made everything into stew – even the tender brace of bunnies he'd snared two nights before. Stews stretched their meager supplies, though. He couldn't argue with that.

He dropped the wing carelessly, not bothering to watch it flutter to the ground, lifeless. He pushed open the door while shrugging off his canvas bag. It was empty of food, so he carefully placed the 6 shells he had for his shotgun in it before hanging it on the nail on the hall wall. He heard laughter, tinkling and bright. It shot a smile to his lips before he could even acknowledge Tany was here. Tany was hilarious! She was also cute and a great hunter. He walked into the mud room, pulling off his tattered gloves.

He stepped into the living area, feeling the blush of the heat from the fire roaring in the pit. He looked around the room at faces he had come to love in the past 6 weeks. It was amazing how they were sworn enemies back then, but now they had come together as survivors. Petty disagreements and land ownership were things of the past. Nothing mattered but getting through each day alive. There were so many empty chairs already. The thought tightened his smile, and the light went out of his eyes. Sweeping a glance across the group, landing a moment on Tany brought it back.

Their eyes met briefly, and he saw her spirit buoyed as well by that brief contact. He dipped his head and eyes in case she could read his desire. He didn't want to be obvious – there were no guarantees and this wasn't the time or place to be thinking of starting a family. It wasn't just the fire that tinted his cheeks red.

This was fun. There were several different takes on the prompt from our group of writers. I love seeing diversity. Give this prompt a try, and let me know how you do. I'd love to read your work!


Friday, July 20, 2012

The Color Of

It's time for another writing exercise. Have you tried these yet? I find them very relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Again, the limit was 13 minutes.

This prompt was to write a piece that was inspired by a color; but with the twist that you cannot mention the color in your story.
It was dark. Pain was global. I couldn't reach through the fog to find anything else. Just pain. It took a lot of focus just to breathe. I delved a little deeper, set my focus, and reached out. Beyond the pain was a sticky substance on the floor. I reached a little farther. I could feel the edge of metal in the concrete. That must be some sort of frame or support for the room. It was sticky too.

I tried to twist my hand to grab that sliver of metal. I slipped on the sticky substance. It wasn't tacky, but slick now. I raised my fingers to my nose, and sniffed. My hand smelled of iron and protein, like raw hamburger. I really wanted some light, just so I could see. I thought about that for a minute. If I could see, would it paralyze me with fear? Maybe. So maybe, I didn't need to know what color this liquid was. Maybe I needed to put that out of my head completely.

My hand slipped and pain shot through the dark like a knife of white light deep in my skull. I was injured, and I kept forgetting. Probably, that was the result of a brain injury. Still, I could not bring the recent events to my consciousness, and I couldn't figure out just where I was. I lay still, letting go of the thin rail of metal in the concrete.

I focused on my breathing, and pushed the pain as far back as I could. It felt like trying to push the canvas away from a collapsed big-top at the circus. I rested, then pushed again at my mind. My fingers rubbed the liquid, acknowledging the viscosity of the liquid that was both sticky and slick. It was like honey mixed with transmission fluid. Again, I pushed conscious thought down and tried to probe my memory.

Sudden light filled my mind. Hot, explosive light seared away every dimension of what I hoped to see. I paused, breathed, then tried again more slowly. The events came clearer. There was a jeep. We were driving... where? To Inchon. Of course! We were on our way to bring supplies to a forward aide station. The big cross on our hood decried our duty and was our promise of safe passage.

We heard a whistling sound that had a certain keening edge to it. Incoming mortar! Our driver reacted to the sound more than what he thought he saw. He swerved left, meeting no resistance and seeing no actual threat, he jerked back to the right. We met the mortar there, just against the rock cut next to the road. The noise was so loud it extinguished itself. I don't know how long we lay waiting for help. I didn't remember being picked up or transported, but here I was. Alone, so far as I could tell. Wondering what color this liquid was, here in my makeshift prison. I knew what color it would be. I didn't need the light. It was blood red.
Pick a color and see where it leads you. I hope you'll find these little assignments fascinating!

Ta for now,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Running the Sky

Here we are dearies - the studio and an illness (or 3) have kept me away from sharing the writing exercises with you. This exercise came in the form of a visual prompt. It is an elevated walkway in the rainforest canopy of Borneo. I'm not posting the actual photo because I want it to be clear it isn't mine. Click here if you'd like to see it. Now, here's my story.

It was running day. She hated running day. Hated it. She was the best from her village though, so every running day she was picked to do it. Run the letters between villages. She pulled on her shoes, putting each toe into it's little glove-like sleeve, and cinching them tight. She did love the little details of her run. The way she felt every little thing through her skin-thick shoes. The way the air moved through her hair when she ran. The monkeys squealing to their mates about her coming through the canopy. The chatter of bugs running away from the vibrations as she made her way along the trail.

She stopped by the ministry to pick up the satchel with all the precious missives that needed to make their way to people of other villages. She had never received a letter herself. She wondered what it must be like, opening a small parcel, turning over a small card. She didn't get to stay long enough to find out. She just dropped the bundles and continued on to the next stage. Mail ran early in the day or late in the afternoon, depending on what came in to the central depot and how urgent the request was. Fortunately, if she ran one mail stop, then someone else would be selected to run the second. But she mostly ran the route every day.

She peeked into the satchel, and saw only 3 bundles. Maybe she would be back in time to go diving with her friends. She pulled each bundle out. The first was the next village down the road, the second went to the fourth village, but the last package was the very last stop. No chance she would be back in time to play. That was just her luck. Darn. She picked up a skin of water, a packet of nuts and two bananas. That was one perk of running the mail. She got extra food this way. It was really important, she knew, because there seemed to never be enough to ration around to all the hungry mouths. She tipped back a cup of coffee, enjoying the almost hot burn as it went down her throat. She stepped out into the cool morning air, adjusting the band on the satchel and stretching her legs and arms gathering in every last morsel of oxygen her body could hold.
She took a few tentative steps, then started to trot. Soon she was flying along the wooden boards, her hair streaming out behind her. The nearest monkeys called to their neighbors, as if saying "The time has come!" She ran, enjoying the feel of the muscles and the comfortable whoosh of air in and out of her lungs. This was made just for her. She never felt bad about delivering the mail, even in the worst of weather. Yet she always found it so hard to get going.

Her mind drifted, images of her friends, and her family waiting below. She knew they would still be snuggled in their beds in the cool morning air. She came to the first rounder, and took the right hand side. Each tree was different, and so the rounder path was longer on one side or the other. She knew them by heart. She could run this in her sleep.

There was only the lightest of dew today. Her feet felt the grooves in the planks of the trail. She knew when she stepped on a knot, or a nail or even just a leaf. Her shoes had cost her father a month's pay, so she treasured them. She imagined that the shoes knew how important and vital they were to her, and seemed to help her get the most out of her senses.

The path was sturdy. She knew some of the village kids had trouble coming up to the canopy, but it was the only safe way to travel between villages now. The local drug lords fought turf wars between the village borders, so the only safe way to go was by canopy paths. She spent most of her days up here - watching the birds, following the paths of the monkeys swinging from branch to branch, talking to the security guards and getting news from all around their mountain and valleys. It was very stimulating - much more so than working on baskets or cooking if she stayed down in the village all day. She was too old to go to school now, but didn't have a job, either.
I'd love to hear what you think of this. Remember, it's a writing exercise - we only had 13 minutes to complete it with no prep time. It's incomplete, but one day it may evoke a full novel. 

Try your hand at it - if you want to share, link me to it in the comments. I'd love to see what you come up with!