Callum looked up at her with his vibrant green eyesRead More
So here’s my writing exercise that relates to Nicole Dragonbeck’s. To reiterate, we didn’t know what each other were writing about. Yet, somehow in five minutes, we managed to write something that seemed to fit almot perfectly together. All I would have to do is change Paul to Daisy!
Paul quickly thumbed through the thesaurus. He had to find the exact right word, but it had to be fast. The derelict library was crawling with cockroaches and it sent shivers down his spine. Twice now, he had to brush them off his pant legs. “Come on, come on, where are you?” He said to the red book in his hands as he flipped through the worn pages. Paul zeroed in on the page, “No, it can’t be”, he breathed. The page had been torn out. Without knowing the synonym for cat, he would never be able to free himself from this hellish dimension.
Magic and a lost love in five minutes. What would you write?
The red and orange leaves swirled in the air around Gabriella. She loved the autumn, it was her favorite season even if the light of the sun shined for less time. She looked down at the fire by her feet, the flames strong, and dropped the golden feather into its center. The feather turned to ash immediately and Gabriella waited with bated breath to see if the summoning spell worked.
“Hello,” she heard a strong voice say behind her. Turning around, Thomas stood before her, but something was wrong, because she could see through him.
I had a lot fun creating such a dire situation in a short amount of time.
“If we don’t figure this out now, tomorrow will never come,” Dorian said in a dire tone as he banged the table in frustration. The pages of the open book in front of him fluttered at the disturbance.
Lara looked pensive, “What about silver?” she blurted out.
“What?” Dorian asked. “What did you just say?”
“Silver,” Lara repeated.
A wide smile spread across Dorian’s face, “Perhaps, the world won’t be coming to an end after all.”
Everyone had a lot of fun fitting the word “stapler” into their exercise. It seems like such a mundane word, but even the mundane can add richness to a scene.
Gavin slowly circled the wooden table and looked at the objects strewn across it. Carefully, he picked up the item that was slender and red, “What is this?” he asked.
“A stapler,” Sandra replied in an exasperated tone. She yanked it out of his hand and put it back on the table. “Look, I know you’re keen to learn all about Earth, but we don’t have time right now,” she pushed Gavin over to the pot that was on the stove. The water was just beginning to boil.
Gavin looked at the pot and its contents then back over at Sandra, “Are you sure you want to proceed? There is no reversing the spell once it’s begun.”
Sandra looked the elf directly in his big green eyes, “I’m sure.”
Feathers floating to the floor always makes me think of magic, so I had no choice other than to put a magical bent on the exercise response below.
Malia accidentally dropped the wicker basket on the ground causing the feathers within to stir in the air. “Wonderful,” she said sarcastically as she watched the beautiful white plumes gracefully float to the floor. Slowly spinning around, she assessed whether anyone else was in view, but she was alone. Malia then closed her eyes and started to chant, her words quiet and invoking the power of the wind. The feathers began to rise and whirled around, gently settling back into their proper place. Malia straightened her skirts and picked the basket back up, whistling all the way back home.
Okay, I was getting tired by the time we got to this writing exercise, so I was happy that I managed to get all of the words into a coherent blurb.
Castile took long slow blinks as he let his eyes adjust to the darkness. He really wished he had had that last cup of coffee the barkeep offered. He stared at the golden idol sitting on a stone pedestal at least twenty feet across from him. The trip had taken much longer than he anticipated, two days to cross the Barren Valley, to the base of the Raven Mountains. Now he
With this story starter, I was lucky and knew right a way that another realm would be discovered.
That’s what the business card read and on the back an address. Cali couldn’t even remember where the card came from or how it got in the pocket of her dark purple leather jacket with fur trim. The strange part was that as soon as she held it in her hand, she felt compelled to go the address. Now she stood in front of a dilapidated building, whose two stories were marred by disuse, its windows broken and walls sprayed with colorful graffiti. Her mind screamed at her to turn around, but her heart told her to move forward, and Cali was never one to listen to reason. Cautiously, she moved through the foreboding entrance way, whose powder black steel and glass door hung precariously by one tarnished brass hinge. The inside of the building looked no better than the outside. Trash was piled in the corners and strewn across the floor, the once white walls speckled black and gray with layers of grime.
Why am I here? She thought, but something was pushing her onward until she came face to face with the gold mirrored door of the elevator. Its surface was caked with dirt, but not enough to completely obscure her reflection, which caught her off guard. In it, she saw her dark denim skinny jeans, black calf high boots, and white turtleneck sweater go out of focus. A floor length silver gown that set off her long dark hair, chocolate eyes, and hugged her curves in all of the right places, replaced them. She squinted in an effort to make the hazy image sharper, but the strain seemed to push it further away until it disappeared, revealing her familiar appearance once more.
Without warning, as if they had a mind of their own, the elevator doors slid apart, beckoning her inside. Once again, the thought of turning back occurred to her, but how could she? Cali always loved a good mystery and here one was begging for her exploration, so she stepped inside, the doors closing behind her immediately, which set her heart racing. The interior of the elevator was lit only by one dim light that was recessed in the ceiling of the car. It was enough to show her a panel of buttons, one of which was labeled with the number of a nonexistent floor. Her stomach tied in knots due to a mixture of nerves and excitement, so with a shaking slender finger, she pushed the button with the number “three” written next to it. The motor screeched to life above her, the long disused cables straining from the effort of pulling the car up the shaft.
Cali’s heart pounded furiously until it was the only sound that filled her ears. That’s when the car abruptly came to a stop, causing her to stumble backward, and the dim light turned off, casting the car into darkness. The absence of light was oppressive and made it difficult for her to breathe. Keep calm, she chanted to herself while she felt around the walls for the buttons, hoping that pushing them would set her free. Cali had frantically pushed all of the buttons she could find when the doors opened of their own accord letting in a blinding light, as if they had opened onto the sun. Cali squinted and strained to see what lay beyond, but to no avail. She looked around, realizing that she couldn’t stay in the elevator and so, stepped forward. Crossing the threshold felt as if she were pushing through water, like crossing some kind of barrier.
Once through, Cali realized that she left behind the stale air of the elevator and breathed in deeply. The air here smelled as sweet as honey. She also found herself in a forest whose trees were as tall as skyscrapers and leaves so green they looked to have been painted. When her eyes adjusted to her new surroundings, a tall muscular man with cobalt blue hair and silver grey eyes stood in front of her. His full pink lips housed a smile that warmed Cali from head to toe.
“Calista,” he whispered, “thank the four winds that you found the beacon,” he said with relief as he pointed at the business card still clutched in her hand. Cali looked at it with surprise as it morphed into a smooth triangular wooden talisman. “You’ve been gone for so long, I was afraid it wasn’t strong enough to bring you back home.” Her lack of response caused the man’s smile to twist into an expression of worry. “Try to remember,” he urged. “You left one year ago for your walkabout among the humans.” Cali’s brow was still furrowed with confusion, so he continued. “You were gone longer than normal. Our memories begin to fade when we’re away from our world for extended periods of time.” Still, he saw no recognition on her face. With a hint of desperation, he said, “Maybe a change of clothes will help,” and then snapped his fingers.
Her outfit was once again replaced by the silver dress she saw reflected in the elevator doors. It felt warm and familiar against her skin. She approached him, her heart pushing her forward, the soft grass cushioning her bare feet as she walked. Cali studied his every feature, the angles of his jaw, the endearingly crooked bend to his nose, and the beautiful way his dark eyelashes fanned out around his almond shaped eyes. He breathed in sharply as she ran her dainty hand through his thick hair revealing his pointed ears and then moved to caress his cheek. “Micah,” she said softly, recognition lighting her eyes.
Relief flashed across his features as he gently rested his forehead against hers. “Welcome home, my love.”
Books are doorways to other worlds, sometimes literally…
The young man, wearing a tweed suit and spectacles, was absent-mindedly brushing the spines of the dusty books as he walked down the path between the bookcases. He was deep in thought, but a glare coming from his left pierced through the flurry of activity in his mind. Annoyed at the interruption, the young man came to an abrupt stop and turned to see the source of the problem. As soon as he did, he stood there transfixed. A fragile looking black leather bound book, entitled “Your Story”, which he’d never seen before, was glowing. Entranced, he picked it up causing the glow to become brighter. He opened the book, and the pages began to flutter in a sudden wind that grew to encompass him. He was gone, the book now occupying the spot on the floor where the young man was moments before.
These three words had beauty regime written all over them, but I couldn’t make it normal.
Tanya’s daily beauty regiment was strict. Every morning and evening it consisted of a shower, filing her long nails, and plucking unsightly hairs with tweezers. Tonight, however, proved to be increasingly problematic as she had a date and her evening plucking was taking, what felt like, forever. She scowled at herself in the mirror and then let out a groan as she noticed her fangs, which weren’t there a moment ago. Tanya, in a panic, unlatched the window in her green and white bathroom and peered up into the clear star speckled night sky. “Damn,” she said as she stamped her foot when she saw the full moon rising in front of her. With frustration, she walked over to the phone and dialed her date, “Hey Lucus,” she said when he picked up, “we need to reschedule. Something’s come up.”
I really loved the idea of the sunglasses being a way for someone to see things others could not.
Anne glared at a woman wearing skinny jeans and a black flowing tunic top from behind her sunglasses. She could understand why everyone in the train station was staring. She was stunning, with her blue eyes and the striking contrast between her very pale skin and hair as black as a raven. It’s a pity they couldn’t see what the glasses allowed her to see, which was her true form underneath the glamour. The twisted frame, pot belly, and jagged fangs that protruded from the demon’s mouth were truly grotesque. It was stalking a little girl who was whining about the heat on the busy train platform, so Anne hurriedly pushed her way through the crowd and just as the train came into view, tripped the demon sending it tumbling in front of the train and kept on walking. Some hunters may think her nonchalance was rude, but she preferred to think of it as calculated efficiency.
For me, this story starter was a lot of fun. A main character who dies time and again, but this time coming back to life even throws him for a loop, had a lot of possibilities. It inspired me to dabble in both time travel and magic, which was particularly great because it gave me the opportunity to incorporate my love of sci-fi with fantasy. The Mummy, Highlander, Doctor Who, and Jane Austen were all influences while I wrote this story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
To Jason: I’m sorry it took so long. I hope you like it!
All right, I remember dying. Again. Well, not like it was the first time, or the tenth, for that matter. But I remember a car accident…and this place looks like it’s never even heard of cars.
There was nothing from here to the horizon that even indicated there was another living soul nearby. After coming back to life so many times over the last few centuries, I had grown used to waking up in strange places. Never had I found myself in the same place that I had died. As if dying and coming back to life wasn’t disorienting enough, but practice has made acclimating easier even if it still took time to recover my memories.
Pulling myself up to a standing position, I cracked my neck. It felt unusually stiff and then I remembered the sharp pain I felt when my neck snapped as my car careened off of the cliff and impacted into the ground. It was a quick way to go, I’d give it that. Far less painful than some, but not one I’d care to repeat. As I remembered the specific how of this death, something else came to mind…the anger I had felt, the desperation, and the surprise when I pressed the brakes on my brand new car and nothing happened. I had been murdered, but I couldn’t remember why.
Hours had passed since I began wandering across the field I had woken up in, and still nothing. Not only could I not remember who it was that would want me dead, but I also began to wonder if I’d ever see civilization. It was beautiful though. The grass seemed greener than normal, the sky so clear and blue, and the air sweet. It reminded me of when I grew up, when the earth and the sky were still pristine, relatively untouched by the march of progress of man. It was eerily familiar.
Everything about this resurrection felt different, felt wrong, and there was a niggling feeling that I couldn’t quite settle upon. Every time it felt close enough to identify, it would recede into an untouchable part of my memory. So I did my best not to focus on it in the hopes that it would come into view on its own. But being all alone, surrounded by nothing but land and air made it difficult to stay distracted and keep my mind blank. I found my thoughts involuntarily drifting back to when I was a young man, to the day I first died. It started out as any other. I donned my cap and made my way to the stables to begin my day’s work. It was a job that I enjoyed immensely. The horses and I had a bond, and I do believe they were as happy to see me as I them and every time I would see the stable come into view I would break out into a smile and run the remaining distance to the entrance. Immediately I would get to work, picking up the pitch fork, so I could muck out the stalls. Granted this was my least favorite part, but if I did it first, I could spend the rest of the day grooming the horses and shining the saddles.
That day in particular, I had hopes of the master giving me permission to ride. He did so once every month as a reward for my hard work. He was a generous man and all of his servants respected him and that day I was going to choose Shade. He was a black horse with white spots, fifteen hands tall, beautiful lines and my favorite. I gave him a sugar cube when I came towards him, which he happily took out of my hand, then I gently patted him on his side as I moved into the stall to clean. It was then that I heard muffled sounds coming from a stall farther down. No one should have been there. It was just after sunrise. Taking a pitchfork firmly in hand, I went to investigate and the sounds grew louder as I approached the stall on the far end. My pulse was racing. Taking a slow breath to gather my courage, I peered into the stall and my eyes grew wide.
The mistress of the house in her fine green velvet dress was carrying on with the master’s friend, Duke Elton. A sound of surprise escaped my lips and they turned towards me. Fear creased the mistress’s brow upon being discovered, but there was something about the Duke’s eyes that was eerie and unsettling. The blacks of his eyes seemed to expand until no white was visible. My breath hitched as I stumbled backwards trying to maintain the distance that the Duke was steadily closing. I moved to position the pitchfork between myself and him then realized I had dropped it in my surprise. The Duke had it now and he pointed the sharp tines in my direction. They began to glow as he chanted something I didn’t understand. Then I felt an excruciating pain pierce my chest. I remember looking down at the pitchfork protruding from my body, still curious as to why it was glowing, but the last thing I remembered as my life faded away was the satisfied smile that sprawled across the Duke’s face.
I hadn’t thought about that day in a long time. It was clear that that moment is what cursed me with my current inability to stay dead. Or was it a gift? I could never decide. But why remember it now? The pain I felt in my feet from the hours of walking broke through my thoughts and I paused to look around and my jaw dropped. In front of me, as if no time had passed, was the stable. It was something I would never forget. Its white walls still a welcoming sight. I ran over to it, ignoring the painful protest coming from my feet, and peered through one of its several windows and there, in the first stall, was Shade. How is this possible? But that question would need to be answered later because the Duke walked in, and I would recognize him anywhere. He carried in his right hand a glass of wine which he sat down on the top of a barrel. He took out a silver blade that glinted in the sun and started chanting. He dragged the blade across his palm causing blood to flow, then let it drip into the cup mixing perfectly with the contents. The mistress of the house, wearing the same green velvet gown I had remembered, entered the stable. “My dear Duke,” she said, “my husband has been looking everywhere for you.”
“Well, you’ve found me,” he replied. “As you can see I was about to enjoy a glass of wine. Would you care to join me?” She looked at him a bit hesitant, but then seemed to think it the polite thing to do, because she said, “Very well.” He handed her the glass he had just spelled and she drank from it. Duke Elton looked quite pleased as he escorted her back to the main house. That niggling feeling in my mind began to eat away at me again, but this time I chased it until it was tangible. Excitement and confusion rushed me when I seized upon the truth. It was the Duke. He murdered me…again. Pieces came flooding back. My running into the Duke at the coffee shop, his unnerving interest in Emily, the love of my long life. I had to get back to her…somehow. I knew with every fiber of my being that she was in grave danger and I was the only one who could save her. In fact, I was on my way to do just that when…I moved to rub my neck once more.
I don’t know how the Duke managed it or if it was his intention, but he had sent me back in time. The question was, how do I get back? I shoved my hands into my pockets frustrated when I felt a piece of paper. Taking it out, I unfolded it. The text was familiar and the paper watermarked with the Duke’s family crest. I wished that I could remember how I got it. I looked at the Latin text more closely and, to my surprise, translated it easily. My memory was still spotty, but clearly I had taken the trouble to learn it. It was the spell that had sent me back in time, I was sure of it. According to the spell, the final thought at the time of death would seal the outcome. As I plunged to my death, I remembered that I was thinking of the first time the Duke killed me and I ended up here.
Every nerve ending seemed to be set on fire as I decided on a plan. I cautiously made my way into the barn remembering that the master of the house always kept a pistol hidden under the floor boards of the farthest stall in case of an emergency. It didn’t do me any good all those years ago, but… I pried up the floor board and removed the weapon, the irony of the situation not lost on me. This is where I died the first time. The gun felt heavier in my hand than I expected, cold and devoid of feeling. It was difficult to get a comfortable grip. Standing on the very spot I had died centuries before, gun in one hand and the spell in the other, I thought to myself, this has to work. I raised the gun to my temple and spoke the spell aloud, letting thoughts of Emily fill my mind. Our first meeting, her brown wavy hair cascading down around her shoulders, the blue of her dress setting her eyes a glow and a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts. As the picture of her enveloped my senses, I felt a sense of calm and certainty take root. I felt a smile spread from ear to ear and I pulled the trigger.