Author Site for C S Perry

Writing Prompts

Original Writers Prompts from CS Perry:                           — Check back often for new Prompts  

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Challenge: For the brave — Post your work from these Prompts in the comments below. (All work so posted will remain your property.) Occasionally, I may, with your permission, post these stories or scenes for all to see.

You wake to a gawdawful racket coming from your front yard. When covering your head with a pillow does not allow you to go back to sleep you investigate. When you open the curtains, you see nothing but black birds, crows, ravens, with a smattering of vultures. All of them facing your house and calling. The sun has crested the horizon, and you can see clouds of black birds flying in your direction. Several of the nearest birds fly up and a larger creature lands, it is bird-shaped but also roughly humanoid. It points a winged arm at you and begins a slow, steady walk towards you. Birds jump out of its way but light where the creature’s foot had been. —+— What have you done to deserve this visit? What does the bird prince/princess want with you? Tell us the story, choose your point of view, bird or human.

Your army has been victorious. It marches home across the ashes and corpses of your defeated enemy. You plan a celebration for their reunion with country, home, and family. Yet, a trusted courier arrives and states, “Your Highness, those that return are not who they were. Arch-Mage Farilan, the strongest mage on the planet by a factor of ten, has cursed and infected them with a plague that shall render your kingdom down to a realm of undead, bloodsucking monsters that must consume each other. If you do not stop them before they enter your borders, everyone shall perish. The returning army outnumbers your home guard ten to one. Only one will survive in the end, and that one is you, Your Highness. Your ultimate destiny will be to wander the planet in search of food but never dying. Even now, on their return, your soldiers are falling on one another. —+— Tell us your story, Your Highness. What will you do? How can you possibly avoid your fate?

Your best friend has become aligned with a political entity which is 180 degrees counter to what you believe and where your values fall. It seems that each time you see them, they want to argue about your stance, and much of what pours out of their mouth you find offensive. You’ve been best buds for the past two decades, and you genuinely do not wish to destroy that but feel your friend has already pushed the bounds of what is okay.  —+—  Tell us about yourself, how this feels, and what you will do, then take us through the actual doing.

(175) Your writing prowess has finally been recognized. You receive an invitation to join a group of professional writers within your genre. To do so, you must create a character that will interact with characters other members have created to act out scenes that are assigned by a scene’s master. Property rights for each character remain that of the writer who creates them and may only be used for publication with the owner’s permission. The first scene you are to write towards: ‘six people; three men two women and a child are in an old west saloon, the date is July 28, 1872. In fifteen hundred words, your character must introduce themselves and take the others through the actions of resolving the problem with the Sheriff, a no-account drunk, who has locked up the wife of the mayor and may be raping her in his jail, while three armed deputies stand guard outside. This is the final test of your acceptance to the group. —+— What do you write?

You stumble upon an oasis in the Sahara. Ruins lie in pieces that nearly surround the standing water. No trees grow here, but there are small tufts of green poking up here and there. A stone tablet lies at the edge of the water, partly covered in green algae.  When you clean it, you learn the name of this place is Mugilio, its demise came from space seventy years in the past. Any who enter may find themselves attacked, abducted or abandoned in a place so foreign as to mean certain death.  The script ends with, “Good luck stranger, look to the skies for your destiny which comes now.” You look up and see a beam of light shooting from space to the spot where you stand. —+— Tell us what happens over the next several days.

You did it. You landed your dream job. Your first assignment is to build a hot air balloon from scratch. You must draft a design, gather all the materials, construct and test it. The balloon is for the boss’ daughter and her fiancé, so it has to be right. You will get help from three crewmembers to assemble the balloon. When you reach that stage, you learn that the crewmembers are chimpanzees, and they do not play well with one another. In fact, they tend to scream and throw feces at each other, a lot. You quickly learn they do not like you either. Unfortunately, you cannot rid yourself of the furry beasts, as they must be present while the construction period goes on. —+— Tell us your plan to build and test the balloon.

The tigron stalks Mallory as she walks through the forest. She knows it’s there and refuses to panic. Should it decide to eat her, there will be little Mallory can do to stop it. The beast can climb, it can fly short distances, its sense of smell rivals that of dogs, and it can run five times faster than any human. The tigron may have some intelligence, though no one knows how much. Folklore says they can communicate on some level. Although the beasts are so rare, few credible witnesses have ever told the tale of talking with one, and those stories are so old as to have passed into the guise of myth. —+— Tell us the tale of this encounter.

The year is 3517, Mars is fully terraformed, and the population is bursting at the seams. A mass migration of people from Earth and Mars are preparing to cross the Galaxy to begin new colonies on three worlds in nearby solar systems.  The Tanita, a race of quadruped Cat-like beings have joined forces with humans to populate this part of the galaxy. Standing in opposition is a reptilian race of humanoids, the Archons, with scaled skin and telepathic powers beyond human comprehension, which also have the ability to shapeshift. The Archons, have decided that this expansion is unacceptable and have infiltrated the humans to put a stop to it before the ships can launch. —+—  Tell us this story from the point of view of an Archon spy.

(170)  On the planet of mist, so called because it is nearly always cloaked in a cloud of fog, its human name is Tosho, white-skinned beings live their primitive lives in near perfect harmony. Creatures that represent themselves as men appear one day, riding a chariot of gleaming shiny material the inhabitants cannot fathom. When it landed the chariot caused such a disruption in the immediate area that dozens of beings died, hundreds of others had to be taken to places of peace to allow their psyche time to recover. Three of the ‘men’ exit the chariot and ask to speak to whoever is in charge. There is so much disruption of the ethereal energy around these men that you, Okni of tribe Gitla fear their intent, you see shades of red, of black and sickly yellow surrounding the creatures, polluting the space around them and know they are not to be trusted. —+— Tell us the full story of this encounter Okni.

The woman at the metaphysical shop handed you a wand with a shaft of apple, topped with three double terminated smoky quartz crystals attached at the end. Wave this over the forehead of your daughter, chant the words, peace find this child, clear her mind of negative thoughts so that her real self may emerge. The idea had been to remove her negativity. What happens instead, her eyes begin to change and take on the properties of a cat, her skin begins to sprout fine blond fur, and there are a few faint stripes as the fur grows back over the forehead. You pull the wand away, but she grabs it from you and waves it over the rest of her body while you stand there in shock, she changes into something striped like a tiger with spots in odd places. She looks up at you with her cat eyes, and says, “Thank you for revealing my true nature.” Then she turns and runs out of the house. —+— Tell us the story of the daughter.

You wake to find yourself in the back of a van, handcuffed, hobbled, and gagged. You feel a strap across your chest that holds you upright and pinned to the metal wall. A man and a woman, both with features that appear chiseled from years of physical training, sit across from you. Each has a short, odd-looking weapon lying on their laps. Neither looks at you, but stares blankly at the wall beside you. A panel to your left opens; it is barely large enough for the face that appears. It is a strange, furry face, it’s eyes too large, it’s teeth too sharp, its ears in the wrong place. The sound that issues out of its mouth: hissing, growling, and chirping, are insensible to you.  The two humans sit up straight; the male looks at you. His eyes; his eyes have been replaced with computer chips. His weapon rises to point in your direction. —+— Tell us who your captors are, where they are taking you, what they plan to do with you, how you escape, and whatever intel you can gather on your way out.

Tina watches the slow tick of the second hand. Mrs. Samuels is droning on, talking about cell membranes.  Tina’s eyes are drooping, a result of only getting an hour’s sleep last night. But, she had achieved her goal. She had made contact. They will arrive in another ten minutes. After that? Well, certainly this stupid Physical Science class will be gone. People on this planet don’t have a rudimentary understanding of what is possible, what is real, and what has happened in the past. They live with their primitive knowledge believing themselves to be the top of the food chain. How wrong they are, how lucky they’ve survived this long. But that past is over now. Marzink’s ship will land, and Earth will become the next prize in the intergalactic Conquest of Lagery. And Tina Carpenter will become one of the high nobles who run it. Tina stands, kicking over her chair. “That’s enough of that drivel Mrs. Samuels. We’ve heard more than enough of this crap. It’s time you all recognize your true place in the Universe.”  A loud whirring noise rattles the windows jerking everyone’s attention away from Tina. —+— Tell us Tina’s story.

Doctor James Jak stepped from the machine and found himself facing a tall gleaming castle. On top of the wall, he could make out forms holding weapons. On the roadway leading to a dull red, metallic gate, he sees what look like carts, but there are no horses, only clouds of steam pouring from beneath them. You can make out the driver of one, and it isn’t a human, or if it is, he seems to be made of gleaming gold and silver, his clothing shines like newly polished chrome. Somebody screwed up. This was supposed to be Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England. It is supposed to be March 3rd, 1390. This isn’t even Earth. When he looks at the transceiver on his wrist, he sees that he has a few minutes less than ten days before the return. The mission is a bust, and months of work acclimating to time and place, useless now.Dr. Jak must find a way to stay alive in an unknown world until the recall function kicks in. —+—Tell us Doctor James Jak’s story of survival.

(165) The Cessna rattled as it hit another bunch of turbulence. You nose down out of the cloud bank to a lower altitude to see if you can avoid more of the bone-jarring shaking. Instead of the Arizona desert that you should be flying over, you see nothing but water from horizon to horizon. At five thousand feet, you notice two metallic objects roughly an elongated, smallish, with no visible means of propulsion. They are keeping pace with you a little ways off to either side.  Looking ahead, you see a dozen more of the objects forming a kind of geometric pattern. Light shoots from one to another of the objects, and suddenly you see you are flying into some sort of net. You try to steer away only to find you no longer have control of the Cessna. Moments pass and you realized the airplane is landing on an island. Lining the runway are mounds of metallic scraps that appear to be bits and pieces of other aircraft. When you have come to a stop, the door opens. —+— Who greets you and how? Why have they taken you? What do they want of you? What will you do to do to get back to your family?

Twenty feet down, your excavator shovel strikes something. The geologic survey said there should be nothing but poorly formed sandstone for another hundred feet. Yet whatever you hit sounded metallic and even over the sounds of the motor, you heard an echo. You step down into the hole and clear the debris from the surface where you find a portal. With lots of curiosity and some reservation, you open it. The smell that strikes you is awful, unidentifiable, and wet. You shine a light inside. It looks like a moss-covered cave more than anything metallic. A blackish-green, liquid ooze covers the floor to an indeterminable depth. You see the wake of something moving in the ooze. A grating noise suddenly booms from inside, flashes of intense purple light fill the space. You slam the portal shut and step back.  The surface below you begins to vibrate. You turn and climb out of the hole. —+— What happens next?

Sunlight reflects from the shards of a broken mirror. As you near, the totality of destruction wraps itself around you. No one could have survived this. On the ground, broken pieces that might have been many things, but nothing remained that was identifiable. Faint wisps of smoke rose from what might once have been a blanket.  Water gurgled from the ground; a pipe had been sheered with the explosion and buried by the debris. Six hours earlier, you would have been here. Who is trying to kill you that they would go to this level of effort? And Why?

A group of religious fanatics lives across the street. They have placed a cross in their front yard that stands ten feet tall. One morning, three weeks after it was erected, you step outside to pick up a newspaper on the sidewalk. The cross has a body hanging from it. You step closer and see your face on the body. Behind you, a group of teens beat on flat round drums and chant words you do not understand. To your right, a Buddhist monk, head bowed mumbles unintelligibly. Near the house’s door you see a woman wearing a nun’s habit carrying a long-bladed knife that has red smudges coating the steel. To your left, a black man with grey-knotted hair, wearing nothing but a loincloth, beckons you to follow him..

Taz, is that you?

(160) Three female lions rest at the base of the tree you are sitting in. You’ve been trapped there for a night and most of a day. You would not be worried, but every so often one of the lions looks up at you and licks its lips, yawns then lays its head on its feet. You know that lions rarely climb trees but they will if something motivates them, something like hunger. Problem is, you are out of water and have no way to call for help.

You woke in a strange bed this morning. You feel hungover, but you do not remember drinking last night. You look around and realize you are in an old cheap motel room. In the bathroom, you look at the mirror, and a strangers face peers back at you.

This is where the hidden entrance is located, or at least that is what the instructions said. The smell of vomit, urine and the gods only know what else slammed Alex as he stepped into the dark alleyway. The hair on his neck began to rise. Goosebumps ran up his arms. A feeling of something off settled over him. Glancing upward, dim yellow light of windows glowed out of the otherwise black walls. Three steps later, he froze. Alex felt as much as heard a deep, rumbling growl pouring from a too dark shadow, next to a dumpster.

Traction was nil on the fine silt flowing down the hill. The tires broke and spun, Jen felt the vehicle begin to slide backward. She turned the steering wheel to the side and slammed her foot on the brake. There was no difference, gravity had sway here, and the lack of friction meant she was not going any further. However, she gained speed backward with every few feet. The bottom of the hill did not worry her, the ravine on the other side of the road did. She looked at the side mirror, in a few movements she would slide over the edge and down the forty-foot embankment into the swollen Arkansas River.

Time passed slower here than on earth. The scientists had tried to explain time dilation and warps in the fabric of space. Way over Tyson’s head and he told them that. When the ship reached home, his daughter would be an adult… No, she would be middle-aged. Physically, she would be older than his thirty-two years. There was something wrong with that. Would she be waiting at the other end of the ramp when he arrived? Since communications were lost to a tiny, invisible asteroid, at least to their instruments, near Jupiter on the way out, he had no way of knowing. The mission had been successful. Personally, he was bringing home what he believed would be the largest pair of diamonds ever seen on earth. According to his contract, these were his to do with as he wished. The company would take the gold, of course, its mining and return had been their mission.

(155) “Come, let’s see how old we can grow together.” The advertising went on to say the treatment would do away with any need for a doctor again. The series of injections would turn her immune cells into immortal warriors against any infection that attacked the body. They would attach to ‘T’ cells to recreate organs that might have been lost and to regenerate damaged tissues caused by whatever means.  Whatever the actual limits to human life spans were, these treatments will be the vehicle of finding a definitive answer. So far, that age limit pushed 175 years. How much further, was anyone’s guess.

Meetings were held in private homes, select people were invited but not before substantial vetting. Still, sometimes, law enforcement managed to slip a shill in to take names and push prosecution.  Tonight’s meeting would be no different. Each person passing through the front door had to put on the mind sniffer. It had a reputation of 98% accuracy in detecting people who had ill intent. Tonight there was a special visitor, the head of the party: the woman everyone believed would lead the nation and the world to a different place. A place where anyone could proclaim their political affiliation without threat.

Nithe probed the wound. It should have hurt but didn’t.  Her skin had a grey tint to it that was unusual. Standing, she felt sluggish and off balance. She could smell something good, and her stomach growled. She walked, but it came out as a stumble. Nithe leaned against a tree and looked around. Then she saw it, the thing that made her stomach growl, it caused saliva to leak from her open mouth.

Konic spoke rapidly, as usual. This time so fast that no one could understand him. You think you heard something about a dozen and a word that came out as peopdies. People? Bodies? Or people dies? He is waving you to come with him. You walk quickly around the outside of the school building and end up on the football field. There, lined up nice and neatly are twelve people wearing dirty football jerseys and pads as if they had been playing and now lay down to rest, but each was missing a vital part, there was no helmet, and there was no head to have held a helmet. On the field, you can see a bloody path leading back to the school.

(150) Toba twisted the conical end of the staff, it opened to reveal something that glowed a brilliant red. He poured the contents into his hand. A moment passed then a round ruby the size of his thumb dropped into his palm. You can feel the power of the stone. Dizziness swarms around your head, and you feel your mind pulled toward the stone. You realize that this had been a trap all along.  You must escape, but how?

The dark brown, pear-shaped, bottle was the size of a chicken egg. The stopper in it was cork, and it looked to be ancient and ready to dissolve at a touch. Dozens more lined the small shelf in the basement of the house your friend dared you to go into. You take it down and read the raised lettering on the bottle. It says, “Valentine Meat Juice.” You pop the cork, and a cloud begins to flow out of the bottle.

Nine-year-old Maci lay huddled beneath a blanket, lying as deep in the bathtub as she could. It was where her father had told her to stay until it was over. The wind howled outside, and she could hear hail pounding the roof.  “Daddy?” She peeked over the edge of the tub, “Daddy, I’m scared.” She whimpered.  She could hear a low roar that grew louder. The wind moaned across the wires connected to the house. Maci shakily pulled the blanket over her head. Tell us the story of the next few hours.

Dead trees lined the broken sidewalk. Jumbled bones lay scattered across the ground. Rusted out hulks of personal transports rotted on the roadway, windshields shattered or missing altogether, some had strange misshapen trees growing through them. Collapsed buildings were more prevalent than standing ones, and the few that stood, looked as if an army had destroyed whatever had been inside.  Nothing stirred not even insects, and no wonder, the radiation levels here were well above the lethal range. Junco keyed his microphone, “Doctor Umdes, the situation here is the same as we saw in the other three cities. Are you sure your instruments are working properly, humans could not live here, not with these radiation readings.”

(145) The rogue planet, nicknamed Rapscallion, had come from somewhere in the direction of Andromeda, but its origin is a mystery. NASA says the sun’s gravitational pull will most likely settle it into an orbit between earth and Mars over the next three to four centuries. Unknown to the public, NASA probes have detected multiple signs of structures, though nothing to indicate anything still lives there. You are a cultural anthropologist, and you will be among the first to step foot on Rapscallion. Describe preparations for the flight and what you find once you land.

As you carry the eggs gathered this morning, you see a swarm of something fly from the forest. The swarm divides into several dozens of creatures, many landing near you, a pair in your egg basket. When you look closely, they are tiny people with wings. They look exhausted. In fact, the two in your basket appear to be unconscious. You place them in an empty hamster habitat, to protect them from your curious cat and watch. Eventually, one wakes and tells you through mimicking and acting that “beasts appeared from a hole in the air and destroyed their village.” You decide to search out these beasts. Tell us what happens.

You are an astronomer, and you observe something strange in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Your observations show that the asteroids are clumping together and have begun to spin. A cloud of dust forms and blocks further direct view but you can see that other asteroids, large and small spiral into what now appears to be a whirlpool. In six months the conglomeration is already as massive as Deimos, Mars smallest moon. You and your colleagues agree this is planet formation in hyper-speed. You suspect a cause by some force beyond what nature could account for and have detected unusual energy readings emanating from beneath Triton’s frozen nitrogen ocean. You and your team board a ship and head up investigate. Take us through the next five years.

Your experiment with time travel failed, your machine exploded after revving up to full power. The containment area is nearly knee deep with debris.  As you begin the slow, meticulous process of piecing together what happened. You find video footage of something coming from just out of view of the camera. It is so fast you’re not sure exactly, but it looks like a lightning bolt striking the machine. A second camera shows a shadowy wavering shape, roughly man-shaped, at the other end of that lightning bolt. The figure is gone as quickly as the bolt had appeared. Like it blinked into being and out in a few milliseconds, barely long enough to register at all. When you find the faceplate of the electronics panel there is a hole burnt through, melted metal has beaded on the inside so whatever caused this came from the outside.  Tell this story from the point of view of the “roughly man-shaped” being, that fired the energy bolt.

(140) You remember a car accident after which you awake in a room with all sorts of equipment beeping and flashing around you. “Ah, you are awake. I want to thank you for helping us achieve what science has always claimed impossible. Not only have I brought you back from death, but I’ve also recreated you.” Vaguely you remember signing your driver’s license that you wished to donate your body after death. You attempt to shake your head, but find it is restrained. You lift your arm to probe the restraint and see a pair of tentacles rise up instead of your hand. “Welcome to the Naval Research Team.”

In Africa, a white man in his thirties walks up to you and says, My name is Mo Rising, I was abducted by aliens on July 3rd, 1971. Everyone thinks I’m dead, but as you can see, I am alive and well. I need your help in getting the message out that aliens are going to come back here in force within the decade. The world must be prepared, or we all die. Tell us the story of the next ten years.

Around you, ten people you cannot remember ever seeing before are staring at you. One of them stands next to the bed you lie upon and says, “Honey, you’ve been in an accident. The spacecraft that took you and your car was destroyed by the Defense Systems employed by the government.  The government people found you in the wreckage and brought you here. The doctor says there is no reason you cannot make a full recovery. There is something dreamlike in the person’s words, and you do not see their lips moving. There is a nasty smell of burnt sulfur in the room. The ceiling above you looks metallic.

You wake to the sound of a tick, tick, tick sound.  A short period of silence follows then the tick, tick, tick sounds. You feel something being dragged across your chest. You open your eyes to see three small creatures standing on your chest pointing sharp sticks at your face. Upon seeing your open eye, one of them rushes forward, threateningly with his stick.  You hear what sounds like squeaks and squawks followed by the tick, tick, tick sound again. You sit up and feel the three creatures roll off and then something is restraining you. With some effort, you manage to break the restraint. A noise from the other side of your bed draws your attention. A creature, three feet tall, and looking like the garden gnome you bought at the store is shaking its head at you. It tosses a cloud of powder at you and blackness envelopes you. Tell us what happens next.

Your flight has a two-hour layover in Las Vegas, you decide to stroll the Airport and in a corner, tucked next to a row of slot machines, is a vending machine. The inscription says, Your Next Trip.  There is a slot for you to feed in $100 bills. You have three options: (1) $100 Mars, (2) $500 planet three orbiting Antares, (3) $1,000 planet four orbiting Betelgeuse. You can see that the machine shows that someone has already fed the machine $1,000. A green button is flashing, “GO.”

(135) The doctor says you have an inoperable brain tumor. “So long as the tumor does not grow, your symptoms will likely be headaches. If it grows, you will begin to suffer periods of unconsciousness and at some point death.” He tilts his head, “There is a possibility that new drug therapy could resolve the issue for you. It is experimental, and there is a trial beginning at the University of Southern California. The therapy consists of a combination of a drug that has had some small successes and will introduce nanobots into your bloodstream to attack the tumor. These nanobots have never been tested on humans and could remain in your system for the rest of your life.

The doorway to your salvation lies beneath.

Walking across your front yard late one morning, you suddenly find yourself in total darkness. You turn around and can see nothing in any direction. You stick out your hands, and there is nothing to touch. In the distance, you hear your best friend calling your name. You yell out to them, they respond, but you cannot find them. They say you were there one moment and gone the next. Following their voice, hoping to find yourself back in your front yard, you hit a barrier. A small blue light appears to your right. A whiny sounding mechanical voice says, “You will find answers where the blue light shines.”

You wake to find a warm fuzzy something snuggled against your chest. You open your eyes to discover that instead of your cat/dog, there is a six-legged hairy dragon’s face looking back at you. It smiles, and along the edges of its mouth, you can see sharp spiked teeth peeking below the lip. You sit up gingerly so as not to upset the creature and find the remains of your pet lying in a bloody mess on the edge of the bed. It opens its reptilian eyes and looks at you. A voice in your head says, “I be your familiar now. We do much together.”

There are elves filled with magic, there are vampire elves, and there is a third elf group called the sparkling ones. The sparkling ones are in league with humans to eradicate the vampires who the normal, magical elves are protecting. A sparkling elf comes in and reveals he has found the home of the vampire elves. You are the second to the head of the human faction and do not agree the vampires should be eradicated. Tell us the story of what happens next from your point of view.

(130) On a camping trip into the mountains, you wake to the earth rumbling beneath you. As you exit your tent, the ground continues to shake, and when you look up you see two things, smoke pouring from the peak above you and the stars are moving past rapidly. When you look at the valley below, you realize that the mountain you are camped on is a sentient beast that has awakened and is walking toward the township twenty-five miles to the south.

Rumor has it that the butcher in your favorite grocery may be a serial killer. People your age are disappearing at the rate of one a week. When you go to the counter to order steaks, the butcher invites you to see the back, ‘where the real work is done.’

The bodies of three aliens wash up on Santa Monica Beach. Each of the creatures stands about six feet tall and roughly humanoid shaped. Decomposition has deformed their looks and skin colors, but their uniforms and the devices embedded in them are ‘otherworldly.’ Close examination shows the creatures to have gills. Each died by a bullet to the back of the head. Your job is to determine where they came from, who might have killed them, and determine if there are any more of them.

In a cave with your best buddies, you become separated and the path ahead of you is narrow, as you wriggle your way through, your pants snag on something, and you find yourself stuck. There isn’t enough room to remove the pants. The more you struggle, the more jammed you find yourself to be. You’ve called out to your friends a dozen times already, but there’s been no answer. Your flashlight begins to fail.

(125) Time stops. Every living thing around you becomes as rigid as stone. Cars are motionless on the road, and you can see a jet hanging stationary in the air. As you walk down the sidewalk, dodging between the statuesque people, you come to a building where the doors swing open. A voice from within rolls out, “Ah, there you are.” You freeze and look into the dark interior. The voice returns. “Well, don’t just stand there gawking, come on in.”

Jor settled on the limb and began to preen his feathers. His day had been long and arduous. In the distance, he heard the sound of an Ekek screaming in pain. His eyes picked out Koni, a princess of the flock, she is being attacked by Tipu, a feline representative of the Porlo clan. He must save her. Her death would end the royal line.

Frid, King of the Snake Clan, has decided to step down. He has no direct heir and devised a challenge for the men to test their strength, skill, and ability to solve problems. Whoever can complete it first will be named heir. Dimu, the daughter of Frid’s late brother demands that she is the proper heir and will enter the competition to prove her worthiness. Frid forbids her entry. You are Dimu, and you are determined to not only compete against the men but win the kingdom.

Inside the old abandoned factory, you took photos of the rusted machinery. When you pull the photos up on your computer, two of the pictures show three beings in one and two different creatures in the other. The factory had been completely empty when you were there.  The creatures were not remotely human and not anything like a ghost, and they appeared to be watching you.

Kerin, a lifelong atheist (but mostly quiet about it), has fallen in love with Gary, a devout evangelical Southern Baptist. She has attended church with Gary on a few occasions and at times had to bite her tongue to keep from responding to the fear-based preacher’s sermon. After dating for nearly two years, Gary pops the question, “Will you marry me?”  Kerin wants to scream “YES” but knows she needs to ‘clear the air,’ about the gap in their religious beliefs.  Write the story of what happens next.

(120) You and your date are enjoying a meal at Andy’s Greek Taverna in London. A commotion at the front door gets everyone’s attention. A man has pushed past two people at the entrance and runs to your table. He drops a wallet sized container on your table and runs into the kitchen without saying a word. Your date looks at the object, picks it up and walks to the bathroom.

Briefly your eyes open, you get the sense that you are moving and there are shadowy figures all around you. When next you open your eyes you are in a room, lying on something hard and above you is a huge round light. Someone leans over you wearing a surgical mask. “Sally, I’m Doctor Paris, don’t you worry none, everything is going to be okay.” Your name is Tysha.

I found a door open on the side of the building, entered and found a machine that is faintly glowing. As I walk around it, I see that it is big enough to park a tractor-trailer rig inside. As I near the far end, I can hear a hum that begins to grow in volume. The lights in the building suddenly flare and a wave of energy explodes into the space, knocking me against the wall. As I lie there, several beings exit the machine and one by one change from a grotesque alien form to human form.

Digging in your yard for a vegetable garden, you find a bottle the size of your hand. The end is stoppered, and you can feel there is liquid inside. A skeletal hand shoots out of the dirt, grabs the bottle, and jerks it back beneath the soil. The loose dirt begins to roil and before you two creatures, mostly bone, but with lidless eyes rise and stare at you.

(115) You are on a fourteen-hour flight to Japan. Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, you look out the window and see two fighter jets a short distance off the right wing. Your pilot announces, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are being directed to land. Evidently, our flight plan has crossed into restricted airspace.” You look back at the aircraft off the wing and realize they are not jets at all, but cigar shaped craft like nothing you have ever seen.

From behind the curtains of your Palanquin, you see the Dark One approach. He rides his blood red dragon and has seen your procession, but your person must not be found in this territory. It would mean a deadly conflict that would alter the fate of the planet. How do you escape the dark one and his beast?

You’ve been trained by the best arcane arts school in the Western Hemisphere. Your skills are among the best, however, no matter how well anyone is trained, on average one out of five incantations will go awry. Those off times will create issues proportionate to the size and power of the spell you attempted to cast. Saving a life might twist into taking five lives instead. Transporting across distance might find a mage in a different century. The issue is that a neighboring world has declared war with yours. You must lead a retaliatory strike against them. You’ve done twelve spells in a row with no ill effects. Take us through the next two weeks.

Jen, Sal, and Mica find an old abandoned house, deep in the woods. Dust coats everything and cobwebs hang everywhere. On a table under a clear glass cake cover, Mica finds a notebook filled with someone’s elegant handwriting. The writing consists of incantations and spells. The book is worn and the pages dog eared. Mica begins reading one of the spells aloud, and the room is plunged into darkness. A Pair of glowing green eyes appears where a wall had been a moment ago. A booming voice rattles the house, “Who dares summon me?” No one moves. The light returns — Jen and Sal are gone.

(110) On a whale watching trip with eight others off the coast of California, the zodiac you are riding in is suddenly lifted up and out of the water by a whale. Most every one screams in delight. However, instead of sitting the boat back in the water, the whale swims toward the deeper ocean, always with the motor lifted high enough that it cannot catch the water. Several dozen times you are showered with stinking spray as the beast exhales. After several hours you are soaking wet, and your boat is deposited on a sand bar, a hundred yards from an island. The whale flicks its tail and smashes the back of the boat, killing the captain, destroying the motor and radio and flattening the rear of both pontoons. There is no cell phone reception here.

You must recover the leaves of a plant that grows exclusively on a small island in the center of a pond. As you approach, a farmer steps up and says, “You gotta stay away from that little pond. Them Nymphs that be living there they be a might protective of their little water hole. The Bollywomp run ‘em out of their home a thousand years back. They done got viscous after that. Don’t let nobody come near nowadays. Like as not, they’ll turn any of you human lot into pollywogs.   

“Tally ho!”  Jer slapped the horse on the flank with the riding crop. In response, the horse ran directly for a tree with low branches and knocked Jer out of the saddle and onto his ass. The horse slowed, turned and came back. It looked down on him and said. “You sorry piece of mammalian flesh, you can walk the ten miles back to the farm. Beware my friends the deer. They have a bone to pick with you too. They said something about you shooting their father last fall.”

Climate change turned out to be something entirely different than what scientists thought it was. Everyone learned the truth when a crack appeared in the middle of Iowa, and a beak the size of a couple of skyscrapers stacked end on end poked through. The sound it emitted killed a quarter of the state’s population.

(105) On the side of Colima Mountain, (a volcano), you and your significant other are collecting specimens of rhyolite when you feel the ground beneath you shake. A hundred yards ahead a fissure opens and spits a cloud of smoke into the sky. More rumbling knocks you down.  An explosion so loud that you are dazed occurs towards the top of the mountain.  Red hot rocks begin to rain down all around, some the size of Smart Cars.  Dust and smoke descend in a cloud around you. Visibility is cut to no more than eight feet. Describe your escape from the erupting volcano.

Two dragons have converged on your hiding place. “Ah, I can smell the human. It hides beneath those trees.”  Crashing, splintering wood, and footfalls that shake the earth move toward you.  “Tis a pity we cannot eat it now. Farmaclan has placed a claim on all humans.” You realize you cannot outrun flying dragons, nor evidently, might you hide from them. Time to talk your way out of this situation.

These are sprouting up every where you go.

Your favorite and most vicious demons have declared their independence. Their first act has been to destroy your house. One of those who did not turn against you says they have gone to the nuclear power plant twenty miles away and are planning to release all the radiation into the atmosphere and eat the plutonium rods. This will cause them to grow to the size of a four-story building. You must stop them.

Your superpower is to melt rocks with a touch. When you are angry, it is difficult to control and more than once you have melted the concrete in your garage. You are due for an interview for the dream job of your life in one hour. Your girlfriend of three years drove away 2 minutes ago after informing you she is pregnant, and it is not your child.

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