The Veil

Wading through gray
without direction,
no light at the end of the tunnel –
hands grasping,
guiding,
holding you until you arrive,
wherever that is.

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Your story starts here – Idea #4

butterflies

Jim had told me this day would come, and I was both sad and excited. I knew we wouldn’t be able to keep them forever, locked up in a jar like that, but I had watched them transform from fat little caterpillars to beautiful butterflies and I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Up until this point, I’d always been able to protect them from harm. Who would keep them safe, now? Where would they find food and warmth? Was all this effort in vain?

A tear rolled down my face as they started floating away, one by one, into the sky and towards whatever future they would have. Jim turned around and looked at me with a semi-sad expression, but he didn’t say anything. He just turned back around and continued to encourage them out of the jar.

I let out a sigh. Maybe this wouldn’t be the end. Maybe they wouldn’t wander too far away from the only home they’d ever known.

When the last one flew away Jim turned to me and said, “Just think, maybe in a few months they’ll come leave their babies here with us, and we’ll get to raise their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren…”

“I sure hope so, Jim” I said, as I took his hand. We walked back to the barn in silence and when we arrived, there she was just sitting there. A tiny white kitten with a broken tail.

“Well,” Jim said, “That ought to keep you busy in the meantime.”

Write this story – Idea #3

I’m embedding an image here so you can see the story from which I’m supposed to be drawing inspiration. In case you are wondering, all these ideas can be found at writeabout.com

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I hadn’t seen Mabelle in fifty years, so it was a surprise when we ran into each other in the grocery store. I hadn’t been paying very close attention to where I was going, and managed to push my basket straight into someone else’s – well, hers. I looked up, ready to apologize. We locked eyes.

“You” she said.
“Uhg,” I groaned, “Weren’t you supposed to have retired to Miami?”
“I got sick of the heat” she replied.

We shared a moment of awkward silence. We had never been friends, but we were never enemies either. We had been opponents in the 2059 Female International Wrestling Championship – and I beat her. I mean, I really whipped her hard. She cried for a week, according to the tabloids.

I cleared my throat to bid adieu, but she spoke first.
“I want a rematch” she nearly shouted.
I wanted to tell her how ridiculous she sounded, but the world champion inside of me couldn’t back down to a rematch.
“Fine,” I said, “and winner takes home the 2059 championship belt.”

We made a plan to meet at the gym around the corner from the grocery store in 2 days, where we would have this epic showdown.

The morning of the big fight, I made sure to eat cream of wheat with a tall orange juice. I even added a side of bacon because I knew I’d need the extra calories. Mabelle had become slight and saggy in her old age, but that meant she might be a little quicker on her feet. I couldn’t let her have the upper hand!

Arriving at the gym, I saw her there, all suited up and ready to throw down. As I walked over, belt in hand, I wondered about the ridiculousness we were about to engage in. Were two old ladies really going to wrestle over a belt that stopped meaning anything a lifetime ago? It wasn’t worth it – how many times in those many years did I even look at that belt? And how many others had I won after that?

I knew what I had to do.

“Mabelle, look, I don’t want to wrestle; I’m too old. I forfeit. The belt is yours.”
She looked at me, almost angry, but snatched the belt out of my hand anyway.
“I’m going to tell everyone I won it fair and square, and that you begged for mercy before tapping out.”
“That’s fine,” I replied. “Why don’t we take a picture as proof for your friends?”
Mabelle’s eyes lit up.
“That’d be great!”

We had the only other person in the gym take our photo. She was kind enough not to ask questions. Mabelle walked away the victor she always thought she deserved to be, but I knew that I had won yet again.

Which would you rather be: a bat or a bird? – Idea #2

Well, I’m biased. I am kind of creeped out by birds but I love bats. In fact, they are tied with foxes for my favorite animal. One time, I had the luck of being able to rescue a little bat that had trapped itself in my house. I actually shed a few tears of sheer joy as I watched him go to town on a piece of orange. I wanted to pet him, but he showed me his teeth and made a little growl, so I didn’t. But even his little growl was adorable.

I called him Hector, and even though he was only mine for an hour, I loved him! He ended up safe and sound at a sanctuary for the winter and was released into a colony of orphan bats the following spring.

Anyway, to answer the question: I think I’d rather be a bat. They are prey to cooler predators (like owls), are smarter than birds, look cooler than birds, make cooler sounds than birds, and are just over-all 100 times better than birds. They have fur instead of feathers, and little snouts and faces instead of creepy beaks.

Bats rule, birds drool.

You have a near death experience but someone else’s life flashes before your eyes – Idea #1

I knew I shouldn’t have been driving that late at night, but I have never been known for my patience and I just wanted the road trip to be over. I figured I could suffer through a few more hours, find a hotel somewhere – or even just a truck stop – and hunker down for a few hours before finishing the drive. Cross country travel is the pits.

Of course, like most people, I severely over estimated my ability to stay awake and aware at 2:00 AM, and found myself distracted by a field of fireflies to my right. My eyes were definitely not on the road, and so I wasn’t paying attention when the trailer in front of me started fish tailing.

It fishtailed into the front of my Prius, causing me to the roll the car one…two…three…four…five…I stopped counting.

They say that when you’re about to die – or even when you just think you’re about to die – that your life flashes before your eyes. And even though I’m pretty sure my eyes were open the entire time the car was rolling off into oblivion, I saw everything. First steps, first words, first days of school, first dates, first heartbreaks. I saw it all. The way her parents loved her, the way she charmed everyone she met. The wildly happy and hopeful person she had become.

I snapped back. The life that had flashed before my eyes had not been my own. I struggled with the seatbelt to let me free and forced myself through the broken passenger window. In a daze, I began to run towards what I thought was the road, panicked. Silent. Everything went dark.

A Prompt a Day

I used to have a book full of writing prompts, I think it was one for every day of the year. They ranged from creative writing challenges to personal responses, and I really appreciated the fact that it existed and gave me a springboard for my writing.

I may be the only person who considers myself a writer (on some level) that has a hard time coming up with motivating topics (which is ridiculous because I literally write writing prompts for a living at writeabout.com). I mean, I generate thousands of ideas a year – really cool ones, sometimes. So why is it so hard for me to just grab all the words and stories I try to solicit from others and generate them myself?

I’ll make that my new challenge. Responding to the ideas I’ve generated but never actually written about. It is only fair, right? It’s like when I was a teacher – I would always respond to prompts alongside my students to model the thought/writing process.

It’s a good exercise. I shouldn’t have left it when I moved out of the classroom and into other roles. So, brace yourselves for the string of prompts! It’s about to get…creative up in here.

Sam, Dean, and Magic – Part 2

Dean had made it through 3 of the books when he got lazy and opted to just watch the movies instead. He, with Sam’s help, had begun to make a list of all the evil things they would be responsible of teaching students to defend themselves against.

Dementors
Fairies
Trolls
Huge wall-trolling snakes
Bad guys with wands instead of hex bags
Vampires
Were-wolves
Evil spirits
Demons
Dragons
A world without electricity

Both of them had already memorized a number of spells, and Sam had wondered out loud more than once how they’d be able to teach these kids anything, being mere muggles. He looked at the calendar. July 30.

“Shit, Dean.” He said.
“What now?” Dean shot back.
“We need to write them back and let them know we’ll be there. By tomorrow.”
“Dude, it’ll never arrive by tomorrow. And we don’t have their address.”
“Good God, Dean. Have these books and movies taught you nothing?”

Sam let Dean have a minute to figure it out.

“We need an owl!” Dean exclaimed.
“There ya go.” Sam said, his voice full of sarcasm.

He sat at the table, grabbed a piece of paper, and began to write:

Dear Headmistress McGonogall,

We will accept the job. We will meet up with Harry Potter in Florida on August 20th, as requested. We are, concerned, however, that we will not be very useful, as we have no magical powers.
Sam and Dean

Sam stuffed the letter in an envelope.
“Alright,” he sighed, “just need to find an owl.”

Dean started to search “owl rentals” in Google when out of nowhere, a large speckled Gray owl swooped in and snatched the letter right out of Sam’s hand.

“Has that thing been stalking us this whole time?” Dean asked.
Sam just shrugged. “Probably.”
“Man, that’s just creepy.”

A few short hours later, Sam and Dean had received one final message:

Anyone who has died and been to Hell as many times as you two most certainly possess magical powers.
Regards, Minerva.