Triple Visual Dare #4


The giant prince conceived himself an artist. The finest wrights were dispatched to create his tools. The woodsman carved a fallen oak into an ink pen, tipped by silver wrought by the king’s smith.

The prince drew only in black on white. Feathers from every crow in the kingdom were rendered to create the purest ink. His canvas, a sail from his father’s largest ship.

Despite his size, he created a work of such surpassing loveliness and detail that patrons were seen pressing their faces to the canvas, aching to see more.

For the giant prince had drawn the universe.


Monday Mixer, week 5

Winner, Best Prompt User!

Why they had installed a klaxon in a bathyscaphe, Simon was never sure. Moving through the depths of the Marianas Trench was disorienting enough. There were no landmarks, nothing beyond the floodlights, and utter silence.

Punctuated by blasts from the damned klaxon.

The fool thing was stuck in some maintenance cycle, and had been going off the entire time he’d been down here. He’d radioed for help, but the vacuous dolts back at HQ couldn’t come up with anything more helpful than “pay attention to the clock, and cover your ears.”


There was no warning to prepare him for the first sighting of the island. As he gathered himself, Simon realized that his ship had settled into the ruins of a very large stadium. The klaxon was now blowing a fanfare for the dead as he became the first human in millennia to witness the lost world of Atlantis.


Triple Visual Dare #3


The queen sat on the feather bed, legs splayed as only allowed by the flexibility of youth, as she listened to the Magi’s tale of her destiny. The rains that darkened the realm for 40 years were slowly choking the life out of her people. No crops would grow, the ox and sheep were on starvation rations from what they could import. She’d walked through the statues in front of the castle with her chaperone, splashing at the feet of the kingdom’s heroines. But the gods weren’t sated by peasant sacrifices. Her duty was clear.

She’d make a queenly statue.


Triple Visual Dare #2


The world was ending, dreamt the boy whose dreams always came true.

They came true when he dreamt that Mommy and Daddy had gone away.

They came true when he dreamt the stars burnt out, leaving nothing but trails of smoke in the sky.

They came true when he dreamt that all the works of man had drifted away, the threads that held civilization together unweaving the world into its constituent pieces.

They came true when he dreamt that the sky opened, making shadows of ruin on his face.

They came true when he dreamt that time itself was broken.


Monday Mixer, week 4

Winner, Honorable Mention!

“I swore I’d never come back here, you know.”

“He loved us. You. Once. He wasn’t always like this.”

“Yes he was. You just didn’t want to see it. My earliest memories are chasing after him through the gorse in the fields by the river. I wasn’t tall enough to see over the plants, but he never turned back. He’d lost any claim on my love long before flying rodents inhabited his belfry.”

“Why are you here, then? Gloating?”

“Whatever my personal sins are, they’re not that egregious. The truth is, I’m not. He wasn’t the only crazy one in the family. You always understood him for a reason.”

“Why am I imagining I’m talking to you?”


“Oh, so now you’re terse.”

“Not much time now. They’ll be here soon and find the two of you.”

“Three of us.”

“Yes. Dad’s only the latest addition to your marshland abbatoir.”

Overachiever entry – six words.


Triple Visual Dare #1


They’d strapped the elf queen to the front of the wagon, a trophy to be worshipped by the masses. Thinking her powerless and shamed in defeat, none noticed how the trees leaned in, listening to the spells whispered by her blowing hair.

Now she lay chained to a bare stone floor, high above the keep. The sounds of workmen and maidservants drifted up from the courtyard, in preparation for tomorrow’s hanging.

As night fell, the bustling noises were silenced, one by one.

Up the tower stairs, though not made for root and branch, her new army came, circling and circling.

I used all three pictures, but it’s not from my NaNo story, because I don’t have a NaNo story. 😉


Monday Mixer, week 3

Winner, Best Prompt User!

Andrew reined in his horse, coming to stop in front of the ziggurat. The dry season that year was particularly extreme, and riding through that much dust had left him insensate.

He hadn’t wanted to travel back in time. He’d been walking down the street holding Michelle’s hand, when they’d seen that sign in the storefront window. “Visit the lost Inca cities!” She was so cute when she was willful, and he’d signed the papers without reading them.

Now he was eight hundred years before his own time with no way home. The Guaranteed to Work Return Button was nothing more than a decorated “Easy” button from an office supply store and Michelle had left him for the Warrior King of Clan Wombat.

Just thinking about that over-muscled freak filled his veins with vitriol.

Andrew hopped off the horse and started up the steps of the ziggurat. Home sweet home.

Overachiever, again.


Monday Mixer, week 2

Winner, Honorable Mention!

“What do you think of this one?” She held the candle up to his face, and he took a perfunctory sniff. He paused, and sniffed again, reading the label.

“What the heck is lemon verbena?”

“Cassie asked for ‘pretty-smelling candles,’ so…”

“Candles? Sigh. I remember when all she wanted was a cuddly puppy.”

She laughed, taking his hand as they walked out into the street. This was their special shopping day, the one which always made him feel like a kid. The lights along Michigan Avenue. The crowds, hustling in and out of each skyscraper trying to stay warm. His euphoric feeling didn’t last long, unfortunately.

“Don’t forget, we’re meeting Jane and Adam for dinner tomorrow night.”

“That’s right. No holiday season would be complete without a lecture from the harbinger of the end times. Will that piglet they call their son be there, or is he the main course?”

This time I went for overachiever status, with 6 words…


Special Visual Dare, prompts #1-5

@Angela_Goff has posted a special Visual Dare challenge, asking for stories based on any of the past 27 prompts. I had written stories on prompts 6-27, so here I respond to the first five. Presented as a story in five parts.

Maurice sighed as he pulled the hydrator off his mouth. The growing sun hung low in the eastern sky. It was going to be another hot one, and that would make the too-dry air even more dangerous to breathe. He’d never gotten used to wearing a mask every time he was out of the house.

If today’s experiment went as expected, he’d never have to worry about that again. The breakthrough was less than a year old, but it was time. He turned the knob, and watched as the atmosphere began to ripple.

First the water. Then he’d find her.
The flooding had gotten dangerous. After the ice caps began to melt, the old city was too close to the waterline to escape damage. The cobblestones, once an instrument for horses’ hooves to play their songs of commerce and civilization upon, were under three feet of water, the level still going up.

The old woman was one of the few who’d stayed behind. She’d lost her Maurice here, and so she had to stay, awaiting his return.

She closed her eyes, listening as the seabirds began their daily hunt.

In the street, the water began to spin.
No one could resist her for long. For some, it was her beauty, for some her voice of command, but for him, it was always her eyes. She’d stare at him, and his will became hers.

There had been many before Maurice, but none drew her in the same way. The more she looked at him, the more of herself she lost.

He was lost in the desert of her eyes, knowing he’d do anything she asked.

She was caught in the whirlpool of his soul, unable to speak.

Neither noticed the rippling of the moon, full and heavy.
“I will not die, do you hear me! I have not come this far, traveled across myriad worlds, and endured grief which would have broken a lesser woman to die, not now!

“Not like this.”

She howled into the night. She’d lost him when they’d changed, but no power could keep her from finding him again. The grass of this world was strangely grey and lifeless, and did not nourish her.

Calling up one last bit of strength, she rose and began loping across the grasslands. There had to be more than one sky ripple in the world.
The fog hung low over the lake as he began his walk. A wolves’ night, she would have called it, with a hungry smile. They’d both had some of the wolf in them, and the parched world had nearly killed him.

It was ready. He’d remade the world, changing the climate and the fate of seven billion people, all to call to her. If she didn’t come now, then she truly was gone.

His footfalls were dull on the pier, the damp air hiding their usual echo. Breathing deep, he looked out over the water, calling to her.

Behind him. “Maurice.”