They Came for the Children

I am not sure where this prompt came from. I have more than a few craft and prompt books, plus I am always searching the internet for new ideas. It join my list of go-to prompts about 5 years ago, and it is always a big hit. In my summer workshops for teens, I offered this prompt to the middle school and high school youth. They had 20 minutes to write and then we shared our first drafts.  Below is one from Lucas. He changed “They” to “He” and  we had the pleasure of hearing him read his story with a British accent!

cemetary

He Came For The Children
Written By
Lucas Cabeza

He came for the children. It began on a cold October night in Barnes Common, London. A group of young boys were playing tag in a cemetery there. It seemed like fun and games, just running about through the tombstones. Unknown to them, they were being watched by something terrifying. Suddenly, one of the boys heard rustling in a bush behind them. They were then terrified to see a dark figure jump onto a mausoleum.

The figure jumped down from the mausoleum and the boys were horrified at what they saw. It appeared to be a tall man, with a dreadful appearance. He was wearing a helmet on his head, goat horns, bat like wings, and eyes that glowed red-hot like the Fires of Hell. Underneath his wings was a tight fitting white bodysuit similar to the texture of oilskin. The man scared the boys off and attacked the one who first noticed him.

The child screamed as the attacker spit blue flames into his face and clawed at his jacket. The attacker scratched the boy with his metallic claws and cut his back severely. The boy screamed and the local groundskeeper came to his rescue. The groundskeeper chased off the demonic attacker with a shovel. The boy was taken to a doctor where his wounds were dressed. After that, a series of attacks happened all over England.

The attacker was described as devilish in appearance, much like how the boys described him. He continued his attacks for a long time. There were so many reports that they gave him a name: Spring Heeled Jack, the Terror of London. His attacks continued until one day they stopped. No one was ever prosecuted, and no one found out who he really was. Some say he still lurks in back alleys of London, waiting for his next victim…

 

 

My name is Lucas Cabeza and I am a senior at Wilson High School. My interests include horror and science fiction stories and writing. I was glad to be at the workshop because people got to see my writing talents. It was a pleasure to also hear other people’s stories as well.

 

 

Advertisements

A man walks into a bar . . .

but it isn’t a bar. 

This prompt comes from, The Pocket Muse; Ideas & inspirations for writing,” by Monica Wood. I offered this prompt to two different sessions; once for 10 minutes, the other for 20 minutes.

When I give a prompt, I always add that they are just “suggestions” and writers are free to write on any subject or theme. I also encourage them to alter a prompt when needed. “What you write today is what you’re supposed to write.” I heard that line at my AWA training and try to say it at each session. It helps to take the pressure off and get folks writing, not thinking (aka, being self-critical).

I hope you have as much fun reading these as we had writing them!

StockSnap_L2M7OAQ85S

 

A Man Walks into a bar . . .

Scott Keene

The place was called, House of Hades, and he thought it was a bar. He thought the martini glass in bright blue and pink neon had been a dead giveaway. But he was wrong.
Inside, the light was dim and it took his eyes a moment to adjust to the gloom. There was a long counter that would have served as a bar, if this had been a bar. Behind the counter, there was a man who was dressed more like a card dealer at a casino than as a bartender.

The floor and walls were coated in shiny lacquer that gave the entire place the feeling of being ultra clean. There were little tables that looked more suited for children’s playtime than the kind of tables where adults might enjoy a cocktail over easy conversation.
Along the back wall, there was a sign for a restroom – non-gender specific – and what looked like a heavily-curtained doorway. A doorway to what, he wondered?

He was about to turn back for the exit when the man behind the counter handed a slender volume toward him—a notebook of some sort. He took the book, and the man said nothing to him and made no facial expression of any kind.

He opened the book. There were no pages inside, just the front and back cover of what appeared to be some kind of menu.

Scott Keene likes to create scenes that pull the reader into a moment in time – moody, tense and mysterious, leaving the reader craving more, but not (he hopes) in a frustrating way.

 

A Man Walks Into A Bar
Danita J. Kurtz

A man walks into a bar. It isn’t an ordinary bar, but a cacophony of humanity flowing in from everywhere to this lonely spot at the edge of the world. Each person struggles to maintain their sanity as news of aliens from a planet far away races closer to earth.

Life was normal just as recently as last week. People went to work or attended school, all following a pretty regular routine. Normality ended when breaking news interrupted a regularly scheduled program and showed space invaders traveling in ships as big as planets, warp speed toward earth. Fighter jets from various nations were caught on film being vaporized in mid-air while trying to protect earth from imminent danger. This alone caused world-wide panic.

Anyone with means packed what they could and rushed to this remote location reported as the only place on earth not in the ships projectory. Humanity gathered in what, on any ordinary day, could be considered an oasis. Today, it is known as ground zero for frightened travelers and resistance fighters planning strategies to keep earth safe.

Around noon, I watched him walk into the bar and was relieved to finally see someone who looked like me. He could even be from my tribe. I based my opinion solely on his features; the strong aquiline nose, the tinge of olive skin, and the proud look of my people etched prominently on his handsome face.

I, myself, arrived only a week prior and worked behind the scenes to stamp my own ticket to who knows where. The surge of humanity vied ruthlessly for limited space on the two newly constructed rocket-condo ships with a capacity for just 200 passengers and 50 crew members.

I hung around fellow outcasts. We represented different ethnicities making us somewhat invisible to the smug people waving useless cash, now considered less important than toilet paper. Tickets were supposed to be given to the world’s top scientists, physicians and other persons picked for their importance. However, a fat guy named Frankie was heavily influenced by cash, just in case peace did not prevail. He was determined to become rich off the wealthy clientele trying to buy their way out of here.

I was lucky enough to snag two crew tickets due to my skill with engines. My Dad taught me everything I know, and I took full advantage of that knowledge to prove I deserved passage. That’s when I discovered an extra ticket stuck to the bottom and kept it hidden in a special pocket located over my heart. When I saw him walk in, I knew, somehow, instinctively, my extra ticket would be his for the asking, but I had to know for sure. I fought my way through the maddening crowd and made it to his side.
“Hi, my name is April Spring Flower,” I managed to whisper loud enough for his ears alone, keeping both fingers crossed behind my back.

Somewhat surprised, he turned and looked straight at me. He grinned
“Hello April Spring Flower, my name is Tony Grey Wolf,” he answered quietly. His confident voice and brown eyes that strongly resembled his animal spirit, the wolf, put me at ease.
“I walked many days only to find you here.” He said wearily. “And I like what I see,” he continued before flashing me a tired, but gorgeous smile.

My nerves vanished and I felt relieved to find my soul mate. If survival was indeed in our future, then I think we will get along just fine together.

Danita enjoys writing for young adults and is currently seeking publication for her first book in a series that introduces Altea, a girl striving to become a warrior in an era when females are strictly forbidden such knowledge. She hopes to inspire the love of reading in everyone and encourages all writers to write for the sheer joy of writing.

 

A Man Walks into a Bar, but it’s Not a Bar

Sally McCarty

If he were less vain, he would have been wearing his glasses and might have seen what was printed on the small sign across the street, the one next to the big sign that said Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. He had asked a buddy on his construction job where he could chill out with a cold beer. The buddy responded by pointing in the direction of the big sign, so he headed there after clocking out.

It looked like the door under the sign was the entrance to the cleverly named bar, but when he got inside, he had to blink a few times to believe what he saw. The small print on the adj­­­­­­­­­oining sign, the one that his vanity had caused him to miss, read,  F­­­­or Tomorrow You May Die.  Instead of a cleverly named bar, he was in a cleverly (some would say deceptively) named funeral parlor.

As he looked around, still stunned, he made an even more fatal (pardon the pun) error – he made eye contact with a salesman. And quite the persuasive salesman he was. So much so that the next hour, the one he had intended to spend pounding down a few cold ones, was spent planning his funeral.

He chose a manly-looking mahogany coffin with bronze handles and a woodsy scene inside the lid screen-printed on the camouflage silk lining. He specified that only Kenny Rogers music should be played at the funeral service and named one of his hunting buddies to present his eulogy. After working out a few other details, he wrote a check for the down payment (good thing it was a payday). Then, still craving that cold beer, he asked the friendly salesman where the nearest bar was.

“Right next door,” he said. “Under the sign that says, Eat, Drink and be Merry. Our doors are so close together and our sign is so small that people get confused and walk in here by mistake. We get a lot of business that way,” he chuckled.

Sally Baker McCarty is retired from a career in health insurance regulation, advocacy, and policy analysis. She is new to Long Beach and new to creative writing. Sally is anxious to develop her creative writing skills and to see the stories that have been swirling in her head for years materialize.

 

A woman walks into a bar . . .

Desiree Kannel

“She’s like a Barry Manilow song come to life.”

“Who?” Marty asked as he let the last ounce of almost too cold coffee slide down his throat. He set the oversize, blue mug down on the small round table that sat between them. It was his first date with her, Allison, but his seventh try at online dating. She had picked the place. Obviously.

Marty never understood the whole coffee house culture; folks wasting whole afternoons slurping down cups of $5 coffee, eyes glued to laptops. He was more of a Folgers and big screen kind of guy. The place she had picked looked like it belonged on the streets of Paris, France; not Corona, California.

But so far, the company and the conversation had outweighed his slight annoyance with the venue. After six unsuccessful first dates, this number seven held promise. Reason number one? She was funny and didn’t take herself too seriously. Her last statement peeked his interest, and he leaned in to hear more.

She lifted an eyebrow and pointed her head towards the past middle-aged woman who had just walked through the door. The first thing Marty noticed was that she was overdressed. The second was that her overdressed clothes had seen better days. He turned back to Allison for an explanation.

“Oh, it’s some crazy urban legend,” she began. “Poor Thing still thinks this place is the bar where some gangster shot her fiancé.”

Desiree is the founder and lead facilitator of Rose Writers Workshop. She began her creative journey about 15 years ago after a series of jobs that barely paid the bills and made her miserable. She started Rose Writers in 2008 and has never looked back.

 

Thanks for reading!

A Bit of Holiday Wisdom

I baked my father a sweet potato pie for Christmas. Something I haven’t done in years. When I was in high school, my dad – who was missing his mother’s cooking – had me call her in Texas to get instructions on how to make his two favorite dishes: smothered pork chops and sweet potato pie. I remember listening to her directions in between that deep, throaty laugh of hers.

This was not a recipe to recite from; just her memories and experience.

“How much cinnamon?” I asked her.

“Just enough,” she answered. And then that laugh.

Making that pie yesterday brought back memories of her and the other women in my family who have passed on; strong, smart and loving women who worked harder and longer than I know I ever will.

This morning, I stood behind my daughter as she made her first baked macaroni and cheese casserole. She was glad that I was “finally” teaching her how to make it.

“I want to learn how to make your peach cobbler too,” she said while I cautioned her to keep stirring the boiling macaroni.

Through all of this, I realized what this thing we call the Holiday Season is all about. It’s the time when we make time to do those things we don’t normally do; a time when we reminisce with family about those who have gone before us; a time when we look at those that are still here, and silently thank God for their presence in our lives.

So, whether you say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Happy Chanukah, may the Spirit of the Season be in your hearts, and carry you through the rest of the year.

Holly

Holly