In the village of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the visitor will find an agreeable climate, a magnificent bridge, delightful restaurants, and river walks. At the top of the High Street sits Albion House, where Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary lived. In this house, Mary Shelley finished her Gothic novel.
It’s a lovely old home; painted white. It features floors of hardwood and terracotta tiles. French doors open to a small garden off the ground floor, and the entire structure glows with the patina brought by old age and meticulous care. A simple, small brass plaque marks its literary significance.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about old world charm. It can be nostalgic or irreverent. You can invent an “old world,” return to migrant roots or recall ancient times. Go where the prompt leads you!
She who’d smiled and cooed when she gave him the fruit,
now laughed out loud
and watched him chew.
The fruit glowed red, juicy, crisp, and tart.
When he bit in, droplets ran to his shirt and
down his chin.
They burned through the soft cotton and scarred his skin.
He reached for her, in pain, confused;
his finger was cut
on the hem of her red pleated skirt.
I watched the rent spread wide, filling with crimson before
overflowing the wound and splashing onto her open-toed mules.
Shoes that were once white, were now scarlet,
like her name.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a poisoned apple. Let’s explore dark myth. Deconstruct the original or invent something new. Negotiate the shadows, shed light, but go where the prompt leads you!
Rita tucked her hair behind her ears, sipped her coffee and turned ‘The Times’ to read below the fold.
“Mark,” she asked her husband, “if you could do, or be anything for one day; what would you do or be?”
“I don’t know, dear but it would probably involve sex or food. Why?”
“I’d want to be queen.”
“Queen for a day? Like that old television show?” Mark looked up at her.
“Uh huh,” she said, “and,I freed a genie from an old lava lamp at Goodson’s Antique’s yesterday. My day is Sunday.”
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase “for one day.” The words single out a special occurrence. What is the emotion and vibe, where does it take place and why? Go where the prompt leads!
Scientists from the Kingdom of Australia are reporting that the marsupial species known as Thylarctos plummetus, commonly called ‘dropbears,’ and previously believed extinct, are thriving in the forested regions of eastern and southern Australia. The Australian Museum describes these creatures as “predatory marsupials related to koalas.”
Little is known about dropbears, to date, as they have only recently been rediscovered. Preliminary research indicates that they seldom prey on Australians. This may be caused by the marsupial’s uncanny ability to recognize Australian accents, or they may be repelled by the scent and taste of Vegemite, common in the Australian diet.
Note: My gratitude goes to the Australian Museum, in Sydney for their inspiration and assistance in researching this article.
The prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom. You can create a character out of Norah’s koala and give it a Vermont adventure. Or you can make up a story however you want! Can you pull off a BOTS (based on a true story)? Go where the prompt leads!
John Kohtala would wake every day before sunrise, do his chores on the farm near Chassell at the south end of Portage Lake. He’d then walk twenty-one miles (uphill, both ways) to attend Calumet Middle School on Fifth Street in what is now the Ace Hardware Store. It was there, he became fast friends with the Barsotti children; Peter, Arthur, and Gemma and became interested in theatre.
One day, after school, the kids were hanging out at the Barsotti’s Candy store when Gemma suggested that they put on a play.
“Hey,” piped in John, “My dad has a barn…”
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using your choice of microhistory from Keweenaw National Historic Park. Be historical, funny, or flagrantly fictional. Choose a character, time, place, or event. Be as creative as you want in telling the story (for those doing serials, how can you meld this into your own storyline?). Go where the prompt leads!
Note: I co-opted two of the microhistories for my flash. I had fun with this one. No disrespect intended.
Stavo picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder
the cans rattled together, they shifted in the sack
Tonight he carried mostly blues, greens, yellows, and greys
He took the path through the park, from his van to the bridge
His canvas was already chosen so he promptly set to work
Shaking each can before use
Ducking down as cars passed
He painted a portrait of Caledonia
The young girl with colourful corkscrew hair and full, lush lips
He never sold his work
Just put it out- to be loved or hated
By whoever happened across it
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint. It can be fresh, peeling or in need of a coat. What is being painted and why? Go where the prompt leads!
Asleep in the bow, I forgot the plan to test the emergency blow system. I woke to the sound of the diving alarm and that shuddering of the hull that accompanies flank speed, and cavitating. We changed trim. The bow rose from a zero bubble to a 40 degree up bubble. We were rising fast when suddenly, BOOM. I heard the 4500 pound air dumping into the main ballast tanks; first the forward tanks then aft.
When the boat broached, the bow raised high above the swells and splashed down. She came to rest on the surface, waters roiling.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that makes a big splash. It can be fluid, or you can play with the idiom (to make a big splash is to do or say something that becomes unforgettable). Go where the prompt leads!
I met Lavinia in early July
at The Angel on the Bridge
where I came to see the regatta.
I was smitten
I sought to impress
To ply her with food
Strawberries, cream, and a sprig of mint
She turned up her nose
I strove to impress
by quoting the Bard,
Demetrius in Titus Andronicus,
“She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved”
She laughed as I obviously knew not the story
I hoped to impress with my wealth
Alas, I had no wealth, but
She sat with me on the riverbank
She took my hand
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!