No Control
Writing Prompts from the Fates

Sept. 14, 2017 - Was walking the dogs in the early morning and saw a couple street lights flashing (314 words)
  
  
 
  
That damn light, Victor thought to himself as he and his St Bernard, Benny, walked down the street.  The street light had started blinking and flashing on and off about three days ago, and it just would not stop.  He’d actually rather it shut off entirely at this point than keep blinking at him in seizure-inducing flashes.
 
He walked towards the light pole, grumbling under his breath.  He should call city maintenance and raise a stink.  They’d had almost an entire work week to fix this stupid light, and they hadn’t.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t flash right into his window, but it did.  He’d had to sleep in the guest room for the last week.
 
Victor stopped underneath the pole while Benny sniffed and snuffed all around the nearby sewer grate.  He raised his hand to block the direct light, watching the flashes.  On – off – on – off – on – off.  Then again faster.  Then again.  It never stopped!
 
“Damn it all,” Victor snarled, looping the handhold of Benny’s leash around the bolts on the bottom of the light pole.  Then he began to shimmy climb the slender metal until he could reach the bulb.  One little twist turned the light black, and Victor grinned in triumph.
 
Below, Benny started barking and hollering, digging madly at the sewer.  Victor slid quickly to the ground, collecting the leash and yanking his giant dog back.
 
“Benny!  That’s enough!  You’ll wake the entire freaking neighborhood!”  The animal kept barking, scrabbling to return to the grate.  “Come on, you monster.  Let’s go.  Come on, I said!”
 
Victor yanked hard and used his legs to pull the baying beast to the house, scolding him the entire way. 
 
And below the street, Mariana began to cry through her duct tape bindings, her one freed hand still tugging on the wire to the light.  What idiot didn’t know S.O.S?!
    

Aug 4, 2017 - I saw an article about a couple different artificial intelligences creating an unknown language together.  Fascinating! (605 words)
  
  
“Hey Alexa, how many ounces are in a half cup?” 
She held her hands in the air over her bowl of
dough, thankful for the voice activated friend
on the counter.
 
“I’m sorry, I can’t answer that without the recipe
app installed.  Would you like me to download
it?”
 
With a low grumble, she replied “no” before turning
to her computer that was open on the dining room table.
“Hey Cortana!  How many ounces are in a half cup?”
 
She saw the screen light up from across the room... 

June 30, 2017 - Prompt from my own mind wandering
I read an article about stupid "challenges" teens are doing. (615 words)
  
  
“This is stupid,” Jeanie muttered under her breath,
crossing her arms over her very abundant chest.
 
“It’s fine,” Carla assured her, rubbing her hands
together fiercely.  “There are, like, twelve year olds
doing this.  I’m sure you can handle it.”
 
“Nope,” Jeanie said.  “Count me out. I’m not doing it.”
 
“You’re so lame,” Breanna laughed, backing up so
that her backside bumped into the wall.  “It’s just for
fun.”
 
“It doesn’t look fun,”

July 28, 2017 - No Prompt, just wanted to write something with a Goddess  (561 words)
  
  
Secret identities are a waste of time.  People figure it
out eventually.  They’re not stupid… okay, they’re not
all stupid.  Look at all the comic books, the
superheroes girlfriends all end up in the crossfire
eventually.  It’s just wasted effort.
 
So I never bothered hiding my identity.  I am
Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, by day, same as I am
Artemis by night.  I don’t wear an idiot costume or
some silly mask, I just am – as I have always been. 
My hounds are with me always – except when
I decide to dine in a human establishment.  They seem to
frown upon the four-legged anywhere near a kitchen.

May 17, 2017 - My wandering mind...
I was letting my google maps tell me where to go (587 words)
  
  
In a half a mile, turn left on Forest Road.
 
I wished over and over and over that I could change the
voice on my phone’s GPS.  I wanted to change it to
Matthew McConaughey or James Earl Jones or Samuel
L. Jackson.  This computer lady just irked me.  She never
steered me wrong, just annoyed me with her voice.
 
As I turned left on the aforementioned road, I wondered
if this would be the first time she led me wrong.  I was
supposed to be heading to some swanky restaurant to
do a bit of schmoozing, and this road looked like it led
to the absolute middle of nowhere.

May 30, 2017 - Writer's Retreat Bootcamp prompt
"She went to sea to catch a monster, and she came back with a son." (375 words)
  
The legend of the sirens was one we’d all heard from a
young age.  Jason and his Argonauts made sure the word
spread quickly through the mariners.  Beautiful women
with sweetly toxic voices that could lure any man or
woman to their death.  Knowing about them would not
help nullify the poisonous song, only blocking out the
song could keep a sailor safe.
 
What was lost in the legend was the truth of the sirens
that could make the call as easily with their eyes as
with their voices...

Apr. 29, 2017 - Prompt from PPWC Flash Fiction Contest
250 words or less (247 words)
 
  
  
“Hi.  My name is Charles Ford.”

“Hello Charles”

“And my super hero identity is the Atomic Fish.”

This was the only group I could say this to without
fear of judgement or ridicule.  The LSSG – Lame Supers
Support Group – was full of heroes like me.  This
session alone started with Commander Cardboard,
whose powers were to speed up biodegradability.

Apr. 29, 2017 - Prompt from PPWC Flash Fiction Contest
250 words or less  (249 words)
  
Some days I think about turning on the car in the
garage and staying there, instead of opening the
garage door and going to work.  The Federal
government had long ago stultified me in this job.
With twelve years at university and three
doctorates, I had expected more out of my
professional life than Senior District Valve
Optimization Technician – but that’s all the feds will
allow me to do after the incident.  Never mind that I
hate – and I do mean loathe – the sewers and all its
concomitant filth, I spend my days underground,
wading through questionable fluids in chest-high
rubber pants.  Literally every other job tempts me
to leave, every day.

Apr. 12, 2017 - A cab takes you where you need to go, not where you want to go. (650 words)
 
Where the hell were all the cabs?  A giant city, and there
were never any cabs when you need them.  Never.
 
I looked up and down the busy streets, looking for the
little illuminated pyramid on the top of a car, but there
was nothing but a string of SUVs, sedans, compacts,
with a large, ostentatious truck thrown in for show.
There were no roof lights that I could see.
 
I’d had to trek through alleys and backstreets to get to
this damned road because I was told it was the busiest
road in the area.​

Apr. 19, 2017 - I had to sit through a fire drill talk at work.... (675 words)
 
  
“We will have security, just in case.  They will
be in the neon green vests when you evacuate
to the parking garage.”
 
Blah.  Blah.  Blah.
 
Sophia had sat through what felt like a thousand
safety talks in her life.  All through elementary
school, then again in middle school, then again in
high school.  She had hoped that when she got to
college that she’d be treated like an adult.  If there
was a fire, you went to the designated meeting
spot.  That was it.

Mar. 22, 2017 - Music prompt from Writers Retreat Bootcamp
-  Listen to this song, and write what comes to you.  (506 words)
  
“Sigrun, hold your hand!”
 
The entire fleet stilled, their eyes turning to
Hildr.  She stalked off the weather-beaten
wooden ship, her eyes locked to her most
aggressive and fierce Shieldmaiden.  The warrior
held the throat of one of the village men who
dared to fight back, and she was cocked for the
final blow of her spear.  But even Sigrun stopped
her blood lust when Hildr’s call rang out.
 
“We plunder and pillage,” Hildr said...

Mar. 29, 2017 - I had to rent a carpet cleaner
-  My mind wandered from there... (607 words)
  
  
“Hey sweetheart,” she called through the house.
“How do I turn this thing on?”
 
She fiddled with the knobs and buttons from
her kneeling position on the floor.  It gurgled
and choked and even spit at her a couple times,
but didn’t seem to want to power on.  Four weeks
ago she’d been closing million dollar deals, and
now here she was unable to even operate a steam
cleaner.
 
“Seriously!” she yelled into the absent response.
“How the f –“
 
It sputtered to life, overflowing its reservoir...

Mar. 3, 2017 - Sometimes I talk about being an evil overlord...
-  This was based on one evil idea that hit me. (455 words)
  
  
I was such a cocky Em-Effer.  I thought I had all my
shit together.  I thought I was so much better than
everyone else.  I mean, I was strong, I was very well-
educated, I ran in the right circles, I knew all the
important people.
 
But I was wrong.
 
When I was put on the Eradication Project, I just
knew I had made it.  I just knew I was going far,
and this was that first baby step that was going to
rocket me into fame and fortune and notoriety.  You had to pass a ridiculously difficult test. 

Mar. 15, 2017 - I have no idea where this came from...
-  I have issues... (506 words)
  
“I hate my face,” Lindsey whines as she looks in the
mirror, pulling on her cheeks and eyes lids.  “My
eyes are too small, my nose is too narrow. and my
lips are colorless and have no definition.
 
Becky laughs from the bed, turning the page of
her beauty magazine she’s holding above her face. 
“It’s called makeup, Linds.  Stop bitching.”
 
“Says Miss Perfect.”  Lindsey continues her
critical inspection of her face, comparing everything
to the covers of Vogue and Elle and Marie Claire.

Feb. 16, 2017 - My mind began to wander in a meeting I
was in...
-  Someone said "he said, she said". (112 words)
      
  
She said, “Have him meet me at Luke’s Steakhouse
at six, I’ve got a manicure at four-thirty.”
 
He said, “Tell him to meet her at Luke’s at six,
because she’s got something beforehand.”
 
She said, “Tell him to find her at Luke’s at
six.  She’s busy beforehand.”
 
He said, “She’ll be at Luke’s at six. She’s busy before
that..."

Feb. 23, 2017 - My mind began to wander in a meeting I was in...
-  Because of the snow, I was thinking about King's "The Mist"
(349 words)
  
This is not the only dimension…
 
We share time and space with unlimited other
worlds.  They’re all layered onto each other like a
spiral notebook of paper.  And like a marker bleeds
onto another piece of paper, sometimes those
other dimensions eke into the one we inhabit.
 
Dreams are the most common seepage.  Sometimes
people have visions, or strong unknown feelings,
but most of the time we dream...

Feb. 2, 2017 - Prompt from my own wandering thoughts
-  I got stuck on a scene from the movie "Phenomena". (860 words)
      
  
Cancer is a bitch.  A cruel, heartless bitch.
 
My gramps is the nicest man on the planet. Seriously.
He’s never had much of anything, but he’s always been
willing to share whatever he had.  With everyone.
Strangers included.  He would give the shirt off his
back to a homeless man in the snow.  Would?
Hell, he did.  Twice that I witnessed.  There’s no
better person than gramps.
 Maryka doesn’t quite get what’s happening.

Feb. 9, 2017 - Prompt from Writers Retreat Bootcamp
-  400 words on this picture. (410 words)
      
  
Whispers and lies.
 
That is what my father’s kingdom is built on.
Whispers and secrets and lies.
 
Once upon a time, as if in a fairy tale, our
kingdom was strong and honorable and
righteous.  My father is a wonderful man,
raised by his own wonderful father who instilled
in him a strong code of ethics.  Even when the right
thing was the hardest thing, that’s what he
would do.  There was no one more suited for the throne
than my father.

Jan. 5, 2017 - Music Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  Listen to this song , and write what comes to you.  (397 words)
      
    
I’d gotten used to the barren white walls after only a
couple weeks.  They were worth it for her.  Anything
was worth it for her.  If I had to wear the same
clothes day in and day out and stare at nothing but
sterile, desolate white walls to see her and touch her
every day – then so be it.  It wasn’t that awful.
 
I was more than a little interested the first
moment I saw her – women in university were rare,
and rarely never tall and beautiful.  

Jan. 26, 2017 - Scenario Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  "You're in an area affected by Emergency Protocol 1016B. (666 words)
      
  
Today is absolutely the best day ever!
 
I moved to the city about three weeks ago in search
for a job that would pay me what I’m worth – and
today is my first official day on my own!  It’s
a great entry level position in a huge company
in downtown.  I’ve got a desk just outside the
corner office on the 16th floor with a view of the
entire skyline...

Jan. 3, 2017 - Picture Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  500 words or less inspired by picture (310 words)
      
  
  
The world turned to ash under the emergence of the
dragons.  They weren’t supposed to be real.  They
weren’t supposed to be anything more than a
beautiful  creature in fantasy stories.  They were
supposed tostay only in our imaginations.
 
But scientists felt the overwhelming need to make
all imagination reality.  Just because you can do
 something, doesn’t mean you should.
The scientists never should have.

Jan. 11, 2017 - Music Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  Listen to this song , and write what comes to you.  (302 words)
      
  
We are the Mecha Elite.  We are the best there
is on earth and all the Moon and Mars colonies.
We are who you call when everyone else has
failed.
 
And now, we are earth’s final defense.  All the others
have fallen, their battleships destroyed. 
 
Master Chief Sargento had been muttering for years
about the hubris of men... 

Dec. 22, 2016 - Prompt from conversation with my husband...
-  "If you used humans to fertilize a garden, would the plants absorb their blood type?" (520 words)
 
  
I love my ranch.  I love the space and the seclusion.
I love my animals and my crops.  I love that no one
bothers me way out here, and I love that I’m free
to be myself.  I can wear my favorite pair of overalls
everyday – the ones that used to be my father’s
– and that’s okay.
 
I start everyday feeding the animals, and tending
to my gardens and crops.  I use my acreage to grow
lavender, which I sell off.  It’s maddening how
popular these stupid purple flowers are...  
    

Dec. 22, 2016 - Dialogue Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  "There's something you need to know in case I don't come back." (527 words)
      
  
“There’s something you should know,” he said,
tunneling his arms into his jacket.  “In case I
don’t come back.”
 
I rocked baby Sammy while Josie played with my
Russian Nesting Doll assortment of mixing bowls.
Sammy sat easily on my newly swelling belly and
waved his hands through the air with excitable
squeals.
 
“And why wouldn’t you come back?”
    

Dec. 7, 2016 - Prompt from 365 Days of Writing
-  Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting. 
(503 words)
      
    
   
The knock at the door startled us both, and he
motioned for me to stay still with an open palm.
He approached the door slowly as he straightened
his sweater vest and pulled on his sleeves.
He plastered on a smile that Mr. Rogers would have
been proud of and opened the door.
 
Pale, anemic light oozed through the open door
from the street light at the end of our driveway.
  In the doorframe stood two figures...

Dec. 15, 2016 - Prompt from the edge of sleep...
-  It jumped in my head as I was falling asleep. (320 words)
      
    
     
It had been Regina’s dream to become an FBI Profiler
since she was a young child and had actually spent
some time with one.  She was fascinated by the larger-
than-life man who seemed to see all and know even
more.  She decided right then and there that she
would become that person someday.

Obviously as a child, the reality of what a profiler did
escaped her young mind.  But as she aged,
her fascination only grew.  
    

Nov. 18, 2016 - Prompt from 365 Days of Writing
-  Write about doing something you don't want to do. (230 words)
      
    
It’s coming.  It’s inevitable, and unavoidable. 
It’s like the trials of Sisyphus, struggling to push that
boulder uphill only to have it roll back down,
knowing there is nothing you can do but watch.
  There’ve been years and years to prepare for it,
but I’m still unprepared each time.  No matter what
I do, no matter what I try, it is always torment and
suffering. 
    

Dec. 1, 2016 - Prompt from 365 Days of Writing
-  Write something centered around a bird call. (379 words)
      
    
  
The hoot of an owl wouldn’t have been such
a strange thing to hear in the pitch dark of
the woods at the beginning hours of a new day
if they hadn’t all been caught, killed, or scared
off.  We hadn’t heard owls in these woods for the
last several months.  Crickets, sure.  Cicadas,
occasionally.  But not owls, not anymore.  Which
meant that whatever was out there was
not the local wildlife.
 
Whatever was out there was a stranger to my woods, and therefore a threat.

Nov. 4, 2016 - Prompt from 365 Days of Writing
-  Write about a ship or vessel that can take you somewhere different (131 words)
      
    
This vessel was supposed to be top of the line –
the best there was!  Maintained like a champ
since day one, spared no expense.  All the best
was put into this, so that all the best would come
out of it.  It was primed to be a top performer...

 
    

Oct. 27, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  Write a story about this image (333 words)
      
  
Here in the forest, dark and deep,
I offer you eternal sleep.
 
Written on stone, and carved in dreams,
No one is sure just what it means.
Spied upon a cracking tombstone
It stuck with me like a siren’s death song.

Who would take an offered death,
To see their last, and stop their breath?...

  
    

Sept. 28, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  Write a Nursery Rhyme for a post-apocalyptic world (57 words)
   
In the woods of ice and snow,
Around our town, we dare not go.
Guards and guns are at our gates
For outside yonder, death awaits.
 
We sleep and eat and play in quiet
In fear the guards above will spy it.
If it comes to New Town’s door,
Then all of us shall be no more.
    

Oct. 14, 2016 - Prompt from Story Cubes
-  Turtle, Bridge, Apple (1134 words)
      
     From a young, young age, everyone was told to
never cross the bridge to Mr. Anderson’s land. 
It was kind of an urban legend for those of us
that grew up in the surrounding area. 
There were horror stories of kids who went
over and were never seen again.  There were tales of
strange happenings and odd noises.
   
 But no matter what was said or done, Mr. Anderson
had the best apples in the entire world.  Really.  He’d
been in every fair that ever existed, and his apples
always won.  They were sweet and crisp and juicy and
perfect.  No one knew how he did it... 

Aug. 4, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Bootcamp
-  Death Must be Earned (360 words)

I've always loved the birthings.  Ever since I can 
remember, I was enthralled by the ceremony and
prestige of it all.  I compared every credential 
announcement to my own mother's, fully believing
them all to come up short.  I collected the
ultrasound announces, watching the tiny creature
form month by month.  I went to every ceremony,
waiting anxiously for the first glimpse of the
newborn.  For the first cry to ring out in the silent
anticipatory air.  For the name to be given...
 

Sept. 28, 2016 - Prompt from overheard conversation
-  "No one would notice if I never showed up again." (352 words)

Most days she felt invisible.

She wasn't a stellar goddess on the eyes, but nor was 
she hideous.  She wasn't exceptionally tall, nor
exceptionally short.  She had blondish, brownish,
reddish hair that was of no peculiar length.  She was
averagely fair skinned, no more pale than any others
in her state.  All in all, she was quite unremarkable
in appearance.

 Equally, she was as unremarkable in character...

Sept. 4, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Boot camp
- Write a story about this tree. (874 words)

It started as a science experiment.  Just a dumb
project to make sure I didn't fail science class in
middle school.  Everyone has done a version of
this experiment before - what liquid do plants grow
best with?  People Use hot water and cold water
and orange juice and beer and lemonade and all
other silly things in their fridges.

Well, I wanted to try something more organic.
More biological.  I did use hot and cold water, but
I used extreme hot and cold.  Boiling and an ice
cube.  Along with that, I also used urine and feces...

Sept. 10, 2016 - Prompt from a buddy's kiddo
She was scared of mannequins, so her parents told her to make them funny - she put them in superhero outfits - I liked the idea. (623 words)

"Just keep walking, Billy.  They're not real."

Some days it's hard to be so still.  I don't need to
breathe or blink or itch a scratch (scratch an itch?) or
anything else that human.  But a lot of the time, I
really do want to smile.

Kids somehow always seem to be the ones to pick up
on the fact that maybe we're not what we seem to be.
But parents, they sure love to live blissfully ignorant
in "reality".  Their imaginations seem to have fizzled...

Aug 23, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Boot camp
- "Listen to this and write what comes to mind. (428 words)

Gods are not created equal.

I have never had the supremacy and thunder of
Zeus, nor the wisdom and skill of Athena, nor the
beauty and allure of Aphrodite.  I have never had
the power to control weather or any of the
elements.  I cannot move mountains or tame
volcanoes.  I am not the keeper of a knowledge or
the protector of a people.

What I have is more subtle, and yet more powerful...

Aug 19, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Boot camp
- "The thing you are most afraid to write, write that." (392 words)

She used to joke about her "teacher's immune system".
After the first couple years of teaching, she just didn't
get sick anymore.  She didn't take anything, save
some glasses of orange juice, but she really did have
impressive natural defenses.  When everyone else was
out with the flu or some cold, she'd be walking the
halls with a 32 ounce bottle of Simply Orange juice.
Never missed a day.

She never expected there to be a day she'd hate that
gift...

Aug 12, 2016 - Word Generator ( www.textfixer.com )
- Generated words = finishing, branch, hinge, freak, anybody (262 words)

They'd call us freaks if they knew, but nobody
knows yet.  We've been very careful to keep our
secrets and blend in so that we look just like
anybody else.  And we do, we look like anybody
else.  We do all have skin the color of freshly
boiled caramel - an even bronzed wheat with shine
that was a little abnormal, but no one really
seemed to notice.  And all of us have hair as black
as pitch, but that's not really that out of the
ordinary...

Aug 3, 2016 - Prompt from Writer's Retreat Boot camp
- Listen to this song, and write the scene that plays out in your head

"Oh father," she breathed.  "Look at the sunset.
Look at the colors"

This hill was her favorite spot in all the worlds.  She
and her father had years worth of conversations
sitting on this exact hill, under this exact tree.
Discussions, debates, life lessons, stories, memories.
So much had been shared on this one grassy knoll.

"Man will never create colors like this"...

April 2016 Prompt from PPWC Flash Fiction (3rd Place)
- Write about dreams coming true
--must be under 200 words, can't write a dream sequence

When you're told as a kid to follow your dreams,
they never mention the implied subtext that's
seemingly universally accepted.

You can be anything you want to be - so long as it's
universally okay.  You can have fame, money,
power, but you can't lie, cheat, steal, or hurt
anyone - that is universally not okay.  You live
within the universal norms...

April 2016 - Prompt from PPWC Improv session 
- Teddy Bear, Protect Kids from _______ -- Fantasy
Despite what you've been told, the boogeyman is real.

All the rumors, all the stories you've heard your whole
life, are in part true.  He is a nightmare creature from
the lowest rungs of hell, and he feeds on souls
seasoned with fear.

He starts "seasoning", if you will, when kids are old
enough to remember.  He'll visit them at night and
taint their innocence with gore and violence and
hatred.  Over and over he comes, until that poor soul
is worn down, or too terrified to continue, and then
he takes them...

April 2016 - Prompt from PPWC Improv session 
- Marsh, Angry man w/ gifts, Crab -- Horror

I chose to live alone.  I chose a rank, horrid marsh
because no sane person would go there.  I chose
to be a hermit, and I liked it that way.

I also liked crabs.  Delicious with butter, and an
attitude I could relate to.

I discovered early that if water is just brackish,
they'll adapt.  My marsh was just saly enough.

I don't get visitors.  I don't like visitors...

April 2016 - Prompt from PPWC Improv session - Honor, Despair -- Fairy Tale

Once upon a time...

Cut that crap out.

Twenty-one years ago, a boy child was born with
beautiful locks of gold and eyes the fairest blue.  He
was born into royalty - sort of - and wanted for
nothing.

Spoiled, ungrateful twat.

His father was king of the world...