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Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Last week's rankings are as follows: 

1) mizal 2) Zaghero 3) Crescentstar 4) Virtualide 5) Gemini4Ever 6) TheMincrafter (Side note: I liked your starting, but you never completed it so I'll have to give you last place.) 


The winner of each week's writing prompts gets to pick one of next week's writing prompts. It has to be either a plot idea, a picture, or a quote, and I have to approve of it. So this week, if you win, please PM me when you have thought of something ^-^ 

Idea was thought of by @mizal . 

Here is this week's writing prompts ^_^ 



1) A stowaway tries to sneak onto the wrong boat.

2) Self-portrait 

3)
"I woke up to the sound of a little girl giggling."

(Note: Does not have to be horror, but most definitely; horror was what I was thinking of when using this.)


Stealing the tagging list from Axiom, and tagging everyone that has expressed interest in the past. Please inform me if you don't wish to be tagged to this anymore. 

@WouldntItBeNice @Steve24833 @JJJ-thebanisher @bbshark @Bucky @mizal @FrankIevatus @TheNewIAP @Romulus @TacocaT @Crescentstar @Mayana @Zulutrader @MasonJarGuzzi @Ogre11 @malkalack @Charaxes @eshspoyeofdoom @RoyalGhost_007 @StillWatersRunDeep @temporaryaccount @ISentinelPenguinI @Drew8521 @Orange @LickReborn @ZagHero @Gemini4Ever @Bannerlord @Taylor_Boulet @Madhattersdaughter @MrMustachio @firegrill @WizzyCat 

As always, anyone is free to join- not just the people tagged, and there is no time limit nor word limit. You can go back and do any of the writing prompts at any time, and you can do as many writing prompts as you wish. 

If you want criticism, you can ask. 

Have fun, everyone ^_^ 

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
I'm not sure if I can suggest modifications after the possibly has been posted, but my intention was for the stowaway idea to be a little more open ended, to allow for sci-fi or for other takes on the same basic idea.

I know I wasn't very clear though, so no big deal either way. But I'd recommend everyone entering this week have an idea in mind in case you win, because I ended up panicking and using just the first thing that popped in my head due to RL distraction.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Ahh...sorry, you said stowaway, and that was the first thing I could think of ^^

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

A quiet, feminine giggling startled him awake. It was a distant sound, and it seemed to drift out from a nearby room.

"Daddy." Then, more giggling—high-pitched and teasing.

The man wrapped the thin, stiff blanket around him. Reaching out to the lamp beside his bed, he fixed his eyes on the door, marked by small claws. The yellow light illuminated the room, casting shadows in mid-chase after the furniture. The door was locked and shut, the window closed.

"Tiffany, did you hear that?" He turned to wake his sleeping wife, but when he reached out to touch her, she was wet with splattered blood, throat open to the suffocating air. Lifeless eyes seemed to stare at him.

His scream echoed in the house, and he tumbled out of the bed. "W-what the hell?!" The sheets were mostly dried, red. Had those dead eyes watched him in his sleep?

"Daddy~" The sing-song voice was louder, closer. Soft footsteps sounded outside his door, in the hall.

Faster. The beating in his chest quickened with his breath. "Mallory?" The darkness flickered in response.

The footfalls stopped outside the scuffed door. Something squeaked behind him. A shadow fell over him. He heard the sound of wind chimes and then, "Yes, Daddy?"

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

So... >~> Yeah. My attempt with horror. Sorry if it's short; I don't know how to write horror otherwise.

I'm going to write a second piece just because this one is shorter than I expected. :3

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
It's short and I think you could have played up the psychological elements more (a murdered wife that never existed as a character isn't interesting--instead something about why this is happening or a little time spent building a sense of dread or inevitability might have been), but it works fairly well as a complete story. This could've been entered in the flash fiction comp, actually.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Yeah, you're right. I was writing on the idea that everything was "happening to quickly", so the man didn't have time to think about his dead wife. I probably should've built up more suspense. I realized it could've been entered in that comp, but I'm pretty sure it was too late.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

"i woke up to sound of a little girl giggling"

    I woke up at 3:45 a.m. to the sound of little girls giggling in the bathroom, its dark so i turn on my table lamp and slip on my slippers. I walk over to the door and peek in, I see a rag doll with red hair and a blue dress in the bathtub, the windows open and the blue curtains are shaking so I close the door quickly. As i shut the door and scream a little i hear a little girl giggle, I wait a few seconds before i go back in. I open the door again and i see that the rag doll is gone, the window is shut and the curtains are still. "Where did that doll go?" i ask myself. No one else was in here,my sister couldn't have taken it, she wasn't in here.

   So i just go back to bed and then i start hearing music coming from my closet, so I go over to the closet and open the door. Instead of a little girl giggling its some music playing. I open the door and a voice says "Help Me", I scream a little, close the door, climb into bed, turn off the light and go back to sleep. My name is Clarissa, and If you couldn't tell my house is haunted. We are haunted by two ghosts, one is an older women and the other is a little girl. The ghosts are nice ghosts, as far as I can tell at the moment. My sister her name is amber, she is really annoying, she always gets into my stuff. But she hasn't been lately, probably because all of the ghosts. The adult ghost is named Marianna and the little girl is named Lina. 

    Its 3:54 a.m. and I wake up to running in the hallway. I automatically think that I am just hearing things, but when I turn on the table lamp and go open the door I see a little girl at the end of the hallway carrying that rag doll. The little girl has black hair and a white dress. She is carrying the doll by the arm and she is walking towards me. So I shut the door and i climb back in bed and turn off the light. Ten minutes later I hear a door slam, then the little girl giggling again. So i turn the lamp back on and go over to the bathroom where she is and open the door, the windows open, the curtails are moving the water is on and the rag doll is in the bathtub.

    Then the little girl appears in front of me, I scream and shut the door. Then the little girl giggles again, so I open the door again and everything is back to normal. The windows closed, the curtains are still, the water is off, and the doll is gone. So I go back to bed, turn off my lamp and go back to sleep. Twenty minutes later i hear music coming from my closet again. I turn on my lamp and go over to my closet, I open the closet door and hear someone say "Save Me". I scream and close the door, run back to bed, turn off my lamp and go back to sleep. I have lived in this house for about 10 years. Ever since I can remember, this house has been haunted. I tried to get rid of them once but it didn't work they are still haunting me.

     Its 3:30 a.m. and I am hearing something different, The girl is giggling in the bathroom and there is music playing in my closet. "What's going on?" I think to myself. I open the bathroom and its just like it always is, the windows open, the curtains are moving, the waters on, and the doll is in the bathtub. I close it real fast after I see her and the doll in the bathtub. I found out by some research that the little girl died from drowning in the bathtub, but not by Marianna. Marianna and her husband never had kids. I go over to the closet door and all i hear is music playing and all of a sudden Marianna says "Save Me". Marianna was killed by her husband, with some sort of chemical, don't know what it was but she was killed by him. I don't get what's going on, the worst part is that my parents don't believe me, they think I am making this up, but i'm not. I still hear the giggling and the music at night and now it has gotten to where i hear it in the morning. What's going on?

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
Are you Gemini? This was an improvement over what you wrote in the last thread, much more readable. I'd still recommend spending more time polishing and proofreading, and reading your writing out loud to yourself to see how it flows.

In a short story, keep in mind that every line should have a purpose, you want to trim down superfluous information, redundant and exposition as much as possible. (And in a horror story, careful of chatty asides to the reader, those will derail the mood.)

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
By the way, I've seen that image you're using as an avatar below. The original is a really great pic. I'm confused why you're using a fuzzy version with hideous pink text typed over it by someone who isn't the artist apparently attempting to claim credit, though.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

thank you i appreciate it.I will try harder next time

 

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

(So I was going to reply this earlier today but I can't access the forum at work. Meanwhile, two people have used the exact same prompt I was going to use, for more or less the same idea. All sense of individuality has now been sucked away.)

I woke up to the sound of a little girl giggling.

Pain still lanced through my head from the night before. It hurt, throbbed, rang through my ears when all I wanted was silence. Just silence. She laughed, and she laughed, and I just crawled across the dirt to where the next piece was lying.

“I’m hungry, Mama,” she said simply.

I rolled over and pulled the meat away. Pulled it away from her fractured, broken lips. Told her not eat it raw, never to eat it raw, because you don’t want to end up like your brother did.

She was still giggling away, just laughing as I pulled the food away. It wasn’t even prepared. We hadn’t carved it. Just hacked it off with a rusty old saw, because our fingers were far too bloody and far too tired and just why oh why didn’t you stock up whilst your brother was still alive

Part of me didn’t mind that another child was gone. One less mouth to feed.

“I’m hu – “

“I’m hungry too, sweetheart,” I tell her before she can say it again. It disturbs my sleep. I don’t want to hear anything, not even my children. “You can’t eat that. It belonged to – your brother.”

“He won’t want it anymore, Mama.”

I gaze down at the bloodied chunk of flesh I pulled from her mouth. It still has her bite marks in it. She’s been chewing it for hours, like a dog gnaws at a bone. But there’s no food here. Not anymore. It’s just me and the children. We’ve only got each other, only got ourselves.

And the smell, oh the smell. We were too tired to bury them but we still had enough energy to get the saw out again, that rusty old saw which will probably last longer than all of us put together.

“Come here, sweetie,” I say, hugging her thin frail body to my chest. “It’s okay. Mummy will find something for you. It’s okay now.”

She presses into my embrace, and hiccups as she lets out one, last frantic giggle.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
This was legitimately creepy.

I take it Seto is in the mood for horror this week, given the prompts and even the 'wrong boat' wording of the stowaway one...

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I mean, the OP does say he wanted horrors.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Thanks! I don't usually write horror, but it popped into my head suddenly and I wrote it in minutes. (All those readings of North Korea articles about cannibalism and famine, most likely.)

 

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

@Saika

This was really good. If you clean up the grammar and spelling as a reply to this post, I will commend it.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Which parts need the spelling and grammar cleaned up? The short segments of sentences are there deliberately, it might ruin the effect if I were to change it around. (If that's what you're referring to).

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Shouldn't have said spelling!

There are a couple of flagrant comma errors and a few sentences which don't flow very well.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Oh, 3J, can you tell me what was wrong with my story that I could fix to get a commendation? 

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
*facedesk* and the greedy point hoarder returns

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

What can ya say? :P

I like points.

(And I may or may not want a critique from the great 3J himself...)

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

xD You posted your story in the other thread though, right?

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Yes, but asking here isn't a bad idea >~>

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Notice me too, 3J-sensei!

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Link?

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

On the same thread, Endmaster wrote a very good story as well ^_^

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

That was very good! Nice job, Seto. There were some slight phrasing issues (can/could) but nothing prohibitory.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Thanks ^_^

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

You really should write more often. ^-^ I loved that story. :)

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I write a lot, its the whole posting thing that's the problem xD

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

That's what I meant. e: I love the voice you use doe.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Thanks :D
Seems I'm only getting third place though.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

(Am I derailing?) Well, I think it's because you submitted late, I think.
How's judging and... prompt-getting for this one? (How many entries are there? I think there's quite a few here...)

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

6 entries, and nah you're not really. We are talking about writing and entries, after all ^_^

I'm deciding whether mizal's or Orange's gets first place

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

:# I love them both. *squeals like the teenage girl I am* What's going to be the tiebreaker for them? Enjoyment? Writing skill? 0.0

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I enjoyed both of them very much, and I would say both were really well written.

I really liked your second one as well.

And Saika's was very, very creepy >.>

I hate being the only judge <.<

Anyone want to judge these with me...?

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

^-^ Yay! *approval*
Yeah, Saika's creeped me out. xD
If I don't like do the next WPW, I'll judge! ^-^

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Yes, please. Take my pain xD
I think I'm going to go with Orange for now.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

^-^ I understand why it'd be painful - the entries are so good! :D

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

They really are :D 

Also, spoiler; the reason I'm getting a low rating is apparently because her stuff were rated low on mine. ;-;

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

^-^ Ah the colors aren't working with me xD -->Wow. Just wow.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

So you can't see it, or you can see it? :O

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I can see it, but I can't do it myself. xD

?

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

The harbor was busy in the afternoon. Sailors and sweethearts clamored around the port, hugging and rejoicing in the other’s presence. The breeze inflated the sails as the gulls caw around the cargo. Horses pulled street carriages, and aboard them, schoolgirls fluttered their lashes at dashing townsmen. They, to the dismay of the headmistress, winked in return.

Some of the sailors staggered onto land and immediately headed off to the nearby tavern, pockets full of whatever pay they received from their Captain. They were ready to spend it all on beer and entertainment. Others returned home to spend time with their families, and she eyed those ones enviously.

Katherine returned her wandering eyes to HMS Dolphin, a 24-gun frigate with beautiful white sails. It was going to return to England soon, and she needed to catch a ride. Her fingers curled around the shiv in the pocket of her overcoat. She heard of a woman there, who held command of a few ships.

The wild stories of the woman had plagued her dreams. She was carefree, powerful, alluring. Men fell to her cunning, ships were claimed by her strategy, and officials were deceived by her many masks.

I want to be like her, was the first thing Katherine Walker had thought. Not a street crawler, not an orphan, not a whore. She didn’t want to be who she was—she wanted power. She needed to find this woman and her crew, and if she had to beg on her knees, she would. She was willing to work her way up to a position of respect and honor.

Creeping back into the crowded streets, dressed in male garb, Katherine casted one more longing gaze at the Dolphin and its beautiful white sails against the ocean blue.

---

She leaned against the wall of the table by the door, wrinkling her nose at the sour smells of the tavern. Those sailors were mostly gone—on their ships, probably.

“The Dolphin is sailin’ to England tonight,” the tavern owner said in response to a scruffy man’s inquiry.

“She is a beautiful girl,” somebody of no particular significance commented, and the others around the counter nodded and huffed in agreement.

Tonight! Katherine stood up slowly, discreetly pouring the contents of what they claimed to be ale onto the nasty floor. She removed herself from the tavern without attracting attention and headed to the harbor.

The frigate stood there, proud and tall, sails aglow with silver upon dark waves. Sailors were loading up cargo already, so she set her plan in action.

She simply walked toward the water. With her shiv in her pocket, she pretended to be somebody examining another ship, but quietly slipped up the gangway into the Dolphin as the sailors dusted off their hands to take a break beside the salty seawater. She had practiced climbing up ropes and walking up boards with makeshift ladders for this day.

She spotted the entrance to the sub-floor and snuck toward it, careful not to disturb the dozing men on guard duty. When she reached the entrance, Katherine peered into the darkness.

And climbed down.

According to the information she had gathered in the past few days, the cargo hatch should be somewhere in the back of this ship. Chills crawled up her spine as she continued toward the back. Where were all the sailors? They had been busy since they arrived at the Boston port, but the Dolphin was quiet.

Katherine came across the crates soon enough and found a stack of them to hide behind. She lowered herself behind a few crates, scanning the area in the dark. A shadow flickered in her vision, and as she turned toward it, alert and frightened, something slammed against her head, and everything was dark.

---

“Wake up, girl!” somebody sneered at her with a barely matured voice, and she blinked open her eyes. Light filtered through a crisscross of wooden bars above her, and she gasped. Katherine sat up straight, twisting around to find herself imprisoned in a dank brig.

The boy looked only older than her by a couple years, and he wore a cruel smirk on his weary face. Somebody was overworking the cabin boys.

“Who are you?” she asked, hands and eyes skimming over her clothes and body. Nothing was missing. Her hands brushed the hard blade through her clothes, and she thought, Not even the shiv.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” the boy remarked, pleased with himself.

Katherine looked up and gave him a bored look.

When he realized she wouldn't give him more than that, he called, “Captain! She’s awake!” and shot her a threatening glare.

Finally noticing the sounds from above deck, Katherine eyed the pistol at the boy’s side. “They let you have a gun? Not sure why they’d trust you with it.”

“Shut up, girl,” the boy snapped, hand sliding to his gun. He dropped his hovering hand when he realized her intention.

“Maybe when I get out of here, I can teach you how to shoot.” Katherine grinned, and it was the kind of smile that showed fangs.

The boy spat at her before light filtered into the brig, and several well-uniformed men stepped down.

One of them had on a lovely, black hat—British style.

“Why, hello, Captain,” she purred as the three newcomers stalked toward her cell. The boy shot her one last glare and retreated to the hatch. At least he knew his place.

“And who may you be?” the captain asked as he stopped before her cell. He wasn’t tall. His features were on the finer side, and his narrow hips showed off an elegant sword. At least he had manners and hadn’t donned one of those ridiculous wigs.

She scooted to the wall and crossed her legs in front of her. The men looked down at her with distaste. Only the Captain's eyes stayed on her face.

“I haven’t the honor of knowing your name, Captain,” was her only response.

Katherine swore his companions' eyes almost bulged at that.

“Captain Jocelyn,” the man replied coolly. The man to his left, however, did not seem to have as much self-control.

“Treat the Captain with respect!” The wig-wearing one’s voice was rugged, but higher than she expected.

“Pleased to be of your acquaintance, Captain. I’m Katherine,” she replied, ignoring the remark and giving them a lopsided smile, which wasn’t too different from the one she had given the boy.

“Now, Katherine, why were you on the Seahorse last night?” Captain Jocelyn asked. He sounded quite curious. Why would a woman be on a warship for God’s sake?

But Katherine’s mind spun. The Seahorse? What about the Dolphin? Was this the wrong ship? “Er…”

“Women bring misfortune on a sailing ship. We’re delaying our trip to England because of you,” Jocelyn explained. The men at his side were throwing daggers at her.

“Sailors and their superstitions.” She scoffed at the idea, but she might have just gotten into a very sticky situation. “I would like to go to England, Captain Jocelyn.”

The men all exchanged a glance, disbelief etched into every sea-worn feature of their faces.

“Didn’t you just hear what the Captain said, girl?” the black-haired one hissed.

“Hey, you gotta admit,” Katherine said, gesturing to herself, “I give a good view.”

“Now she’s whoring herself, Captain!” the wig one snarled.

The Captain, however, was scraping his eyes down her, and she shifted nervously. This was not part of the plan.

His eyes snapped back to her face, which stretched with a toothy grin. “You’re rather pretty for a girl, but sadly, I'd like to keep the integrity of our men. Especially the ones with darlings already.” He jerked his chin toward her. “Toss her out.”

His two companions unlocked the door to her cell. Katherine’s hand inched toward her pocket as they neared. Before they could grab her, she slipped her shiv from her pocket into her hand and sliced it down the arm of the wig-wearer. She ducked under them and sprinted toward the door, where Captain Jocelyn’s sword was already drawn.

She prepared her shiv, diminished any thoughts of her possible death, and made for the space between the door and the Captain. To her surprise, the Captain didn’t go for her. Rather, he whipped the sword out to the two men. They grunted in surprise and stumbled back. That gave the Captain enough time to slam the door in their faces.

Katherine was already at the hatch, grappling with the boy. She took the gun from his trembling hands, flipped it once, and shot at the space next to the black-haired man’s head.

The traumatized man yelped and covered his face. “Don’t!”

She turned back toward the boy and smiled sweetly. “That’s how you shoot.” Then, instead of returning the gun, she slipped it into a pocket and turned to face Captain Jocelyn, who pulled at his hat.

Auburn hair tumbled down, falling past his shoulders. Or better, her shoulders.

Katherine’s jaw must’ve hit the floor. “You’re…”

She winked at her before facing the jailed men and speaking in a cold, feminine tone, “I don’t like it when my crew treat women with such disrespect. This wasn’t the first offense, mind you.”

“You’re a girl? A she-devil was the Captain?” The wig-haired one gasped, clutching his injured arm.

“That’s right. And this she-devil,” the Captain said with a smirk, “just took over the ship.”

“W-where’s the real Captain?” the other asked, shock still in his eyes.

“Captain Robert Jocelyn is on a short leave in the East Indies. The last I saw him, he was flirting with some lady.” The Captain headed toward her, that smirk still glued to her face.

“You can’t just leave us down here!” the two men called out, almost in synchrony.

She cut them a goading look. “Oh, yes, I can.” And that was that.

Katherine watched in amazement as her idol just put down two middle-aged men. “You’re Mary.”

The boy just stared at them, mouth agape, even as the Captain gave her a kind smile.

“Let’s talk more on deck, shall we?”

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Edit Lock. :) #HistoricalFiction

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
Commended by EndMaster on 3/2/2017 3:28:49 PM
Combined prompts 1 and 3.



You awake to the sound of a little girl giggling.

Squeezing your eyes shut, you will the sound to go away. When that doesn't work, you fling your covers back, jumping out of bed and glaring around your quarters. Blank white walls stare indifferently back in the sudden silence.

Going through the usual morning routine of putting on a clean uniform, combing and braiding your hair and brushing your teeth, you steadfastly avoid making eye contact with the mirror. You’ve learned better, after the first few days.

You give the computer an order to start preparing coffee and breakfast in the dining room, then step toward the door. It slides open with a whoosh, but you freeze halfway through it.

A short ways down the hall, dwarfing the narrow corridor, stands a giant of a man in a trench coat and boots. Frost puffs into the air with each heavy breath, and eye holes have been cut into the cloth sack he wears over his head. Dangling from his left hand is what at first you mistake for a doll. Then you see the blood staining the skirt of the dark blue dress, and realize you’re looking at the corpse of a little girl, neck twisted in an unnatural manner.

The little girl smiles and opens her eyes.

You flinch, and close yours tightly.

When you look again, the corridor is clear, and you trudge to the dining room. Eight more days of this. As far as you’re concerned, you can’t make the jump back into realspace soon enough.

Your bagel is still frozen. The computer is glitching again. You heat it manually and then wearily take a seat, across the table from Geoff.

Geoff looks as haggard and worn as you feel. The two of you exchange grunted good mornings and then eat in silence. Every once in awhile you steal a glance at him. At one point you catch him staring at you too. The elephant in the room, the thing neither of you have yet addressed, is that the little girl is his fault.

Faster than light travel had a way of being psychologically draining. Most didn’t last at this job more than a few years. The warp field...did things with the human mind. Fished around in the memories or the subconscious, and projected snippets of what it found there as a kind of waking dream. A shared dream. There were few secrets that could be kept from your partners on these trips. The passengers were all kept sedated in their pods for a reason, but as the only crew, that’s a luxury you and Geoff couldn’t share.

“I’ll be running diagnostics on the computer today,” he finally says, breaking the silence. “The lights are acting up and the locks on the freezer keep becoming disengaged, and I was getting a two and a half minute time delay with the energy sigs from the pods.”

You nod. Computers aren’t immune to the warp field’s strangeness, and small glitches are expected. But to be having this many issues only a week into your trip is worrisome.

Swallowing the last dregs of your coffee, you toss your mug and wrappers into the recycler and get up to make your rounds. All seems well. Taking a few extra moments to triple-check the life support systems on the pods, you’re just making your way back up to the main level when the lights flicker out, and the lift grinds to a halt. Damn it.

In the darkness, the slow, heavy breathing begins. The interior of the elevator is suddenly very cold. High-pitched giggles float in, echoing off the walls. The distance of the laughter gives the illusion you’re standing in a larger space. A warehouse, or perhaps a docking bay.

“Who are you?” You jump at the girl’s voice, the hairs on your arm prickling. It sounds like it’s right beside you. “I want my mommy...” An edge of a worry in her voice, just a hint of threatening tears.

Then, a gasp. A scream.

The screams continue. The pleading, the cries. You squeeze your eyes shut and cover your ears. There is a sickening cracking sound. Then silence.

One by one, the lights flicker back on. You open your eyes. The lift hums to life again, and the door opens. You step out. Your jaw is set, but your whole body is trembling. You try to keep it together. Walking straight to an emergency equipment kit in the corridor, you take out a long metal flashlight. The solid weight in your hands feels good, and you hook it to your belt. You’re not getting trapped in any more dark rooms.

Throughout the day, unsettled thoughts buzz through your mind. You catch more glimpses of the girl; in reflections, and behind opening doors.

The thing is, you’ve made these runs with Geoff for over a year. His subconscious projections usually involve his mentally ill mother. Yours, you know, almost always have to do with your husband’s suicide, six years ago.

The projections of the little girl didn’t show up until you left the last planet. While the ship was in the repair bay, Geoff spent four days on leave. The question you can’t shake now is, what did he DO?



*****



Late night. You lie in bed, wide awake. Something has disturbed you. Not the giggling, for once. Another sound, very close by. Soft.

There it is again.

Snatching up the flashlight from beside your pillow, you swing it hard. It connects against something--someone--with a heavy thud. You shriek for the computer to turn on the lights, then fumble for the switch on the flashlight when it doesn’t immediately respond.

In the glow you see Geoff, stretched out on the floor beside your bed. You’ve knocked him out cold. Checking him over quickly for weapons, you come across a small hypospray from the medbay. A glance at the labeled bottle loaded inside and you realize he was preparing to inject you with a fast-acting sedative.

Finally, the lights come on. Your thoughts race, trying to remember protocol for when your crewmate turns out to be dangerously insane.

The pods.

Right, that’s perfect. Binding Geoff’s wrists, you start to drag him slowly toward the nearest unoccupied passenger pod. Something falls out of his pocket--a data pad--and you pick it up and tuck it away to examine later.

Lifting him into the pod proves difficult, and your pulse is racing, sure at any moment he’s going to waken. Then--done! You engage the lock, slumping against the pod with a sigh of relief as it checks his vital signs and gives him a regulated dose of sleeping gas. Seven more days and you can turn him over to the authorities. Hell, you might turn in your resignation while you’re at it.

Thumbing on the data pad, you check the last file Geoff had been working on. Huh. It looks like his resignation. You read it with deepening confusion. In it he explains the things your subconscious had been sending out this past week had just been too much for him, and that when he ‘couldn’t stand the giggles, and the screams anymore’ he’d sedated you and locked you in a pod. It ends with a formal apology and a willingness to accept any fines for breaking protocol, or even an assault charge.

You stare at the document a long moment, trying to process this. In the corner, a little icon lights up. Tapping it open shows that a full diagnostic and scan of the ship Geoff had started running earlier today has just finished running.

The life signs indicator flashes red. That usually means there’s something that needs to be checked with the pods. Usually just a glitch with the energy readout, but you have to be safe.

Instead, the error reads, [UNIDENTIFIED MALE]. That...can’t be right. Frowning, you pull up a map. The scan shows a little blip near the door to the freezers. [UNIDENTIFIED MALE]. You give the screen a frustrated tap. That still can't be right. The routine scans the computer runs check for body heat, and glitchy or not, it would have been obvious a third consciousness was on the ship when...the warp field projections...wait.

In your hand, the data pad screen clears a moment, then reloads. It seems its cleared another time delay glitch. The little blip from outside the freezer area is now...right outside this room?

There’s a soft whoosh as the door slides open behind you. Then, a heavy footstep, and heavy breathing.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
lock

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Oooh. Chilling. >~< Good job again xD

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

About the second prompt (self-portrait) - how does that work?

Do we interpret that as a mental image to base the story around, or do we have to put in certain physical aspects such as the TV and the 666 channel in the background? Because if it's the latter, my attempt might just end up sounding like The Ring.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I've always assumed it's whatever you get out of the picture. You could take it literally, or sort of go your own way based on what's going on in the picture.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

^

What Sent said, basically.

Like if I had a picture of an apple. You could write about that apple(The Tale of Applee the Apple), or about what that apple reminds you of/what the apple may be associated with (*cough* anyone else thinking of Snow White? *cough*), or you could write about a metaphorical apple. 

I leave the writing prompts pretty open. As long as it is not too offtopic(such as, if I was doing a prompt about apples and you suddenly rant about your entire life.), I generally accept it.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
(such as, if I was doing a prompt about apples and you suddenly rant about your entire life.)

It's a good thing you clarified that for Sent.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I figured the experience of some asshole chewing my scalp off and then spectating at an orgy was entirely relevant to End's prompt.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

(This may be disturbing to some readers. Viewer discretion is advised.)

The Closet

As my father came towards me, belt in hand and a sadistic, angry smirk on his face, an ancient instinct awakened inside me, begging me to scream. That would only make this worse. I knew that. Before it even broke the surface, I choked the breath out of that instinct and forced it back into the innermost confines of my chained up soul. I braced myself for impact as he punched me in the stomach. I remained stoic, even as my back was plowed by the leather strap. As far as beatings go, I'd had worse. 

Pain licked every inch of my body, but my heart was unrelenting in apathy. There comes a point when even despair hits its limit, when nothing really matters much anymore. I learned that long ago and ever since, indifference has been my guardian angel. Father was yelling something, but I paid him no mind. I couldn't take my attention off not caring, for fear an emotion would sneak in. Then where would I be?

Pain, pain, pain, pain. It taunted me with evil breaths and even when it was over, when he threw his belt aside and walked away from the battered child, it lingered. I continued to vomit up blood on the white carpet. I faintly wondered how long it would take me to clean it. Couldn't he at least have done this on the hardwood? It would leave a stain on the carpet and me with another beating. I almost laughed at the absurdity.

Before my body was even able to move, father came back. Why, oh why, would he come back? Without a word, he picked up my battered bleeding body and opened the closet door. Gently, more gently than he has ever treated me, he set me down on the closet floor and closed the heavy wooden door leaving me in pure, unadulterated darkness. Somewhere in the back of my conscience, I thought I heard a key turning. Then, the world seemed to fade away.

After an indiscernible amount of time had past, I awoke in the complete darkness. Had I slept for a day? Had I slept for an hour? I didn't know, and frankly it didn't matter. I sat up, my mind still dizzy and throbbing. My hands began feeling around the walls, looking for the door. A cold metal object found my hand and I started to push down on it. It rattled a song of despair as I tried it. 

It was pointless to try to escape; I was stuck. I wasn't worried about food, father was kind enough to lock me in the closet we used as a pantry. There were canned foods, cereal, and instant ramen galore, as well as many cases of disposable water bottles. I looked around at the darkness, trying to locate the provisions I knew were in there. Eventually, after feeling around the closet, I found everything needed for necessary survival. I even found a bucket that I could use for... I didn't even want to think about the possibility of using that and having to sit next to it.

But eventually, I did. Eventually, what I thought were endless provisions were running low. I had no idea how long I had been in there or how much longer I would have to stay. My life drifted on in the endless darkness. I never knew when a day started or ended. Had I been in the closet for a week? Maybe it had been a year? Either seemed just as likely. The only thing that kept me sane was Sally, my imaginary friend. She comforted me through every shed tear. She helped me try to bust down the door countless times.

But even I had my limit. I felt as though I had spent half my life in a crumpled heap on the floor of a locked room. I wanted to cry. Why? Why?! Why am I in here? Every lesson I taught myself about abandoning feeling was smothered as I cried out. I looked over to the darkness to my left and saw her. My best friend, Sally, was sitting right next to me, just smiling away. She was always so happy. I always wondered why. Perhaps her purpose was to battle my broken heart with blades of joy. But then again, perhaps a childhood imaginary friend doesn't have a purpose.

"Sally..." I almost whispered it.

She beamed at me. "Hello!"

I faintly smiled back at her, glad to see a familiar face. "You came again today." 

I didn't really know when today was, or how long today had been, but that was okay. Time is different in a locked, dark closet. It was then that I began to cry. The weight of my imprisonment dawned on me as soon as I saw that smiling face. "Why am I here?! Why?! Why me?! Why is it always me?! Nobody else...just...me..." 

I say in irrevocable silence, silently weeping as I thought of the rest of my family, blissfully ignorant of my suffering. I imagine they smiled every day just as Sally does. Sally said nothing as she came in for a hug. I don't know how long we say there, clinging to each other, both of us crying. Eventually, my sobs became snores as I drifted off into a better place, a happier place.

I woke up to the sound of a little girl giggling. Sally was prancing around the closet, laughing at the darkness. I couldn't see a thing, save Sally, and that was only because she was imaginary. I sat up, vaguely annoyed at the racket she was making. "What are you laughing at?"

"I'm laughing because you'll never get out of here."

The blood drained from my face. "What are you talking about? You've always been telling me that we'll get out eventually."

She looked straight into my eyes with a face lacking all emotion. "Even you stopped believing that. Why would I hold hope if you can't? We will die in here and there's nothing you can do about it."

 She immediately returned to her normal happy face and began singing and dancing a happy tune. I was suddenly aware of what I felt: it was true horror. I was going to die in this closet and there was nothing I could do to stop that. I grabbed the last bottle of water. After I drank this, what would I resort to? Would I really...? I looked at the bucket. I sure hoped not. I'd rather die with a shred of dignity.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Holy love. T^T So wonderful. So heartbreaking. Poor thing. ;-;

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
That was pretty intense and it got creepy in a 'this kid has completely lost it' kind of way at the end there. Though with everything else they've been through and everything they're dealing with, the idea that peeing in a bucket is somehow their biggest problem here, or outright worse than death is just a little on the silly side.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

I was trying to infer that they'd been using the bucket for quite a while, but they'd have to err consume their own urine after the story ends, but I suppose I didn't make that come across very well. I'll try better next week. 

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago
Ah, I see I misread something there. No, it's pretty clear, I just shouldn't read things on my phone late at night.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

Gaaah... I keep saying i'll enter, but I keep getting busy on the weekends. (Which is normally my writing time.)

Sorry, yet again.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

T-T You're so crewl.

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

YOU LACK DISCIPLINE!

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

^ Yes, @MinnieKing , be ashamed. SHAME!

Writing Prompts Week #9

9 months ago

One step ahead of you.

*Hangs head low in SHAME*