I hope your year is off to a better start than mine.
My family and I had a wonderful winter break. We basically did nothing but chill. It was relaxing.
Then the first week of January rolled around and one of our pets died. Obviously, not a great start to the year. In fact, since we have lived in our current location (3 years) we have lost one pet a year. That’s three deaths in three years.
My heart is so full of grief right now. The pets we’ve lost led long happy lives, but it still hurts.
The biggest change since losing our bird is that my house is unbearably quiet. It’s kind of making me feel crazy. Our bird, Jingles, chirped all morning, and even more so when it rains, which it does a fair amount here (we live near Seattle). I miss every little squawk and cheep.
Like I said, I hope your year is off to a better start than mine. I have started to work on my goals for this year, but I’m taking things slow right now. The weather and other things is leaving me with very little motivation right now.
If you want to, I encourage you to join me in my short story challenge for this year. Like usual, I’m going to share one prompt a month and then write a story with that by the end of the month, for a grand total of 12 stories by the end of the year. This year I’m challenging myself to write a little bit more each month. My goal for each story will be 1500 words minimum.
Without further ado, here is the first prompt for 2023:
“He had trouble walking, trouble standing up, trouble buttering his toast. But his mind was as sharp as ever. He had this amazing way with trivia. He could tell you…”
Complete the Story
As always, happy reading and writing today and every day! If you decide to write a story, I would love to read it!
“They’re out there,” he told me. “Fields and fields of them. As far as the eye can see.”
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. He pointed to the horizon, and I looked, but all I could see was crops and open sky. What the hell was he talking about? I should have been listening, but when you have to sit, watching a field for twelve hours at a time, your mind tends to wander.
Howard and I were the newest members of the security team. Our days consisted of sitting in a tower, watching the crops. Not much ever happened, but in the past, wild creatures had wreaked havoc in this area of the planet Z.
Planet Z was almost entirely crops and farms. There was one small port city connected to the closest space port where the farmers shipped their goods to the planets that people actually lived on. The other planets in this system were so overpopulated that they’d elected to deem one planet set aside for growing food. Over time, the entire planet had been doled out and cut into properties. There were no wild creatures anymore, but on occasion, farmers had a bad year and were known to steal from each other.
Either way, wild creature or farmer-turned-thief, our job was boring.
“What are you talking about?” I asked Howard, though a voice in my head said not to ask. Howard tended to talk about wild conspiracy theories and far-fetched fairy tales.
“Fairies. You know, the fey folk, magical creatures.” There wasn’t a hint of humor in his voice.
“Are you messing with me?” I stared at him without blinking. I shouldn’t have asked.
He shook his head. “No, I’m completely serious. This planet was covered with fey before the farms arrived.” He stared out the window towards the fields.
I couldn’t look away from him. My brow furrowed. I gave up trying to figure out what was wrong with Howard and went back to staring at the fields with him.
The day dragged on and like usual, nothing was happening. Howard had been quiet since earlier, and I don’t know why I decided to engage him. Probably sheer boredom.
“Howard, why do you say there ARE fields and fields of them? I’m looking at the fields. All I see are fields. They aren’t any fairies out there.” I pointed out the window waiting for him to respond.
“They’re still there. They’ve just learned to hide themselves.”
“You’re kidding. You think there is a whole planet of creatures just hiding in plain sight?” I couldn’t hide the disbelief from my voice.
“They had to survive somehow, so they learned to blend. They’re there—if you know how to look.”
I would almost swear I saw a twinkle in his eye. “Okay. I see. Very funny. You’re messing with me. I guess it’s something that passes the time.”
The rest of our shift was uneventful, like always. As we were switching shifts with the next set of guards, Howard kept grinning at me.
I ignored him and made my way to the elevator. As the door was closing, his hand shot in between. He stepped onto the lift with a huge smile on his face.
“Why are you grinning?” I asked.
“Because you’re thinking about it. Aren’t you?” Howard was practically bouncing on his feet with excitement.
“Howard, I am not thinking about fairies. I’m thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner.” I leaned against the elevator trying to will the machine to move faster.
The ding of the elevator felt like the sound of freedom as I made my way towards the path that led to the employee quarters.
“I’ll tell you what,” Howard was keeping pace with me. “I’ll show you some fairies, but only if you don’t tell anyone that I showed you.”
“You’re not funny.” I didn’t break stride and kept trying to out pace him. It wasn’t working.
He ran ahead of me a bit blocking my path. “I’m fully serious. If you want to see something amazing I’ll show you how to find them.”
I stared him up and down trying to figure out if he was messing with me. He didn’t look like he was kidding. In fact, his smile had faded. He looked eager, but not like he was pranking me.
“Fine. Let’s say I agree. What do I need to do?”
“Meet me at the back of the dorm after dinner. As the sun starts to set.” He turned to finish the trek back. He spun around again, “Oh and bring a mirror and some crumbs.”
“Crumbs? Of what?” I asked.
“Doesn’t matter. Bread. Pastry. Whatever you got.”
As I ate, I pocketed a package of crackers with peanut butter. Hopefully they would be good enough for whatever I’d gotten myself into.
As the sun was setting, I followed Howard away from the dorms. We walked for nearly an hour. The sun was barely still above the horizon.
“Quickly now,” he said as he reached in his pocket and spread crumbs in a circle.
I crushed the package of crackers in my hands. “In a circle around me?”
Howard nodded and stepped away from the circle he’d made. He pulled me towards him once my own circle was complete.
“Hurry, sit down over here with me. Turn your back to the circles. Did you bring the mirror?” He was talking so quickly and softly I barely understood him.
“Yeah, right here. I pulled a compact mirror out of my pocket.” I sat next to him on the ground wondering if any second now more of the security team was going to pop out and make fun of me.
“Hold it up so that you can see your circle.”
I held the mirror up until I could see the crumb and peanut butter circle reflected back at me.
Nothing was happening. The sun was still dipping lower and lower. As the sun passed below the horizon, I glanced at my mirror.
Reflected back at me were three sets of purple eyes.
It was just ridiculous enough to be true. Then again, she could be making the whole thing up. It was just so hard to imagine Diane’s father, the respectable banker who never left the house without a suit and tie, actually spending time at “the colony.” Everyone in town called it that.
The colony sprung up a few years ago, and since then, the town had seen more than a few of its respectable members seek the excitement within the extra tall privacy fences.
Cynthia listened as Sammy kept talking, but she found it hard to concentrate after the big reveal that the newest person to go to the dark side was Diane’s dad. It just seemed so unlikely. He was super boring, like worse than her own parents.
She tried to imagine him at the colony and instantly she regretted it. She didn’t actually want to picture that. She shook her head. Without saying anything to her friends, she took her tray and got rid of the rest of her lunch. Suddenly she wasn’t that hungry.
The rest of the day, everyone was talking about it off and on. It was like the only thing that had happened in the last week. Honestly, Cynthia was tired of hearing about it by the time she got home.
As she dropped her book bag right inside the doorway, her mother called, “Snack on the counter. I’m in the middle of laundry. Homework first.” Her mother didn’t even peak out to see who had walked in. Cynthia went to see what her mother had made for a snack. As she stepped past the door to the garage, she spotted her mom folding laundry. She didn’t wave or stop.
Her mother looked up and asked, “Did you hear about Diane’s dad?” She chuckled. She kept talking but Cynthia moved further away, and her mother’s words turned into a murmur.
She grabbed her snack of pb and celery. She walked quickly and snatched her bag off the floor taking the stairs two at a time to escape the gossip.
The next morning, she avoided her family in the morning. She didn’t want to talk or hear about the colony. It grossed her out. The only people who lived there were over forty, no kids allowed. That was probably a good policy.
Cynthia hated the place for one reason—she hadn’t been able to see her grandmother since she’d moved into the colony last year. She missed her. To Cynthia, the colony was synonymous with “homewrecker.”
School was the same as the day before. The hottest gossip was still about Diane’s dad. Apparently, he’d moved in. Cynthia hadn’t listened to that part. She’d thought maybe he was one of those people who just visited the colony for fun. But, he was like her grandma—he’d decided to move in and live there.
The idea made Cynthia shudder—gross. Poor Diane. She would try to find time to talk to her during lunch.
She didn’t get a chance to though. Diane was absent. Sitting her tray down, Cynthia sat next to Sammy.
“Sammy,” she whispered, hoping no one was listening. “Where is Diane?”
Sammy didn’t lower her voice. It wasn’t in her nature to talk at a reasonable level. She was a gossip and didn’t care when other people overheard what she was talking about. “Didn’t you hear?” She gawked at Cynthia like she was out of touch.
Cynthia shook her head and took a bite of her rectangle slice of pizza.
“Well, she won’t be coming back to school. At least, not for a while.” She beamed as she spoke looking around, trying to get others to listen in. “Her mother threw her and her brother into the car the day her dad moved out. They’re staying at her aunt’s. I think my mom said Diane’s aunt lives in the city.”
“Why would her mother just leave like that?” Cynthia asked.
Sammy looked at her like she was crazy. “Because of her dad, duh.”
“Oh, right,” Cynthia responded, blushing. “It just seems like an extreme reaction. I mean, Diane and her brother already go to school here. It seems like adding more problems to what’s happening.” Cynthia was trying to explain herself, but she felt embarrassed. She was sure Diane’s mother felt the same way. Having a family member leave and join the colony was embarrassing. She didn’t like what the colony was doing to families. She wanted to stop it, but she was only a kid. What could she do?
After school, she dropped her bag in the hall like always. She went in search of her mother.
“Mom. Mom!” she shouted.
“Upstairs.” Her mother answered.
She found her mother cleaning in one of the bathrooms.
“I want to call Grandma,” Cynthia said.
Her mother stopped scrubbing the counter and stared at their reflections in the mirror. She didn’t speak.
“Please, Mom. It’s important.” Cynthia whined.
“Why?” Her mother hadn’t spoken to Grandma, her own mother, since she’d moved into the colony either.
“Trust me. I just need to talk to her. I know you’re angry with her, but I miss her. I want to just say hi.” Cynthia begged, hoping her mother would give in.
Her mother let out a loud sigh. “Fine. I’ll get you the number. But just because you call, it doesn’t mean she’ll talk. You know what they do there.”
“I know, but I really need to talk to her.”
Cynthia waited until she could hear her mother cleaning again upstairs before she took a deep breath and dialed the number.
Someone picked up on the third ring.
“Hello, you’ve reached The Colony.” A friendly voice spoke.
“I would like to speak to my grandma, err, Mrs. Hudson,” said Cynthia.
“I’ll see if she wants to speak. Can I have your name so that I can tell her who’s calling?” the voice continued being friendly.
“It’s Cynthia, her grandkid.”
“Just a sec,” the voice said.
Cynthia heard a click and the phone was put on hold. While she waited, she listened to the sound of bees humming.
As she listened to the bees, she grew angrier and angrier. She couldn’t take it and hung up the phone.
(October 2022’s short story of the month. SOOOOOOOO LATE!)
The doctors had never seen anything like it. She was a perfectly healthy little girl who just happened to have two hearts. The only explanation they could offer was that at some point the embryo had started to transition to a twin, but then reverted back.
After all, having extra body parts wasn’t completely unheard of. Polydactyls had extra parts. But the medical and biological complication of having an extra heart wasn’t as problematic as the emotional aspect of being known as the girl with two hearts.
Her mother became an internet sensation. She enlisted her daughter to become the face of several major charitable foundations. The first foundation was called “Twice as Much Heart.” They funneled money into many other charities, including research for cardiac diseases.
Amara hated that her whole life was one long blip of content making for various social media sites. She couldn’t even go to the mall and hang with her friends because it would turn into a frenzy of people trying to take selfies with her.
At only thirteen, she didn’t really have any friends, not true friends anyway. There were people that her mom would let hang out with her, but they were all kids who’s parents were friends with her mom. She wouldn’t have hung out with a single one of them if her mother hadn’t made her.
Her teenage years were going to be lonely and annoying, so Amara made a wish. She couldn’t sleep one night and was sitting alone in her room listening to music via headphones.
She squeezed her eyes shut as hard as she could and wished and hoped and prayed to any one or being that was listening.
She wanted a friend. Someone who couldn’t be corrupted by the influence of her mother and who wouldn’t care about the drama of her life. She wanted a true friend. Someone to share her secrets with. Someone who didn’t want to be around her for status. Just someone to be real with.
She wished so hard that every thought she had over the next few weeks was about finding a friend. She couldn’t stop wishing.
On a night, much like every night of her life, she was alone in her room. She was laying on her bed, facing the wall. She sighed.
“Have you ever tried telling your mother you don’t want to do it anymore?” a voice asked from behind Amara.
She was alone in her room, or at least she thought she was. She was too scared to move.
“Are you going to talk to me, or am I just going to sit her all night waiting for you?” the voice asked.
Amara still couldn’t move. Then someone, probably the person connected to the voice, spun in her squeaky computer chair. Amara huddled into the fetal position.
“Are you scared of me?” the voice asked. “Of course you are, we’ve never met. Turn around and look at me. I won’t hurt you, Amara.”
Amara still couldn’t move. Maybe she was dreaming. She didn’t hear the door open. Besides, her mother wouldn’t let a complete stranger into her room.
Amara rolled over slowly but didn’t open her eyes right away. She took a deep breath and then swallowed. She slowly opened one eye just so she could peek out.
She saw a girl—a girl that looked just like her but was see-through. She was looking at a ghost. But how could that be? The ghost looked like her. She wasn’t dead. Maybe she was dreaming.
She closed her eyes again and pinched her upper arm as hard as she could stand.
“Ouch,” she whispered. She opened her eyes slowly again.
The girl was waving at her. “You going to sit up and talk to me, or what?” the girl asked.
Amara couldn’t believe what she was seeing. This girl looked like her, but she didn’t sound like her. Her voice was louder, more confident. She didn’t seem shy and withdrawn.
Amara sat up without looking away. She couldn’t take her eyes off what was before her. She was afraid if she blinked or looked away, she would disappear.
“Wha… what? What are you?” Amara finally managed to stutter out.
“A friend,” the girl and/or ghost version of herself said. “You can call me Cara.” She stuck her hand towards Amara. “Put ‘er there.” She smiled, grinning from ear to ear.
“Cara?” Amara paused because she didn’t want to offend the apparition. “What are you?”
“Like I said, I’m a friend. Do you want me to go?” Cara leaned back in the chair.
From where Amara was sitting, she could see the outline of the chair through Cara’s form. There was a faint green glow surrounding Cara. “A friend? Do you mean the friend I wished for?”
Cara nodded and then spun in the chair. “Yeppers,” she said.
Amara shook her head. She had to be imagining this. “Then how?” she started to ask. “But why?” She stopped again. She couldn’t seem to form a coherent question. “What are you exactly? Like a ghost or something?”
“Not a ghost.”
“But are you real?” asked Amara. “I mean, are you alive?”
“Yes, and no.” Cara kept spinning in the chair, faster and faster.
“So, what are you?” Amara asked.
“I’m a friend, that’s what matters most.” She stopped abruptly. “Let’s talk about why you’re sitting up here alone when you could be outside or downstairs, or anywhere but here staring at a wall.” Cara crossed her arms over her chest and started tapping her foot.
They talked for hours. Amara told Cara things she’d never told anyone else. They discussed her mother, the constant chaos of her life, and how lonely it was being her.
At some point as they were talking and giggling, Amara lay back down and closed her eyes, but they still talked for many more minutes.
Amara woke up the next morning, but there was no sign of Cara. As she splashed water on her face, she couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe she’d imagined the whole thing.
It’s time for the last writing prompt of the year! I’m excited because this year, I’m meeting a lot of my goals. Right now, I still need to finish some short stories for the year, but luckily, I have time this month.
Before I share this month’s prompt, I want to write a little about how NANOWRIMO went for me. So, as many of you know, last month was NANOWRIMO. I won again! All very exciting, but more importantly, I learned something about myself… I should NOT write mysteries.
I am not kidding. I decided this NANO to challenge myself to write something that is unlike anything else I’ve ever written. I tend to write sci-fi or fantasy, definitely leaning more towards fantasy. So, long story short, I tried to write a mystery novel.
To those of you who write mysteries, WOW, WOW, WOW! It’s not for me. You guys rock! I realized something very early in NANO… in order to write mysteries, you need to know stuff. In fantasy and sci-fi, you can make up how the world you’re writing about works. In a mystery though, you should sound like you actually know real things. I figured out very early on that I didn’t know enough about the forensics and details of my crimes to make them sound plausible. And this amounted to me really struggling to keep my story going. I still had a fun time, and I still managed to write 50,000 words. However, I have no intention of ever finishing that into a publishable novel. It ended up being a learning experience, and I’m okay with that.
If you came here looking for something to write about, look no further. The last short story prompt of 2022:
“They’re out there,” he told me. “Fields and fields of them. As far as the eye can see.” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. He pointed to the horizon, and I looked, but all I could see was…
Complete the Story
Hope everyone is having a great day! Happy reading and writing today and every day!
(September 2022’s short story of the month. Better late than never!)
As a young girl, she learned how to juggle fruit: apples, oranges, sometimes pears. There was little risk, little drama, and people smiled politely and then moved on. But they started paying attention when she started juggling knives and saws.
She didn’t notice when the same man returned day after day to watch her. She smiled at the crowd and faked moments of danger. She didn’t notice him the first day when he watched in a suit, and she didn’t notice the second day when he watched in a hoodie and jeans. She didn’t even notice him on the third day when he was in a suit again, albeit a much nicer suit than the first time.
She didn’t notice, but Chuck did. Chuck watched her tips and drew in the crowd by hyping her skills.
As they sat on their bunks in their 400 square foot apartment, he asked, “What’s with that guy that keeps coming back?” He didn’t see any reason why someone would want to see the act more than once. It was always the same. The same fake moments of peril and the same planned moments of success.
“What guy?” Laney asked. She stacked the bills in a neat pile with each one facing the same way. “We did alright today. Might make the rent on time this month.”
“The guy in the suit,” replied Chuck. “He’s been back at least three times that I’ve noticed.”
“Weird,” said Laney and went back to counting their tips.
The next day the man returned. This time, Chuck nodded towards the man when he was collecting tips to indicate to Laney this was the guy.
After the performance, Laney collected their things, and Chuck took off after the guy. He followed him until he ducked into a coffee shop. Chuck stood outside waiting to see if the man would go somewhere else. Instead, hours ticked by. The man did nothing but sit in the shop ordering cup after cup of black coffee.
Chuck texted Laney the location. She arrived several minutes later, and Chuck still stood watch outside.
“He moved yet?” asked Laney.
“Nope. Just sits there like he’s waiting for something,” answered Chuck.
Laney looked through the window, and the man was looking right at her and waving.
“Pretty sure he’s waiting for me,” she said as she took a deep breath. “Stay here, and keep watch. If things seem off, don’t let me out of your sight.” Chuck nodded.
As Laney sat down across from the man, a waitress walked over and placed a latte in front of Laney.
“I didn’t order this,” said Laney looking back and forth at the waitress and the strange man.
“It’s all right. I ordered for you. I took a shot. Cinnamon latte. Don’t drink it if you don’t want to.” He folded his hands on the table in front of him.
Laney sat down reluctantly. She could smell the coffee. It was enticing. She didn’t trust the situation, but she wasn’t going to let a six dollar cup of coffee go to waste either. She took a sip. She waited for him to talk.
He smiled as she drank the coffee. “Right. You’re probably wondering why I’ve been watching you?”
She didn’t say anything or give any indication that she’d noticed him watching her. She kept studying him to see if she could figure out his game.
His hair was brown and cut and styled in a nondescript basic cut. He was clean shaven. Today he was wearing a suit that was dark grey with matching jacket. His buttoned up shirt was also grey. Everything about his was designed so that he wouldn’t stand out in any way.
He was caucasian with blue-grey eyes. He had an average build, and average height. She wouldn’t be drawn to notice him in anyway.
As Laney was taking all this in, she realized that the man’s whole point was to go unnoticed. He was boring in every way.
“I work as a recruiter for someone who needs people with a specific skill set. Specifically, the ability to look fear in the eyes and not flinch.” He didn’t smile or smirk. His eyes didn’t have a hint of humor in them.
This guy was being serious. Laney wasn’t sure what to think. What could he possibly want with her? She still didn’t say anything.
“I would like to recruit you to work for me.” He leaned back like he was waiting for her to respond.
“I don’t know what to say to that. Recruit me to do what?” Laney reached into her pocket and texted Chuck. Within a few seconds he was in the coffee shop too.
The man didn’t react when Chuck showed up. “Why don’t you join us, Chuck?”
Chuck shrugged and pulled up a chair. He sat close enough to Laney for their legs to touch.
“He offered me some kind of job, but he’s being purposefully vague,” said Laney. She and Chuck didn’t have secrets.
The man glanced at Chuck and Laney and seemed to come to a decision. “I can offer you both a job. You wouldn’t be the first pair we’ve recruited.”
“Recruited to do what, exactly? You haven’t said anything yet that makes me want to believe anything you’re saying,” responded Laney.
The man was quiet and stared at them for several minutes before he finally spoke. “You would be asked to perform odd jobs. Whatever is asked of you.” He paused and leaned forward. His voice dropped to a whisper, “No matter what is asked, you find a way to make it happen. Do you understand me?”
Laney and Chuck looked at each other. This was nuts. There was no way this guy was for real. Did he think they were stupid?
Without speaking, the two stood up, pushed in their chairs, and turned to leave.
They went back to their apartment hoping that was the last time they would see him. When they opened the door, they thought at first they’d been robbed.
Turning on the lights, they realized their mistake. All their belongings were packed like they were moving. As they stood trying to understand what they were looking at, there was a knock on the door.
It’s NANOWRIMO! You should be writing! (Just kidding. Only be writing if you want to).
Well, it’s only the third day of NANO and things are going well for me. This year, I’m writing something I’ve never written before–a mystery novel!
It’s fun to be trying something new, but also daunting. I’m enjoying it so far. Unlike fantasy writing though, I’ve had to look stuff up. (Gasp). I’m not world building or creating my own magic. This time, it’s about solving a crime (and a little bit of magic).
Anywho… whatever you’re working on this month, I hope it’s going well for you.
If you’re here for the short story prompt of the month, you’ve finally found it!
November’s short story prompt:
It was just ridiculous enough to be true. Then again, she could be making the whole thing up. It was just so hard to imagine Diane’s father, the respectable banker who never left the house without a suit and tie, actually…
Complete the Story
This one sounds like it might be leading somewhere salacious…
How is everyone doing? I’m once again trying to play catch up. I went on vacation the last week of September, and then when I arrived home, I was sick within two days. Since then, I’ve been in bed, watching tv, blowing my nose, and wishing I was writing. My head has been too foggy for editing though.
In happy news, I’m feeling much better today. Yesterday I made myself work on editing a bit. I’m a little behind on my list, but hopefully in the next few days I can catch up. And hopefully then I’ll also have time to get caught up on my short stories.
Anyway, I hope whatever you are working on is going well! If you are here for the prompt, look no further:
The doctors had never seen anything like it. She was a perfectly healthy little girl who just happened to have two hearts. The only explanation they could offer was…
The boy woke up before dawn. The horses were restless. Something wasn’t right. He rose and tiptoed quietly down the hall, careful not to wake his mother. She was exhausted after last night’s attacks. With the help of their neighbors, his mother had fended off the vamp-wolves again. Their attacks had been increasing lately, and his mother was up many nights protecting their homestead.
He paused outside her door and waited until he heard her deep snores. He let out a silent sigh of relief and walked down the hall. He slowed only as he descended the stairs. They didn’t creak, but he didn’t want to run down them stomping either.
Morning light was spilling into the living room. He grabbed a cookie on his way out the kitchen door. He didn’t have to think. This was his morning routine. He tended the horses first. They had four of them. One mare and three of her offspring. He gave them fresh water and hay. He filled their feed bins.
When he opened the fourth stall to lay down fresh hay, he saw the blood. It was everywhere. The horses must have smelled it too. This, at least, explained their restlessness. He’d just walked past them out in their pasture. They’d been standing right next to the fence waiting for him. He paused and had to think if he’d sensed anything off about any of them.
He’d been so used to going through his morning without thinking about it that he didn’t trust himself. He walked back out to where the horses were munching away. Nothing appeared amiss.
He shrugged. He’d clean the stall and ask his mother about it later. Maybe she knew where the blood came from.
After the horses, it was time for his favorite chores—tending the flying bison. Their family farm had been raising blimpies for generations. The creatures were docile and gentle despite their size. Every once in a while, he would sneak atop one and ride it. His mother said it was disrespectful. They were not horses.
He loved them. They were about the size of a small hover car when full grown. Their demeanor was friendly like a dog’s. And they weren’t scared of humans. Most people owned one or two, but only certain families knew the secret to breeding them. Their wooly coats made the warmest and softest textiles.
As he loaded the hover cart with everything he would need, he couldn’t help but grin. This season they’d had more younglings than any year he could remember. He loved the younglings. They were so full of joy.
His favorite thing to do was to go out into the field with mints in his pockets. He would give one youngling a mint, and it would start grunting at him. The other younglings would hear the one and come over to see what the commotion was.
Before long, he would be surrounded by them all grunting at him. They were fluffy and round and would bump into one another. And since they didn’t have good control over their bodies yet, they would float off a bit. It was like being in the center of bumper cars bouncing into one another over and over again.
It was easily the cutest thing they did. The adult blimpies would look on without venturing closer. He made sure to always save at least one mint for the elder blimpie. He was their oldest, and his mom didn’t even know his age. She told him that when she was a girl, the elder had been ancient even then.
As he approached the field, something strange caught his eye. The blimpies were pressed up against the door all huddled together. They normally floated about seemingly at random within the dome enclosure.
He searched around by didn’t see any reason for their alarm. His first thought was that he should go wake up his mom, but then he felt ashamed. She needed to sleep. He could handle this.
He restarted the hover cart and drove toward the door. The blimpies parted and let the door swing in and surrounded his cart as he settled it next to their feeders.
Their collective grunts and snorts bombarded his ears. He pushed his way through. The blimpies kept near the cart.
He looked once again at the blimpies all huddled together and turned to search the dome. He didn’t see anything immediately. He heard something in a moment when the herd quieted.
He didn’t know what it was, and he needed the herd to still before he could listen longer. He fed them and despite their nervousness, they ate and calmed down.
As he placed the now empty feeding tubs on the cart, the sound came through clearer.
It sounded like a whimper from a dog. That didn’t make any sense. They didn’t have any dogs on their ranch. Could a wild dog have wandered into the dome? That also seemed unlikely. The dome only had a few doors, and you needed their programed farm equipment to open it. Nothing could just wander into it.
Could there be a breach in the dome? He hoped not. It was expensive to fix the dome and his mom would be furious.
He left the cart and stepped towards the sound. He moved toward one of the boulders in the field. He climbed on top. He scanned the pasture hoping to find the source of the sound and the blimpies’ anxiety.
He heard it and saw it at the same time. The elder blimpie was standing next to something bloodied and whining on the ground.
He approached cautiously and patted the elder as he walked alongside him.
The crying animal was a vamp-wolf. It had been stomped and from the looks of the elder’s front hooves, he’d done the stomping. He’d never heard of a blimpie killing another creature.
Even though that fact would shock his mother, because there was no way he could keep this from her, the more troubling part was that a vamp-wolf was in the dome. There had to be a breach somewhere.
August is doing that thing, again… flying by! I don’t know what I’ve been doing this month, but it isn’t anything productive. I’m okay with it though. Sometimes it’s good to just be happy.
This month I’ve been roller skating twice! It’s so much fun. I love skating! But at my age, when I fall it hurts for days and days. Luckily, I only fell once, and I’m thinking of going again soon.
Anyhow, I haven’t been drafting much because it’s about time to start editing! I can’t believe I’m about to edit my fourth novel! It’s a great feeling, but every time I get to this point, the overwhelming amount of work still to do is shocking and renders me into long straits of procrastination. I find the best way to avoid editing is to not make eye contact with the draft.
In all seriousness though, if you are here for the prompt this month, it’s about time: