Tag Archive | prompter: lilfluff

We Meet Again (Strangers in the Stream)

For my birthday weekend, I challenge(d) people to leave me prompts that would be fun for me to write and also that the prompted would enjoy reading enough to give me fun feedback on. 

Tall order, right? 🙂

🎂

“Shit, Dorian.”  Gianne eyed the bank of the overflowing river and then stumble-skipped down it, holding on to every branch and rock study enough to be a handhold; Dorian, an oversized golden retriever, stood at the top of the bank and barked helpfully.  “Shhh.”

The river was flowing fat and high, clearly over its normal banks, full of detritus, but none of that was what had caught her attention. The black hair with the single streak of white and the ashen face under it, barely held out of the water by the fork of a branch; it could be a corpse.  She was hoping it was still alive enough to save. Continue reading

Obsolete

When you listened to the old-timers talk, the problems were mostly space.

When you actually listened to them, the problem was space in specific areas, or space that someone wanted, or something like that.

But there was a “crowding issue”.  There were issues with too many people in NYC.  There were issues with lots and lots of people in places on the other side of the globe.  There were problems with obsolete technology.  As far as Rhini could tell, there had been a whole bunch of problems like that, or things people had thought were problems, and some really rich people had thought those problems were going to take over the world. Continue reading

The Generation

Amalie had been studying science since she was old enough to scroll through a book reader.  She had spent ten years studying astronomy before moving on to geology and then, in a move that surprised everyone, concentrated on botany for her secondary work.

Her younger brother had focused on astrology and astrogation the entire time, and could tell you from a two-second look at any star chart where they were and which way they were headed.  He wanted to be part of the Navigation Team. He wanted to be part of the Rulers who got to go up onto the Bridge.

Amalie just wanted to know everything.  She wanted, as she explained to her perplexed parents, to eat something more interesting, too, and to make something with a better protein balance that didn’t taste like the same old thing.  And if high-end botany was going to get that, that’s what she was going to study. Continue reading

What Happened?

Written to LilFluff’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  

Probably a new universe.  The last two times Fluff prompted me, we ended up with Kael’s Tower/a New World and The Hidden Mall, so…

When Emma found the door in the closet of her great-grandfather’s old house, she knew what she had to do.  

It was simply the way these things were all done in the books.

She ought to check it out first.  After all, someone always did.

But since she was staying for the weekend with her cousin, she went to get Britney first.

Britney, who was very interested in the current Seventeen magazine, did not want to come see some stinky old closet on the top floor where they really weren’t supposed to be anyway.   “Aren’t we a little old for make-believe, Em?”

“No.”  Emma’s chin jutted out.  It would be so much easier to do this without her.  And yet… “We’ll be old for make believe when we’re old. Grey hair and creaky joints and all that.  Come on. A secret door!”

“Allll right.”  With a great show of reluctance, Britney came along.

The door, at first, did not want to open, and Emma had to once again coax Britney to stay and help her get the doorknob – a little thing, shaped like a fist – to turn.

When they finally opened it, neither of them were nearly as surprised as they ought to have been to find themselves in the middle of a forest.

Britney, who had read the same books that Emma had, took a coat from the closet, sniffed it, and slid it over her shoulders.  The camel-brown leather coat made her look older and more intense than she was.

Emma thumbed through the jackets before pulling the plastic off of a trenchcoat, a grey one that looked styled just right.  It was a wee bit long on her, but that was fine. They were just stepping into a forest…

They left the door propped with a rock that happened to be very brick-shaped, neither of them looking too closely at the way it seemed to hang in mid-air on this side.  And they started walking, both of them secretly wondering if they would encounter a faun or a talking rabbit, a sentient scarecrow or a family with buttons over their eyes…

What they encountered was a glass wall, a thick one, and, outside of it, a city of gleaming steel and shining lights.  There were pod-like things zooming around in mid-air, and the sky, far above, seemed to be covered with yet another layer of glass.

They looked behind them.  There was the forest, and, somewhere in it, a portal.

They looked in front of them.  “This…” Emma whispered. “This was not what I was expecting.”


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Kaijune: Catch ‘Em

“Rashi, what did you do?”

The interns at the laboratory known only as The Lab did their level best to be close enough to hear the argument while far enough away to avoid any fallout.  Just three weeks ago, a new intern had taken umbrage at being shouted at and, while the Boss was fine – the boss was always fine – three nearby interns had lost parts or all of their limbs to a parasitic vine.  With the memory still clear – with Yando still sitting in his mechanized chair, working the controls with what were only sort of fingers (and sort of vines) everyone was very cautious this time. Continue reading

A Fresh Start… 3

Sanja hadn’t really expected it to work.

It was the sort of thing you bought out of the back of a magazine, in this case a scrap-booking magazine, and it hadn’t even been one she bought first-hand; she’d picked it up while browsing a library sale and the ad had jumped out at her.

It had only been nineteen ninety-nine; she expected, at best, some sort of nostalgia kit.  Re-live your teens!  Get a fresh start on life!

Maybe a new job somewhere else with a good health plan? Continue reading

Beepocalypse 2: Up

First: The Testers

Written in part to prompts from Wyste and Lilfluff

🐇

The elevator doors opened into a white room with only one door out of it.  Three people in masks and white suits were waiting to greet her.  The air smelled of antiseptic and some floral-like scent Kelly didn’t recognize.

“Come this way.” The voice – from the central of the three people – was muffled but understandable.  The figure pointed. Continue reading

A New Lease on Life

Written to @lilfluff’s prompt 

Leaving home for a weekend and returning to find your home and entire neighborhood has been replaced.

🏡

“My house is gone!”

Ed Lawton was furious.  He slammed his fist down on the counter, leaned forward, and got as close to the clerk as he could.  

The New Lease on Life clerk seemed entirely unbothered by this.  While Ed wasn’t going to give an inch, he found himself wondering if the woman was one of the new android models he’d been hearing about.  

Or maybe she just heard this a lot.  “The brochure said ‘Get away from it all.’ sir.  And you have, indeed, gotten away from it all.” Continue reading

Ba(n)kers

This story brought to you by the fact that I kept misreading Lilfluff’s prompt “a baker” as “a banker.”

🍞

The old bank smelled delicious.

Of the village that had stood here before everything had collapsed, seven buildings remained and seven new ones had been constructed from the wreckage of the old.

In the center of everything, the bank was an anchor, not a window broken, not a tile out of place.  It had withstood storms before.  It would withstand more than that in the future.

And in the middle of the bank, Geraldine Atwater and Clementine Smith had built their ovens.

They kneaded bread on the old marble counter-tops and stacked it for display on the check-signing stations.  They took deposits of money or trade goods or ingredients and gave receipts in bread and rolls and pastries, anything they could figure out how to make with what they had.

They’d gone back to the old traditions: The brewery hadn’t stood, but they’d rebuilt it, and they used the yeast from the brewery for their bread.  The area was littered with millstones and old museum replicas of mills.  They’d used them as a blueprint for a new mill, right next to the bank-cum-bakery.

The area had never stopped farming.  They had to borrow from the Amish and the Mennonites to get things back to an old-school way, but they traded with everyone they could still reach, and in the end, Gerry and Clem had enough for their bakery, and the town had enough to eat.

Today was a special day, and today they were baking up a storm.  The ovens had been fired since three hours before dawn and now, the bread for the village and the rolls for their sandwiches baked, they were twisting up the braids and the swirls of a grand confection.

Today marked three years since their first loaf had been baked in their new oven.  And it marked three and a half years since the day they’d all stepped out of the Great Storm.

The bread sculpture wouldn’t show the storm, though.  Four feet tall and seven feet long, the sculpture would show hands.  All of their hands, the whole village, the Amish, the Mennonites, the crazy hermits up the hill.  Hands, and a mill wheel, and the framework of a building being pushed into shape.

“Should we call it Thanksgiving, do you think?”  Gerry twisted the gnarled knuckles of Eli Schneiderman’s old hands into the dough in front of her.

“Nah, that already means something.  Call it…. Call it Friendship.  No.  Community Day.”  Clem added a line of cinnamon to the millwheel.  “The sweetness of a true community.”

The Testers

Written in part to prompts from Wyste and Lilfluff, clearly not finished.

🐇

“And when you turn twenty,” Thomas whispered, “the Testers come and they take you away.  And if you’re very very lucky, they take you to a good place, and if you’re not, they take you to a bad place.”

The younger children shivered.  Kelly was supposed to be watching them tonight, but she was letting Thomas tell his stories, even if they weren’t at all helpful.

She’d be twenty tomorrow.  She remembered when they’d taken Aaron.  And before Aaron, Jennifer, and before Jennifer, Keisha and Min and Lad and Petyr Continue reading